Friday, September 16, 2016

On Being A Game Master: Work Smarter Not Harder

As a Game Master, I can be very particular about the system I want to use. But upon reflection, I'm not sure that I'm making the best decisions. For instance, I've been reading over Monster of the Week, because I want to run a game that channels the Supernatural TV series and the Dresden Files novel series. But I find that I'm fighting myself because a large part of me would rather run FATE Accelerated with it. I've discovered that I often prefer to run toolkit games over games literally designed for the genre that I'm looking at.

Maybe it comes from Champions 4th Edition being my first game and picking up GURPS 3rd Edition because of it's Wild Cards supplement? Or maybe it's merely my penchant for being a game designer? When I was younger, I had the time to do all of the heavy lifting a toolkit system requires, but these days, not so much.

To give you an example, for years I've wanted to run a game inspired by Marvel Comic's Horror Heroes like Ghost Rider, Man-Thing, Man-Wolf, etc. I've looked at games like HeroQuest or Basic Role Playing but never thought about using either the Storyteller, Storytelling Systems, or even Mutants and Masterminds. I can tell myself all kinds of reason why I shouldn't, but the truth is that all three systems  are tailor made for that kind of game and the tweaks they need are far less work than trying to build something from scratch.

I think, and I'm sad to admit this, I'm a snob when it comes to some systems. Sure, I might have my reasons for preferring one game over another, but I'm certain that taking the harder route has hampered running the type of game I really want. I mean, my Horror Heroes game has never gotten off of the ground and I think that's my stubbornness more than anything else. An the closest it ever came used Dungeons and Dragons 4th Edition.

As much as I want to build games from scratch, the truth is that somebody often did that work for me and I need to look harder at their results.

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