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Author Topic: GM Lounge - Bartenders Answer All Your Questions  (Read 56450 times)

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Offline Wistful Dream

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Re: GM Lounge - Bartenders Answer All Your Questions
« Reply #125 on: January 11, 2012, 10:08:42 AM »
Firstly...love this area! And the conversation is fascinating.

The largest group game I've ever been in had 30-40 people in it, though they would come and go. I wasn't the GM; it was on a site where group games were the focus though. It was odd to come to E after spending so much time on that site where the culture was built around group games and you normally had no fewer then eight people to a game. The massive one was a 'world of the site' type, or rather, worlds. Space Opera with traveling to different worlds meaning everyone could make pretty much whatever sort of character they wanted and go with it. It got a bit crazy at times.

Since on E I've been in a handful of group games and GMed a few. Most fell apart simply because people vanished or life came up, that sort of thing and well I am not so great at nagging. I've found my comfort level with group games is really four to six people, a small intimate group. And while I might come up with the idea and the set up I usually encourage others to plot with me and make them aware of most of what I have in mind and the general direction I want to go in. Not everything, there's some twists I keep back but making it highly interactive and having those open conversations seems to make people feel more invested. I know that's what worked best for me personally when I was a player in a game.

But then, I don't think I'm a great GM [probably not assertive enough]...I just happen to often pick the minds of two GM's I admire a lot to see what they think :)

Offline Haibane

Re: GM Lounge - Bartenders Answer All Your Questions
« Reply #126 on: January 11, 2012, 10:21:29 AM »
Useful tips Josi, but just to show the other side of what is possible, the most successful game I ever ran, which was on another site with 40+ players only ever had a single thread and at the end of each day we closed that thread and started a new one for the next day. It worked too! There was only one other thead and that was the OOC, no character thread or even sheets, the characters just developed as we went along.

It wasn't an RPing site which is why it was so different to here where everything seems quite formalised, but that example does show that you don't need to do things anything but your way, as long as it works.

Offline bubby

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Re: GM Lounge - Bartenders Answer All Your Questions
« Reply #127 on: January 12, 2012, 12:57:37 PM »
I like to usually say...

..." I'm pretty easy going as a GM...but in the end...I R GM...DO AS I SAY OR I KEEL U!"   ;D

Offline HairyHeretic

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Re: GM Lounge - Bartenders Answer All Your Questions
« Reply #128 on: January 12, 2012, 05:27:28 PM »
You can have bad GMs as well as bad players though :)

Offline Chrystal

Re: GM Lounge - Bartenders Answer All Your Questions
« Reply #129 on: January 12, 2012, 05:31:52 PM »
And you can have good GMs who simply have a bad day...!

Offline Muse

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Re: GM Lounge - Bartenders Answer All Your Questions
« Reply #130 on: January 12, 2012, 05:52:13 PM »
Both the Seventh Sea Player's Handbook and the Seventh Sea Game Master's Guide have a chapter on how to be a better player/GM.  I recommend these chapter HIGHLY to anyone who role plays in any way, shape or form. 

I think I'll go re-read them. 

Offline Sure

Re: GM Lounge - Bartenders Answer All Your Questions
« Reply #131 on: January 12, 2012, 06:14:10 PM »
I am not and have never been a GM, so I hope that this lounge isn't barred to me because of my lack of experience.

Without going into too much detail, I have an interest in GMing my own game because I don't especially want to see if there is someone who exists who will GM my game, and because I'd like to open myself up to a new experience. The game that I'm thinking about contacting people about and GMing for will be freeform in nature, but the problem is, I've participated very little in group games that actually have a single person at the helm guiding the story and throwing plot points at the players, and as such I really have no idea how to begin.

I don't suppose there's a "Beginner's Guide to GMing" out there that I could read for a brief introduction to the subject and ins and outs of what my responsibilities are?

A friend of mine once said, "There are a lot of right answers to the question of how you should GM, but there are also wrong ones." Specifically we were talking about our differences in style, whereas I tended to improvise a lot and be much more willing to let people run off into something totally different he would prefer to stick to a scenario and railroad the players to keep them on task. You really have to find how you are as a GM. Most people have their own style, and usually their style is fine. Not everyone may like it, but that's true for everything, no?

If the system isn't freeform, then knowing the rules is important. Otherwise creativity, story, and flexibility is important. The story must be engaging, it must be interesting, and the GM must be willing to work with players, let them do what they want (though to what degree is a point of contention between GMs) while allowing them to experience something that will keep them interested. What that is is largely based on the group, but if you put up an ad presumably the people will come only if interested. Honestly, the ultimate thing is that RPGing is a social and creative story experience. Provide an interesting story and a good social atmosphere, and people will be happy.

Also, there are, of course, bad players, but in my experience most are good. The stereotype of uncooperative players either comes from GMs with incredibly specific ideas of what should happen (I once had a GM complain to me the players had solved a problem in a way he hadn't intended) or from the fact we tend to remember bad over good.

GMing is kind of like riding a bicycle, no amount of instruction is going to help you learn, though you can use a co-GM as 'training wheels'.

... also, I have to admit I'm kind of curious what your idea is.

As for a more general beginning GMs thing, would there be interest in making a sticky topic to help out people who want to start GMing?

Offline Sasha

Re: GM Lounge - Bartenders Answer All Your Questions
« Reply #132 on: January 13, 2012, 08:16:59 AM »

 I not sure what type of GM class I fall under. When setting up a new group game ...I tend to narrow in on the beginning setting giving it as isolated of a center as possible . For example when Crystal Lake started out it centered on one Lodge that was about to be snowed in . Offering several main rooms to post in ...and private guest rooms that one could head off to . The base setting and the overall concept of the game was put into place .

Though allowing the players to add their own tweaks based on the personality of their characters and the backgrounds ...is quite fun as well . Sub plots and storylines that are driven icly ...tend to even give the GM a surprise which I adore personally. One character for example decided he was going to investigate the situation not just fall prey into the games overall concept . Was delightful ...not all m co-gm's thought so at the time . I on the other hand loved it . It was not so out of range based on the characters background and gave an element to the game that I had not anticipated .

To me a GM that takes the players desires for their character into consideration and offers up a way for them to act that out at least in part benefits in the end .

Course there are boundaries for example ...the only character concept denied was a priest that had fallen off the wagon so to speak and used the sex club as a vacation . I thought that was pushing the envelope a bit far and didn't want it to become a religious confrontational issue . I tend to just stay away from such things.

Most of my organizational skills of game format relating to forum play...I rather borrowed and learned from Haibane as the woman is on top of her game there . To which I am most grateful.


Offline Haibane

Re: GM Lounge - Bartenders Answer All Your Questions
« Reply #133 on: January 14, 2012, 08:31:12 AM »
Unfortunately that wasn't the problem. Would that it was! The problem I had was that the players dropped out, leaving their characters sitting like cardboard cut-outs while the action went on around them. In a game like that, removing a character that has dropped out is, as I say, easy. I actually had a player banned from E while in the game. Needless to say, we tortured his character to death!

The problem, always, is in bringing in replacements. How do you assimilate a new face into an existing team, unless the new player takes over an existing character - which not many will: I wont! In a video game, you just "spawn" a new player's character. But in a "real" world, I've not found a way to do that.
I copied this quote over from the "Designing Worlds" thread which is already descending into a general GMing issues thread ;)

Lets leave that thread for stated designed worlds and discuss the problems of GMing here.

Chrystal, I discovered early on that there are two types of settings in group games, 'open' and 'closed'. An open setting is one where new characters can easily and logically be introduced, this might be an office or business setting where new characters are new employees or have transferred in from other departments or sites elsewhere (even globally) - or it could be a school setting where new players can bring in characters as transfer students or if teachers, new employees - or even the character can be said to have been there all along but just not participating in whatever action has been going on. 'Open' settings are very forgiving of ways to introduce new players and characters.

'Closed' settings are those where it is hard to introduce new characters, these include things like military units or special ops teams on missions - or places that are geographically separate from the rest of civilisation like small islands. It is extremely hard to bring in a character to replace a lost player here unless your military unit finds and releases 'hostages' (who could be useful civilians or captured military) or replacements are flown in/beamed down/however your tech allows them to arrive. I made a mistake once of setting up a "school of BDSM" for want of a better phrase but set it on a tropical island. I thought this would make a very nice setting with the usual sun, sea, sand and sex ingredients being attractive ones. All the students arrived by boat and until the game lost its first player I hadn't realised that I had inadvertently designed a closed world, one in which getting a new player into the game was physically almost impossible and the number of obtuse reasons we thought up to get players into the setting got a bit silly. You can always suggest the old late arrival trick but after three or four of these it gets a bit lame.

So, my point is, wherever its possible to do so, avoid during the planning stage designing a closed setting. Always leave a door open for new players to enter the world and join the action using whatever means or devices your game tech allows.

Another alternative is to tell everyone that if they leave, for whatever reason, their character will become the property of the GM to give to a new player as they see fit. Some players get touchy about this and posessive of their creations so you do need to make it quite clear the rule is in force before the game begins. While finding players broad-minded and mature enough to take on an existing role is not easy I have managed to do it a few times and a game has kept going.

Offline alxnjshTopic starter

Re: GM Lounge - Bartenders Answer All Your Questions
« Reply #134 on: January 15, 2012, 11:09:21 AM »
As a GM, I have told people when they apply that if their characters become stagnant and/or they drop out of the game without returning messages I have the right to eliminate their character.

In a Star Trek game, it came in handy for fodder.

If someone abruptly left because of real life and then returns, in most worlds you can easily come up with a back story as to why they were absent or how they miraculously lived but had amnesia...just think of all the soap operas ;)

Offline Sasha

Re: GM Lounge - Bartenders Answer All Your Questions
« Reply #135 on: January 15, 2012, 11:20:49 PM »

 That might make an interesting list .....top 40 ways to dispense with a character . Followed by ...the top 40 ways to reverse such an act .  Might make a fun thread ...just for the giggles of it all . You could use the first post as a summary and increase the number as GM's and or others put forth new ideas . Be a hoot anyways and who knows might come in handy some day .

Just saying .... :P

Offline alxnjshTopic starter

Re: GM Lounge - Bartenders Answer All Your Questions
« Reply #136 on: January 16, 2012, 09:12:18 AM »
That might make an interesting list .....top 40 ways to dispense with a character . Followed by ...the top 40 ways to reverse such an act .  Might make a fun thread ...just for the giggles of it all . You could use the first post as a summary and increase the number as GM's and or others put forth new ideas . Be a hoot anyways and who knows might come in handy some day .

Just saying .... :P

I love it!!! I'll create it now ;)

Offline Sasha

Re: GM Lounge - Bartenders Answer All Your Questions
« Reply #137 on: January 16, 2012, 09:14:19 AM »
I love it!!! I'll create it now ;)

 Oh sweet .....that is why I love you alxnjsh ...your just so naughty and fun .

Offline TheGlyphstone

Re: GM Lounge - Bartenders Answer All Your Questions
« Reply #138 on: January 16, 2012, 10:56:21 AM »
My traditional preference was meteors from the sky.

Offline Chrystal

Re: GM Lounge - Bartenders Answer All Your Questions
« Reply #139 on: January 16, 2012, 11:51:52 AM »
Posted in that one, just for the heck of it...

Okay so, I have a new question.

What do people think regarding multiple threads?

They help keep the action separate, when players are in different locations, but they can also make the story terribly confusing to follow!

My dear friend Haibane often prefers that people put hyperlinks in between their posts when moving their character from thread to thread. The trouble with that is that not everyone knows how to do it and (for some reason, I have found) not everyone is capable of following simple instructions on how to do it!

When creating multiple threads, do you usually go for one per building, one per floor, one per room? Yes, I know it depends on the setting, so let me give an example...

Suppose we are setting a group game in an old farm-house. Below ground level is a cellar which is divided into similar rooms to the down stairs, due to the load-bearing walls. One is used for wine, another for coal. On the ground floor is a large kitchen, a sitting room, a drawing room and a dining room. Upstairs are three smaller bedrooms and one master bedroom. Above that is a loft space.

Leading off the kitchen in an annex is a scullery, which leads into a dairy, which then leads into a milking shed.

The front door of the house (which is hardly ever used) opens onto gardens and a path to the lane. The kitchen door opens onto the farm yard. Around this yard and also opening off it are the milking shed (mentioned), a huge barn, a machine shop and garage (formerly a stable) and a coop for the free-range chickens.

Obviously around the farm yard are fields.

What threads would you create for such a setting? Remembering of course that we are limited to two threads per player, lets assume 8 players.

By the way, if anyone wants to use that farm, they are welcome to, as long as I get an invite to join the RP! I can put it into the "World Building" thread with a lot more detail, or you can PM me.

The most threads you could use.
1) OOC Thread
2) Character Thread
3) The yard
4) The barn and machine shop
5) The milking shed and dairy
6) The cellar
7) The kitchen
8) The lounge
9) The dining room
10) The drawing Room
11) The Master Bedroom
12) Bedroom two
13) Bedroom three
14) Bedroom four
15) The Loft
16) Rest Of The World

[Edit] changed one word as H requested
« Last Edit: January 16, 2012, 12:31:23 PM by Chrystal »

Offline Haibane

Re: GM Lounge - Bartenders Answer All Your Questions
« Reply #140 on: January 16, 2012, 12:19:48 PM »
I create threads as they are needed and try to keep it as few as possible. Having just quit a game that had waaaay too many threads made for it right at the start and a setting where characters moved repeatedly back and forth in this game area without leaving any links, I can tell you that lots of threads is just not a good idea.

In other words, K.I.S.S.

BTW, Chrys darling, I don't insist usually but I do strongly encourage it. There's only one game I've GM'd where I've made a strong effort to ask players to do that.
« Last Edit: January 16, 2012, 12:20:58 PM by Haibane »

Offline Chrystal

Re: GM Lounge - Bartenders Answer All Your Questions
« Reply #141 on: January 16, 2012, 12:30:04 PM »
I stand corrected on that! *edits her post*

Sorry, I didn't mean to imply you were some sort of tyrant, dear. You aren't, you're a really good GM.

Offline alxnjshTopic starter

Re: GM Lounge - Bartenders Answer All Your Questions
« Reply #142 on: January 16, 2012, 12:40:32 PM »
I think your list of threads is a good one, Chrystal. I would note that there are rules limiting the number of threads that a game can have. I'm not sure how this is audited, or even if anyone every does check. For example, in your scenario you would have to have at least 8 players - you can have twice as many threads as players.

Offline Chrystal

Re: GM Lounge - Bartenders Answer All Your Questions
« Reply #143 on: January 16, 2012, 02:01:38 PM »
I think your list of threads is a good one, Chrystal. I would note that there are rules limiting the number of threads that a game can have. I'm not sure how this is audited, or even if anyone every does check. For example, in your scenario you would have to have at least 8 players - you can have twice as many threads as players.

Yep. I did mention that.

What threads would you create for such a setting? Remembering of course that we are limited to two threads per player, lets assume 8 players.

Something I have wondered though: Suppose you star a game with 8 players and create 16 threads, then within a week you loose two players. Strictly you should now only have 12 threads.

Like you said, not sure how it is policed - I would imagine the actual point of "policing" would be the 1,000 post mark when the GM requests the threads be moved to a sub-forum?

I actually think Haibane's suggestion is best. Create threads as and when they are needed, and not before. That way you don't end up with half a dozen empty threads with a single post and no replies vanishing down to the bottom of the forum where no-one can find them!

Offline NileGoddess

Re: GM Lounge - Bartenders Answer All Your Questions
« Reply #144 on: January 17, 2012, 03:17:50 PM »
On the topic of thread management, I will offer my two cents.

I'm starting to standardize my GMing techniques for myself, and I've found it personally helpful to be as orderly as possible and have a central hub. I typically use the OOC. My current game has all of the threads indexed on the first post, using url text links, whether they are active game links or resource threads. Below that are the most pressing details of the roleplay that need to be adhered to, ie, rules. That way, there's no need to fill up your bookmark page with 10+ extra threads (unless you'd do that anyway). You have the option to just bookmark the one thread, and upon entry, you have access to all the links you need.

Have an extensive list of characters, but a lot of people have dropped? I found that by using color fonts, it's easy to distinguish which characters are currently active, being used as NPCs, or aren't active. I think this would benefit the new players immensely so they can see who is all still there and what have you. I've already had one player express apprehension at the number of threads, so I hope that this technique soothed their reservations to some degree. At it's current state, the first OOC post isn't even that big; only a little bigger than an average computer screen.

And actually, I just thought of something to add to it.

Offline alxnjshTopic starter

Re: GM Lounge - Bartenders Answer All Your Questions
« Reply #145 on: January 17, 2012, 03:32:54 PM »
I find creating character threads to be most problematic. The table function in BBS code is not very user friendly compared to other interfaces. For awhile I was even hosting character sheets off site because of the cumbersome process.

Has anyone found an effective way of doing this?

Offline NileGoddess

Re: GM Lounge - Bartenders Answer All Your Questions
« Reply #146 on: January 17, 2012, 03:38:12 PM »
I find creating character threads to be most problematic. The table function in BBS code is not very user friendly compared to other interfaces. For awhile I was even hosting character sheets off site because of the cumbersome process.

Has anyone found an effective way of doing this?

I bite the bullet and use the table code, which can be difficult, even if you use the simplest and most correct way. It can get very messy if you incorporate a table of contents of sorts, linking the lists to the posts in the profile. Then, factor in color coding, and it gets even worse. I've been pretty satisfied with it, however, as the way I handle it is nothing more than a simple list, either a double row or single row if need be.

The only other way I could think to do it would be through the wiki. Posting the actual character profile there would be even more coding, however, so it might make more sense to make a page and just make it a list of links that link back to the characters.

Offline HairyHeretic

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Re: GM Lounge - Bartenders Answer All Your Questions
« Reply #147 on: January 17, 2012, 03:40:07 PM »
That might be something to ask Veks about with the upcoming software.

Offline Chrystal

Re: GM Lounge - Bartenders Answer All Your Questions
« Reply #148 on: January 17, 2012, 03:43:45 PM »
Something I've found on the subject of characters:

When character sheets are submitted for approval, I ask players to PM them to me rather than post them anywhere. This has a number of advantages.

1) It means I get to see them before anyone else. So if there is anything that needs changing about the character, I can PM the player back and ask them to do so, with minimum embarrassment to the player concerned. I think there's nothing worse than posting a character in the OOC or Request thread and having the GM tell you "Sorry, I can't approve that character!"

2) Once I have all the character profiles in and approved, I can post them all to the Characters Thread myself, in whatever order I like.

Posting the characters to the thread yourself has a number of very obvious advantages: As mentioned, you can group them together. You can put all the dominants in one post and all the submissives in another, for example. The other BIG advantage is being able to delete or cross out characters that are no longer in the game, or edit them if they change ownership.

I use table code for a basic list of characters, but generally just post each character sheet to the thread in a new post, or seperated by a HR.

Offline Wistful Dream

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Re: GM Lounge - Bartenders Answer All Your Questions
« Reply #149 on: January 17, 2012, 04:00:45 PM »
Table coding on the forum can be a bit wonky at times but playing around in the wiki the past week I figured out how to do tables there and its really awesome once you set the right parameters. Because you do it by row, not column, so you don't mix up info and its very easy to update.

Quote
{| style="border:1px solid white;" cellpadding="2"
|-
! width="185" style="border:1px solid darkgray;"|Story Name
! width="150" style="border:1px solid darkgray;"|Partner
! width="150" style="border:1px solid darkgray;"|Setting
! width="80" style="border:1px solid darkgray;"| Status
! width="80" style="border:1px solid darkgray;"| Pairing
! width="290" style="border:1px solid darkgray;"| Content
|-
| ''' Mirror = '''
| Martee&Kyrsa&Grape
| Fantasy Homebrew
| Characters
| M/F+*
| Outcast king and unlikely bride, dragons.
|-
| ''' Time '''
| Silverfyre
| Time Travel
| Discussing
| M/F/M+
| Time travel
|-
| ''' Publishing= '''
| Silverfyre
| 1960's Chicago
| Discussing
| M/F mp
| Publishing world of the '60's
|- style="background:lightgray"|}
</center>


Which leads to it looking like so ~ http://elliquiy.com/wiki/Private:In_Discussion
I haven't used it yet for listing characters, I would if I was in a larger group game but since I do small games mostly at the moment I probably won't.