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Old 06-09-2009, 10:33 PM   #1
Sergeytov
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GM Style

I posted a lot of logs of events I have run on a MUSH at Sergeytov's blog | OtherVerse (/quickplug).

Anyway, I got to thinking about how my style of running things has changed a bit.

I've heard people talk about their primary inspiration for their event running 'style' in the past, so I guess I'll ask you guys: Do you define yourself as having a style, and if you do, how do you describe it to someone?
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Old 06-10-2009, 08:00 AM   #2
Jazuela
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Re: GM Style

I never enjoyed "running" events. My style, I guess, was usually to present the basic idea of a plotline, and let the players run it organically. Anything else always seemed too contrived for my tastes. An example of what I've done in the past:

I had an NPC I created, an old absentminded bawdy toothless fortuneteller woman. She was my plot-driver for a bunch of events. She'd show up sometimes for scheduled RPTs and sometimes spontaneously when I noticed a bunch of people hanging out together in the city. For scheduled RPTs she might present the people with a clue to a mystery, and sometimes I'd make up that mystery on the spot. Sometimes I'd have an idea of it in advance. When she showed up spontaneously, I'd often just do fortunes for people who were there. The funniest part of -that- was that the players assumed my NPC was there for a *reason* [tm]. And they'd always read into their fortunes significant clues to other plotlines, or try to puzzle how those fortunes fit into the other plotlines. And usually it was just nonsense and fun. A few of the players caught on and started really just digging in the silliness.

I had another NPC, a little girl, who got into mild mischief most of the time, and liked it when people told her stories. She had a sister, or best friend, can't remember now, made by another GM. Together they introduced a new area of the game, a haunted house complete with ghoul mobs for players to whack on. The story dated back to my own childhood - a hermit's hut in the woods near summer camp. The hut really exists, and it really was occupied by a hermit, once a long time ago. The myth was that the hermit used to kidnap kids and torture them in the basement and they were never seen again. The moral of the myth was to not go into the woods when you're at camp, without your camp counselors there to lead the group.

But I turned that legend into an area, with mobs, and NPCs driving the plot using the telepathic communication everyone in the game had, to have my little girl screaming and calling for help. Hillarity, confusion, and lots of ghoul-murdering ensued, with the PCs all scrambling to find out who this little girl was (it was her introductory event as well as the plot device driver), where she was, and what she was wailing about.
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Old 06-10-2009, 09:49 AM   #3
Sergeytov
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Re: GM Style

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jazuela View Post
I never enjoyed "running" events. My style, I guess, was usually to present the basic idea of a plotline, and let the players run it organically. Anything else always seemed too contrived for my tastes.
See, in my mind that's 'running' an event just the same. You might not be leading players around by the nose, but you're coming in with something of interest.

Quote:
I had an NPC I created, an old absentminded bawdy toothless fortuneteller woman. She was my plot-driver for a bunch of events. She'd show up sometimes for scheduled RPTs and sometimes spontaneously when I noticed a bunch of people hanging out together in the city.
I'd definitely say that qualifies as 'event running', at least in my book. - Your 'GM Style' ultimately favors organic deals with no real destination in mind.


Quote:
The funniest part of -that- was that the players assumed my NPC was there for a *reason* [tm]. And they'd always read into their fortunes significant clues to other plotlines, or try to puzzle how those fortunes fit into the other plotlines.
I actually posted about a similar experience quite recently that lead to a very different topic. (http://www.topmudsites.com/forums/ro...use-magic.html for the curious)

As for the summer camp story? Well, I'll toss you a couple Cool Points.
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Old 06-10-2009, 11:11 AM   #4
Jazuela
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Re: GM Style

A lot of the inspiration for the events I came up with, originated from real life experience. I based my little girl NPC on a combination of a boy who had moderate down's syndrome in the neighborhood where I grew up, and some of the characters Shirley Temple played in movies when she was a little girl. The fortuneteller's personality was partly one of my old uncles who used to take his dentures out of his mouth to make us all laugh, another uncle who was a "happy" drunk, and an absentminded aunt. I tossed in a bit of narcolepsy for extra comedic effect; she'd start snoring in the middle of sentences and jerk back awake, asking the nearest male for a kiss while she smacked her gums lavisciously. It became her trademark

Storytelling with the little girl was partly inspired by something I'd seen in another game, and partly from campfire circles when I was in the girl scouts. Another event involving a missing person came from a newspaper article I'd read about some body being found washed up on the shoreline near my home town and how people were all scrambling to find clues and discover what had happened to him (we didn't have DNA testing and forensics wasn't as advanced as it is now).

I think it's always easier to come up with ideas, if you can take a look around the world you actually live in. Grab a tiny spark of interesting fluff, and blow it up into something remarkable.
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Old 06-17-2009, 06:34 AM   #5
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Re: GM Style

Your style sounds very similar to mine in a lot of ways, Jazuela. not so much in where I get my inspiration from, but in how you handle events. Most of my events stem from a simple idea or questions that have come up, or little things that catch my interest. It could be as simple as a rumor that I start on the mush and then wait to see what players do with it to looking through old cannon and finding little known things that tickle my imagination.

My last adventure came from two sources. Sergeytov (He plays on the same mush I do) and I had been discussing the psionic set of skills from in the game and I started to wonder how much trouble I could cause with a skill called Somnolence - The ability for a psionist to put a target or targets into a sleep state. During this time I also noticed that some of our PC run ships had not been terribly active. I wondered what would happen if I abducted one of the ships. The response was almost overwhelming. The players dictated what happened next, at that point, I was just along for the ride, and to make sure that things didn't get too crazy. Periodically I'd bring out an NPC or two for atmosphere and interaction, but all my actions were based on what the PC's wanted to do. I think I had more fun just watching them have fun with it.

This style evolved from my tabletop games though. I've GMed D&D for several years now and there are a few things that I've learned and that seem to hold true across most RPG's. I found that when I started with a very basic idea that the players would keep the story going for me, and then it was less work for me to come up with stuff, and more of a challenge to simply keep up with what they wanted to do. I'd take ideas from lots of places. Several of my players found that if they wrote background stories for their characters I'd weave elements of that into the story, which they loved.

My next grand adventure has already started. Some players found a small metal box. the contents inside? Some bits of scrap metal and an old worn map on a bit of yellowed parchment. What's on it? I haven't decided yet. What's next to come? Who knows. I'll have to wait and see what happens.
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