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Author Topic: Starting a Role-Play Group  (Read 1129 times)
ThunderCheetah
Member

Posts: 12


« on: October 01, 2003, 03:32:42 PM »

Okay, this is mostly for Ron, but any advice would be greatly appreciated.

Ever since I've left DePaul, I've been bereft of role-playing except for that one-day stint with LARP last December. I am very much in withdrawal, and am trying to do something about it. I've sent out a few feelers here, and I believe there is enough interest to start a small, informal role-play group. I'm hoping for something like D.R.A.G.O.N. in its days of glory, though most likely on a much smaller scale.

My problems are thus;

1) I am not very organized. Okay, I'm not organized AT ALL.
2) I have played many types of games. I've never run one. EVER. I do, fortunately, know people here who have.
3) Imagine me as a chicken. Now imagine me without my head. To finish the picture, imagine me running in erratic circles.

edit; not even circles. you don't know what they are.

From people's schedules here, it will probably have to be something of a once-every-two-weeks to once-a-month deal.

I'd like to do a variety of games, but I have a feeling the most people here have done is DnD and the like.

I'm so disorganized about this I'm not even sure what questions to ask ...

any good ideas for a group name involving 'BW' (Baldwin-Wallace)? (jk)

How can I get the group started?
What can I start the group out on?
What games would be good for me to run as a beginning Game Master?
What tips can you give me so I won't pee my pants out of nervousness?

If I think of anything more to bother you with, I'll let it rip.


Caitlin
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deadpanbob
Member

Posts: 201


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« Reply #1 on: October 01, 2003, 07:35:50 PM »

Quote from: ThunderCheetah


How can I get the group started?
What can I start the group out on?
What games would be good for me to run as a beginning Game Master?
What tips can you give me so I won't pee my pants out of nervousness?



Caitlin:

I'm not Ron, and I don't even play him on T.V. - but I've been there.

I think if you've already identified a group of people who are willing to give it a try, the first meeting needs to be a social get-together without a game to discuss the social contract of the group and try to get a feel for what everyone/anyone might be interested in.

I would suggest explicitly discussing the issues of whether people need to have/want to have the oft impossible ideal of the long-term campaign, or if they are willing to at least try shorter running, but perhaps more intense games.  This is important, because if they are willing to try shorter lived, more intense games, your job as a GM (should that be the job you end up with) will be much easier.

I would suggest that you need to openly and honestly discuss the issue of who ought to be the first GM - assuming the group generally wants to play a game that requires a GM.

For that matter, I might suggest starting the group out on Universalis - it's a great way for people to get their feet wet, it doesn't have a GM, it introduces a lot of different concepts that can be found in a lot of Forge forged games without being overtly radical, it can be billed as a type of parlor game with roleplaying elements if you want or need to downplay it as a full-fledged roleplaying game (which it is - but may not seem like it - and may be less threatening if it's not introduced as such).

In terms of the game you run - my adivce would be to run a game that you LOVED playing.  That type of passion can translate into good prep, which for a starting GM is critical.  Note that prep doesn't have to mean hundreds of hours scrawling out dungeon maps, plots, npcs, monsters, and treasure.  If you've played it, and if you like the style, Sorcerer is one of the games around here that you'll find the most GM support.  There are lots and lots of threads on what good Sorcerer prep looks like.

Don't drink a lot of coffee or soda during your first playing session, and try to avoid sub-consciously sticking your hand in a warm glass of water while listening to that waterfall sounds CD you purchased for river crossing mood music...

Seriously, the nervousness will pass with planning, prep and practice.  If you have one close assoicate/friend/loved one who either roleplays or is willing to put up with being a test subject for you because they love you and won't insult you for induldging in this hobby, consider tyring to run a couple of short one hour sessions with said person just to get your feet wet before going in front of the full group of new players.

Finally, on the off chance you're in my neck of the woods, where are you trying to set up a new gaming group?  If you don't feel comfortable saying in public, you could PM me here.  If you don't feel comfortable saying at all - that's cool too...


Cheers,


Jason
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deadpanbob"
ThunderCheetah
Member

Posts: 12


« Reply #2 on: October 02, 2003, 06:01:01 AM »

Thanks for the advice :-) This will certainly help me get started.

And no, I'm no where near your neck of the woods, unless you consider Cleveland, OH 'close'. :-/ I do miss the Windy City, though ....
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Mike Holmes
Acts of Evil Playtesters
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Posts: 10459


« Reply #3 on: October 02, 2003, 10:14:00 AM »

There's really no substitute for effort and organization. If you don't have these things at least at a modicum, then you can't expect the group to have any confidence in the goings on. If you reall can't manage it yourself, get someone else to be the organizer, and have them query you on what to do. IME, getting people to be organized for you is extremely rare, however.

Mike
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Grex
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Posts: 52


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« Reply #4 on: October 02, 2003, 02:18:06 PM »

Quote from: ThunderCheetah

1) I am not very organized. Okay, I'm not organized AT ALL.

If your friends also have internet access, a Yahoo Group is a good tool for getting your group organized. As well as a calendar and a mailing list, you get 20 megs of storage for maps, houserules, and so on.

Quote from: ThunderCheetah

2) I have played many types of games. I've never run one. EVER. I do, fortunately, know people here who have.

If you are new to GM'ing, be sure to pick a system that you are comfortable with, i.e. that you know well. You may also want to get a scenario book (or download) for starting out. Once you get used to GM'ing, you will have no problems writing your own stuff.

Quote from: ThunderCheetah

How can I get the group started?

Well, if you have the people -- and you seem to have -- why not write them an old-fashioned invitation?

*********

Dear (...)

I am about to start my first (your favorite RPG) campaign, and you are invited to play. Our first session will kick off at (...), (time and date). If you can't make it or if it isn't your cup of tea, please let me know, so I can plan accordingly.

Assuming that you are interested, you will want to know the following:

(Campaign theme & style)
(Appropriate character types)
(House rules, if any)
(Social contract)

I look forward to seeing you around the gaming table.

Best regards,
Caitlin

**********

Or something like that. :^)

Quote from: ThunderCheetah

What tips can you give me so I won't pee my pants out of nervousness?

Watch your fluid intake! ;^) Also, you can find a whole lot of good advice at: http://members.aol.com/essuncius/cover.html -- the infamous Uncle Figgy's guides.

Good luck, and have fun. And don't worry; practice breeds confidence. After a few sessions, you will be running your game as well as any pro. Just hang in there.

Best regards,
Chris
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Best regards,
Chris
deadpanbob
Member

Posts: 201


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« Reply #5 on: October 02, 2003, 05:40:36 PM »

Caitlin:

In case you haven't noticed it yet, over in this thread they are discussing a questionaire that can hopefully gain you some insight into your future players preferences.

You might want to follow along.

I'll also chime in and second Mike's opinion that you need to GET organized - at least for your first few game sessions.

That's why I'll go back to my suggestion to play Universalis with the group first - I think it'll really serve to get everyone 'into the mood'.

Or, if you want a simple game to run that doesn't require a lot of prep, but is more traditional, you could go for Risus - which is really simple and intended to be played as a tongue-in-cheek beer and pretzels game.  It would still require prep on your part, and organization, but not as much as say a Sorcerer game would...

Good luck - and don't hesitate to post here about how things go, what game you eventually end up playing, and any questions about how to go about prep once you've got your players fully onboard...

Cheers,


Jason
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Michael S. Miller
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« Reply #6 on: October 03, 2003, 03:16:52 AM »

Hi, Caitlin.

In InSpectres Grrl Version you seem to have answered your own question. You can run InSpectres. The game is easier to run than it is to play. Seriously, just roll on the adventure generator chart and start going. And as far as enticing new players, just say "Have you seen Ghostbusters? Well, you get to play them." and you're off and running.

I find that organization for running a game group is not nearly as difficult as it seems. First get the phone number/e-mail of all participants in one place where it won't get lost. Second, take an informal survey of what days of the week generally work well for everybody. Third, locate the time that will most likely be open for the most people (that you actually want to play with) and then call everyone up and say "Every other Friday, starting October 10, from 6pm-10pm, there will be a game at my house. Please come if you can." Fourth, make sure you don't forget. Fifth, wait for them to show and have fun!

I also vouch for the idea of a pregame "discussion," FWIW. Good luck and good gaming!
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