Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Letting The Awesome Flow Like Wine

In the aftermath of our successful pilot, our Primetime Adventures show, Terroir, got picked up for a first season of nine episodes. Last night was the second these (the first was two weeks ago, which I somehow forgot to write about), and it’s already really cooking. One of my weaknesses as a gamemaster has been my inability to do what I call “medium-term” games. I have plenty of experience running one-shots, and I’ve run a number of successful games that have gone 16+ sessions. However, I have trouble with games that fall in between those extremes. One of my resolutions for this gaming year (the gamer year begins at GenCon) was to work on games in the five to nine session length. Thus far I’ve been moderately successful, and the PTA game is showing that progress. One of the things I’ve learned is that if I come up with something cool, I should do it right way. I shouldn’t put cool things off until “the right time” just because I don’t know what will happen afterward. As a result, I’m starting to make the transition from aggressive scene framing to aggressive pacing. Last night was a great example of that, as at least three cool plot threads came out of scenes near the beginning of the episode that ordinarily I would have held until later in the session. These then provided fuel for even cooler scenes later in the episode. (For reference, those were Julian’s confrontation with Steve, leading to his initiation; Andy’s job offer from the Dodgers, leading to his tentative reconciliation with Claire; and Lena’s encounter with Bacchus, leading to her tentative breakup with Nick.)

After the last two sessions, we’ve talked about how quickly everyone has “brought the awesome” to this game. I’m realizing that one of the tricks to running games of this length is not waiting for the awesome to emerge. The players and I all need to be pushing for conflicts and character changes early on, as the results of those shakeups make the game more exciting earlier. We don’t have to know what the game is eventually going to be about; we just have to do stuff now and see what happens.


Post a Comment

<< Home