MoonHunter Sayeth 20181009


Game Guru-Thread Shepherd
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GM Technique: Staff Meeting

This is a good technique I have talked about before working on the premise that chronicle creation is an on going process (as is setting and character creation).

We call it The Staff Meeting. Depending on your metaphor, you can call it something else. (*1)

The timing of the Staff Meeting is based on the chronicle. Ideally, one staff meeting should be every three months of weekly gaming, no less than eight sessions and no more than sixteen apart. Now a staff meeting that occurs off schedule (or as a replacement for the scheduled one). Common times are before a new "season" or a new major story arc for a chronicle begins. Sometimes halfway through a longer, but limited chronicle, is a good scheduled one. The end of a chronicle is a good time for a post game staff meeting.

If you are running shorter games, the best meeting times are are between chronicles or while choice of chronicles is up in the air (Darn Waffling Players).

The Staff Meeting usually takes up an hour or so of a scheduled game session. The troupe gathers (everyone should be present if possible) and has a quick discussion about The Game (and said chronicles that make it up). Some groups have formal meetings, other informal ones. The GM is the moderator (as usual). They should start the ball rolling by asking direct and pointed questions about the chronicle:
  • What is the rating they would give it? 1-5 Stars
  • What they like and like most about it?
  • What they don't like about it?
  • What they want to see more of?
  • What they want to see less of?
  • (If continuing) What new directions they want their character to go? (investigations, things they want to try, and any other plot bits they want to try.)
  • (If continuing) Possible Plot lines (major, minor, or arcs) they would like to see in the chronicle.

This all could related to the way game is being played (play style), the way the chronicle story is coming along, or how the characters are "working" in the game.

Please remember, the GM is also a member of The Staff and also gets to speak, presenting what they did or didn't like.

It can be an open discussion after the ice is broken. It should be an open give and take, as the chronicle is the whole troupe's responsibility and everybody (including the GM) should be having fun and a chance to be awesome.

MoonHunter also suggests that you collect a few bits (including red flags) from each player for the continuing chronicle (or the next one).

This way, everything is out in the open and people are working with each other to produce the best chronicle or gaming experience possible.

Note these meetings often evolve into a building session. This is where the players put on the GM Hats and help build the chronicle up.
  • Character updating happens: Tweaking of mechanics (and the approval of such). Checking with the GM about new wants or needs or plot lines.
  • Foundation Scenes: Always a good thing to do
  • New non-protagonists or minor protagonists being built (or tweaked)
  • Other things to be built, written up, or desgined: This could include organizations, monsters, etc.
  • Generic elements you want to build for the GM to add to their GM Journal for pick and pull purposesOne player kept writing up Advanced Firearms and Military Vehicles for the GM, even though they were playing a fantasy chronicle and steampunk game. When the ideas for a new chronicle came up, he suggested a sci-fi mercenary game... and all the pieces were already done for the GM.. so he got what he wanted.
Note: If you have some time waiting for a player, and don't want to pull out a B-Chronicle, have a Building Session.

Chronicle Creation and Character Creation is an on going process. It never ends until the game is over. Staff meetings are a great way to ensure the troupe is on track and on point.
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Of course, there is clean up and action items after any meeting. It is time to integrate everything together.
  • See what of the new bits you can add or tweak
  • Integrate all your notes from play into the packet and the journal.
  • Evaluate the set pieces for the chronicle.
  • Update NPC sheets to make sure they are up to date. Move things to the archive if needed.
  • Tweak the Story Arcs.
  • Update the Chronicle Packet, adding things (including the chronicle history)
  • Get a hard or soft copy to the group.
  • Reset your GM's Journal/ Kit.
Thus you are ready to go with a highly polished continuing chronicle
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*1) Things staff meetings have been called:
Bullpens: the term coming from the staff writers for a magazine, comic company, or tv series. This is the place where all the staff writers and editors come together and discuss/ work on projects.
Round Tables: Everyone gets together for a general discussion.
Writer's Group: Which is a bit of a misnomer.
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