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Unread postPosted: Thu Dec 18, 2014 7:23 pm
  

D-Bee

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Do you as the gm/dm/referee plan everything out for entire campaign? Plan it out session by session? Or do you wing it, perhaps working from bare idea? Or does it lie somewhere in between?


I usually have a rough idea and wing it. Lately though I am trying to be more disciplined and plan things out more thoroughly even writing down notes and such.


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Unread postPosted: Thu Dec 18, 2014 8:12 pm
  

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Rough plan for the campaign (basic story line) with further planning for each chapter/session (build the villains and basics of encounters), and then wing/improvise the details during the session (mostly react to the players actions).

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Unread postPosted: Thu Dec 18, 2014 8:40 pm
  

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Unread postPosted: Fri Dec 19, 2014 1:17 am
  

Champion

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I plan out various organisations that are of a range of importances (from farmers to warlords) and events they are embroiled in that the PC's could affect in atleast two ways, if not more ways (the way is up to the PCs).

Then I wing it.


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Unread postPosted: Fri Dec 19, 2014 1:56 pm
  

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I compile resources and then BS my way through the story using them, most of the time. It's what's occasionally referred to as sandbox style play. The world exists and players can do what they like. Things happen around them and can affect the world whether the players choose to involve themselves or not. I throw out many plot-hooks, but I don't have a specific direction in mind for the game to advance in and they are not required to take any of them.

I like to have the following in front of me when I run a game:
A pregenerated list of names; especially when I'm trying to maintain a consistent cultural tone.
A map of the area that the current game is set in; Google Maps is my friend.
Notes regarding established NPCs that may be encountered, their agendas, and who opposes those agendas.
A list of commonly available goods and services, including prices.
NPC stats for commonly encountered antagonists, if I have prepared them; I usually don't.

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Unread postPosted: Fri Dec 19, 2014 10:24 pm
  

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Dungeon Crawler

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I try and have the section of the adventure I'm running in the current session (and following if needed) planned out - maps, stats etc all ready to go - but the long term I keep just a basic outline so I can mod as the game progresses.

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Unread postPosted: Sat Dec 20, 2014 1:11 am
  

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Unread postPosted: Sat Dec 20, 2014 7:16 pm
  

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Palladin

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Comment: Palladium Books Canon is set solely by Kevin Siembieda, either in person, or by his approval of published material.
Yes :)
I usually have a pretty well developed 'sandbox' already built: A world, the main nations/factions, NPCs (even ones that no one is likely to ever meet, if only so I know the personalities involved), backstories, ect.
Then for a game I usually have a few ideas of what I intend to do. I say intend because a campaign never survives contact with the PCs. But it WILL at least get me enough hooks to get things started, get the players in the game, and usually provide something to get stuff going if people start to wander around aimlessly complaining that there is nothing to do. (constructive wandering I usually allow to continue until either the PCs stop wandering, or the cries of 'okay, now what' start)
I then let the players play in said sandbox, they can (though rarely do) follow the 'plot line' I offered as a suggestion. In that case I wing it. My goal as a game master is to make sure that I have enough of a sandbox ready, and that I have enough resources to wing it with, that my players never realize that they ever set foot outside of my prepared game. That rarely happens of course, but it is my personal goal.
(To me I *win* if my players have fun and I enjoy running the game, I *lose* if it stops being fun to run the game. As a player I *win* If I am having fun playing, and I *lose* if I am not having fun.)

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Unread postPosted: Fri Dec 26, 2014 8:52 pm
  

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I plan out the plot hook and the beginning setting, a couple of plot points and then let it happen. Been caught with my pants down a couple of times, needed to call a "bathroom break" a few times, but all in all people seem to enjoy it. And with my barebones style, listening to players discuss what my "detailed" plan must be often either gives me ideas to add to the current plot or thoughts on future plots.


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Unread postPosted: Mon Dec 29, 2014 12:35 pm
  

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SpiritInterface wrote:
Rough plan for the campaign (basic story line) with further planning for each chapter/session (build the villains and basics of encounters), and then wing/improvise the details during the session (mostly react to the players actions).


^^ this is usual SOP in our group. We have a lot of out-of-box thinkers, so current GM long ago resigned himself that we may spectacularly derail his well laid out plans ...
He does take this w/ grace most of the time after asking for a 10-20min timeout while he adapts.

It's also worked the other way - we failed to bite the hook he'd given us, so he's had to either adapt to get us in the direction he wanted or equally as often, we later hear about the ramification of the "heroic PCs" not getting involved. It's usually done in such a way that very few of us feel railroaded.

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Unread postPosted: Wed Dec 31, 2014 2:51 am
  

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SpiritInterface wrote:
Rough plan for the campaign (basic story line) with further planning for each chapter/session (build the villains and basics of encounters), and then wing/improvise the details during the session (mostly react to the players actions).

What he said.

Bill wrote:
I compile resources and then BS my way through the story using them, most of the time. It's what's occasionally referred to as sandbox style play. The world exists and players can do what they like. Things happen around them and can affect the world whether the players choose to involve themselves or not. I throw out many plot-hooks, but I don't have a specific direction in mind for the game to advance in and they are not required to take any of them.

I like to have the following in front of me when I run a game:
A pregenerated list of names; especially when I'm trying to maintain a consistent cultural tone.
A map of the area that the current game is set in; Google Maps is my friend.
Notes regarding established NPCs that may be encountered, their agendas, and who opposes those agendas.
A list of commonly available goods and services, including prices.
NPC stats for commonly encountered antagonists, if I have prepared them; I usually don't.

I really like this list, great new GM advice. The one part of this list I always fall short on is list of names. My old group had a joke where everyone unimportant was just named Bob.

Killer Cyborg wrote:
"A plan is just a list of things that never happen."

No truer statement has ever been placed on these forums.

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Unread postPosted: Wed Dec 31, 2014 3:29 am
  

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like most others a mix of both, i do set out an outline sometimes into great detail but i always try to be flexible enough to flow if it doesn't go that way.


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Unread postPosted: Fri Jan 02, 2015 3:37 am
  

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Comment: "So gentlemen, are you prepared to open your minds and travel to worlds hitherto undreamed of?"
You can plan a setting and a basic plot with a few "key" characters but whatever specifics you plan you are likely to not use 60% of it (hypothetical guesstimate ofc) so don't waste ur time.

Have some back up stats for NPC thugs and an idea of what the villains are up to at the adjacent timeline the players are in and otherwise wing the rest.

I hate the word "wing" because all youre really doing is reaction to the players - nothing as random as winging. You'll find that if you just keep letting the players interact with NPCs (or each other) they will eventually create adventure arcs you can use!!

Also, never be afraid to ask the group to stop until next week so you can draw something up as long as it doesnt happen regualrly they'll be ok with it. "Hmmm, youve thown me a real curveball there. I wasnt prepared for that. Can we reconvene next week when Ive worked out the scenario/reactions? Thanks."
Then we'd play a quick board game for that evening.

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Unread postPosted: Thu Jan 15, 2015 6:45 pm
  

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I always have a plot and main theme of what is happening, main NPCs, maps, areas and other things pre-created before an adventure. However, I never railroad the players. They can do whatever they want. It is their sandbox.

Which usually leaves me winging it about 70% of the time if they go off to persue their own interests. It isn't too bad when they follow along with leads and tips from NPCs and try and go along some with the plotline.


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Unread postPosted: Wed Jan 21, 2015 11:47 am
  

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I will rarely plan things out, 5% of the time do I have anything written down. For 15 years of gaming probably several nights a week I've always winged it and had excellent results, just keep good notes as you go along. I'm the type of person who can do that though. Not everyone can. I know the system inside out, where everything is located and in which book. So, if something comes up or I need something, I can just jump to it and go off the cuff. Plus, these keeps you as GM from corralling players down a specific path and leaves it very open ended.

I/my group play for fun, not some sort of agenda/pre-determined plot outcome. So, it's all very real, very random and alot of fun. If a major NPC dies in the first turn of the first combat, hey, that's hilarious to me and good on my gamers. I don't get vengeful and make them come back from the dead. It's very much based on your style and if you want to force feed players your story, then that's your game. I personally don't, so we just start playing, I insert plot seeds I pull from my mind and we roll with what happens.


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Unread postPosted: Wed Jan 21, 2015 3:08 pm
  

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Palladin

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Comment: Palladium Books Canon is set solely by Kevin Siembieda, either in person, or by his approval of published material.
I would like to say a few words here in defense of the (seemingly much maligned) "GM campaign".
The first is that there is a world of difference between Railroading the players and having a prebuild story.
A railroad is when you are just passangers in the story....no matter where you go, you will go to the next step in the plot, no matter how you try to run.
A metaplot on the other hand, simply means that there was (at least a the start) some sort of overaching story that was set into motion. The players have the choice to join it...or not.

I have found that most of my games work best if I have a metaplot of some sort. The players feel that their actions are important, that they matter. Anyone can just wander around fighting bandits, looting tombs, and rescuing damsels in distress....but it take a special hero of destiny to to co-ordinate the defeat of the renegade prince and his partisan army, recover the seven stones of Thul from the wise mens graves and use the restored Star Crown to banish the demon who has kidnapped the princess and rightful heir to the kingdom....even though the actions may be identical.

I love to make worlds for my players to explore. Part of that is that I create stuff that is going on right then. You don't have to get involved in the current war, or investigate the local gangs, or follow up on the string of kidnappings. Those things will continue on in the game world....but if you don't get involved you don't get a say in how they turn out. If you don't want the Vestrian's to win the war....well you can choose to do something about it, or not. But if you choose not, then you don't get to complain if they win.

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The rules are not a bludgeon with which to hammer a character into a game. They are a guide to how a group of friends can get together to weave a collective story that entertains everyone involved. We forget that at our peril.

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The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing."


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Unread postPosted: Wed Jan 21, 2015 4:01 pm
  

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Adventurer

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Location: The Kingdom of Farr
eliakon wrote:
I would like to say a few words here in defense of the (seemingly much maligned) "GM campaign".
The first is that there is a world of difference between Railroading the players and having a prebuild story.
A railroad is when you are just passangers in the story....no matter where you go, you will go to the next step in the plot, no matter how you try to run.
A metaplot on the other hand, simply means that there was (at least a the start) some sort of overaching story that was set into motion. The players have the choice to join it...or not.

I have found that most of my games work best if I have a metaplot of some sort. The players feel that their actions are important, that they matter. Anyone can just wander around fighting bandits, looting tombs, and rescuing damsels in distress....but it take a special hero of destiny to to co-ordinate the defeat of the renegade prince and his partisan army, recover the seven stones of Thul from the wise mens graves and use the restored Star Crown to banish the demon who has kidnapped the princess and rightful heir to the kingdom....even though the actions may be identical.

I love to make worlds for my players to explore. Part of that is that I create stuff that is going on right then. You don't have to get involved in the current war, or investigate the local gangs, or follow up on the string of kidnappings. Those things will continue on in the game world....but if you don't get involved you don't get a say in how they turn out. If you don't want the Vestrian's to win the war....well you can choose to do something about it, or not. But if you choose not, then you don't get to complain if they win.


Meta plot is the way to go! But it makes having set encounters and locations pre-designed for the players to explore.

I have been on rail road adventures. They aren't fun.

However, I can say that completely not doing what the GM had intended takes away the enjoyment as well. Since all his prep and material was created for the adventures to follow somewhat of a path.


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Unread postPosted: Mon Feb 23, 2015 5:35 pm
  

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Champion

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I've always chaffed very heavily at the idea of being railroaded as a player, so as a GM I adopted a very open, sandbox style, meaning I wing a lot more then I plan.

That said, once I have an idea of what I want to happen in a particular game, which can take a few sessions, things will happen with or without player involvement. I often have the first handful of sessions be more of a 'get to know the cast' you'd oft see in the opening of a show, unconnected and generally unimportant jobs or minor plots that let the players get their footing in the world and their characters, while I figure out what's happening in the bigger picture.

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Unread postPosted: Sat Mar 14, 2015 7:39 pm
  

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I know when I start a game that the pc's will be in X city, and will get a job from Y. They will face bad guy Z. Before, during, and after X,Y,Z, is kind'a a general idea that gets written down after the fact if it needs to be remembered. Much more than that and I find I waist a lot of prep time. If you want everything to happen just how you imagine, write a book, not a RPG adventure.


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Unread postPosted: Thu Mar 26, 2015 1:23 pm
  

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Hero

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Location: Placerville, CA
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I try to plan things out on a session by session basis.

Too many times have I played in games where the GM is winging it, and then you outsmart him, and instead of rewarding the party, he just ups the ante. I like my games to have a set opponent, and if the party defeats them, or comes up with a clever way around them, instead of trying to one up the party, I tend to reward them for doing well. Also, by planning it out in advance, I think I have the time to make the opponent more 3 dimensional, instead of just a kill me and take my treasure thing to be shot at.


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Unread postPosted: Mon Aug 10, 2015 10:16 am
  

Explorer

Joined: Wed Jan 01, 2014 2:19 pm
Posts: 194
I have gotten to where most of planning revolve around locations rather than events. I will do some rough planning on events but anything beyond the first 20 minutes of the session tends to go out the window once the players get hold of it.

I find that adapting a story is a lot easier than coming up with a random town and then having the players decide they want to make that town, that you never intended to be more than a pit stop, their base of operations for the next 6 sessions.


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Unread postPosted: Mon Aug 10, 2015 5:13 pm
  

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Palladin

Joined: Wed Jun 20, 2012 11:32 am
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Do a little research, have the books handy, and wing it.


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Unread postPosted: Mon Aug 10, 2015 5:45 pm
  

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Comment: "So gentlemen, are you prepared to open your minds and travel to worlds hitherto undreamed of?"
I can refer you to these notes:

viewtopic.php?f=5&t=112550&hilit=Lynir

It's written so you can read it and it makes sense but basically it is the notes I wrote when working out a Campaign set in PFRPG Eastern Territory.
You can see exactly how much (or how little) detail I went into for it, when writing a plot line.

and ofc, you can use it!

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Unread postPosted: Tue Aug 11, 2015 10:24 am
  

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Joined: Tue Jul 06, 2004 1:59 pm
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Neferkem wrote:
Do you as the gm/dm/referee plan everything out for entire campaign? Plan it out session by session? Or do you wing it, perhaps working from bare idea? Or does it lie somewhere in between?


I usually have a rough idea and wing it. Lately though I am trying to be more disciplined and plan things out more thoroughly even writing down notes and such.


When I first DMed I plotted out EVERYTHING. I left no room for unforeseen variables that worked okay for dungeons but over open land there are few walls and many directions so she people would venture outside my limited field of vision I got angry. One player in particular seemed to have the specific mission to throw away the plan and choose any direction except where the game was supposed to go. He helped me start to GM in a sandbox instead of the marble carving. I basically provide a mission and usually have something planned for that but if they deviate ill run with them. It is like a water slide where the players can determine flow and direction but I determine the grit of the sand paper that chafes their backsides and the size of the splash at the bottom.

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