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Ian O'Rourke
United Kingdom
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Never Enough Time...
Keywords: Role-Playing Games.

It would seem one of the biggest 'skills' I'm learning now I am GM'ing again is to accept that there is never enough time. The counter argument to this is running a game can quite easily grow to consume all time available if you let it. It depends on how you view the world.

It's quite simple how it works. You start with a simple concept for a session. This needs turning into some sort of situation that the players want to engage in through their characters. Once you get past that point you face a bottomless pit if you let it or you have the time. How many non-player characters do you do stats for, if any? Do you need to get into stats for other elements like other vessels, organisations or armies? Do you need to have some scenes noted up in advance?

This ignores issues you can easily get yourself dragged into to try and persuade yourself the whole thing makes some sort of sense! This route can result in total madness like getting dragged into population growth, biomes and whatever else. Madness. I do realise that. It's one reason why contemporary games have a slight comfort factor, though that can be argued the other way I suppose.

Then you have the issue of what is going to happen after that situation or session is finished. At the moment I have an idea for episode three and four of act one but not episode two. I figure it'll come to me, but it's not in place for when episode one ends. I have a vague 10,000 feet view though!

You always feel like you're missing an opportunity to do something bigger and better if only you spent more time....

Different games have different footprints in terms of time. Each GM feels differently about how much of a footprint they need to feel comfortable. The two obviously intersect. As an example, I believe 4E demands a large footprint. This is a mixture of the way the game works and they way I'd have to handle it. Contract that with the GM who actually ran the 4E campaign who seemed to keep so much in his head along with many of the rules and variables it seemed pretty lite.

In a way, FATE isn't necessarily low footprint. It can be, but it isn't necessarily so. The game probably works better with more things having stats? It probably works better with some scenes noted up in terms of framing, aspects, the landscape (either physical or social), etc. Basically, while the design intent of the rules is different, the game, just like 4E, is a game which has rules and those rules are meant to be used to drive a particular output. In many ways, while it calls them conflicts, these 'encounters', in 4E terms, can demand as much work. On different things, but as much work? Unless you're someone who can throw that together on the spot, without thinking about it.

Not sure I'm fully there on that front yet.

In short, it's about how much shit you're comfortable with making up on the spot. In some ways, it's not about if you're comfortable doing it but to what degree the game might not be as good because that's what you've done?

The more interesting things is this used to cripple me previously, now it's more something I abstractly think about.

I always do think I could have done a better job if only I'd had or spent the time to think about that, prepare this, etc, but then it's not just gaming in which that comes into play.

Permalink | Comments(0) | Posted by: Ian O'Rourke on 27/10/2012 Bookmark and Share
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