We’ve spent a lot of time talking about our games, preparing for them and even running them. We’ve talked about the metaphorical tools in your toolbox and the different tricks that can be employed by the savvy game master.
What we haven’t touched on are the actual tools you can use to make your games easier to run or more enjoyable to be a part of. So that’s what we’ll be talking about today. I’ll mostly be going over the tools I personally use and why I find them to be a good addition to my ‘kit’ as it were but i’ll be offering a few suggestions that I intend to pick up at some point in the future as well.
Or, ‘How i stopped caring and learned to love the sauce’.
One of my biggest pet peeves at a table is difficult players. And i’m sad to say that this is still an ongoing struggle after 6+ years of being a GM.
Having a bad group or just any bad player(s) in your group can really demotivate you as a GM and personal experience has at times left a sour taste in my mouth. There can and likely will be points in time where you may question the reason for even showing up anymore.
As we discussed two weeks ago and the week before, Themes can be a very powerful tool for structuring your campaign. Picking the right theme for your campaign can turn a mediocre idea into a tale of heroism talked about for years to come and drifting from theme to theme with no direction can turn the greatest campaign into a meaningless meandering soup of conflicting ideas.
So in our third installment of talking about themes, we’re going to tackle the one-two-three punch of setting up a theme, revealing its actors and smacking the characters with the consequences of what you’ve just done. This part will be focused mostly on story themes, although you can certainly apply what we learned last time about visual themes. I’ll be using two examples as a guideline for this article. Feel free to steal them for your home game.
Before you choose your system,
before you dream up your antagonist or end boss,
before there is even a mention of classes and sheets,
There is a talk you need to have with your players.
You may already have certain wants and interests for a possible campaign.
But to have an interesting and engaging game for your players, you will need to involve them in the creation of your world. Sit them down and spend some time on hearing them out. This can vary from group to group. From an hour to several sessions. If you can’t meet up in person, try and at least get a discord or skype call going. This will save you some trouble.