Let me tell you a story. Late last year, I concluded a three-year long Iron Heroes  game. It was a great campaign, but it was a lot of work, and not without its drama. We parted company on good terms, but I was kind of happy to be out of that long-term relationship. However, I am not the kind of GM to be without a game, so after a month, I was ready to get back into the GMing scene. I started trolling for a new game.
That’s when I met Witchcraft . She was a lot different from Iron Heroes. Her rules were looser, and far less complicated. I decided to hook up with her, but nothing serious, no complicated stories, no long running arcs. A simply casual game: a campaign with benefits. Things with Witchcraft were going fine. It was running smoothly, nice and simple. The players were happy, I was happy. Then Corporation  came back into my life.
I met Corporation a year ago, back when I was running Iron Heroes. She was from the UK, and hadn’t made it to the US in hardcover form. I was curious about her, so I did the next best thing and checked out her PDF on the Internet. I definitely liked what I saw! She seemed nice, but I was committed at the time. I gave her a quick read. It was innocent; it never stole my focus from Iron Heroes.
This time, however, was different. She was a new version, and was finally available on this side of the ocean. We got to talking, and found out we had a lot in common. We were both into post-cyberpunk settings; we both loved simple but versatile rule sets; and we both craved high-octane action. it was a match made in Heaven. One night when I was not working on Witchcraft, I ran a small Corporation game for some friends. It went well. My friends liked her. I liked her. I could easily see myself running with her for a while.
Right now I am still running Witchcraft, but lately, I’ve begun to think about an end game, a way to end the campaign nicely. I have talked to a few players about it, but not to the whole group… yet. Then this morning, I couldn’t help myself. I went online and ordered Corporation’s supplement. I started jotting down some campaign notes. There’s something about her I just can’t shake.
So should I feel bad for Wichcraft? Naw, she was my Rebound Game.
Rules of the Rebound Game
The rebound game is a campaign that acts as a filler between your last serious campaign and your next one. If you are like me, and you can’t be without a game to GM, you are going to have a rebound game. It’s OK. Don’t feel bad. There are rules for this sort of thing. Follow these rules and you will have a good time.
- Keep it simple – No matter what kind of game you just ended, your rebound game should be simple to run and not cause you too much hassle. Pick either a familiar rule set, or one with a simple system.
- Play the short game – The rebound game is not likely to be one of your great campaigns. Keep the plot lines simple. No long term story arcs. Keep plots to 1-4 sessions.
- Don’t get your players’ hopes up – Be clear to your players that this is a rebound game. You don’t want your players thinking that this may be their next big game. Let them know that there is a good chance that this could be a short-term game.
- Take it seriously – Just because this is a rebound, that does not mean that you should slack off on running it. A good GM plays every game professionally. Don’t waste your players’ time by running a game you are not taking seriously.
- Learn something – Every time you run a campaign, you have a chance to learn something. Your rebound game is no different. Either during the game or at its end, make sure that you take the time to reflect. Think of what you did well, and what could be improved.
- Keep looking – This is a rebound game, so as you are working on it, and running it, you should be looking at other games. Keep your mind open and let it lead you to your next game.
Enjoy our rebound game, and let it be exactly what it is, the game before your next great game.
So have you had a rebound game before? What was her name, and how did it go?