Author Topic: Tips/help on GM-ing?  (Read 566 times)

Gray_Noton_4lfe

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Tips/help on GM-ing?
« on: 18 May 2024, 21:37:07 »
I'm currently learning the AToW rules and was wondering if anybody could give me some tips (the Do and don't do's)
on being a Game Master.
« Last Edit: 20 May 2024, 12:47:41 by Gray_Noton_4lfe »
Corporal: Were under attack general.
General: who's attacking?
Corporal: Those 25 Urbanmech Mechwarriors you offended last week on Solaris.
General: That's....unfortunate. Could you remind me what I said to offend them?
Corporal: You said their Urbanmechs look like Locust-1Vs Sir.
General: ahh... I remember now.

Daryk

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Re: Tips for GM-ing?
« Reply #1 on: 19 May 2024, 07:39:53 »
Absolutely work out your house rules ahead of time, not on the fly.  You'll more than likely regret rulings you make on the fly.

Cannonshop

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Re: Tips for GM-ing?
« Reply #2 on: 19 May 2024, 16:07:52 »
ninety nine percent of a GM's job, is keeping the players engaged in the story.  That other 1% is the rules.
"If you have to ask permission, then it's no longer a Right, it has been turned into a Privilege-something that can be and will be taken from you when convenient."

Daryk

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Re: Tips for GM-ing?
« Reply #3 on: 19 May 2024, 16:09:56 »
That's a fair point... I suppose our group back in college was a bit more rules focused than most...

Cannonshop

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Re: Tips for GM-ing?
« Reply #4 on: 19 May 2024, 21:07:57 »
That's a fair point... I suppose our group back in college was a bit more rules focused than most...
HOW you keep people engaged changes.  if you have a group that is very focused on rules and competition, freestyling is not the right call.  If you have a group of murderhobos, then complex political stories might not be a good idea, if you have a bunch of people who groove on subtlety and style, a murderhobo campaign is the wrong thing.

It's about tailoring your approach to your audience, some players are "Role" players, and some are "Roll" players.  One of these, you can afford to thumb the scales and improvise with, the other you can not.

My second piece of advice to our poster is, 'don't be Monty Haul'.  whatever kind of players you've got, they need to work for their rewards or the good ones will go watch soccer instead, because they'll be bored.

The first rule of heroic fiction (and RP'ing is, at its base, telling a story set in heroic fiction-even when the players are intentionally being evil) is that it's not heroic-that is, not exciting-if it's too easy.

The corrolary to that one, is that you need to know when to make it easy, which is to say, when it really doesn't matter, is when you make it easy and let them feel that overwhelming sense of power that comes from being the main character.  Call it 'mook effect' or 'trash mobs' or letting them get one over on a minor NPC so that when they try it with whatever main baddy you give 'em, it feels and seems challenging so that when they win-if they win, there's a sense of accomplishment with the dopamine release in their brains.

Players want to be the hero-that is, the main character, not an also-ran, so your supporting cast may have higher social standing, or whatever, but you need to remember to put in the player's hands how they solve the problems you present, and adapt accordingly.

As one of my characters once said, "It's not the guy getting the medals who has power, it's the person handing those medals out, who's got the power", don't rub their faces in it unless they REALLY deserve it.

as the GM, you are the Game's Organizational Designer.

yeah, put the bolded parts together, you're the creator of the scenario, or the person running it, they're the players, you're providing them with an exciting, engaging experience, that should be your focus. 
« Last Edit: 19 May 2024, 21:10:15 by Cannonshop »
"If you have to ask permission, then it's no longer a Right, it has been turned into a Privilege-something that can be and will be taken from you when convenient."

idea weenie

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Re: Tips for GM-ing?
« Reply #5 on: 19 May 2024, 23:29:11 »
I'm currently learning the AToW rules and was wondering if anybody could give me some tips (the Do and don't do's)
on being a Game Master.

After every session ask three questions:

1) What did you like?
2) What did you dislike?
3) What do you want to see more of?

This way you get feedback from your players and can adjust for your next session.  If you are sneaky you can put down cards for each player listing what each of them are enjoying so you can give them their own fun in turn.



Try to have two different plans for the night.  This way if some players are out for the night suddenly, you can still run something that the remaining players will enjoy.  I.e. if you have a mix of murderhobos and political players and the murderhobos are not able to show up, then pull out your Agathie Christie and Poirot to get a good political side-story.  This way the political enjoyers can work to have extra materials for the next session when the murderhobos are meeting their opposites.

Gray_Noton_4lfe

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Re: Tips for GM-ing?
« Reply #6 on: 20 May 2024, 12:46:42 »
Thank you all for the help!
Corporal: Were under attack general.
General: who's attacking?
Corporal: Those 25 Urbanmech Mechwarriors you offended last week on Solaris.
General: That's....unfortunate. Could you remind me what I said to offend them?
Corporal: You said their Urbanmechs look like Locust-1Vs Sir.
General: ahh... I remember now.

Gray_Noton_4lfe

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Re: Tips/help on GM-ing?
« Reply #7 on: 20 May 2024, 12:50:49 »
Another thing I'm trying to wrap my head around is playing a with more than 1 person; I'm not quiet how that works
« Last Edit: 20 May 2024, 13:41:33 by Gray_Noton_4lfe »
Corporal: Were under attack general.
General: who's attacking?
Corporal: Those 25 Urbanmech Mechwarriors you offended last week on Solaris.
General: That's....unfortunate. Could you remind me what I said to offend them?
Corporal: You said their Urbanmechs look like Locust-1Vs Sir.
General: ahh... I remember now.

Daryk

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Re: Tips/help on GM-ing?
« Reply #8 on: 20 May 2024, 17:53:35 »
In what way?  Individual initiative is pretty straight forward...

Gray_Noton_4lfe

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Re: Tips/help on GM-ing?
« Reply #9 on: 20 May 2024, 20:17:18 »
Oh, right, thanks that slipped my mind I totally forgot about that.
Corporal: Were under attack general.
General: who's attacking?
Corporal: Those 25 Urbanmech Mechwarriors you offended last week on Solaris.
General: That's....unfortunate. Could you remind me what I said to offend them?
Corporal: You said their Urbanmechs look like Locust-1Vs Sir.
General: ahh... I remember now.

Cannonshop

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Re: Tips/help on GM-ing?
« Reply #10 on: 21 May 2024, 08:25:25 »
Oh, right, thanks that slipped my mind I totally forgot about that.

relax, don't worry, with time and practice and games under your belt, those things will become as automatic as breathing or quoting your favorite media.
"If you have to ask permission, then it's no longer a Right, it has been turned into a Privilege-something that can be and will be taken from you when convenient."

Daryk

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Re: Tips/help on GM-ing?
« Reply #11 on: 21 May 2024, 17:58:25 »
Exactly what Cannonshop said! :)

Cannonshop

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Re: Tips/help on GM-ing?
« Reply #12 on: 22 May 2024, 09:20:20 »
Exactly what Cannonshop said! :)

There are certain truisms that go across all tabletop RPG's.  One of the big ones, is that a good GM knows when to stick narrowly to the rules, and when and how to bend them...and bad GMs will do it and think they know when they don't.

the key in my experience as a player of ANY TTRPG, from ATOW to Twilight 2000 to Gammaworld to the various White Wolf products to Dungeons and Dragons, is that the line of when and where to bend the rules, change the rules, or ignore the rules?

Is all about the players, how their minds work, what will work best with the individuals at your table to keep and hold their interest.  As the person creating and administering the world their characters inhabit, the players are loaning you a piece of power in exchange for entertainment...but it's a loan, not a gift.  You're obligated to give them a cool experience, not to give them a political diatribe or verbal abuse, or a sense their trust is being misused.

I make a joke in an earlier post about being 'god', but that's really not quite true.  God doesn't have to answer, or make sense.  A GM or DM or Storyteller? absolutely must answer for what they deliver.  What you're being asked to deliver, is an experience.   In military terms, you're not there to gain medals, you're there to decide who gets them.

"If you have to ask permission, then it's no longer a Right, it has been turned into a Privilege-something that can be and will be taken from you when convenient."

monbvol

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Re: Tips/help on GM-ing?
« Reply #13 on: 22 May 2024, 16:22:45 »
Another good piece of advice is try and find a good balance between your main plot and having contingencies ready to fall back on in case things go off the rails.

Too little and I hope you're good at improvising, too much and you can get lost in the weeds and neglecting your main plot.

Gray_Noton_4lfe

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Re: Tips/help on GM-ing?
« Reply #14 on: 30 May 2024, 23:23:54 »
Can food heal Body damage and/or fatigue? 
Corporal: Were under attack general.
General: who's attacking?
Corporal: Those 25 Urbanmech Mechwarriors you offended last week on Solaris.
General: That's....unfortunate. Could you remind me what I said to offend them?
Corporal: You said their Urbanmechs look like Locust-1Vs Sir.
General: ahh... I remember now.

monbvol

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Re: Tips/help on GM-ing?
« Reply #15 on: 31 May 2024, 06:15:10 »
Not in the way video games do it.

Battletech is a fairly realistic setting.  So strictly speaking eating is a good idea, especially during the healing process, but much like real life it isn't a short cut to recovering from fatigue or damage.

Now there are some medical stims and patches that can help with fatigue recovery in particular but those tend to come with their own drawbacks.

The other good news is there is also a special rest action that also recovers fatigue at a pretty decent rate.  So fatigue itself is usually not that big of a deal.  But don't let it go completely neglected for as a certain Ambassador once said small problems left unattended have a nasty habit of becoming big problems later and all too often later isn't later enough(paraphrasing a little at the end there in particular).

Daryk

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Re: Tips/help on GM-ing?
« Reply #16 on: 31 May 2024, 17:36:46 »
Yeah, fatigue is pretty easy to overcome with a few minutes of rest.  Healing takes weeks.

Gray_Noton_4lfe

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Re: Tips/help on GM-ing?
« Reply #17 on: 31 May 2024, 22:42:12 »
Yeah, fatigue is pretty easy to overcome with a few minutes of rest.  Healing takes weeks.

Not in the way video games do it.

Battletech is a fairly realistic setting.  So strictly speaking eating is a good idea, especially during the healing process, but much like real life it isn't a short cut to recovering from fatigue or damage.

Now there are some medical stims and patches that can help with fatigue recovery in particular but those tend to come with their own drawbacks.

The other good news is there is also a special rest action that also recovers fatigue at a pretty decent rate.  So fatigue itself is usually not that big of a deal.  But don't let it go completely neglected for as a certain Ambassador once said small problems left unattended have a nasty habit of becoming big problems later and all too often later isn't later enough(paraphrasing a little at the end there in particular).
Thanks!
Corporal: Were under attack general.
General: who's attacking?
Corporal: Those 25 Urbanmech Mechwarriors you offended last week on Solaris.
General: That's....unfortunate. Could you remind me what I said to offend them?
Corporal: You said their Urbanmechs look like Locust-1Vs Sir.
General: ahh... I remember now.

Grand_dm

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Re: Tips/help on GM-ing?
« Reply #18 on: 01 June 2024, 05:16:42 »
For ATOW, which is super crunchy, I would run some mock combats with everyone. Maybe on the day you set aside to make characters.
Big ideas and gaming outside the box. #Gametavern proprietor. Plus Ultra.

monbvol

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Re: Tips/help on GM-ing?
« Reply #19 on: 01 June 2024, 17:30:55 »
And I guess no one got my reference.  :P

Daryk

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Re: Tips/help on GM-ing?
« Reply #20 on: 01 June 2024, 18:00:37 »
I'm sad I missed it... I loved B5 back in the day!

DOC_Agren

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Re: Tips/help on GM-ing?
« Reply #21 on: 03 June 2024, 18:20:04 »
Know your players, know what they are interested in and what they don't care about.

examples:
John can tell you down the .001 the weight of his gear and where it is and what it all does, but Phil, hell half the time has to be reminded about equipment and gear.
Sonya can roleplay anything as a PC, but Mike really can't and has to rely on his dice rolls.


You can't really hold Phil to the standard of John on his equipment, no Mike to the standard of roleplaying as Sonya.

What your goal is to make sure they all are having fun.


"For the Angel of Death spread his wings on the blast, And breathed in the face of the foe as he passed:And the eyes of the sleepers waxed deadly and chill, And their hearts but once heaved, and for ever grew still!"

 

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