For the moment we are shifting to two blog posts a month to be able to better provide timely posts.
While doing my preparations for the next campaign for Technical Difficulties, I searched for advice on how to run games of Monsters and Other Childish Things. Although I have listened to this and many other games in the One Roll Engine family being played, I had never played in or run a game with it. Luckily, the cast of The Drunk and The Ugly are some of the most experienced with this game, so I asked questions on how to run the game and on running Road Trip using their forums.
As we talked, a few present and former members of their cast expressed interest in playing in it. Although this would increase my workload, I thought it would be an interesting prospect. While campaigns are designed to be run multiple times, I have never heard of someone running the same campaign for two groups at the same time. It would be interesting to see how the groups reacted to the same stimuli in real time and how that might affect my running of the campaigns.
Already this has borne fruit. I ran the first session for the other group before Technical Difficulties first session due to scheduling conflicts. By playing the other game first, I learned some of the weaknesses in how I had presented it. One of the players brought up that when I described the monster the kids fought I only used the bare minimum of descriptive language to describe them. My intent was take make it more horrifying by leaving it up to the imagination, but since it is the theater of the mind, using more imagery gives it a unified image that makes the game more real.
While it wasn’t a complaint of theirs, they also flew through combat without a scratch. I feel that was more system mastery than the monsters, as they said that they felt right for a first session enemy. With their advice, I got a better feel of how the first session needed to go. While combat got a lot more crunchy with four PCs and six enemies, the Technical Difficulties crew has fun and had a challenging fight, as they took damage while fighting the creatures.
A new group was helpful to seeing these blind spots in my GM style. Laura had mentioned descriptiveness in the short story I had written, but once is an anomaly while twice is a pattern. I need to do better with description. It’s weird because the image is clear in my head and I can describe it well; perhaps I’m unnecessarily worried about dragging on in play, especially with Technical Difficulties’ scheduling. I just need to take the time to describe. And I know viciousness is not my strong suit, but in an RPG I need to know when to lay back and when to throw the hammer.
No matter what, all of the players across the sessions enjoyed the opening act. These are means of growth, not game breaking errors. Focus on fun at the table and be open to suggestion, and anyone can be a great GM.