It's been a rough week and I am just so eager for a few extra moments of rest that I couldn't be compelled to find the time to put words to screen.
Then of course there is the matter of what to write about. When I am not obsessing about something in particular, it can be quite a chore to think of a single thing to discuss. A million unrelated things sure. One subject of interest? Good luck with that Mr. Alien.
Some of what's on my mind...
Lord Blacksteel at Tower of Zenopus discussed his approach to running things. Found it interesting. Here's mine...fairly standard I'd imagine, with a few twists 'cause, ya'know, it's me. :)
Mostly it's a group of people sitting around a table with me, the GM, at one end, usually with ample space to the sides of me. I stand up a lot while I GM. A lot. I move around the table, I make sweeping gestures with my arms and I generally want to make sure I am not in danger of accidentally striking anyone. I'm serious.*
Nine out of ten times I don't use a screen. I dislike them. I find them distracting to both my players and myself. If I need to make a roll in secret I simply roll the dice shielded by my hand or better yet (old trick I picked up years ago) I simply roll the dice in front of me at seemingly random times while talking. I do not make a point of noting that I'm rolling for anything, nor do I draw attention to my actions. I could very well just be playing with my dice.
I almost always have a big, 1-3 inch spine, make-your-own cover, 3-ring loose-leaf binder/notebook in front of me that contains all the necessary information, charts, etc., as well as images, NPC character sheets or whatever else I need for my campaign. I've mentioned these books before. They form a sort of a Campaign Bible
or Series Bible like those developed for TV shows. I leave this book open on the table, usually at the front section where I keep the kind of things you'd probably have on a GM Screen. If I need to look something up, I look down. I can do it quickly and cleanly without having that wall in front of me separating me from my players. Always made me feel uncomfortable on both sides of the screen.
We don't use minis, battlemats or anything like that. Yes we still have a tactical game at times. It simply doesn't suit our style to measure squares or move like a boardgame when people can fly, teleport, run at super speed, jump in and out of/off of vehicles and beasts and so forth. Our games, especially during combat, are fast. Blindingly fast if my exposure to other GMs and their groups are an indicator. Anything that makes the mechanical process of gaming smoother and quicker (relative to the rule system and setting) is the way we're going to go.
My group and I prefer to have paper character sheets and real dice. I would not discourage anyone from bringing their character on an Ebook or iPad type tablet, nor would I frown upon a die rolling App but it's just not the way we do things.
Here's perhaps the oddest element...very often, I make the PC's characters for them.
I know. Blasphemy. Sacrilige. There is a special hell for people like me.
Truth is, I own the most games. Most of my players don't have and don't care to buy or can't get a hold of 75-80% of the games I run. Usually, I ask them detailed questions about the type of character they want to play, I generate the character, then I show it to them and ask if they want to make any changes. In some cases I get it right on the money in one shot. Sometimes I don't. I may have misinterperted what the player wanted to simply couldn't figure out how to pull it off effectively with the rules. We go over it and over it until it's just how they want it. Rarely have we ever gone through more then two or three drafts before the finished character sheet.
I also make an effort to leave a bunch of points, options or whatever, open for customization even after we've fiddled with the PC.
Now if I am running a game everyone is familiar with or where the rules are really simple (D&D, Teenagers from Outer Space), I won't do this. We will all sit down and make up characters together in the traditional way.
I do own a number of games on PDF, though most of those are game not available in book form. Usually they are free or difficult to find indie games. If there is a book for a game I want to run, I want to the book.
OK, that's a good place to start the month and end for now. I hope to post a lot more often this month and again, you can expect some really, crazy cool stuff for 2012.
Also, let's get my followers to 130 already! Geez, what does a guy have to do to get more followers around here? Kidding. But seriously, if you like the place, tell a friend.
*I am awaiting photographic evidence to show you all. Some pictures were taken at this past RECESS showing me not sitting while I GMed my Muppets RPG. If you recall this picture, I am not sitting here either. Sitting while you GM? Aren't you excited? Aren't you having fun? Get up on your feet brothers and sisters! LOL