I have a list of my top twenty favourite Amber campaign sites. A lot of what I like about them is in the webpage design, or sheer reading pleasure, or other reasons for admiration. I recently plugged a couple of games here on the blog and felt I ought to clearly support my choices.
What does a good game have (and for what should someone strive)?
Like it or not, that’s the bread and butter of a game. Players need consistency. They need to know that there are rules that will apply across the board, and if for some reason there is an exception, that exception has a REASON. They need adequate response times, with adequate responses. NPCs should talk the same way each time you come across them, landmarks should be solid and any changes maintained and described.
Write what you know, skirt around and study what you do not. You can really get in trouble when you fudge a dessert (so to speak) and find out one of your players is a gourmet chef who knows -that- isn’t going to work. Yes, we’re playing out fantasy here, but I’ve heard of murder mysteries that lowered the GM’s credibility because the fatal injuries couldn’t have occurred that way. Also, keep track of who knows what — unless your game is populated with mysterious oracles who can spout important clues when asked the right question.
Quality of response and quality of materials are a very important piece of a good game. A definite knack for improvisation will carry you far, but why stress yourself when you don’t have to? Put in the little details; they make the difference.
Those are probably the top three things I look for in a game…but they are of little importance when you don’t have the fourth piece:
4) Character-Specific Entertainment
There’s probably a better way of putting it, but really, I want to be entertained. I want my character to have a role that reflects how much energy I put into my gaming, and probably a little bit extra. I want to be the star, the hero for my fair share of the on-screen time. It’s a combination of fun, and importance… because, after all, why else am I gaming?
So, when I say a game is good, that’s because it’s fulfilling those needs. And yes, I have seen horrible examples of games where the exact opposite was done…
Comments: Rikibeth Stein on 2001-Dec-18:
Murder mysteries that lowered the GM’s credibility because the fatal injuries couldn’t have happened that way?
You wouldn’t maybe be thinking of the time I quoted the Ripper autopsy reports to a FTF GM to prove how hard beheadings were?
I should talk, though. I just read through one of my old gamelogs and realized how badly I’d screwed up the description of a foxhunt. And I don’t have the energy and intensity that it takes to sustain a huge PBeM as GM, either. I had to learn the hard way.
Beheadings, especially. [shaking head] I don’t know how so many GMs screw that one up. (I’ve heard about six different stories…)
I am LEARNING what it takes… and I’m HOPING I have “it”. [grin]