Sunday, September 27, 2015

Campaigning for Newbs- a realization by the Kuripot Gamer

I'm very, very unorthodox when it comes to gaming. I'm that annoying player who does craaaazy shit that might endanger everyone. As a GM, I'm even more splattered. I don't plan- wait I do, and throw it away the last moment and go wingman. I was never really comfortable with a laid out plan in my games. While this is cool with Dungeon World, I don't want to be limited to *only* Dungeon World.

Last Sunday (STARTER SEPTEMBER!) was a greatly missed opportunity, yet not quite so (because I was playing under PhilGamer!). Mon had a talk about campaigning for newbs but I was too busy battling Duran-duran (FUCK YOU), so I missed it. However, I was able to play under him after the game with Jay and may heaven and hell clash, but it was a gosh darned educational experience.

We played traditional D&D and would you have guessed, it's my 1st time playing traditional D&D.
Nothing smells like trouble more than a Drow rogue
The most I've played under are with the likes of Tobie and BJ (Nosfecatu) so I play the stranger kind of RPGs (Swords & Bahag D&D, weird ass Alice in Wonderland stuff, and basically any Tobie game is a different kind of game). Mon's take on this game was straight forward, it's for beginners after all. Though the target is beginners, it wasn't some dumbed down version of the game, it respected our intelligence and gave us enough freedom while still adhering to the rules. There were 3 newbs to D&D (me included) in our party of 5, and it made up for one hell of a time. I played a Drow rogue (with +3 Cha!) who's a member of the Zhentarim and I had a lot of fun playing him. Strangely though, I was rolling monumentally high (15-20s) during roleplaying (BLACK MAN EVIL! BLACK MAN GOOD!) but when combat came in, I fucking rolled THREE crit fails in a row. How is that even possible? Anyway, the game itself was nice. The story was tight as hell, like watching a good story unfold and feeling like you're responsible for it. All thanks to Mon's story telling.

But let's go to my realization. DM Mon cut the game into 4 scenarios, two RPing scenarios and two combat scenarios. We didn't feel the switching from one scenario to the other though- even if he actively mentions it. I guess because it's the pacing. But this simple bit is VERY useful for cray-cray people and starting Gms. Here's how it essentially went (or at least in my mind)

Scenario 1 (Roleplaying)
Goal: Orient Players to the world
- Meet Mayor
- Introduce to quest-giver
- Moral dilemma with quest-giver (this one's a really good jab. I won't reveal it since Mon might use it again *wink*)
- Optional quest hook/ side quest
- Receive quest

Scenario 2 (Roleplaying)
Goal: Go to Side Quest Giver
- Role play

Scenario 3 (Combat)
Goal: To enter the Temple
- Clear the area and enter the templ

Scenario 4 (Combat)
Goal: To defeat the boss
- Kill the boss
- Retrieve magic item
- Clear quest

This simple bulleting actually works, if you add in the simple "DC12 perception for child peeking from the corner" or any of your shorthand for moments in the game where there's a planned roll then you basically have a session. This is very similar to Dungeon World's fronts while not being so vague and unclear that even imaginative people (like me- hey! I'm imaginative!) have trouble. This bulleting gives you lots of space to play with while still having structure. You can let the players roam and play around because you know the world, but still have an agenda for them to accomplish. This is very simple, and basic, but without this realization on how to effectively use a bullet-style campaign, I'd be in shit water still. Right now I'm thinking up ideas on future sessions using this style and it's a piece of cake. It used to be a mind-racking juiced creativity session but hey, thanks to Mon's experienced range and simplified technique I *might* have a pretty structured session ahead of me.

Oh yeah, sweet sweet victory.

p.s. my Zhentarim Drow rogue got what he wanted and vanished in the shadows. Oooh yeaaah.