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MoonHunter Sayeth 20180828


Game Guru-Thread Shepherd
RPGnet Member
Validated User
At the Table, The MoonHunter Way.

It is always good to think a about your processes. These processes should never be “set in stone”, but serve as guidelines for what you should ideally be doing. I was reviewing what I do at the table, so I could describe it to others. This is no means detailed or comprehensive. I think that would require flow charts (data maps sorry… new term) and filters and conditional statements. Still as a first solid run through, it is not bad.

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Gaming is a cycle of conversation between game players (*1). The GMs presents (being the first speaker). The players either respond or initiate their own character’s actions. The GM responds (and sometimes presents). This cycle continues until the story line quiets, goals of some level are met, or time expires and play freezes.

A. Moment of Planning
Ideally, most of this is done during prep before game. Still before every scene.
  • Where are you in your big plan? (Prep)
  • Where are you in session plan?
  • What scene is planned for next?
  • Go with it or improv?

B. Moment of Review
  • Every scene has a purpose. What is this scene’s Main Purpose? Any other Purposes? (*2)
  • Every scene has key elements often related to purpose. Need to make the element or pull out pre done work??
  • Possible exits to new scenes.
  • Figure your game plan

  • Begin scenes just before the action starts.
  • Ideally, things should be happening when players characters arrive.
  • In Media Res is a useful tool. Do not overuse it.
  • End the scene before the dust settles.
  • Start the next one immediately.
C. Begin Conversation

  • Either this is in open time or structured time (turns/ impulses).
    Present to Table
  • Describe big setting broad strokes
  • Describe the immediate area around. Mention nonprotagonist in motion.
  • If needed, Tell them the basics of what they are doing. (Remind them of their personal motivation if early on)
    C2. Players Responses
  • Players tell you specifically what they are doing.
  • Prompts often in order what are you doing now.
    C3. Play Begins
  • The Conversation back and forth: GM description. Game Actions (NPCs included). Return. (*3)
  • Include NPCs as appropriate.
  • Watch The Spotlight: Some times, a scene is designed for one character. keep the attention (the spotlight) on that one person as much as possible. Then spread it around quickly and evenly. Then make it interesting for the spotlight character.
  • Every few back and forths quickly summarize the action and situation. This Keeps everyone on the same page.
Use The Form: Character name *pre-description* *describe action being attempted* (game mechanics to resolve) *GM or Player describe the results of the resolved action*
No Pause. Do the Next character NOW!!! no delay.
D. End of Scene
Note: end scenes before they get boring.
  • Players Choose which scene path the players taking next. If they don’t choose, have them choose or have events prompt them.
  • What scene was planned next? (4*) Go with it or improv?
  • Return to the Moments
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*1) Remember GMs are just players with some extra responsibilities. All Players are creative, builders, and performers as well. The GM is just the editor and coordinator.

*2) Note: make your scenes serve at least two purposes, but ideally three or four. Is your scene furthering the plot? Is it developing the themes of the chronicle? Is it revealing character? Is it upping the stakes? By forcing yourself to explicitly state to yourself the purpose of your scene, a GM can ensure they are getting the maximum game out of your scene.

*3) If they do nothing, do something either to them or make what they want seem to get harder because they delayed. This may require a new scene.

*4) Keep track of time... some times scenes or options expire due to player over-planning or delays.
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