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PhilFleischmann

Fantasy Immersion and the Things that Ruin it.

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5 hours ago, Vanguard said:

Spence

Very nicely written.

 

I agree with you on the Sandbox campaign.  I've been in one or two and they don't last long.  I mean, not more than one or two sessions because there's absolutely nothing for the characters to do.  There's no focus or drive to move the characters forward.  Those type of campaigns may sound like they're going to be good because "no ones' tied down!" but i've yet to play in one, or hear of one that amounted to anything.

 

I'm glad it made sense to someone 😁

 

But reading back over it makes it a clear example of why I hate posting from my phone. It reads terrible and the spelling.......🤔

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8 hours ago, Vanguard said:

I agree with you on the Sandbox campaign.  I've been in one or two and they don't last long.  I mean, not more than one or two sessions because there's absolutely nothing for the characters to do.  There's no focus or drive to move the characters forward.  Those type of campaigns may sound like they're going to be good because "no ones' tied down!" but i've yet to play in one, or hear of one that amounted to anything.

 

Some years back, I had someone refer to a "sandbox" campaign in contrast to a "rowboat" campaign.

 

The sandbox as he described it had players who would work together.  The game world was there, it had plenty of plot hooks, and the players/characters would decide their goals and which hooks to bite.

 

The rowboat was "You are in a boat on a massive featureless sea.  What do you do?"  Why you can pick any direction you want, with no idea what may be found, or even whether anything will be found, no idea where you came from or where you are going.  Have "fun".

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@Hugh Neilson

 

If that had been the case, the plot threads and hooks, then I don't think there would have been any problems getting the game moving.  The thing was that there wasn't.  We had literally 2 sessions of just sitting around while the GM read a book/futzed around on the PC.

 

Giving the players hooks/ideas/hints of goings on out in the world and then letting them pursue whatever interests them instead of having a more traditional campaign set-up is good and, like I said, probably would have worked.  But just plunked the group down "in the world" and then letting them flounder around isn't the way to start the game. 

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5 hours ago, Vanguard said:

@Hugh Neilson

 

If that had been the case, the plot threads and hooks, then I don't think there would have been any problems getting the game moving.  The thing was that there wasn't.  We had literally 2 sessions of just sitting around while the GM read a book/futzed around on the PC.

 

Giving the players hooks/ideas/hints of goings on out in the world and then letting them pursue whatever interests them instead of having a more traditional campaign set-up is good and, like I said, probably would have worked.  But just plunked the group down "in the world" and then letting them flounder around isn't the way to start the game. 

 

True. The players will need some idea of where to start when doing a campaign. The GM needs to let the players know where to find the plot hooks. If he/she runs a sandbox campaign, great, but it's necessary to explain that to the players, who will otherwise be wondering what to do or where to go.

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On 5/1/2020 at 8:15 AM, Vanguard said:

@Hugh Neilson

 

If that had been the case, the plot threads and hooks, then I don't think there would have been any problems getting the game moving.  The thing was that there wasn't.  We had literally 2 sessions of just sitting around while the GM read a book/futzed around on the PC.

 

Giving the players hooks/ideas/hints of goings on out in the world and then letting them pursue whatever interests them instead of having a more traditional campaign set-up is good and, like I said, probably would have worked.  But just plunked the group down "in the world" and then letting them flounder around isn't the way to start the game. 

 

Yup - rowboat, rather than sandbox. 

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I might have three or four planned adventures to start the characters off, but as a product of how these these pan out, 'sandbox' opportunities will naturally occur. At this stage, I consider that the game has got to a position where 'it runs itself' - in other words, I do not have to necessarily come up with a new plot thread in order to run the next session of play. The players may decide to follow up on loose ends from previous sessions and all I have to do is come up with the plot of that adventure (which will largely be formed in my mind due to the previous escapades) rather than a completely new adventure for the next session.

That's what I'd call a Sandbox, and it's always great when a campaign gets to the position of being able to run itself because a) that's less work for me, and (b) the players are getting immersed in a reactive world.

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Also, the GM and players need to be on the same page. The GM needs to explain how he/she runs the game, and the players need to give their input. I've found all too often that assuming everyone is thinking the same thing leads to a bad night of gaming. I'm as guilty of this as anyone else, both as a player and as a GM. 

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1 hour ago, tkdguy said:

Also, the GM and players need to be on the same page. The GM needs to explain how he/she runs the game, and the players need to give their input. I've found all too often that assuming everyone is thinking the same thing leads to a bad night of gaming. I'm as guilty of this as anyone else, both as a player and as a GM. 

Perhaps the process Ron Edwards describes in Champions Now for starting a campaign that is all new characters is a good thing to apply in principle. At the very least it gives the players direct input that if often lacking when running premade settings (like the official Champions Universe). Or the FATE Core approach in which the setting is literally constructed as a collaboration between the GMs and the Players.

 

The new wave of RPGs (FATE Core, SW, etc.) exist for a reason, and carry things GMs in any RPG can learn from. And while Hero players are not going to take things to (what they consider) it becomes important that the GM and the players see eye-to-eye before anyone does so much as pick up a die.

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On 5/3/2020 at 6:13 PM, Michael Hopcroft said:

Perhaps the process Ron Edwards describes in Champions Now for starting a campaign that is all new characters is a good thing to apply in principle. At the very least it gives the players direct input that if often lacking when running premade settings (like the official Champions Universe). Or the FATE Core approach in which the setting is literally constructed as a collaboration between the GMs and the Players.

 

The new wave of RPGs (FATE Core, SW, etc.) exist for a reason, and carry things GMs in any RPG can learn from. And while Hero players are not going to take things to (what they consider) it becomes important that the GM and the players see eye-to-eye before anyone does so much as pick up a die.

 

?

 

FATE Core isn't set up any different than any other RPG when it comes to deciding on a campaign.  The difference is in the rule structure with games like FATE being far broader and less specific than systems that drill down the details. 

 

Collaboration was always a part of building a campaign.  At the beginning it also included figuring out what the rules meant as well. 

 

But building a campaign has always meant that the GM/DM/Keeper/whatever has needed to work with prospective players on their build.  The actual issue is the rise over the last 10 years of the idea that players are everything and GMs are door matts and should be thankful for it.   It is also why games that have solid support in pregenerated adventurers/campaigns dominate the market. It is far more palatable to run a pregenerated adventure when it flames out, than to see your personal hard work get destroyed.

 

This idea that somehow rules lite games have invented one of the foundations of the RPG is actually pretty amusing.  The reality is we are simply cycling through and the newer gamers are "discovering" old ideas as new. 

 

In a very broad sense, there are two types of GMs.  The ultra miniscule micro percentage that always GM to the same people in their private gaming group for decades.  And the bulk of GMs that routinely have new players in their games. The latter deal with far more a$$hattery that the private group types. 

 

The core reason it is so hard to find and keep GMs is that for years players were all take and no give.  Routinely lying to GMs about playing in their campaign, and then trying to reshape it when it starts. This type of problem seldom occurs in the private game. But is fairly common in more open games.  

 

The neverending issue with finding people willing to GM is not because no one wants to build settings and run adventures.  It is because of the small but crappy minority of a$$hats that seem to revel in destroying a game.  I was fed up and just stopped running games because I was tired of people agreeing to one thing and then trying to do something completely different.  I mostly run one-shots for a small select group, though I was planning to run something at Dragonflight this year.  If it happens. 

 

But if people want RPG gaming to truly expand, one thing that they need to grasp is you can't keep screwing over your GMs and expect them to come back. 

 

It is actually very very simple.

 

If you agree to play in a game, then play in the game you agreed to.

 

If the game doesn't appeal to you, decline and don't play.

 

If you start a game and discover you don't like it.  Let the GM know and leave the game.

 

Simple.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Agreed 100%. Speaking as a GM, it's very discouraging to put in a lot of effort into a game and get players who can't be bothered to show up on time or give any input on what they like or dislike. It has killed more than one campaign.

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2 hours ago, tkdguy said:

Agreed 100%. Speaking as a GM, it's very discouraging to put in a lot of effort into a game and get players who can't be bothered to show up on time or give any input on what they like or dislike. It has killed more than one campaign.

 

Or, when they give you feedback and then after you get done adjusting they suddenly go in a completely different direction.

 

 

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