The Ancient And Esteemed Brotherhood Of Gamemasters Is Now In Session
Bang a gavel.
On Saturday, I am running two game sessions at SimCon– one session of Changeling: The Lost (Fear-Maker’s Promise), and one session of Hunter: The Vigil (Blood Drive). And, if I have time for pick-up games, I might throw in a little taste of Maschine Zeit.
Now, I’ve been running games since… well. Let’s just go with “around a decade and a half.” Not like I’m a stranger to tooling around the game table and playing a cold and heartless god — er, I mean, being a kind and beneficent storymonger. I like to think I don’t suck. I don’t, however, have huge bundles of experience when it comes to “running games for total strangers.” I think I ran my first con games at DexCon many moons ago, which is where I met one of the smartest and nicest dudes alive, Rob Donoghue. (I was and perhaps remain a huge idiot. I ran Changeling for him and some other total strangers, and it was a great game, probably the best con game I could’ve envisioned. But I had no idea who I was sitting with, and then he invited me to lunch, and suddenly I found myself with him, Fred Hicks, and a few others, and I suddenly realized I was hanging out with a gaming brain trust. What an asshole I am, I had no idea of the caliber and quality of people surrounding me.)
I’ve since run games elsewhere, and they’re always a mixed bag. The Hunter games I ran at GenCon were interesting if only for the variety of gamers who sat at the table — the first group was perhaps the best, willing as they were to band together and pretend to know one another. The other two sessions consisted largely of people acting at opposite interests, and doing their best to dick one another over. That remains doubly odd for the last group, which consisted of a table of dudes who were all friends before they sat down. Like, they came together. And this is how they game? By constantly trying to fuck each other up? Eeessh.
(Oh, for the record, those GenCon games happened to be when I first conceived and ran the Blood Drive adventure. It’s a shame, I guess that adventure never really caught on? I never heard of anybody actually purchasing it, I don’t think. I really wanted to subvert the normal Hunter plot — instead of “Kill The Monster!” it suddenly becomes “Protect The Monster!” Couple that with an adventure that’s basically one giant chase movie and it, to me, works in some good tension. Then again, see earlier notes re: I am both idiot and asshole, so who the hell knows?)
What’s the point of this post, you ask?
Hot damn, somebody’s impatient. Stop jumping around like you have to pee. I’m getting there.
And get your hands out of your pants. It’s rude to paw at yourself in polite company.
The point is, I’m running con games on Saturday and it’s been about a year or more since I’ve run any games at all. (Insert sad face here.)
Thus, I come to you. And beseech your advice.
I know a shit ton of you have run games as gamemasters, dungeon masters, storytellers. Further, many have run con games, to boot. Which means it’s time to cough up some advice. Give me — and the other readers — some tips on running games. Con games, but “regular” games, too. Whatchoo got? You are the terrible minds, after all, so purge your poison here for all to see.