Friday, March 13, 2009

You want me to run a game? Are you NUTS?

As some of you may know already, my husband has been playing various RPGs for almost as long as I've been on this Earth, and is, at least in my opinion, pretty good at it. When he's not running our group's games, we have a second referee who I will hereafter refer to as Unglef, who has taken us through some pretty imaginative homebrewed adventures of his own. Being that I have as much fun as I do playing in the styles of games that both of them like to run, I have long wanted to try my own skills behind the game screen.

About two years ago, I finally got up the courage to start an online forum play-by-post game, and was thrilled to find four eager players. The adventure was one I had played in before, and was very well composed and seemingly dummyproof. I spent about two weeks getting together player handouts (html files, actually) and drawing up maps and other stuff, and the game got off to a fabulous start... but as unluck would have it, two of my players almost immediately dropped from sight, and I didn't have the heart to spend another month wrangling replacements.

That was two years ago though..and that was third edition. Since then, I've discovered retro-RPGs and am fortunate once again to have a few face-to-face friends who work reasonably regular schedules and who are eager to get a game in at the drop of a hat.

So I'm going to give it a try again. This time I'm picking a small low-level adventure from IridiaZine, an online weekly fanzine which features content on all sorts of RPGs both current and out-of-print. The adventure is called "The Abandoned Shrine of Weyoun the Wanderer" and at first read-through looks like it will suit our group's style just fine. I'm hoping that a face-to-face session will, unlike PbP, move fluidly and keep the PCs focused.

But there's one problem... and that is ME!

The guys in my group aren't nOObs. They're not powergamers either, but they know their stuff far better than I do. They know the tables and charts by heart and NOTHING gest past those guys. So I'm doing my homework, folks. I've downloaded OpenOffice so I can make use of the numerous spreadsheet game-aides available (Thnx, Chgowiz) and am reading through S&W Core Rules, adapting encounter stats appropriately, making game notes, and crossing my fingers I don't come off looking like a complete pea-wit.

I'm giving myself two weeks.

And I promise I will blog all about it... come what may. If nothing else, you all are in for some good old fashioned low comedy.


Chgowiz said...

I felt much the same way about Dark Ages. I hadn't GM'd AD&D in almost 20 years, and here I was, about to GM guys who have been playing it regularly.

It's gone well. We work together, I'm open to suggestions and criticisms, but I also don't try to do too much. I let them dig the holes and I adjudicate them. It's ended up working out pretty well.

I used to get really bad jitters before rolling on the track, and I get jitters before gametime - I just want to do really good.

I think you'll be fine!

trollsmyth said...

Best of luck, though I doubt you'll need it. :)

Spike Page said...

Thanks guys! I'm hoping the handy game charts will make it easier..but there's always that one guy in the group who thinks totally outside the box...denies that the box even exists..and then there I'll be looking through the books for half an hour while the others loot my freezer of all my ice cream sandwiches.

And that simply cannot be..not in MY universe! :D

Christopher B said...

In my book, there are two key things to remember about running a game:

1) Fun is Rule 1. Don't get caught up in a "DM v. Players" attitude. They want to have fun, you want them to have fun - if everybody knows this is this goal, people will usually cooperate with you to make that happen.

2) Don't sweat the rules as written. The only important game rule is that you decide how everything shakes out - even if that means your decisions don't follow the written rules. As long as your decisions are fair and keeping in line with Rule 1, who cares? You got a player for whom "the box" doesn't exist? More power to him! Go with it, have fun, and don't worry about what the book says "the box" should be.

I'm sure you'll do fine! Can't wait to read about it... :)

trollsmyth said...

Gotta agree with what Christopher says. There's little reason to go paging through the books if you're using a truly old school game, like S&W. Most out-of-the-box situations can be handled with a few simple guidelines:

1 - Use your common sense. Does it seem like a good idea. If you're a mom, you've probably got common sense to spare. Trust it.

2 - When in doubt, say yes. Give the players the benefit of any doubt. Encourage fun and out-of-the-box thinking, keeping #1 above in mind as your check.

3 - If you figure the odds are better than 50% for success, just give it to 'em. No need to agonize over a roll if success is likely. Say yes, and keep playing.

4 - If you need to roll, just grab a page from Jeff and your biggest d6.