All I need is an idea…

As a continuation of my previous post, here goes. So, I said there’s no point running something without an idea. Correct? Well, I’m writing this so I say I am. (My wife would be pleased with that.) I’ll try to elaborate a little on that. I might even stay on topic…

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In the past I’ve been guilty of getting too caught up in loving a setting. The swashbucklers I’ve run, Conan and when I’ve run Star Wars especially. I’ve somehow managed to dodge that with Doctor Who, mostly cause that universe is massive and laughs at continuity. Also, there’s that many different eras of the show to play around in, but I’m starting to get sidetracked. I’ve played in a few games over the years where the GM’s love of the setting comes over louder than a Motorhead show. Hell, I’ve been that GM more than once. It’s not a bad thing. but what I’m trying to get at here is I think that more is needed. What sort of story are you telling, what will your PC’s be doing? Do you have a reason for using this setting more than just ‘Well, I think it’s cool’?

Looking back at a lot of my events over the years, I haven’t. That doesn’t mean the games were bad (Though I cringe at a few of them), but the fact a lot of them were convention one-shots rather than campaigns my have helped as well. There’s less worry about world building when you’ve got three hours, though in games past I’ve spent a lot of that side tracked telling stories. I try not to, but sometimes I just can’t help myself. It’s something I’m working on with my GM’ing, trying to avoid distractions and keep everyone entertained. For a campaign though, I think more is needed. Normally for a con game I have an idea or an end scenario – badass Ewoks, Orc rockers etc. And in the past when I’ve tried to run campaigns, that’s also been about what I’ve had. I’ve gotten too excited about an idea or a setting, and dove in feet first without stopping to think about what I’m actually going to do.  A framework for things, a plan, authority figure NPC’s who are happy to see the PC’s.

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There’s also been plenty of times when people seem to be having fun and I’ve let them go on far too long, when I should have let them have a couple of minutes and then gently bring them back to the plot. I enjoy seeing people having fun in my events, it’s basically the primary reason I do this, but I’m the first to admit I get a bit too caught up in it from time to time. I love seeing happy people at my table, what can I say?

So, the two settings that have had me keen of late have been Crimson Skies and Torchwood. I’d been discussing the Torchwood game a while back as a short campaign and as previously noted, I’m currently awash in a dose of Crimson Skies nostalgia. So, what ideas do I have for them?

Crimson Skies
Air piracy, whether for or against is still not decided
Being recruited as consultants on Errol Flynn’s latest picture.
Sky Haven, a modern day Tortuga.
High stakes gambling.
A death defying air duel in and around Chicago skyscrapers.
Zeppelins. Some large and heavily armed, some small and speedy, some worthy of Bond villains.

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So, that’s some interesting ideas, but nothing quite enough to base a campaign around. I’ve also had a lot of temptation to hunt down a pilots jacket to wear while I GM. I’ve costumed to GM at cons before, and while I generally cringe seeing GM’s who wear cloaks and what not (Generally cause it’s only used for joke value), I can understand the appeal. It’s like a uniform. Heck, I remember seeing a guy in Dragon magazine years back who GM’d while wearing a referee’s jersey and used a whistle when his players got out of line. That’s a bit too intense for me, but I can understand a want to keep players in line. Getting back to the point…

Torchwood: Sydney
The arc was going to be someone from Torchwood’s past who still bore a grudge. Possibly an alien stuck on Earth who wanted to get away and didn’t care if the planet burned in the process.
A Silurian hive underneath Sydney Harbour.
Time travel to visit an earlier version of Torchwood, possibly located in Razorhurst.
A surprise visit from the Corsair.
Alien hallucinogens being sold as party drugs.
Tensions with the local UNIT branch.
How many local celebrities are actually aliens?
SIDE NOTE: I was also planning to blow up the Ivy Bar at some point, but that’s cause I had to go there once after a team building work event and immediately wanted to set fire to the place. I have never felt so uncomfortable and out of place in a venue and hope never to again.

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Where am I going with this? Not sure. Putting things down helps sort them in my head for one thing. To work out why I want to run something, to have a plan I guess. I’m a better GM for my mistakes, but I still have plenty to learn. That’s not a bad thing, as uncomfortable as it can be to admit.

To any GM’s out there reading this, what approach do you take?

Be seeing you…

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