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Styles of Game Mastering, this is mine.

24 July, 2022

Always in progressOver at RPGGeek, there is a discussion about GMing styles (which you can find here) where I replied but I thought that I would share it here as well.

So, my thoughts on how I run a game.

My World, I have the final say about how things are, how they work and how it all fits together. That being said, I love for players to add, adapt and build off of things in the setting. Just because I have the right to veto something does not mean that I want to use it, I want the game to be fun for the player and something they are willing to buy into and make their own as well.

Let the players lead, there are things going on in the world that will happen in certain ways if not interfered with but it is up to the players to decide what their characters do and if they want to get involved in plots larger than “let us earn so money to buy drinks”. I do not use end-of-the-world plots (except in my superheroes campaign where the characters stopping such things is an underlying assumption of the genre) and while the world may get “worse” if the characters do not stop certain things, they will always have a chance to correct course and make things better laters, if that is their wish.

Light Preparation, I rarely have more than a page of notes going into a game, sometimes I highlight people, places or things I want to make sure show up (or at least get referenced) but usually I just have an opening scene and a handful of threads and off we go. I have been trying to be better at taking notes and these days I almost always have a google doc open as I am playing to add notes to as things happen and get mentioned.

There are Consequences, which is why note-taking is important! If the shadowrunners piss off Manawave Technologies and leave clues as to who they are, if the venturers insult a Draconic representative, if our teen heroes foil a plan by the Puzzle Master, these will lead to consequences . . . The games and the adventures do not take place in a vacuum, what the player characters do effect the world, usually in small ways but sometimes in major one and, in turn, the world will affect them.

Naturally, all these interlock, because I know my world(s), I am able to work out how to fit in player ideas and suggestions and to extrapolate the effects of their actions will have on and in the world.  I can start with minimal notes and work outward because I have a strong idea of how things fit together and what the general currents are in the campaign.

Notes: photo [Construction Site] Louis Lafon, found on the Met and is in the Public Domain

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