Impressions: GMing Styles

So, this one is a temporary tangent from my previous discussions, but still an interesting topic. A few days ago, my wife and I were discussing DMing for D&D, and the discussion of GMing styles came up, whereupon we realized that we both sit on opposite ends of a spectrum I hadn’t thought about before. I very much trend towards Flowing game styles, and she towards Structured game styles.

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Tangent: Walmart Apocalypse RPG setting

One setting I am absolutely planning on playing in eventually is that of Walmart: Apocalypse. On the surface it’s an insane, ridiculous setting filled with Mad Max style zaniness, but it’s also quite capable of shifting to be hardcore survivalist horror as well. I’ll talk a bit today about the setting, and what systems I’m planning on running it in.

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Tangent: RPGs, and Prepping vs Improvisation

Something that I’m curious about is seeing a comparison of how other people GMing games balance before-hand preparation with off-the-cuff improvisation. I’ve tried games slanted heavily towards both, and would like to talk a bit about my thoughts on the different styles before finding out what your preferred style is.

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My early games of GMing, huddled around a flickering candle (To set the dramatic mood) on a Boy Scout campout, were entirely freeform/improvised (And the rules were little better than that). I found that this was a good way to roll with the punches, as the players tended to act wild and crazy at the best of times, and were backstabbing murderhobos at the worst. We had numerous interesting adventures, including poisoning an entire town using reagents recovered from a disabled trap and turning the entire contents of a blacksmith’s shop into a medieval armored tank. But just as often we’d get bogged down, as I would struggle to come up with names or objectives in the scant seconds before attention spans began to wane and out-loud musings on the worth of another character’s possessions were uttered.

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Impressions: Simple D6 RPG

I wanted to post this as a bit of a shout-out to one of my all-time favorite lite RPGs, Simple D6.

The Game:

Simple D6 is a really fast, easy light RPG, using only D6s. The entire rules fit on a single sheet of paper, and a character can take up as little space as a notecard. In general, the rules generally are either unopposed (Where rolls result in a Yes, No Yes but […], No and […], Yes and […] format) or opposed (Where you reduce enemy health from a pool in order to win the encounter)

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Tangent: How Many Skills Are Too Many Skills?

So something that has been on my mind lately as I’ve been brainstorming a new RPG (Inspired by the freeform skill/flaw choices in Eric Nieudan’s amazing White Books) is the concept of Skills. There seems to be two main schools of thought, and each has two subsections I’ll discuss a bit as well. The first of these categories is Structured Skills, indicating that the skills come from some sort of list that the player picks from and records, while the other is Freeform Skills, where the players are free to make up their own skills rather than pick from a list.

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Of the two groups, I have to say I heavily prefer Freeform, as it allows for far greater flexibility when making a character and generally requires less memorizing of rules as well. Examples of this include Risus and one of my personal favorites, Simple D6. Freeform skill systems also fall on a gradient, between Mechanical and Fluffy.

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