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Author Topic: GM Lounge - Bartenders Answer All Your Questions  (Read 56387 times)

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Offline alxnjshTopic starter

Re: GM Lounge - Bartenders Answer All Your Questions
« Reply #50 on: January 06, 2012, 04:31:42 PM »
When do you think a group game gets too big? I was looking over some character threads and was shocked at a few games that seem to be saturated with characters. I think it would be rather confusing.

Offline Phoenixrisen

Re: GM Lounge - Bartenders Answer All Your Questions
« Reply #51 on: January 06, 2012, 04:44:09 PM »
I would think that would depend entirely on the players, the GM, and how many locations you have going on at once. I'm not sure I'd put more than six or so characters into one location in one thread though. For me that's more because it makes things take longer, if you're observing anything at all like a post order, if there are too many people. I grew up reading several stories at once, most of them character saturated, so I, personally am pretty good at sorting and sloughing through what's going on. I know that's not the case for everyone though.

Offline Haibane

Re: GM Lounge - Bartenders Answer All Your Questions
« Reply #52 on: January 06, 2012, 05:00:33 PM »
When do you think a group game gets too big?
When the GM can't handle it.

Group Games, like businesses are only as successful as their manager. A great GM can juggle 30+ characters in 10+ threads and keep things moving along sweetly, but a poor GM can cause a game to fold that has only 4 or 5 people in a couple of threads.

So a Group Game is always as successful as its GM makes it.

Offline Senti

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Re: GM Lounge - Bartenders Answer All Your Questions
« Reply #53 on: January 06, 2012, 05:54:23 PM »
Its worth remembering as well that characters come and go, so sometimes its worth getting quite a few at the beginning. Soon one will learn those that stay and those that post once and then bugger off to where the grass is greener.

As it is if a GM can handle it then no game is too big.

Sometimes what people find difficult is asking someone to lend a hand when it gets too much, I think most players on E that are enjoying the game would be more than happy to help out.

I think in big games one needs two players (Some times more if there are a lot of players, even if its just to do NPCs to help out.)

Another bit of advice I find when there are a lot of players to control making up a few fifty quid walk ons /extra’s can be fun too. They don’t need to be anything special, but it can add to the drama and who knows one or two of them might become more in the future. It keeps interest and indeed is less work than making up more and more ‘named’ characters.

Also try and get players to get together (obviously) but on the other hand if you have a large group sometimes asking for YOUR posting rate as a GM to be taken into account. If two players are posting like rabbits on heat, they could do it by PM/IM and then post it up later as one large post. then it seems less intimidating.

Offline Sasha

Re: GM Lounge - Bartenders Answer All Your Questions
« Reply #54 on: January 06, 2012, 11:28:12 PM »

 Crystal Lake is quite large as far as active characters ...the players tend to post at varying speeds and so the list is more to the active side at varying times. Some weeks it is all I can do to keep up with it all and others it is like ...is someone going to post ? We are slower now than when the game first started but still hold that steady pace.

 I always like to set up a game with a co-gm in mind ...and then add others from the group to help take over various aspects. Like for example - you want to set up a Wiki page, put someone in charge of that . Delegate duties and tasks out ... incoming characters to be put under someone's control so the sheets are moved to the right area . A game overview thread ...etc.  We broke out the employee's with a leader for each group to handle work hours and questions .

Delegation with communication via pm's works well with me anyways . If someone needs a break then duties can be shifted around.

I would of never of been able to stay on top of Crystal Lake by myself and am very grateful for every player that stepped up to help out . It is rather nice as it just kind of became a group effort and I think in my mind that lead to it's success.

Offline Sure

Re: GM Lounge - Bartenders Answer All Your Questions
« Reply #55 on: January 07, 2012, 02:29:56 AM »
So, every so often, I see a thread which says it needs a GM for a game. I was wondering if this group would be amenable to establishing a list, with PM information, of people willing to put themselves out there as possibilities. In other words, you put your name on this list and someone making a group game that needs a GM can look at the list and go through and choose someone off it.

Offline Haibane

Re: GM Lounge - Bartenders Answer All Your Questions
« Reply #56 on: January 07, 2012, 06:38:43 AM »
An interesting idea, Sure, but I think it would work better the other way around - that is, the way it is now. Most games that seek GMs seem to me to be system games and so as long as that is in the title, those interested in that system, both potential GMs and players will read it.

I only GM games of my own creation, or ones I am asked to help with once I'm already a player since I know what's going on exactly in such games. Being invited in from the outside could mess up the central idea or plot of the story if the invited-in GM doesn't share the original players vision.

Trust me - if your game is in the players wanted thread stating its system and needing a GM clearly in the heading, then all your potential GMs are already looking at it.
« Last Edit: January 07, 2012, 06:39:55 AM by Haibane »

Offline Chrystal

Re: GM Lounge - Bartenders Answer All Your Questions
« Reply #57 on: January 07, 2012, 06:47:28 AM »
Okay, I've been wanting something like this. A forum where a GM can come to ask questions of other GMs.

First question, though: Would it be a good idea to split off folks like me who have never yet attained that coveted orange badge from the people who actually know what they're talking about?

What I mean is, have a GM Beginners thread where people can ask dumb questions like "I've started six group games in the last six months and none of them has lasted more than a month, what am I doing wrong...?" or "I get loads of people telling me they're interested in my idea for a group game, but when I start it I only get two or three people actually join. Is there anything I can do about this?"

My reason for suggesting this, obviously, is that you guys who have been running games for years (in some cases) may not know all the answers (some times there are no answers), but you don't necessarily want to be bugged with the questions, and meanwhile the folk like me who are still trying to get something to work really want a thread with simple answers and don't necessarily want to wade through pages of in-depth technical discussion...

Obviously, my next two questions are the two I used as examples...

I suppose I have answers to them already, and I just want to see what the more experienced GMs think:

Why do my games fold after less than a month?

Obviously, people loose interest, but why? I think there are a number of reasons.

Firstly, the story doesn't develop the way they were expecting. This, I suppose, is down to the GM not giving enough information about their idea in the first place.

Second, the idea wasn't really that good in the first place. I've had a few of these. What works really well in your head often won't work at all when you actually type it out on a screen, and when you try and involve other people in that idea, it just falls flat.

Third, too few players took up the idea in the first place. I've learned that a really specialised idea, like a group of mercenaries for example, is best filled out with people you know will be interested. Open it to everyone to round it out but expect those players to quickly drop out as soon as they realise what the plot actually involves. Relying on having six players start and have all of them stay the course for the entire scenario is a non-starter. Three will vanish within two weeks and that leaves you with a one-on-one and a third wheel!

Lastly, bad GM-ing. This is the most difficult one for me. I don't think I'm a bad GM, but then who does?  I try not to be too picky when it comes to player's characters and IC actions, but at the same time I try to keep continuity and step in where necessary to ask people to edit. I don't insist on people using a specific tense or person, although I do express a preference. I always make sure people understand certain rules of play before we start. I try to keep the game moving, both by posting myself and by PMing players who haven't posted for a while to see if they are still playing. I can't see anything I'm doing wrong in that respect...

Why do people sign up on the interest thread and then not take it any further and is there anything I can do about this?

Well the first part of that I guess is just human nature. "Oooh that looks interesting, I say I'm interested. I can always change my mind". I have to admit to doing this myself on a few occasions, however I will, generally, post to say "sorry I've changed my mind", if I remember... I suppose the only real thing that can be done about this is to make the idea so good and the interest thread so attention grabbing that people want to join up!

Of course the other problem is that if you get half a dozen people interested straight away, but you really need a dozen to make it work, by the time you get those other six, the first six have lost interest, joined other group games, moved house, got married, had kids, sent them through college... Again, the only real cure I can see is  is to have an attractive thread that people look at, keep discussion going in it so it stays near the top of the first page without being "bumped", and have an idea that is good enough that people want to join up.

But the other thing I've started doing is PM everyone who posted to the thread when I'm ready to start, to ask them if they are still interested. I'm never sure if this is a good idea or not, though.

A suggestion:

On the subject of "Bad GMing" and "What am I doing wrong", would it be a good idea to have a number of experienced GMs take on the role of "GM Mentor"? What I envisage is, someone like me is having trouble keeping a game running. So they post in a thread in this forum asking for someone to take a look at the game. One of the GM Mentors (doesn't have to be an official role or anything, just a number of folks who have kept a group game running for a couple of years or whatever) takes a look, reads through the OOC and IC threads, and basically reports back by PM as to why they think the game flopped.

Obviously a rule of this would be that the GM-Mentor's criticism must be constructive, and the player asking for help must accept it as such and not overreact.

So, two suggestions in one post. Hows that?

Offline HairyHeretic

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Re: GM Lounge - Bartenders Answer All Your Questions
« Reply #58 on: January 07, 2012, 08:35:07 AM »
Group games are weird things. I've lost count of how many group games I've started that have folded in a very short space of time, even ones that seemed to have great interest in the sign up and start up phases.

Maybe people find it's not quite what they wanted or expected. I don't know.

Bad GMing ... I think it might be better to say incompatable GMing. If you're used to freeform, and get a GM that wants a roll for you to walk down the stairs, it's not going to sit well with you. If you have a reactive type player (they want frequent input from the GM to respond to) and you are a more hands off GM, wanting a player driven game, again it's not going to work out well.

Think of a group game in terms of a recipe. Each component is important .. the GMs style, the players expectations, the type of story, rules used. If one fails, it starts to get shaky. The more that aren't there, the more likely it is to fall flat, or end up something different than everyone was expecting.

All you can really do is try and figure out why this one didn't work, shrug philosophically and plan your next :)

Offline alxnjshTopic starter

Re: GM Lounge - Bartenders Answer All Your Questions
« Reply #59 on: January 07, 2012, 08:50:18 AM »
@Chrystal:

When starting group games I've found a few things to be quite helpful. Keep in mind these are the games I've GMed...

1. As the lovely Sasha said, co-GMs are invaluable. I've always had at least 1, but preferably 2 other co-GMs. In my instance, each GM has taken a lead in various areas such as recruitment, Board management, application processing, etc.

2. I've allowed individuals to have 2 characters, at most 3. They could also create NPCs, but NPCs were free to be used by the entire group unless otherwise stated. This creates diversity and opportunities for additional posting.

3. I've created handy signature images for people to use which not only creates cohesion in the group, but also does some minor recruitment.

4. I've asked all people to start an application by posting interest in the initial recruitment thread. This would be a legal way of not bumping threads, but showing that someone is officially applying.

Hmm...there are probably others...anyone else want to chime in?

First question, though: Would it be a good idea to split off folks like me who have never yet attained that coveted orange badge from the people who actually know what they're talking about?

What I mean is, have a GM Beginners thread where people can ask dumb questions like "I've started six group games in the last six months and none of them has lasted more than a month, what am I doing wrong...?" or "I get loads of people telling me they're interested in my idea for a group game, but when I start it I only get two or three people actually join. Is there anything I can do about this?"

Please feel free to use this thread. There are many GMs that do not have an orange badge - perhaps they run games in other communities or run real life games...or they're in many group games and have lots of experience even though they are not GMs.

I would recommend that you chunk out questions - asking them 1 at a time. People can get overwhelmed when there are lots of questions and often will only answer one of them anyway LOL!

Offline Sure

Re: GM Lounge - Bartenders Answer All Your Questions
« Reply #60 on: January 07, 2012, 03:25:23 PM »
An interesting idea, Sure, but I think it would work better the other way around - that is, the way it is now. Most games that seek GMs seem to me to be system games and so as long as that is in the title, those interested in that system, both potential GMs and players will read it.

I only GM games of my own creation, or ones I am asked to help with once I'm already a player since I know what's going on exactly in such games. Being invited in from the outside could mess up the central idea or plot of the story if the invited-in GM doesn't share the original players vision.

Trust me - if your game is in the players wanted thread stating its system and needing a GM clearly in the heading, then all your potential GMs are already looking at it.

I disagree, and the last statement is patently not true. I can point to myself, as a GM in real life, who does not go through the group games. Therefore not 'all' potential GMs are looking at it.

If you did not want to get offers you would not join the list, it would not be a list of GMs but a list of GMs willing to be contacted and asked to run a game. Besides, the list would not eliminate the system you currently mentioned, just create an alternative.

Perhaps I'm fixing a non-problem, but I sincerely doubt there has never been a game that has failed because interested members failed to find a GM.

Offline Haibane

Re: GM Lounge - Bartenders Answer All Your Questions
« Reply #61 on: January 07, 2012, 03:39:44 PM »
I disagree, and the last statement is patently not true. I can point to myself, as a GM in real life, who does not go through the group games. Therefore not 'all' potential GMs are looking at it.
Well, in a way they are, because if they are not looking at it, they are not potential GMs. What I meant was, if they are interested, they will find it, because there's nowhere else on E to look for group games and being a GM. My point was if people are not responding to such requests then they almost certainly are not interested (not even looking in the thread is the best definition of that). If they are of that mindset its even less likely they'd be willing to put their name down in a GMs list in another place on the forums.

Your suggestion is on the table and that's fine but my thinking is it would not work or would get too little interest to be effective. In my view there should be one location to connect people together for group games and that is the group game players wanted thread. Adding additional mechanisms just clutters the site and could confuse people, making them think they should advertise for games in more than one place.

Offline Phoenixrisen

Re: GM Lounge - Bartenders Answer All Your Questions
« Reply #62 on: January 07, 2012, 04:49:53 PM »
Couldn't we always talk to staff about setting up a sticky where potential GM's who are looking for games to run but don't have campaign ideas can post to say so in the base forum? That would make more sense to me when it came to something like that anyway.

It's an idea, you could try suggesting it and see what happens.

Offline TheGlyphstone

Re: GM Lounge - Bartenders Answer All Your Questions
« Reply #63 on: January 07, 2012, 05:21:18 PM »
There's also system games to consider, in that there can be a lot of awfully obscure and niche systems out there. A GM index of sorts would help, say, people looking for a Mouse Guard campaign, or a Serenity campaign, or a kill puppies for satan campaign (hey, it's technically possible), and knowing who on E has the experience with that particular system to be willing to GM it is a lot better than throwing out a lifeline thread and hoping one of those people stumbles onto it.

Offline Senti

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Re: GM Lounge - Bartenders Answer All Your Questions
« Reply #64 on: January 07, 2012, 05:25:12 PM »
I think that its a good idea to do that, even if said person does not want to GM, perhaps a few like minded folks might actually get together because of it.

Offline Phoenixrisen

Re: GM Lounge - Bartenders Answer All Your Questions
« Reply #65 on: January 07, 2012, 05:46:37 PM »
I see your point, and I do agree that it could be a good idea. I still think it would make more sense to put it as a sticky in the parent forum though. That's gonna get the most views, and then hopefully we don't have worry about this area possibly getting cluttered up with requests to get a GM, cause the thread isn't in here.

Then we keep this area as a place to get advice on how to GM, and we get the actual roleplay requests and solicitations taking place in the parent forum that's made for them.

Edit: Now if you wanted to start a thread focused on experienced GM's who would be willing to help less experienced ones learn something specific so that they could GM for themselves, and what systems they knew and what not, that I would think would belong here.  Just not a thread dedicated to a list of potential GM's and what systems they know etc. In my mind, that belongs in the parent forum.
« Last Edit: January 07, 2012, 05:49:06 PM by Phoenixrisen »

Offline Senti

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Re: GM Lounge - Bartenders Answer All Your Questions
« Reply #66 on: January 07, 2012, 05:50:32 PM »
It would make more sense for a separate doobry for that activity, I think I got ahead of myself and imagined that would be the case.


Offline Phoenixrisen

Re: GM Lounge - Bartenders Answer All Your Questions
« Reply #67 on: January 07, 2012, 05:52:54 PM »
Doobry?


Offline TheGlyphstone

Re: GM Lounge - Bartenders Answer All Your Questions
« Reply #68 on: January 07, 2012, 05:53:27 PM »
I dunno what a doobry is.

But when you put it like that, Pheonix, that does make sense as something in the parent forum instead of putting it here.

Offline Chrystal

Re: GM Lounge - Bartenders Answer All Your Questions
« Reply #69 on: January 07, 2012, 05:55:23 PM »
a doobry is a thingumajig without any whatchamacallits on...

Offline Phoenixrisen

Re: GM Lounge - Bartenders Answer All Your Questions
« Reply #70 on: January 07, 2012, 06:00:02 PM »
I looked it up and am now less confused.

Senti is kind of right, but would the staff really go for something like that having it's own sub-forum? Is there really a need for it, or could it be summed up in one or two stickies? Which of course staff would still have to implement... Let's not forget that part right there. We're the ones thinking it up, but they're the ones that would have to make it happen...

Offline Chrystal

Re: GM Lounge - Bartenders Answer All Your Questions
« Reply #71 on: January 07, 2012, 06:24:02 PM »
I'm still trying to think how this list of GMs could work...

GM Name . Available to GM? . Genres preferred . Systems used
Ubiquitous player name . yes . Cyberpunk, Steampunk, Sword and Sorcery . D&D, TMNT, GURPS

Something like that?

I can see it being awfully complicated to maintain. I have enough trouble updating a simple table of my active stories...

Someone would have to go through and edit the code whenever a GM said they had too many RPs and couldn't take another one, or when they had one end and were able to, If their preferences changed or if they changed the systems they were willing/able to use.

Adding new GMs and taking old ones off... Someone would have to do all of that.

I can see both sides of the argument. It would be a useful resource, but I think it works better the other way on, that people wanting to GM search for threads requiring them.

I can point to myself, as a GM in real life, who does not go through the group games. Therefore not 'all' potential GMs are looking at it.

The question is, Sure, why do you not go through the group games?

Surely if you were looking for a game to GM, you would, because it is the place to look for group games...?

I think that the idea of a separate thread for experienced GMs willing to help us newbies, as suggested by Phoenix in her edit is a great idea.

Offline TheGlyphstone

Re: GM Lounge - Bartenders Answer All Your Questions
« Reply #72 on: January 07, 2012, 06:35:07 PM »
I'd format it not as a list/index that way, but as a Stickied thread where people can post 'I will GM Game/Genre X'. Then, whenever they've got too much on their plate, they just go in and manually edit their own post.

Offline Chrystal

Re: GM Lounge - Bartenders Answer All Your Questions
« Reply #73 on: January 07, 2012, 06:49:56 PM »
I can still see  there being an issue with that, because people wouldn't edit their posts.

Also, when searching for a GM you would have to start at the back and work forwards, or trawl through page after page of people who had left E years ago... Not at first, obviously, but eventually... Plus, how would you stop it becoming a thread full of "I'm looking for a GM for my game" posts?

Offline TheGlyphstone

Re: GM Lounge - Bartenders Answer All Your Questions
« Reply #74 on: January 07, 2012, 11:30:43 PM »
Explain in the first post that it's only for people who are willing to host, not a Looking For GM thread? It's obviously not a foolproof idea, but it's better than nothing, costs nothing, and could help groups form.

And if this lasts long enough to have people who left E years ago, then that'd mean it'll be years from now. We can deal with that problem then.