Helping your game - Tips and Tricks

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Gibben_Draxx_RF's picture
Helping your game - Tips and Tricks

This thread is for GM, players, ravens flock and anyone else to post help and tips for running a game.  From how to run for varying levels, to how to help new players feel like they are part of the story.  Post your tips and tricks here!!

howardrbrandon-RF's picture

Greetings friends!

Friendly Community Manager here.

I have found that one of the most rewarding aspects of J&L for my players and a refrain I hear from those with whom I collaborate is the feeling of being part of a larger, connected world. To know that your actions impact, not only our own games, but also nearby groups and the world at large makes J&L different than any other experience available.

The easiest way to be part of this global world is to incorporate elements of the Regional Story Arcs into your games. These arcs will be released on the Forums with guides to help you understand what enemies your party might encounter, their strategies and goals of the foes and key pieces of information you might gather. Most important, once you include these elements, it is critical to include that information in your regular reports. With this information, the Raven's Flock can weave your input and accomplishments into the larger story.

Another great way to be included in the world is direct collaboration. GM to GM plot sharing is a fun and rewarding method. This is where two or more GMs come up with connected plots for their games and then run independent sessions but work to a collaborative whole. I can attest to the excitement players feel when they know that their work is part of a coordinated effort.

And, of course, if you are curious or, perhaps, cautious about how all of this works, especially timing, feel free to reach out to me, your Community Manager. That's my job, to make sure that you have the most amazing collaborative experience possible. I will work with you individually to answer questions, be a sounding board for ideas and help you get approval for the really BIG ideas.

Try it out, and let your game become an integral part of a larger and growing world!

Howard R Brandon III

Community Manager

AKA Colonel Alexander Wolfhaven

Echer'Naught Regional Command HQ

Gibben_Draxx_RF's picture

Reposting from SPF on facebook.

Convention Gaming Advice - The Problem Player

It happens. The more you run games at conventions, the much more likely you are to get someone at the table that is going to create serious issues of one kind of another. They show up, sit down to play, and usually within the first few moments, you're aware there's a problem - or going to be. There's a few classic types I can name here:

* The Loud One (Over-talks everyone else at the table, and often those at two tables over)
* The Violent One (Is there to kill everything, no matter what the theme or genre or plot)
* The Griefer (Looking for a way to screw over one or more other player characters regardless of appropriateness)
* The Social One (Is really friendly, wants to talk about movies, pop culture, another game they played, and anything else that's not related to the game at hand)
* The Technical Expert (Insists you get IT right, whether that's the science, the geography, the rules of the game, or whatever else they believe they're expert in)

There are plenty others; I imagine my Comments section will show more than a few. The point here, however, is how to address such a situation as a Game Master.

The most important thing you need to realize is how ~you~ are responsible for the fun and experience of everyone at the table. They almost certainly paid to get into the convention, and may have paid to play at your table. Like it or not, you're a service provider, and even though you're not convention staff, you're still looked upon in some fashion as a part of the show.

With this responsibility comes your ~authority~. Embrace it, own it, and use it for the betterment of yourself and the majority of your players. No single person, or even a couple of problem players, has the right to ruin the fun for everyone else.

Accommodation can take you a short bit of the way in some cases; if everyone, for example, is enjoying a few moments of discussion about the last Doctor Who episode, use the time to get some extra preparation in, setting up the minis on the table or reviewing notes. Politely-yet-firmly asserting yourself to move the game forward is very much acceptable (and required) after that.

With the Griefer or the Violent One, you might be able to simply explain to them (and everyone else, fairly) what to expect in this session, and to adjust their own expectations accordingly. And so on.

Truly problematic players, however, all too often do not take the hint, or even actively resent and resist you.

"Let's take a break, shall we?"

This is an incredibly important phrase for you to learn and use. Go ahead and - even if it's just ten minutes in - ask for a 5-10 minute break. Your more astute players will recognize what you are doing and will thank you for it, and probably explain it to others away from the table as well. Gently insist that the Problem Player and you step aside to someplace quiet and away from direct observation.

Here's where you're going to have to summon your inner strength and Do the Job. Whatever it was that drove you to put yourself on the line socially and emotionally as a Game Master is the same source of courage and chutzpah you'll need to take a calm, authoritative stand with the Problem Player. You need to explain to them the kind of game you're trying to run - in succinct, clear, no-wiggle-room terms - and how you need them to please help you make that happen. Some key things to remember for this -

* Ask for their help; engage their contributive nature.
* Don't open with a bashing critique; simply explain that whatever they're doing is running very counter to your style of GMing, and they need to please tone it down for this session.
* Be prepared to take a firm stance if they become overly argumentative. Don't let the conversation degrade into a debate.
* Be prepared to say "Look, I apologize, but I don't believe my style of GMing is right for you," or "I don't think I am running the kind of game you will enjoy playing." Putting it on yourself gives them an out that saves some face for them.
* Be prepared to ask the con to refund their ticket price for that game, if there is one. 
* At the same time, be prepared to get con security involved if they completely go off the deep end. You must protect yourself and your fellow players.

At the end of it, even if you lose about 10 or 15 minutes weeding the Problem Player out, you will almost certainly salvage the rest of the session for your remaining players. Failing to take charge of this situation and letting it linger through the game will result in the one thing no GM wants their players walking away from -

- a Bad Game.

Feel free to share and discuss as you will

Shawn Gore
J&L Project Director
Member of the Raven's Flock
GM for Rangers of Jasara
aka - Gibben Draxx (Grey Lantern)