Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Expectations: Player vs GM

I suppose the title may be misleading; I don't mean to discuss what happens when the players and GM play against each other (though that might be a fun topic for another post), but rather when the players' expectations do not match the GM's plans.  This very issue was the end of a game I intended to run a few weeks ago, before it even started, and it was an educational, if not slightly traumatic, experience.

First, a little background may be in order.  Most of my gaming is done online, via either chat program (more specifically, OpenRPG) or message board post.  It's safe, it's comfortable, and it fits in nicely with my 24/7 parenting schedule.  However, it has left me VERY out-of-practice when it comes to interacting with *ahem* real-life people.  To pull myself out of the less-than-occasional rut that creates, i do sometimes reach out (via internet communities, of course) and attempt to meet up, in person, with local gamers.  So far I have had little to no luck, only banding together with a couple or two and playing a few games before something conveniently comes up to prevent further meet-ups.

This time i found a semi-local ("semi" because I have to drive approximately 3 hours, round-trip) gaming store that offers open gaming space, which would logically boast both a neutral gathering place and a more diverse pool of gamers--and thus far, the arrangement has delivered on both counts.  However, the group seemed too good to be true, especially after some pre-game correspondence that revealed that all of them were up for anything.  One would think this was a very good thing, but it left me wondering what they wanted in a game.  And i never found out.

Through message board posts, we decided that i would run Armageddon, and i provided them with information on how to obtain the necessary materials for play.  I had a setting in mind, and a few ideas for adventures, but i wanted to wait and see what sorts of characters they created before committing to a solid campaign.  Little did I know, it seems they had it in their minds to wait until they knew what the campaign concept was before creating characters.


I suppose my method works just fine for online games, where the players may post messages for a few days, making suggestions and requests and bouncing character ideas off one another before game day.  But in face-to-face games, it seems that people expect to do these things in person.  And let me tell you, i was terrified.

One long, painful story short, and a panic attack later, we decided it would be best if someone else ran a game, and i graciously bowed out.

Lesson?  Make sure everyone's expectations are very clear from the beginning.  If the players expect an involved campaign, have one ready.  If they expect lots of flexibility and player-driven storylines, be prepared to toss out your notes.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Public Service Announcement

Anyone using a pyzam layout with the embedded comment option chosen, probably needs to adjust their settings.  I have so few readers, i didn't even know it was a problem.  Ha.  Ha.  But yet again, Nully came to the rescue and figured it out.


My comments are fixed.