Notes to myself...

Open Discussion on all things C&C from new product to general questions to the rules, the laws, and the chaos.
Post Reply
Treebore
Mogrl
Posts: 20660
Joined: Mon May 01, 2006 7:00 am
Location: Arizona and St Louis

Notes to myself...

Post by Treebore »

on how I want to run my games, but all too often keep forgetting to do. So now I am writing up a list of reminders to put in my gaming binder...

How I want to run my games:

Do NOT get over obsessed with the details.
Do NOT get caught up in requiring rolls for everything.
Ask players for specifics on how they want to go about doing something, and look for reasons to give them a bonus for it. IF a roll is even really needed.
Think about the encounter, weigh what the PLAYERS have proven they are capable of doing against the current challenge, and if you KNOW they WILL succeed, have them do so without resolution via dice.
Games are the most fun when they are simple. Strive to make/keep it simple.
Work on making NPC’s more interesting via use of voices, accents, personal quirks, etc…
Try to always give key descriptors so the players can more accurately create the scene in their head.
Use maps to show players their environmental options for jumping, swinging, and other improvisations. Provide them with such options, even if the written material doesn’t, whenever possible for the scene.
Use images as often as possible to create and reinforce the “feel” you want to establish for the game, the session, the scene, as appropriate.


Any suggestions? Especially from those who play in my games, but all feedback is welcome.
Since its 20,000 I suggest "Captain Nemo" as his title. Beyond the obvious connection, he is one who sails on his own terms and ignores those he doesn't agree with...confident in his journey and goals.
Sounds obvious to me! -Gm Michael

Grand Knight Commander of the Society.

User avatar
finarvyn
Global Moderator
Posts: 984
Joined: Sun May 14, 2006 7:00 am
Location: Chicago suburbs
Contact:

Re: Notes to myself...

Post by finarvyn »

Never played in your game, Tree, but I'd love to. Sounds like you have an awesome philosophy and one that very closely mirrors my own. I can DM games like OD&D and C&C pretty much in my sleep, but for some reason I keep stressing over other rules sets that look cool but aren't smooth. I probably should stick to what I do and stay away from other stuff. That's my note to self... :D
Marv / Finarvyn
Lord Marshall, Earl of Stone Creek, C&C Society
Just discovered Amazing Adventures and loving it!
MA1E WardenMaster - Killing Characters since 1976, MA4E Playtester in 2006.
C&C Playtester in 2003, OD&D player since 1975

User avatar
Omote
Battle Stag
Posts: 11560
Joined: Wed May 03, 2006 7:00 am
Location: The fairest view in the park, Ohio.
Contact:

Re: Notes to myself...

Post by Omote »

Never stress over tiny details. I see you state that there, but I find that in some scenes, or descriptions there should be detail. Not everything needs microscopic levels of detail, but keep some detail in.

Though I only play face-to-face games these days, I find that if there isn't some important detail as needed, the campaigns and games I run for people tend to blend together and players have a hard time remembering the difference from one game to another. I think with detail, you need to pick and choose your battles carefully. But important details, or details that make one game different from another, are needed. Bland role-playing scene can be just as bad, if not more so than too much detail. IMHO.

~O
@-Duke Omote Landwehr, Holy Order of the FPQ ~ Prince of the Castles & Crusades Society-@
VAE VICTUS!
>> Omote's Advanced C&C stuff <<

Treebore
Mogrl
Posts: 20660
Joined: Mon May 01, 2006 7:00 am
Location: Arizona and St Louis

Re: Notes to myself...

Post by Treebore »

Omote wrote:Never stress over tiny details. I see you state that there, but I find that in some scenes, or descriptions there should be detail. Not everything needs microscopic levels of detail, but keep some detail in.

Though I only play face-to-face games these days, I find that if there isn't some important detail as needed, the campaigns and games I run for people tend to blend together and players have a hard time remembering the difference from one game to another. I think with detail, you need to pick and choose your battles carefully. But important details, or details that make one game different from another, are needed. Bland role-playing scene can be just as bad, if not more so than too much detail. IMHO.

~O

Notice I say not to get over obssessed with them, not to ignore them.
Since its 20,000 I suggest "Captain Nemo" as his title. Beyond the obvious connection, he is one who sails on his own terms and ignores those he doesn't agree with...confident in his journey and goals.
Sounds obvious to me! -Gm Michael

Grand Knight Commander of the Society.

User avatar
Lurker
Greater Lore Drake
Posts: 4044
Joined: Thu Jan 18, 2007 8:00 am
Location: Oklahoma

Re: Notes to myself...

Post by Lurker »

Not to disagree with you an any of the points, but back in the day when I GMed, I learned I can't do the different voices for different monsters, NPCs etc. It just is not in my wheel house of skills. If you (or any one GMing) can by all means do so. However, 'know thy self and to thy self be true' so if you can't do it well/effectively, don't try and force it.

The flip side of the coin, your last note - use images - I whole heartedly agree. In the long hiatus when I couldn't game a lot, I did play a little off and on in a star ward d6 game. The GM didn't use maps or anything (well every once in a while he'd do a quick hand drawn map but not to often) but he would use images to set the background and feel of the encounter. It was great to set the scene and the mode of the encounter. I had other issues with the game and the players in the group, but he did do well with the images.

Plus, the use of images goes hand in hand with your 'use description' note. Using those 2 well to good effect can let the mind take over and make something better and more enjoyable than any map ever could. However, there are times when a map is needed, so I can't say never use them ...
"And so I am become a knight of the Kingdom of Dreams and Shadows!" - Mark Twain

Forgive all spelling errors.

Knight Errant & Humble C&C Society Contributor
C&C Society

alcyone
Greater Lore Drake
Posts: 2727
Joined: Mon Oct 15, 2007 7:00 am
Location: The Court of the Crimson King

Re: Notes to myself...

Post by alcyone »

I have been running my sandboxy game, and here are a few things I have been working on:
1. Don't love your world so much that you forget what it's for: a backdrop for what the player characters want to do, and where your players spend a few hours of their weekend.
2. Don't love your NPCs so much that they outshine the player characters.
3. Don't love your dungeons so much that you have to show your players the whole thing, or even need them to visit them at all.
4. Don't love your meta-plot so much that it reveals itself in everything that happens.
5. Don't believe the dice when they are wrong.
6. Don't be afraid of cliches: they are more fun here than they are in a book or a movie.
7. Don't be afraid of randomness: the human mind notices patterns where they don't exist, and if you have good players who speculate, that becomes the reason for the random things you drop in.
8. When the players speculate, don't say to yourself, "Good idea, but wrong." Sometimes make that be the truth, no matter what you were thinking it should be. Not always, but sometimes. Reinforce the clues to support it.
9. Don't be a purist. No one cares if your sandbox is a real sandbox, or your hex crawl is a real hex crawl, or any other definition or school of thought.
10. Be consistent, when you can remember to. If someone's name is important enough for your players to write down, write it down too. If a spell works this way today, it should probably work that way tomorrow (for PCs and NPCs).
11. Be flexible. Use the rules, they are pretty good, but don't force the to fit situations they don't cover. Let an elf play in your human-only world, if that is what makes it fun for someone playing with you.
12. Honor the elders of the hobby and their wisdom, but tell them to get lost if they start whispering in your ear while you are running the game.
My C&C stuff: www.rpggrognard.com

alcyone
Greater Lore Drake
Posts: 2727
Joined: Mon Oct 15, 2007 7:00 am
Location: The Court of the Crimson King

Re: Notes to myself...

Post by alcyone »

A couple more, related to VTTs:

13. Stop thinking small. Scenery is free. Make everything weird, cyclopean, huge, extravagant, expensive.
14. Drawing things sets them in stone. Don't draw things that are too mysterious to draw. My main city turns ordinary and one-dimensional on the screen, but I want it to be mysterious and ever-changing. So detail a street scene here or there, but don't steal its soul by photographing it.
15. The world has at least 3 dimensions. Use them. There's no reason a dungeon has to be flat. When I play Skyrim I look at how 3 dimensional all of the environments are. I need to find a way to map that stuff better.
My C&C stuff: www.rpggrognard.com

User avatar
Kayolan
Lore Drake
Posts: 1790
Joined: Sun Jan 20, 2008 8:00 am
Location: Ohio

Re: Notes to myself...

Post by Kayolan »

Lots of good ideas in this thread so far.

Aergraith brings up something that I've largely forgotten to consider:
Aergraith wrote: 14. Drawing things sets them in stone. Don't draw things that are too mysterious to draw. My main city turns ordinary and one-dimensional on the screen, but I want it to be mysterious and ever-changing. So detail a street scene here or there, but don't steal its soul by photographing it.
When the GM (or player) describes something, no two players are going to imagine it exactly the same way in their mind's eye. This is not a bad thing, we all have our own way of envisioning what the GM describes to us. That's part of what makes it fun IMO.

Treebore
Mogrl
Posts: 20660
Joined: Mon May 01, 2006 7:00 am
Location: Arizona and St Louis

Re: Notes to myself...

Post by Treebore »

Kayolan wrote:Lots of good ideas in this thread so far.

Aergraith brings up something that I've largely forgotten to consider:
Aergraith wrote: 14. Drawing things sets them in stone. Don't draw things that are too mysterious to draw. My main city turns ordinary and one-dimensional on the screen, but I want it to be mysterious and ever-changing. So detail a street scene here or there, but don't steal its soul by photographing it.
When the GM (or player) describes something, no two players are going to imagine it exactly the same way in their mind's eye. This is not a bad thing, we all have our own way of envisioning what the GM describes to us. That's part of what makes it fun IMO.
But, but, thats what the fire breathing dragon burning everything to the ground is for!
Since its 20,000 I suggest "Captain Nemo" as his title. Beyond the obvious connection, he is one who sails on his own terms and ignores those he doesn't agree with...confident in his journey and goals.
Sounds obvious to me! -Gm Michael

Grand Knight Commander of the Society.

User avatar
MadCartographer
Hlobane Orc
Posts: 105
Joined: Sun Apr 12, 2015 3:26 pm
Contact:

Re: Notes to myself...

Post by MadCartographer »

To quote the CK Guide page 6....

"Treat the rules presented in the Castles & Crusades Players Handbook and the Castle & Crusades Monsters and Treasure in the same manner Churchill treated prepositions. The bugbears of grammatical formality and adherence to those ever evolving rules swirling about the usage of our language, often do little more than produce stilted phraseology and a monotonous dialogue little capable of conveying what the writer wishes to express. The point is, don’t allow the rules presented in our books to become roadblocks on your path to fun and adventure. In the context of your storyline or adventure or the events occurring on the ground, should you need to change, ignore, or amend the rules, You Should. Don’t
allow the rules to get in the way of telling a good story."

It's about having fun, not rules, that's why C&C exists, D&D is rules heavy, C&C is rules light, so you and the players can have fun adventuring.... Not keeping your nose in a book to look up rules.

Just my 2 cents....

User avatar
MadCartographer
Hlobane Orc
Posts: 105
Joined: Sun Apr 12, 2015 3:26 pm
Contact:

Re: Notes to myself...

Post by MadCartographer »

Aergraith wrote:I have been running my sandboxy game, and here are a few things I have been working on:
1. Don't love your world so much that you forget what it's for: a backdrop for what the player characters want to do, and where your players spend a few hours of their weekend.
VERY good advice.
Thanks!

User avatar
Captain_K
Greater Lore Drake
Posts: 2282
Joined: Sun Dec 29, 2013 10:37 pm
Location: North Coast

Re: Notes to myself...

Post by Captain_K »

All around great advice, hard to follow sometimes... after all the hours and years you put into NPC, encounters, worlds, and some schmuck PC comes along and by passes the big surprise by accident or melts down your ice cap and drowns the frost giants, etc. etc. Its hard to just roll with some of the stuff PCs want to do.. .. "No your elf does not want to, heck, cannot, bring himself to eat all the orcs it kills. Seriously, elves do not eat orcs... why... damn because I said so!"

But all great advice. We need a little magical cricket in our ear whispering to us hints on how to be a better CK.. getting these put on a slow loop in a soothing voice and weaving them into subliminal and ethereal gaming music might do the trick.. where is a Bard when you need one.

Great suggestions/ideas all. Sum the list and publish it some place... but where would such a list be good to be published for all players and CKs to find it.. I wonder.. something like a Domesday mag?????
Wow, Another Natural One! You guys are a sink hole for luck. Stay away from my dice.

User avatar
joneshoward
Mist Elf
Posts: 29
Joined: Wed Apr 06, 2016 2:37 pm
Location: Indiana
Contact:

Re: Notes to myself...

Post by joneshoward »

Lots of great stuff here.

During character creation now I play much faster and looser with the rules than I ever used to. Maybe it's because we're all middle-aged, but I don't worry about munkinizing or what have you. As long as things are mostly balanced, I'm okay with it. I had someone wanting to play a fighter/magic user without cumbersome mutliclassing rules, so I simply tweaked the version from the Compendium. And then I had another player who wanted to play more of a magic-using bard, with a few more thief skills but a few less bard skills. No worries. I suppose if someone was playing a straight line fighter in the campaign things wouldn't be fairly balanced, but no one is, so I'm not worrying about it.

I don't even bother tabulating experience points any more. The middle levels seem to be the most fun, so when we get around 4th level I typically slow down advancement and then every 7 or 8 adventures advance them. No one seems to mind.

The most important things -- are the players and I having fun? Does everyone have something to do? Are the players engaged in the situation? Are they presented with mysteries to unravel (that actually interest them) and goals to achieve?

Despite the more freeform nature of my approach to rules, I think we're having more fun with my current campaign than we have had in years. I wish we could play every week, but time just barely permits every other week.
"Who dies first?"
--Conan, "The Phoenix on the Sword"

http://www.howardandrewjones.com

Treebore
Mogrl
Posts: 20660
Joined: Mon May 01, 2006 7:00 am
Location: Arizona and St Louis

Re: Notes to myself...

Post by Treebore »

joneshoward wrote:Lots of great stuff here.

During character creation now I play much faster and looser with the rules than I ever used to. Maybe it's because we're all middle-aged, but I don't worry about munkinizing or what have you. As long as things are mostly balanced, I'm okay with it. I had someone wanting to play a fighter/magic user without cumbersome mutliclassing rules, so I simply tweaked the version from the Compendium. And then I had another player who wanted to play more of a magic-using bard, with a few more thief skills but a few less bard skills. No worries. I suppose if someone was playing a straight line fighter in the campaign things wouldn't be fairly balanced, but no one is, so I'm not worrying about it.

I don't even bother tabulating experience points any more. The middle levels seem to be the most fun, so when we get around 4th level I typically slow down advancement and then every 7 or 8 adventures advance them. No one seems to mind.

The most important things -- are the players and I having fun? Does everyone have something to do? Are the players engaged in the situation? Are they presented with mysteries to unravel (that actually interest them) and goals to achieve?

Despite the more freeform nature of my approach to rules, I think we're having more fun with my current campaign than we have had in years. I wish we could play every week, but time just barely permits every other week.

Rules really belong in the back ground, the story is what needs to be up front. Whether that is the story of the CK, or of the players, is for each group to decide.
Since its 20,000 I suggest "Captain Nemo" as his title. Beyond the obvious connection, he is one who sails on his own terms and ignores those he doesn't agree with...confident in his journey and goals.
Sounds obvious to me! -Gm Michael

Grand Knight Commander of the Society.

User avatar
joneshoward
Mist Elf
Posts: 29
Joined: Wed Apr 06, 2016 2:37 pm
Location: Indiana
Contact:

Re: Notes to myself...

Post by joneshoward »

"Rules really belong in the back ground, the story is what needs to be up front. Whether that is the story of the CK, or of the players, is for each group to decide."

Well said.

I've been the primary GM for decades, but it still took me too long to realize that if I didn't know the rule I could just make a temporary ruling to keep things going.

Most intuitive ruleset I ever used was for FASA's Star Trek: The Role-Playing Game. After character creation I think the only time we cracked open a book was to check precise weapon damage. But then we all knew the original series backwards and forwards -- and being percentile it was super easy to make a ruling on how much to penalize someone on a specific roll. Maybe if I were more of a math guy I would have clued in how to best use non-percentile systems faster.

I've gotten much better about that with C&C. Feels like my players' characters are a little overpowered, actually, but the players seem to be loving the campaign, so I'm just rolling with it. Lately I've been pumping up the armor class or hit points a little for some of their opponents -- more than the average hobgoblins, for instance, officially have -- so I don't have to throw any super weird stuff at them. Yet.

I've noticed these days that my players' characters don't seem to die. We're so invested in the story that I try not to let it happen, and even give them hero points to facilitate that. If the group is functioning well, even a different CHARACTER can really throw off equilibrium. I don't know if anyone else has that problem, but sometimes even the same, good player, changing character, can throw off the whole chemistry of the team and make it less enjoyable. And the enjoyment is the important part. I mean, we have one guy who drives an hour and a half to play, and two people who Skype in from two different time zones. Playing takes some effort, so it has to be fun.
"Who dies first?"
--Conan, "The Phoenix on the Sword"

http://www.howardandrewjones.com

User avatar
Brutorz Bill
Red Cap
Posts: 202
Joined: Sat Dec 09, 2006 8:00 am
Contact:

Re: Notes to myself...

Post by Brutorz Bill »

Great post! I agree with you and need to strive to follow that same list myself, especially about not getting to obsessed with details!

Post Reply