Friday, February 27, 2015

Back to Basics: My Game Itinerary

Why it takes me roughly 4 hours to run a game. Part of the Back to Basics because I've tried to make my style system agnostic and dependent on Active Listening and Consensus Decision Making Skills.

1st hour

Getting everyone story, refresher. I'm not your teacher, I'm a GM. I dont give home work and my games are not meant to keep you or ME busy during the course of the week so we are going to catch up and remember what happened. I'm also getting everyone's tone and mood. See whose there and see what I can work with.

2nd hour

Active Listening at 100% - I should be LISTENING and actively incorporating every new Idea and Action into the Narrative. I absorb everything that is happening and try to make sense of it and see what frightening cliff we are steering into through the "audience" in me.
I am the audience, as much as the players are the audience. I'm watching and enjoying their genius and crazy ideas that they try to pull of, as well as their well thought out RP and strategems. As I am Actively Listening, like any person watching a great show one's mind wanders into the possibilities.
Sometimes shit gets complicated in this hour and I rally my wits to execute and RP through the event or complication.

3rd hour

Did I do enough in the 2nd hour. I remember often looking at the watch "Holy crap we did a lot" and thinking "that was just 2 hours!?". My blind sides are showing. Especially when so much happened in the past two hours I'm struggling to make sure EVERYONE GETS AIR TIME.
Honestly If I remember to take a break and have a snack and drink, my performance is good but most of the time I forget and I'm juggling stuff at the house and technical difficulties. I had to change gears and switch to dad mode to help my kid at the toilet then run back to remember what byzantine intrigue did the players get into.
This is when I try to make sure everyone has a second chance at greatness if I failed to do so in the past two hours. This is me starting the process again of Active Listening 100% but with some considerable mental fatigue.

4th hour 

This is my last chance to make an impression and make things good. Look at notes, think back quickly "who got spot light and is getting some real intrigue and action going?" By now my wits is exhausted and I'm struggling to have enough of a mind to tie everything together in some sense. I really just prepare and I don't have some ending in mind. I search through what has happened and look for the emotional focal point, what would make this a good show? I struggle to make it make sense and

4.5 hour

By now my wife is hinting I have to go and they need to be fed. I have to wrap it up and as always I don't have the wit to make sense of all the things that has happened because I did not PLAN, I just prepared, what plan I had was the fruition of the goals of the NPCs and thats not exactly a plan.

After the Game

I wrap things up. I listen to myself and cringe "white knuckled" through my flaws and mistakes. its humbling and I have to be a bit forgiving. I finally hear what the players are hinting and keep those as notes for the next session and over arching plots and machinations of the NPCs. I write a summary, straight to the point when I have the time. I can't make it nice, I dont have the time, so I present it with all the flaws and the best effort one can make.

Some note that I just woke up, and I'm a slow riser. If I'm lucky I would have had 6 hours of sleep. I've come to depend on the Game Recording very much because it gives me a sense of where I am and what are my weaknesses. There is no ambiguity to my flaws, they are there and painful to see but that pain makes me feel good strangely - a bit more alive and I remember I have power to change and overcome my flaws. My mom watches this so I can imagine her CRINGING when I screw up so the pressure is a bit on and should stay on.

Prep Before the Next Game

This is what I mostly do, I prep by learning more of the history and imagining the relationships going on. Since I document the game's recording in a summarize what the PC/Players are doing and the consequences, I consider what are the forces they will be going against (By forces its not just people but mindsets, culture, and logistics). I try to write them all, but too often I can't read my notes because I'm too busy juggling. I'm trying to have the skill to execute a good piece of drama and have an aftermath that will allow me some room to look back into my notes. Currently having problems writing notes down while the game is ongoing.   
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