Wednesday, August 01, 2012

More thoughts on Never Unprepared

As I dig more into the Never Unprepared books I am noticed the author getting at something that is almost revolutionary to me.  The GM's I have played with don't really interact much once they have set the world in place.  I know I am guilty of this.  This is not to say they are not doing the job of the Game Master but that they have basically established an environment and the characters interact with that environment.  It almost is like a function with the players representing the inputs.  Sure there are actions that drive the story but most often these are triggers that drive the players in some direction. It doesn't have to be a black box to use quality assurance terms.  The Game Master should be more involved than a world builder.

Back in High school when I was playing 1st edition AD&D with my buddy Brian this was the approach.  He had written up a huge dungeon and we were exploring it.  Basically his involvement was OK this room has this in it, Fight!  Don't get me wrong this was Hella fun. But the approach ends the creative process with the module.  Also the game sessions really don't have a goal here, the goal is kill and have hella fun. Yep I'm from the bay area we say Hella. The number of sessions to complete a module is not particularly important nor is what is done.  This style is sort of equivalent to grinding an MMORPG for level.

This does not have to be.  The Game Master can always make changes and course corrections.  One of the best idea that came out of Mr Vecchoine's book was hey what do you as a GM want to do with the session you are running?  Sure you may need to get from point A to point B, but how would you like that done.  How would you players like that done.  Do they or you need a break?  Do you need to throw a night of combat into the mix.  After seeing The Third Man would you like to do a noir session?  Basically the thought that the campaign does not dictate a particular session is refreshing.

Also while mentioned pretty briefly, there is the idea of Non Player Character independence.  While the book just asks the question what is the NPC villain doing, the idea that plots and plans progress independent of the characters is great.  Some evil plot could be completely ignored by the characters only to become the complete focus of the adventure later on if the plan comes to completion.  I wouldn't recommend too many of these running plots as it gets hard for both the GM and players.  You the GM begin having a lot of overhead and the player is often entangled in so much muck they don't have time to accomplish their own goals.

That gets me to another idea that arose from the book.  Ask your players what they want on the next session.  Even if their ideas suck they give an idea of what they are interested in.  If they all say to kick some ass, hey give it to em.  You don't have to blindly deliver sessions you think will be fun.  The more input they give the less work for you.

To generalize think about what you and your players want out of each game night.  Why not try to deliver that even if a prepared campaign or module doesn't call for it.

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