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Mmurphy
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Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Dayton, Nevada--USA
Posts: 129

Old December 22nd, 2013, 09:56 PM
I know there is no 'right way' to GM but I am entering information into Realm Works and this brings up a question that I never really thought about until LoneWolf put out videos on how to use Realm Works.

What is your style of GM'ing?

For example, when I GM, I explain the surroundings, what (if anything) is going on politically, what the weather is like, and just generally paint the scene. I have no plans for the characters, no 'places' for them to go, nor do I have anything 'pre-determined' for them to do. I let them decide where to go and what to do. If one of the characters says "I heard a rumor of an abandoned castle north of here", I put an abandoned castle north(ish) of were they are, they may not find it, it may not have anything in it, or it might have allot in it, they don't know until (if) they find it.

What really made me think of this was the Storyboard section. I was trying to decide if there was any way I could use this to aid me. The only answer I have is as a history plot. As any 'notable' event happens, I plot it on the storyboard section. In this, I will not forget they visited 'this town or that person'. When the PC's interact with NPC's, I try to quickly add the NPC to the database (at least a basic description) however, in my fantasy setting the characters will rarely re-visit the same people so I don't worry about this too much.

In the end, I am adding 'everything' that could possibly exist into Realm Works just in case I ever need it. I leave specific details vague so I can use it again if I want to. Allot of the 'adventures' the PC's have gone on simple stem from conversations they have with NPC's--however until they are having the conversation (which I make up on the spot) I don't know what the NPC's will do or say (as I base the conversation on what the PC's are doing or saying).

In 1 example, three entire role-playing sessions were taken up with a chase into the outlining woods/forest because one of the PC's thought they could 'rob' a general store instead of paying the merchant, the character was too poor to pay and needed the items. I don't think you can 'plan' that.
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EightBitz
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Join Date: May 2013
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Old December 22nd, 2013, 10:20 PM
The reason I like tabletop gaming so much more than MMOs is for the very reason that anything can happen at any time. Your style of GMing suits that. I like to plan my adventures more, but that's only because I'm not as quick on my feet. If I could, I'd do it more like your style, and I would, exactly as you've suggested, add events as they happen. Even if they don't encounter that person/location again, it may give me an idea for a future plot.
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Zinquox
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Join Date: Nov 2013
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Old December 22nd, 2013, 11:22 PM
Personally I like to do both. Having been a convention GM before, in a case like that, you need a specific story, as this is a one time thing, and there is only a set amount of time for the players to play. I do, however, like to play the style you are talking about, I call it "Roll With It!" Yes the pun is intended. However instead of letting the players say something like "I heard a rumor of an abandoned castle north of here" and then putting said castle into the world, I build the world, and let them do what they want in it. Maybe there is an "evil" king running a kingdom. Sometimes the PC's will want to overthrow the king, other times they want to help him. Once the PC's decided that a farmer they met should be the new king, and they did everything in their power to make it happen, including forging all the papers. I don't flesh out every being, but shopkeepers and important people I try to. In the case of the general store, I may have it set up that the merchant has a brother two towns away, and maybe even a year later (game time) they run into that brother, and he won't help them, or holds a grudge. Players in my games know that sometimes, not all the time, but sometimes, the things they do now might have a huge effect, for better or worse, latter on in the game.
Well that's my two cents.
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Aleslosh
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Join Date: Oct 2013
Location: Pennsylvania
Posts: 52

Old December 23rd, 2013, 05:58 AM
My style of GMing is similar to that above. I build a world with all of the major components installed (major cities, major personalities, major plot lines, etc.) and flesh it out as my players walk through it. In one case, I made the major plot line so difficult to complete (at their current level) that the players had to find and explore the areas around them - building and planning against the day that they would go against the "big bad" and gaining the necessary strength (and XP) through a series of sub plots that came out of their own actions and conversations with NPCs. In another instance, I took a canned module and adapted it to my world (to give me a break from extensive writing, etc.) and guided a conversation so that the PCs "naturally" fell right into the canned module.

Although Realm Works is not available to me yet, the software seems as though it will adapt well to any style of GMing I choose to use. I'll be able to build my "skeleton" world and flesh it out as I go along and/or bring in a "canned" module if I so choose to do so.

"Flexibility" is one of the main features of RW that I look forward to....and of course: Player Views, Fog of World, map tagging/linking, etc., etc., etc.!
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Perverseness
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Join Date: May 2013
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Old December 23rd, 2013, 08:40 AM
A lot f discussion of late in design of MMO's has been on the nature of worlds. Theme park where everything is scripted (most mmo's but especially Star wars) are good for very good top down storytelling. Sandbox (Eve by CCP) is more of the build the world and let players into it. The organic feel to it makes feel like you are the center of the story. Also it initially looks like it requires less prep work by the GM but usually in the end requires just as much. As GM's for tabletop we all play somewhere on this slider trying to find that comfortable sweet spot. I am hoping Realmworks widens the target a little so its easier for me to hit
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Cornelius
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Join Date: Feb 2013
Location: Bennekom, Netherlands
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Old December 23rd, 2013, 09:05 AM
For a real sandbox game Mmurphy plays the storyboard will not work. The feature on the other hand will assist if you wish to write out the story a bit beforehand. you can add some of the logical options that you envision.

As a GM I like to have some idea which way the story can unfold, although I must admit that I write out less and less about what happens and more the motivations of the various NPCs. It is then up to the players to act and the NPCs will react according to their motivations.

I am still figuring out how to use the storyboards, but currently my story boards is a set of linked locations. Each location is a description of the place and the people in it. From there you can look up each NPC and see their motivations and ideas.

As Aleslosh says the software is highly adaptable and that is still one of the best features of it.
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Farling
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Join Date: Mar 2013
Location: Greater London, UK
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Old December 23rd, 2013, 12:05 PM
I think Mmurphy can easily add several pre-defined "locations" into RW. These could include a castle (for when the party decide to investigate the abandoned castle).
New ideas by players could easily be added as Story Ideas and fleshed out between sessions.
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Grey Mage
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Join Date: Feb 2011
Posts: 297

Old December 23rd, 2013, 01:06 PM
Open-ended gaming as a GM (and as a player) has always been my style and preference. The ability to create a world, drop in multiple 'possible' event locations and then just let the players go as they will just appeals to me more. But something I have noticed in the last 5-10 years is that as more and more players come up through the ranks from MMOs and even Living Greyhawk/Pathfinder society, they tend to be less open to the more flexible gaming style. Long term campaigns were always what we ran in 1st, 2nd and 3.5 editions. As I move 30+ years of campaign notes and history (no more binders, YEA!!!) over into RW I hope to continue that open-ended campaign style and also move some of the newer players into a place where they can appreciate and enjoy all the myriad possibilities such a game offers.
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weogarth
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Old December 23rd, 2013, 02:20 PM
There is no reason that sandbox type games can't have precreated locations. I always let the players do what they want. This particular campaign, there was actually a prophecy seemingly referring to the players accomplishing a pretty important deed, but that being said, they are never forced to do anything. I always present them with options.

The only thing I ask, because we play via Fantasy Grounds, is that any major decisions of their paths are made with enough time to allow me to do some prep with their choices.

Given all of this, I really don't use the story board all that much in terms of flow but I am starting to use it to just mark out the various pieces of the puzzle towards that important deed.
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Grey Mage
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Old December 23rd, 2013, 04:36 PM
Weogarth,

Are you pregenerating maps in FG? Or freehanding?
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