Sunday, December 23, 2007

For whom the bell tones

This is the first in a series of "letters home" from the front lines of DM-ing. Something like quick dirty tricks that enhance your game, or a toolbox to mine for ideas.

The other day I was reading Yax of Dungeon Mastering fame, solid read by the way, and I read his article about 30 minute prep sessions. It has a nice bit about not writing out descriptions but picking a mood, and focus on it.

Mood is a very funny thing to play with, in my writings I tend to gravitate to a darker mood. I see moods divided into two categories, positive and negative. In a Role playing game setting I think that the darker mood is what is required to start gnawing at players. Yax had the fantastic idea of writing out a mood for a game session and doing something you normally don't do, he uses constant rain for example, and keep it in mind during the game session. This is fantastic and quick, but what if you want the mood to stick with the players?

In addition to picking out a mood for a given session I have started to jot down a list of complementing words, nothing to fancy, but at least 5 words that in and of themselves are harmless. They don't need to be flashy or expensive, just outside of your normal vocabulary. I like to slip them in as though I have been using them all along with no added emphasis, the players might not pick up on it consciously but it will plant the seeds of uncanny.

Using this technique I have had players call me two days after a session with the implanted mood hanging over them. Give it a whirl you might like it!

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Another one bites the dust..

So five weeks later and my mek20 game has run out of steam.

The first session I thought went well. However the next week I found that two of my players quit, they also forgot to tell me. The third week another player told me he was not interested at all in the game, and quit. Three down, four to go. Last night I had a grand total of two (no you didn't miss read, that is a 2) players. I was less then enthusiastic to run, to say the least.

So I think I will take what worked for this game, the first session worked very well I just had very little fluff to spread on the giant robots, and I will pack it away and spruce it up every once in a while.

And just like that my dream of a working mech game dies again. And so does my hope that we will ever play a sci-fi game more then 6 weeks in my group. For now I will retreat into finishing the rules I started out, with the hope that someone will use them and receive more fanfare then I did.

Look for more Mek20 coming soon!