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  • GM matchmaking initiative

    In my decade-spanning experience as a GM, the most invaluable resource I've ever had access to was always someone who listens to my ramblings. Feedback is nice, but nonessential (I'll end up doing whatever I wanted to do anyway) - however, the simple act of laying out my thoughts and ideas in a format that was meant to be digested by another has always helped me see more clearly.


    I think it is a travesty that more people do not have access to the same.


    Moreover, a lot of people are starting threads asking for GMing advice, be it general or specific; while I think forums are not necessarily a bad place to have these discussions, the best way to pick up these skills is by osmosis. Asking a specific question, receiving a specific answer, and building up a picture of how things are meant to be done over time on your own, by inference, as opposed to asking for general guidelines and best practices in search of a silver bullet that is applicable to every situation. It's difficult to have give really nuanced advice to questions like that on a public forum where thread drift is an issue, and the original poster may or may not even be interested in those specifics (or, conversely, would like clarification on some points, but doesn't want to appear demanding or give off an impression of singling out someone from 10-20 responses). More personal conversations might be a better way to go about helping GMs looking for advice.

    (Not to mention the cases where someone knows that their players are also reading the forums, and does not want to give away spoilers by accident.)


    So, for these cases, I would like to start this GM matchmaking thread - where people willing to give advice to other GMs (or just listen to them formulate their ideas and maybe provide feedback) can post that they are available for a given timeframe, and others seeking advice could then PM them with specific issues, which they can then discuss in a more direct way than an open forum thread would allow for.


    So, I'll start: you can hit me up with any questions, story and NPC seeds you'd like to show someone and hear their opinion, specific homebrew you'd like to see evaluated, et cetera. Let's say I'm available until the end of May (because exam period will kick into high gear after).


    Evocations for the demonic tattoos gained from the Pact with Mara sorcerous initiation || Pyre-Kindler (Soulsteel and Red Jade Grimscythe, Artifact 3) || Tenebrous Descent (Stormcaller's Black Jade Reaver Daiklave cousin, Artifact 5)
    Advice for running the corebook shikari antagonists

  • #2
    I’ll toss my name in the hat as well, Always happy to discuss things.

    Edit: I’ve recently run through completion a 2.5 solar chronicle from essence 1-5 for lasting for a couple of years, have been playing Exalted since 1st ed. Currently playing in a Solar chronicle (3E) and am gearing up to run a Dragonblooded Realm Chronicle.
    Last edited by Saipjas; 05-02-2018, 08:09 PM.

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    • #3
      Feel free to hit me up for any manner of GM advice. I will be slower to respond, but if all the fanart and coffee shop AUs and Spotify playlists and death threats if I stop running games I keep getting from my players are any indication, I can run some pretty ok games, and I would love to help you create your own band of sometimes too-enthusuastic fans of your stories.


      So I'm making God-Kicking Boot, an Exalted webcomic, now. Updates on Sundays. Full-color, mediocre but slowly improving art. It's a thing.

      The absence of a monument can, in its own way, be something of a monument also.
      -Roger Zelazny

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      • #4
        I’ve got over ten years of STing under my belt so I’ll offer up too. Also lets all remember that even good GMs can always get better and need advice sometimes.

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        • #5
          A tad off topic, but it would be really cool to have a voice channel dedicated to this on the discord!

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          • #6
            Why not? I don't have a lot of experience, but perhaps I could still offer advice.


            Part-time table flipper.

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            • #7
              Here the ONLY italian GM of Exalted third edition with almost 14 years in my back and 8 as GM in the World of Exalted. From 1st Edition to 3rd. Even Converted from 3 characters from 1st edition to 3rd!!! Hit me up whenever u need it!

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              • #8
                I guess I'll ask the first question. I have a group comprised of three to four pretty good players. I've run Pathfinder for many years, and it's been fun. But, since Third Edition has come out, I've found myself more and more being bored with "other games" like Pathfinder. However, what does make me nervous is the lack of pre-written scenarios. I know that's basically anathema to the ST system, but hear me out.

                I've run the official Adventure Paths (AP) for the past 10 years, and they've all been really fun. Very tight stories, very compelling reasons for players to cooperate and complete the adventures. I really enjoy running the pre-written stuff. But that's where I start getting nervous thinking about running an Exalted game. I've done some in a PBP format, but I was a player, so I have no idea about how to create that stuff. And finally, here's my question:

                How does one who is not used to creating their own adventures/scenarios/stories/what-have-you's go about doing this? Could you provide some examples/seeds/etc. which you used to start your own Chronicle?


                Co-Host of The Deliberative Podcast
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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Lukkychukky View Post
                  How does one who is not used to creating their own adventures/scenarios/stories/what-have-you's go about doing this?
                  I said this in another thread, but one of the best things you can do is an ST is get input from your players. If a player wants their character to be known as a premier martial artist, you might work in a tournament arc, or a jealous Abyssal rival to burn down the sifu's dojo. If a player wants their character to craft great wonders, it's a good idea to give him lots of opportunities to craft/repair stuff. If a player wants huge battles, now's a good chance for a Lunar sorcerer and his army of benthic Elementals to be prominent figures.

                  Don't be afraid to throw in a twist or two, either!

                  One of the PCs in a game I ran was on a quest to recover a dangerous amulet. Once she tracked it down, she discovered she had only half of the amulet. Further detective work revealed the other half had been shipped to a city on a distant island.

                  When she got there, some legwork turned up a guy with a whole amulet. Basically, the amulet was like a starfish; pieces could be cut from it that could generate entire new amulets, so long as there was at least some silver and some stone in each piece.
                  Last edited by TheCountAlucard; 05-03-2018, 09:49 AM.

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                  • #10
                    Those are all great suggestions! Thank you! but my concern is that those sound like arcs which could be solved/wrapped up fairly quickly. For instance, I ran the D&D 3.5 AP Age of Woerms, taking the group 13 months to complete and carrying them all the way to 23rd level. It was so great! But it seems like some of the story ideas you mentioned wouldn't be suitable for long-term play. How do you address that and make sure play can go on for more than a handful of sessions?


                    Co-Host of The Deliberative Podcast
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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Lukkychukky View Post
                      Those are all great suggestions! Thank you! but my concern is that those sound like arcs which could be solved/wrapped up fairly quickly. For instance, I ran the D&D 3.5 AP Age of Woerms, taking the group 13 months to complete and carrying them all the way to 23rd level. It was so great! But it seems like some of the story ideas you mentioned wouldn't be suitable for long-term play. How do you address that and make sure play can go on for more than a handful of sessions?
                      Complications come in handy here. Maybe the Lunar sorcerer is protected by the Ocean Father, and convincing him to withdraw that protection is necessary. Or perhaps the guy who organized the martial arts tournament is murdered prior to the quarter-finals, and the PC is framed for it, necessitating his circle-mates solve the murder to prove his innocence. And crafting is already full of complications, as one has to obtain magic metals and exotic materials to make wonders.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Lukkychukky View Post
                        How do you address that and make sure play can go on for more than a handful of sessions?
                        Introduce the players early to a problem/situation they can't possibly solve/defeat at starting prowess without gaining allies or growing in personal strength. It might not even be appearant that the problem is that big until a bit later to the players. Then keep intrest going with incremental success and increases in capabilities and investments in the world/npc's. Generally the more players you have the tighter the focus on the players common goals need to be in my opinion or it just won't work side tracks are okey but shouldn't take excessive amounts of time.

                        Run a few long games like this in exalted with roughly this formula.
                        In the first game their homeland was devestated by First and Forsaken Lion after a good while and many sessions the final one involved the last 2.5E fight I'm going to run and the players getting revenge.
                        In another the players where DB facing the disolution of organization and terrestrial rule in the realm and having to step up and ensuring stability at least in their corner of the blessed islands and eventually getting into the politics of the realm and great houses.
                        In the latest the players started as escape slaves faced with a kinda "threshold" empire they each despised and some hated and which I guess will eventually have to face their wrath.

                        Also identify what your players want don't run a politics campaign if they want a dungeon crawl, most campaigns that stall are about GM's wanting to run one type of campaign and players wanting another type in my experience. Sometimes you can solve it by doing half and half however and its usually a good idea to find that middle ground in my experience because sometimes the players just don't know what they want. ;D

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Lukkychukky View Post
                          I guess I'll ask the first question. I have a group comprised of three to four pretty good players. I've run Pathfinder for many years, and it's been fun. But, since Third Edition has come out, I've found myself more and more being bored with "other games" like Pathfinder. However, what does make me nervous is the lack of pre-written scenarios. I know that's basically anathema to the ST system, but hear me out.

                          I've run the official Adventure Paths (AP) for the past 10 years, and they've all been really fun. Very tight stories, very compelling reasons for players to cooperate and complete the adventures. I really enjoy running the pre-written stuff. But that's where I start getting nervous thinking about running an Exalted game. I've done some in a PBP format, but I was a player, so I have no idea about how to create that stuff. And finally, here's my question:

                          How does one who is not used to creating their own adventures/scenarios/stories/what-have-you's go about doing this?

                          "Don't prep plots" is possibly the most useful advice I can give you.

                          An underappreciated benefit is that when you prepare a situation instead of a sequence of events, you will never run out of story. (Seriously, you should try this. When I started the campaign I'm currently running, I expected things to wrap up in 20-25 sessions, total. Right now, we're at 19, and we haven't even wrapped up the first act.)

                          A useful addition to this approach is that even unoriginal ideas can result in interesting play if you just keep adding them until complex interactions arise between those disparate elements.

                          Also, as a Pathfinder player, I think you'll find these very illuminating: Condensation in Action - Rise of the Runelords, Curse of the Crimson Throne, Council of Thieves. They are basically rewrites of Pathfinder adventure paths with a scenario-based approach. If you're already familiar with the source material, this might be a good place for you to see how these approaches differ in practice.


                          Evocations for the demonic tattoos gained from the Pact with Mara sorcerous initiation || Pyre-Kindler (Soulsteel and Red Jade Grimscythe, Artifact 3) || Tenebrous Descent (Stormcaller's Black Jade Reaver Daiklave cousin, Artifact 5)
                          Advice for running the corebook shikari antagonists

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            To tack on to what other’s have been saying Lukkychukky the results/effects of one story can lead/spiral to the next. Exalted, especially solar exalted, is really good about telling consequences for actions and the effects of power. After each session, consider what the implications of the groups actions are for the setting. Solars being Solars or DBs being DBs tend to have ripple effects. Oh and something for your players to keep in mind is the role essence Fever plays in shaping their perceptions.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Lukkychukky View Post
                              I guess I'll ask the first question. I have a group comprised of three to four pretty good players. I've run Pathfinder for many years, and it's been fun. But, since Third Edition has come out, I've found myself more and more being bored with "other games" like Pathfinder. However, what does make me nervous is the lack of pre-written scenarios. I know that's basically anathema to the ST system, but hear me out.

                              I've run the official Adventure Paths (AP) for the past 10 years, and they've all been really fun. Very tight stories, very compelling reasons for players to cooperate and complete the adventures. I really enjoy running the pre-written stuff. But that's where I start getting nervous thinking about running an Exalted game. I've done some in a PBP format, but I was a player, so I have no idea about how to create that stuff. And finally, here's my question:

                              How does one who is not used to creating their own adventures/scenarios/stories/what-have-you's go about doing this? Could you provide some examples/seeds/etc. which you used to start your own Chronicle?
                              So... Don't prep plots because the PCs will ruin them is good advice, especially once you're good at rolling with things.

                              But if you're looking for pre-made Exalted plotlines and story arcs you can just plug in and run...those do exist. They're called Wuxia movies.

                              If you're at a loss and need a plot quick, watch a Kung Fu flick, ideally one the PCs haven't seen. Rolling up the characters as QCs shouldn't take too long,and major antagonists probably deserve a bit more investment of your energy for a full stat block.

                              Like...if my PCs haven't seen Kung Fu Hustle, I just steal the setup-you're all in this poor neighborhood and the Axe Gang shows up, then you drive them off, then they hire increasingly badass villains to deal with you, then finally and endboss. Bam, first Exalted story arc, three to five sessions of play, done.

                              You can do the same thing with other forms of media, just find some obscure story form your PCs aren't familiar with (opera! African myths! Anime if they're not into that!) and file off the serial numbers.

                              Be prepared for PCs who don't follow the script to try different things than the characters in the movie did, but if you know your NPC characters and their motivations you can write a bit of fanfic-how WOULD the leader of the Axe Gang reacted to a seduction attempt?

                              After you've run a few of these, you're going to get more confident with that sort of reactive thinking on your feet and you're probably gonna want to start tweaking and then building your own original settings and stories...and it's a good way to learn the skills you'll need for taking advantage of Exalted's setting books, which also have a "here's a setting and some characters, Go!" feel to 'em.


                              So I'm making God-Kicking Boot, an Exalted webcomic, now. Updates on Sundays. Full-color, mediocre but slowly improving art. It's a thing.

                              The absence of a monument can, in its own way, be something of a monument also.
                              -Roger Zelazny

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