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 Post subject: Looking for advice
Unread postPosted: Sun Jun 02, 2013 3:31 pm
  

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Megaversal® Ambassador

Joined: Sun Jan 09, 2005 9:40 am
Posts: 217
Location: Hobbs NM USA in my own reality
Hello, I was just made an MA today :D on my birthday. I was wondering if the other MAs could give me some suggestions for running games.
See I am an experienced GM and have been running games in Palladium systems for going on 20 years but I have next to no experience when it comes to convention style running. The only convention I have ever attended in my life was the 2009 Palladium Open House and I only got involved in 2 games there 1 PFRPG ran by Kevin and 1 Dead Reign table top game that was a pretty fast paced run & gun & hope to live to see tomorrow.

I have taught new players before, but to me nothing teaches better than to let the player make their own character, this gives them a starting base for what dice are used where, helps them to learn the layout of the character sheet etc.
Is this ok to do or should I do the pre-gen thing?

It is doubtful that I will be attending any conventions unless one happens within 50 miles of my home as my vehicle is not in the best condition for long trips.

Also my main experience is with running long term campaigns, my Rifts group has been in 1 ongoing campaign for close to 20 years now and through clever roleplay and some lucky die rolls over the years they have amassed a sizeable army they command and could just about take on the CS and begin to change the face of Rifts North America. The group currently meets once or twice a month for 6-8 hours at a time, we used to meet nearly everyday for 3-4 hours durring the weekdays and 10-12 hours on the weekends.
What is a proper time frame for a basic introductory game (ie how long should the game last: 1, 2 or more hours)?
How long should multiple game session campaigns take?
Should multiple game session campaigns even be done?


Any other advice that I haven't thought about to ask questions on would be appreciated.
I have Rifts, HU2, TMNT, Dead Regin, Nightbane, PFRPG, Robotech, Splicers and Systems Failure for settings I can run games in.

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"If ya pardon me plain speaking gentlemen: Are yall STARK RAVING TOTALLY BLINKING DAFT!?!?!" - Captain Silver, Treasure Planet
John 3:16 says it all


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 Post subject: Re: Looking for advice
Unread postPosted: Sun Jun 02, 2013 5:30 pm
  

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Megaversal® Ambassador

Joined: Wed Jul 27, 2011 2:25 pm
Posts: 1648
Location: Reno, Nevada
Welcome to the party.

Pregens are absolutely okay. While some folks will not play them, my experience is that most people prefer to get right to playing rather than burn through hours in what could be a pointless exercise in character building. Please feel free to use mine. Akashic Soldier also has a selection.

My preference is for a three to four hour session, for both intro games and ongoing campaig, once per week.

I try to run my ongoing campaigns for seven sessions, then have a review session with the players on week eight to determine if we want to continue in the current campaign, reorient the current game in a new direction, or switch to something entirely new.

I believe that a multisession story arc is a worthwhile thing to present as an ambassador because it hooks the players for a longer period. The longer someone plays, the more likely they are to buy books. Single session games have too clear a stopping point and I think you would see a decline in repeat business. That does beg the question, how does a GM handle an ongoing story with an inconsistent cast of characters? My method is to establish very early that this is an abstract narrative, and that while a player may not be present, the characters are; they're just not doing anything relevant to the story.

Good luck, and remember that the hardest part may be getting a core group of folks interested in playing. Be patient and persistent. It will happen if you give it time.

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 Post subject: Re: Looking for advice
Unread postPosted: Sun Jun 02, 2013 5:50 pm
  

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Megaversal® Ambassador

Joined: Sun Jan 09, 2005 9:40 am
Posts: 217
Location: Hobbs NM USA in my own reality
Thank you Bill for the suggestions and advice on how to run, can you provide me a link to the pre-gens you mentioned for you and Akashic to make it easier for me to find them.

_________________
"If ya pardon me plain speaking gentlemen: Are yall STARK RAVING TOTALLY BLINKING DAFT!?!?!" - Captain Silver, Treasure Planet
John 3:16 says it all


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 Post subject: Re: Looking for advice
Unread postPosted: Sun Jun 02, 2013 6:57 pm
  

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Megaversal® Ambassador

Joined: Wed Jul 27, 2011 2:25 pm
Posts: 1648
Location: Reno, Nevada
Mine are on the link in my signature. AS's are here.

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 Post subject: Re: Looking for advice
Unread postPosted: Sun Jun 02, 2013 9:57 pm
  

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Palladium Books® Freelance Writer

Joined: Fri Oct 06, 2000 1:01 am
Posts: 3646
Location: Rome, NY USA
Comment: Lord of Chaos!
Bill covered it pretty well so I'll echo some of what he said and add my own two cents. Plus if you've been a GM for 20 years you'll do fine, but I was in the same boat once and hearing of other's experiences helped me and put me at ease.

Lets call this running at conventions, but it could apply pretty much anywhere.

I like my games to run about four hours. At conventions most people seem to want to take in as many games as possible and this time frame seems to work best, at least for me :D

I always have pre-gens. Like Bill said most people want to jump right into a game. I make my pre-gens from 4th to 6th level just so that for this one game characters are a bit beefed up. Depending on the game setting every character usually has one unique item, such as a magic sword of BFG. Again this is a one off game so why not make it memorable.

The game should be like your typical self contained TV episode with a beginning, middle, and end. I like mission oriented games so that the objective is known up front and the players spend less time floundering around. They know what needs to be done and can shoot for that goal.

I tend to experiment... a lot at cons. I always think of doing stuff that I might not get a chance to do with my home group so why not try it at a con. So I use settings that I would not normally use, characters that my players would not normally play and anything that might grab some ones attention when reading the dozens of games to play. Its a one off game after all so why not aim high.

At most cons, most players seem to know the rules, but if they don't I can coach them along. I try to rely less on the rules and focus on the players and having fun. Since the game has to go fast I plan two or three battles and if time is a constraint I used a modified version of Palladium's rules to make the battles go faster. If I have time then I'll do the full rules, but time is rarely my friend and I often have more people at my table then I'm used too.

Now if you're running at a game store and trying to attract new blood who has never played before than you got me beat, cause I've never done that. I might do a few small intro games with pre-gen to get them hooked. Then if they liked it, spend a session showing character creation and then create a game just for that new group. I always like to keep it simple for new games, but as they get more into the game then you can get a little more sophisticated as the game continues.

Hope this helps and welcome :ok:

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 Post subject: Re: Looking for advice
Unread postPosted: Sun Jun 02, 2013 10:21 pm
  

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Megaversal® Ambassador

Joined: Sun Jul 28, 2002 1:01 am
Posts: 1577
Location: Land of Enchantment
Comment: "A monarch's neck should always have a noose around it. It keeps him upright." ~ Heinlein
Michael Barakofsky wrote:
Is this ok to do or should I do the pre-gen thing?
At a convention, when time is a premium, always use pre-gen's.

What is a proper time frame for a basic introductory game (ie how long should the game last: 1, 2 or more hours)?
Most conventions book time in increments of 4 or 6 hour blocks. I prefer 6 hour blocks, as they're easier to shorten or lengthen to (I always feel rushed in a 4-hour block).

How long should multiple game session campaigns take?
How long do you feel comfortable with?
I personally prefer 20-30 game campaigns, but I've been told I'm also an oddity, as I plan a beginning, middle, and end to my campaigns. Most campaigns feed into the next campaign, but I build them to end at a certain point. Most GM's I've met play till the game/group fizzles. Some people have campaigns that go back 25+ years.


Should multiple game session campaigns even be done?
At a convention? Only if you can do two back-to-back on the same day.
Other than Organized Play organizations, multiple session games don't gel very well.


I have Rifts, HU2, TMNT, Dead Regin, Nightbane, PFRPG, Robotech, Splicers and Systems Failure for settings I can run games in.
Demo games of mine!

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Petty tyrants thrive when they have authority backed by vague regulations.
I would hit that so hard that whoever could pull me out would be the true-born king of England. ~ Mark Hall
Novastar only speaks the truth. ~ Brandon Aten, aka The Galactus Kid
Join me in Descent into Madness! <- now with actual updates!


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 Post subject: Re: Looking for advice
Unread postPosted: Sun Jun 02, 2013 10:25 pm
  

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Megaversal® Ambassador

Joined: Sun Jan 09, 2005 9:40 am
Posts: 217
Location: Hobbs NM USA in my own reality
Yes Carl that does help me on several points. Thank you.

Novastar thank you as well, I already came across your game demos earlier today and DLed them to take a look at, been kinda busy today though.

_________________
"If ya pardon me plain speaking gentlemen: Are yall STARK RAVING TOTALLY BLINKING DAFT!?!?!" - Captain Silver, Treasure Planet
John 3:16 says it all


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