Monday, November 5, 2012

Free-Range GM

Trying to shake off the blues while fighting a cold is not the easiest of tasks. However, in an attempt to do just that, I am going to redouble my efforts to post game related material on this blog. Quite the change of pace I realize. My idea is to keep my mind off what's got me down and hopefully jumpstart my creativity. This has the wonderful side benefit for all of you of not having to suffer through my continued kvetching.

A post by Noisms got me thinking about what kind of GM I am environment wise.*

That is, am I an Urban-GM who focuses on city based adventures? A Forest/Mountain Outdoors-GM who focuses on open areas, difficult terrain and wilderness adventures in the great outside? I am surely not a Dungeon Crawl-GM, sending PCs through the dank, dark underground lairs of monsters and mad mages who have surely lined the place with traps and treasures aplenty.

So what am I? What's my 'thing'?

As I've said before, I am definitely an environment guy. I like different environments and I enjoy showing the ways in which those environments are not like the last ones the PCs encountered. I want to see them slide across the icy surface of a frozen inland sea, swing across a jungle of half mile high trees and dog paddle/crawl through a moor or marsh-like expanse of gelatin-like primordial goo.

This means more than just stat or skill rolls to me. I want to see them use ingenuity and smarts to figure out how to beat the heat or the urban clutter or the lake of near sentient jello. I want them to remember the places they've been and I want them to want to know about where they are going next.

The key factor for me is to keep changing the ecology the PCs are in. This is one of the reasons ( perhaps even the primary one) that I enjoy running Science Fiction RPGs so much. Be it Star Trek, Traveller or Star Wars (which, yes I know, is more Science Fantasy), the ease of getting from one locale to another and the variety of those locales is very much an integral part of those game settings (and their respective IPs).

I posted the question of "What kind of GM am I?" to my friends of Facebook, specifically those who I have GMed for in more than one game or campaign. I was curious as to what my players opinions were of my style and focus (or lack thereof).

My favorite title, in that it is the funniest and catchiest, is the one I've used for this post title. The term comes from my good pal Allen of RavenFeasts Meadhall. He's always had a knack for naming things.

My friend Joe V. called me an Omni-GM. He and Aris, artist extrordinaire, pointed out that I am more about theme and genre than where the story actually takes place. I hadn't thought of that. Aris noted, "Your a big picture GM. The setting is irrelevent. Your games are themed for a genre and you play it to the hilt and you have a big scope. Setting is a small part of that."

I was rather surprised, and pleasantly so, by this comment from my friend Donnell, "First off, my reference for you is 'StoryTeller' - and that's because you go where the story/inspiration takes you. You don't make the mistake of creating set parameters that must be maintained - you open a universe, and set the Characters free..."

Another favorite comment comes from my friend Nelson Marty. I may be wrong but I would guess that Nelson has been in more of my games over the years than any other single person. We haven't gamed together in a long while now (at least 5-6 years I think) but he may know my style better than most.

Nelson said, "I'd say you're a world gm, you don't limit yourself to small locations."

For someone who was feeling down and in a rather deep creative crater, these comments have really helped to get me back on the horse.

Thanks gang!

(That is a horse right? It has hooves. What are those antennea type things?)

Barking Alien

*When it comes to inspirations for posts, he seems to be my go-to source lately. Going to have to start giving that guy a finder's fee.

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