#RPGaDay 2018: Days 11-15

I’m back and it’s time to do some rapid fire answers.

RPG-a-Day 2018

Hey everyone. Sorry for the absence of the last couple of days. A few things came up and had very little time to spend on writing. But I’m here now so let’s do this!

Day 11 – What makes you want to GM?

This is an alternate question. The original one was “Wildest character name?”. However, I don’t really have a good answer for that so I’ll do this one instead.

So, what makes me want to GM? I really love the creation part about GMing. I like creating worlds and bringing them to life. Coming up with stories my players are going to enjoy and contribute in them feels great. I love looking at their smiling faces when something awesome happens.

Plus, I get to draw maps, which is something I discovered I like a lot because I became a GM.

Day 12 – Wildest character concept?

Wild is relative, I believe. I don’t think I’ve ever played a wild concept, since I don’t get to be a player that often. However, I do want to try playing a concept I’ve been calling “The Orbital Laser” (this is for D&D 5e). It’s pretty simple. You put a couple of levels on fighter so you can get the Action Surge feature. Then you start putting levels on Sorcerer. When you start getting level 3 spell slots you can use Action Surge to cast Fly and Fireball on the same turn. And that’s why I’ve been calling it “The Orbital Laser”. It’s nothing special but I find it really funny.

Day 13 – Describe how your play has evolved

It’s simple to answer this one but harder to do that in reality. My play (I’m going to focus on my GMing skills because that’s what I most often do) has evolved mostly through failures. The process is simple;

  1. Prepare the session.
  2. Run the session.
  3. Fail at something during the session.
  4. Figure out what contributed to the failure.
  5. Try to fix it.
  6. Go to step one.

I’m going to assume that steps 1, 2, 3, and 6 are easy to do because I don’t want to focus on them right now, even though there are ways to fail there as well. The hard parts are figuring out what went wrong and trying to fix it.

You don’t always know if something has gone bad. I ask my players what they think about the session, once it’s done because I want to get feedback from their perspective. It may help me discover something I wasn’t taking into consideration. Also, I used to record my sessions up until recently when my recorder failed all three of its death saves(rest in peace little buddy, you’ve been much more helpful than I could have ever imagined when I bought you). By listening back to my sessions I have managed to fix some issues that were obvious when I went back to the recordings but I would never have managed to pinpoint while GMing.

Once you have managed to find a problem, the even harder part begins. Fixing an issue is easier said than done because there’s a chance it is spread all over the 6 steps above. For example, an error in your prep can cause an error in how you run the session. Also, an error in your way of running a session may be augmented because of an error in your prep. Now that I think about it, fixing errors in GMing is very similar to fixing errors in code. The difference is that there are automated tools that can help you find errors in code.

Hope that helps a bit. I think I will come back to this subject at some point. Until then, I highly recommend Mike Shea’s The Lazy Dungeon Master and the upcoming sequel, the Return of the Lazy Dungeon Master.

Day 14 – Describe a failure that became amazing

This is a moment from my Out of the Abyss campaign. I had decided to create a custom encounter just for fun but it ended up a bit harder than expected. The characters fell into a underground lake that had plesiosaurs living in it. I had changed their attacks so that they would shove the targets if they were underwater so the characters ended up really quickly at the bottom of the lake. Their rolls weren’t great so one of them, the Paladin,  fell unconscious. Thankfully, the Barbarian managed to drag him into an underwater lake while punching plesiosaurs. It was a failure both by me, who didn’t estimate the difficulty of the encounter correctly, and by the players, because their rolls that day pretty much sucked. Thank the gods Barbarians are awesome when it comes to combat.

Day 15 – Describe a tricky RPG experience you enjoyed

I am going to cheat a little bit on that. A tricky RPG experience I enjoyed was taking up the mantle of the GM with almost zero experience. My previous experience was 1.25 sessions (the 0.25 part is something I’ll explain some other time). I don’t regret this at all because I believed I would enjoy GMing and I was right.

And that I believe covers all the questions I missed the previous days plus this day’s question. Tomorrow’s question is “Describe your plans for your next game”. That’s something I haven’t decided yet so we’ll figure it out together tomorrow.

So until then, have fun!

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