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Old 12-10-2013, 02:12 PM   #71
Christopher R. Rice
 
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Originally Posted by CousinX View Post
Totally, and that's where Rule the First, Know Thy Players is so important. There's nothing like that feeling of satisfaction when they Take the Bait, just like you knew they would, and start the chain of dominoes a-tumblin. Or better, when they Throw Back the Curtain (or Pull off the Mask, etc) and figure out what's really been going on -- which, now that they know the Truth, all makes sense in retrospect.

And as you say, it's all about what works for a given GM and group. I've known GMs who are at their best flying by wire, successfully pulling entire campaigns out of their hats, particularly when they know the players well ... not me, though. The less time I spend thinking about the details (descriptive details, plot devices and twists, or even laying out epic fight scenes), the less satisfied I end up being with the results. I find that to be the case general, I think: I do my best work in revision.
Interesting. I, on the other hand, do my best work (as you say) off the cuff. One of the most visceral and satisfying moments of my GMing career came when the PCs learned who the Big Bad was. It was a toss up between three NPCs and a PC. The PC was so the obvious choice that when they found out it was the PC, the other players were so unbelieving it took over a hour to get back on track. One burst into tears after he realized that his fellow player tortured his character near to death (they were very close). It was highly emotional for everyone, including the PC who turned out to be the villain because even he was unsure who it was (he had some mental issues). Any time I can make someone cry over a game (in a "good" way), I'm happy as a GM.
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Old 12-10-2013, 02:17 PM   #72
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I am trying to do better at planning (but I am the Megatron of the Procrastitrons), but I generally improvise most game sessions from very little prep. What I am getting better at is planning and prep-work at the very beginning of the campaign (which is GURPS with it's toolkit approach to rules and options is super important).
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Old 12-10-2013, 02:26 PM   #73
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I am trying to do better at planning (but I am the Megatron of the Procrastitrons), but I generally improvise most game sessions from very little prep. What I am getting better at is planning and prep-work at the very beginning of the campaign (which is GURPS with it's toolkit approach to rules and options is super important).
Yeah, it's important with most games, but crazy important - near required - with much of GURPS. I have learned that you don't really need to do much after that planning is done though.
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Old 12-10-2013, 03:24 PM   #74
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Interesting. I, on the other hand, do my best work (as you say) off the cuff. One of the most visceral and satisfying moments of my GMing career came when the PCs learned who the Big Bad was. It was a toss up between three NPCs and a PC. The PC was so the obvious choice that when they found out it was the PC, the other players were so unbelieving it took over a hour to get back on track. One burst into tears after he realized that his fellow player tortured his character near to death (they were very close). It was highly emotional for everyone, including the PC who turned out to be the villain because even he was unsure who it was (he had some mental issues). Any time I can make someone cry over a game (in a "good" way), I'm happy as a GM.
That's pretty awesome, an impressive feat of gaming all-around ... Not just the build-up to make such an emotional "Big Reveal" moment possible/plausible, but the trust and camaraderie in the group which allowed it to come off well.
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Old 12-10-2013, 03:24 PM   #75
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I am trying to do better at planning (but I am the Megatron of the Procrastitrons), but I generally improvise most game sessions from very little prep. What I am getting better at is planning and prep-work at the very beginning of the campaign (which is GURPS with it's toolkit approach to rules and options is super important).
Wow, you sound like me. Flesh out a campaign idea, get some background information, sort out rules and chargen, and wing the rest. If your players enjoy it, that's all the really matters, so keep ion with it. I've always found that overplanning does two things. It creates a false sense of security that always gets shattered by unexpected player actions, and it can lead to rigid game sessions. So I'm with you, Sir Pudding.
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Old 12-10-2013, 03:55 PM   #76
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That's pretty awesome, an impressive feat of gaming all-around ... Not just the build-up to make such an emotional "Big Reveal" moment possible/plausible, but the trust and camaraderie in the group which allowed it to come off well.
My gaming group is amazing, hands-down. It's taken me years to get the right balance, but it's been worth it. My players are very involved in the campaign design process, both in the inception and its ongoing building. They are very driven in their zeal to make it believable and "real," as am I.
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Old 12-10-2013, 04:48 PM   #77
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Wow, you sound like me. Flesh out a campaign idea, get some background information, sort out rules and chargen, and wing the rest. If your players enjoy it, that's all the really matters, so keep ion with it. I've always found that overplanning does two things. It creates a false sense of security that always gets shattered by unexpected player actions, and it can lead to rigid game sessions. So I'm with you, Sir Pudding.
I think when people talk about over-planning, they're often thinking of inflexible planning, and/or rigid thinking in the wake of a radical departure-from-plan. I've certainly seen this go awry, where the GM is so upset or baffled that the players aren't following his script, or the players so resistant to the very notion of being railroaded, that the game simply deadlocks and falls apart.

I do a lot of my planning up-front (overall setting, important NPCs, story arc(s), character creation guidelines, etc), but the between-session planning is so important for me because it folds in the developments and new ideas added by the players. Far from being rigid or inflexible, it allows me to weave the character's actions and goals into the fabric of the ongoing campaign.

For me (and as always, everyone's MMV), it's the difference between my first set of ideas, and those same ideas as developed by the game as it plays out, incorporating the PCs' actions, the players' interpretations of in-game events, and any new/improved ideas I might have come up with since the initial planning phase.

Of course, there are those who accuse me of over-thinking these things.... :)
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Old 12-10-2013, 04:51 PM   #78
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I think when people talk about over-planning, they're often thinking of inflexible planning, and/or rigid thinking in the wake of a radical departure-from-plan.
In my case it just doesn't seem to be worth the expenditure of time and the effort to force myself to be productive (which is better used for work, school, the Pyramid article I'm supposed to be writing). The results are generally as good if I do the same work under the pressure of actually using it in the game right away.
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Old 12-10-2013, 04:57 PM   #79
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In my case it just doesn't seem to be worth the expenditure of time and the effort to force myself to be productive (which is better used for work, school, the Pyramid article I'm supposed to be writing). The results are generally as good if I do the same work under the pressure of actually using it in the game right away.
Yeah, the question of whether I should be doing something more lucrative or otherwise productive is entirely separate....
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Old 12-10-2013, 04:57 PM   #80
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the Pyramid article I'm supposed to be writing).
nudge. Nudge. Nudge. NUDGE. ;-)
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