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Thursday, January 17, 2019

What'cha gonna do when they come for you?

I'm old enough to remember one of the first "reality" shows on Fox, which followed the men and women of law enforcement. Of course I'm talking about COPS.

As the son of a former Police Officer, this was "must see TV" in our house. It was, of course, edited to give you the most bang for your half-hour buck, but it became it's own cottage industry. The show has lasted for 31 seasons (starting in 1989) and over 1,000 episodes.

The next generation of this type of show started three years ago on the A&E network. (Aside: Does anyone else remember when A&E stood for Arts & Entertainment?) This show is Live PD and does what COPS did, but ... wait for it ... LIVE! That's right, you can ride along with officers on Friday and Saturday nights and see the kinds of things they have to deal with.

One thing that struck me while watching Live PD, which we can now do with an Amazon Fire Stick and Hulu with Live TV, is just how much stupid there is in the country. People driving on a suspended license, others running from the cops over an infraction that would have just gotten them a ticket, and, worst of all, people that tell the officers how to do their job! That's right, there are those out there that tell the police, "You're not going to arrest me." That's right up there with telling them that you pay their salary.

If you have any interest in law enforcement and just what these men and women have to deal with, try and catch either the main Live PD show or the "Police Patrol" spin-off, which gives you certain incidents from the show but continuously. Be warned, though, it's a bit of a rabbit hole.

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Thursday, January 10, 2019

Module vs World Creation


Last week I mentioned using a module when I run my Marvel Superheroes FASERIP game (which you can listen to over on the Class 1000 podcast). I thought that I should expound on why I chose that.

The main reason that I'm running a module is that I'm rusty. I've run games in the recent past, but I haven't run a FASERIP game in over 20 years. So I thought that it would be a good way for me to ease into the system again. This way the villains, plot, Karma awards, pretty much everything is laid out for me. That doesn't mean that a GM running said module is on autopilot (especially not with the players I have), but it does make things a bit easier since I know where things are going.

Then there's the fact that Classic Marvel Forever exists. This site has EVERYTHING I could want to run my game, and part of that are the adventure modules. The one that I'm running is something that I don't remember ever coming across, and even if I did I wouldn't remember the particulars. The fact that it's the first part of a trilogy helps quite a bit as well, since I can keep the story going if everyone is having as good a time as I am.

For those systems that I'm more comfortable with, I have no problem creating worlds of my own, even just using the published material as a starting point. That can allow me to be more creative, but I do need that solid foundation of being familiar with the rules as a starting point. I don't think I've ever created a full campaign world from scratch, though. The best that I've ever done is base my world on something else.

What about the GM's out there? Do you prefer modules, world building, or some kind of hybrid?

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Like what I'm doing here on the blog and podcast? Why not check out my Patreon Page to see how you can help me do more? http://www.patreon.com/TheHammerStrikes

Thursday, January 3, 2019

Railroading

I've done quite a bit of tabletop role-playing in my life and one of the things that gets on my nerves is "Railroading". For those not familiar with the term, it means a set of situations where the Game Master gives the Players a single option and will not allow any other possibilities. In many instances, this can be handled effectively without making the Players, who are controlling the heroes of the story, feel like they have no agency. Playing around with their suggestions and throwing up barriers works, especially if the GM handles it with good humor.

Several instances of Railroading occur when playing through a module, which is a pre-written adventure. In most of those, there are a few options but only one correct one. The game that I'm running for the Class 1000 podcast is like this, which has certain events in a certain order. I try to work with the players, though, to make sure they feel engaged.

The major issue is with GM's that create their own story and they have such a great idea that the players just HAVE to go this way. Again, this can be handled effectively, but when the GM doesn't even give the possibility of other ways to handle the plot, it causes the players to get frustrated. This leads to a game that is completely against the point of playing. It's supposed to be FUN, but taking away the free will of the characters involved sucks all of the fun out of the experience, meaning that the game will fold sooner rather than later.

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Like what I'm doing here on the blog and podcast? Why not check out my Patreon Page to see how you can help me do more? http://www.patreon.com/TheHammerStrikes