I’ve been buying games recently, triggered at least partially by taking the summer off from playing Pathfinder. I’ve blogged my Hollow Earth Expedition game logs and discussed the game itself but as I loved both that game, its expansions and the Ubiquity system itself I also picked up Leagues Of Adventure and All For One: Regime Diabolique as well (Desolation is also on my to get list). Both games are superb and I can see the potential for running them but I realised that with my current skill level I’m not in a position to do so. This probably isn’t a bad thing to be honest as I have an ongoing Pathfinder campaign that we’re really enjoying and I know that people are also keen to revisit HEX and pick up on where we left off last session. So why, I hear you ask, aren’t you up to running your new games.
Neither of the games are more mechanically challenging, indeed as they’re Ubiquity based they’re mechanically far simpler than Pathfinder. It comes down to my personal strengths and weaknesses as a GM. There are rules in Pathfinder that I still struggle to remember or apply but provided I am running a particular type of game I think I can keep the action moving and the players entertained using either Pathfinder or Ubiquity. The issue is with the phrase “particular type of game“. I have no trouble with dungeon crawls and with my last HEX session driving the action with dinosaurs, apemen and exploding airships was fine too. Where I struggle (or at least where I don’t feel like I can flow) is when running NPCs, keeping track of their personalities and riffing conversations. I listen to videos by The Gentleman Gamer, Runeslinger, etc and rapidly realise that I am a long way from being able to run their types of game.
I bought a copy of Sly Flourish‘s The Lazy GM a couple of months back having watched a great video by A Fistful Of Dice and realised quickly that it wasn’t aimed at a beginner GM however I took a lot of ideas from it and it gave me a direction to aim in. I think likewise these games (among other stimuli) are helping me to identify directions I would like to explore with the aim of being able to run both these new games and better Pathfinder sessions.
When I say that I’m not up to doing something I think very often people assume that I’m saying I can’t do something and therefore I won’t but this isn’t always the case. I look at stuff that I want to do but can’t at the moment as a challenge and a way to identify a direction that I’d like to work at growing in.
My plan then is three fold. Firstly I need to work at introducing NPCs into my Pathfinder game as well as using the excellent Gnome Stew articles on “fishtank design” in order to introduce intrigue and mystery elements into the same campaign. By stretching myself and my players in this way I can hopefully get quickly to the place where I’m flowing as easily with this kind of stuff as I currently am with Pathfinder combat, etc. The second way to move towards it is for me to read new types of fiction (currently I’m on The Three Musketeers) keeping my mind very firmly on how I’d run elements of those stories as a game. The last part of my plan, and probably the one which is most difficult to find time to do, is to find a couple of local games which are more role playing based which I can play in (rather than GM).
Even if I don’t ever play these simply reading the games is, as often is the case, firing off new ideas. Fate and Savage Worlds are both on my game list (I’m waiting for the fully Kickstarted Ubiquity version of Space 1889 but if it doesn’t come out soon I’ll buy the Savage Worlds version) and I don’t know how often I’ll play those but they’ll still be worth having.