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Gnew Year Resolutions, Part 4

Posted By Walt Ciechanowski On November 5, 2012 @ 1:00 am In GMing Advice | 2 Comments

Wow this is absurdly late! Sorry about that.

It’s been about 3.5 months since the last update, and I’m happy to report that I finally accomplished mine. As I said in the last installment one of my gaming group was prepping a The One Ring event for Gen Con and I got to be a player in it.

While it was only for a single evening, I felt that I got a good player experience. I knew nothing about the game going in, as is typical for players in my group (between all of the playtesting and my whims, they tend to rely on me). I had to rely on the GM for the rules and just tried to stay in character, coming up with strategies and solutions based on what made sense rather than what I thought was mechanically supported.

I primarily learned three things:

First, immersion is better than lecture. My GM spent way too long explaining rules to us and our eyes glazed over long before he finished. I generally stick to the basics and teach the rest of it as we play. My general rule is that if it doesn’t come up during play, it probably isn’t worth spending time teaching.

Second, character motivation can create unexpected roadblocks. The playtest didn’t give a reason for our group to be together, so the GM made one up. Unfortunately, that reason (delivering a package from one town to the next) proved compelling enough that we began “resisting the adventure” when the GM tried to lure us in. It reminded me that it’s better to tie the hook into the adventure rather than just drag the PCs by the hook across the entrance to it.

Third, I was reminded that players don’t often see what is behind the curtain and thus aren’t bothered by omissions. After the game, my GM beat himself up for forgetting a few rules (no doubt tripped up by the player rebellion when he belabored the rules lecture). None of us knew he forgot them and the game played well enough without them. Had this not been a playtest then he’d have the opportunity to incorporate them into the next session.

All-in-all it was a fun experience and, given that I didn’t have time to play at Gen Con this year I’d definitely enjoy being a player again. I’m going to encourage my players to step into the GM chair once in a while.

So, those of you that adopted Gnew Year Resolutions, how have they been coming? And for all of you, how have your experiences as players affected your GMing?

 

Walt Ciechanowski

About  Walt Ciechanowski

Walt’s been a game master ever since he accidentally picked up the Dungeons & Dragons Basic Set in 1982. He became a freelance RPG writer in 2005 and is currently the Victoriana Line Developer for Cubicle 7. Walt lives in Springfield, PA with his wife Helena and their three children, Leianna, Stephen, and Zoe.




2 Comments (Open | Close)

2 Comments To "Gnew Year Resolutions, Part 4"

#1 Comment By shortymonster On November 5, 2012 @ 3:07 am

In the balance of things, I think I’ve spent a little longer as a player than GM. I’ve also been lucky enough to play under a wide range of GMs; some of whom were amazing, and taught me just how to do it. Others not so much, but I still learned things from them. One of the earliest was the rules problem you were describing.

true, it means you have to really be on your toes when it comes to game play, remembering what you haven’t yet explained that could be relevant, but the time you save at the start of the game, and how quickly people get into it, is definitely worth it. In my current CP2020 game, I explained the basic die rolling mechanic, then started…

#2 Comment By MonsterMike On November 5, 2012 @ 9:39 am

Here’s what I put down at the start of 2012 in the comments of the first NYR article.

*Go to 5 cons and run two games at each of them.
– It ended up being 4 conventions. I ran two games at two of them and one game at the other two. Partial success.

*Play in a Mutants & Masterminds game.
– Haven’t yet, but I will be running M&M for my December RPG meetup. Barring any disasters, success.

*Play in a Call of Cthulhu game.
– Haven’t yet, but I will be running CoC for my November RPG meetup. Success.

*Write 5 one-shot adventures.
– Did that with a few left over. Success.

*Write at least one 3-game mini campaign.
– This turned into running a 30 game campaign. Success.

*Create an Age of Sail RPG based on Mini-Six.
– A great start, but not completed. Partial success.

*Raise the level of my game as both a player and a GM.
– Um, I think so. Probably someone else needs to judge.

*Try to create a network of good gamers in my community.
– Yes. In September, I started doing a monthly RPG meetup to get disconnected gamers out of the closet. This has been going quite well. I run a short demo game at each one and encourage the attendees to network and form their own gaming group. Success.

*Be a good public advocate for role-playing as a hobby.
– I think I have been. When I talk to non-players about RPGs, I’ve emphasized the positive aspects and tried to bust some of the old stigmas. The RPG meetup is a game-in-public event, and I think it represents the hobby well to non-players.


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