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Jason Durall

Summoning RuneQuest Gamemasters

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Just a note that I am paying attention to these comments, but I've been buried under travel and a sudden high prio project that means the GM Sourcebook is the #3 item on my schedule at the moment. 

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As we are still going on this... another thought arising from actual play

Player occupations during down time.
Players do not have to pursue their character occupation during down time, especially if that doesn't fit the story. If Sorala the Lhankor Mhy scribe spends two or three seasons travelling with Biturian Varosh the trader wandering through Prax, then as a GM you may offer her player the choice or even insist that Sorala uses the warrior profession as her occupation as she has spent her time as a caravan guard.  

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On 11/28/2018 at 2:28 PM, Gryphaea said:

As we are still going on this... another thought arising from actual play

Player occupations during down time.
Players do not have to pursue their character occupation during down time, especially if that doesn't fit the story. If Sorala the Lhankor Mhy scribe spends two or three seasons travelling with Biturian Varosh the trader wandering through Prax, then as a GM you may offer her player the choice or even insist that Sorala uses the warrior profession as her occupation as she has spent her time as a caravan guard.  

Or perhaps a certain Orlanthi that became thane of Apple lane should use Noble occupation instead of warrior.

Kloster

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The Session Zero Principle: 

There is nothing worse, especially in today's online gaming sphere, than spending hours and hours planning a campaign that you think is moody and atmospheric, rich in lore and dripping with tone and an R-Rating...only to find one or more of your players envisioned their characters as Anime-style, and mistook the tone.  If you are picturing a Game Of Thrones atmosphere but one player wants to be Sailor Moon, well...worlds will collide.  I find it best to have a Session Zero that establishes everyone's intent off the bat, and I often include "inspiration" a la Appendix N, where I can refer my players to media of similar tone and intent. 

If you play online, INTERVIEW POTENTIAL PLAYERS FIRST!  I cannot stress this enough.

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The Sandbox- Try to play a world where the players can go anywhere and try anything.  Don't punish them for discovering their characters by interacting with the world and their choices.  Don't have a pre-built set of rails for them to run along.  If they aren't in the right place at the right time, let history happen without them; it generally does anyhow.  On the other hand, if they poke a bear (or a plot hook) they should be prepared to see matters through against a "ticking clock", and wear the consequences.  The world needs to be persistent and consistent.  The good news is that Glorantha is one of the most developed fantasy worlds in existence.  While that may seem daunting to a starting GM, it is actually an immense resource to draw upon once you get your head around how Glorantha operates.  The world itself should begin to feel familiar to players, as it would to their characters, but the opportunity for wonder and surprise is always present, as are horror and ambush.

NPCs with Flavor- Every campaign requires a stable of at least 20 well developed non-player characters who have a reason to interact with player characters in a more-or-less friendly fashion, and who have a clear personality and attitudes and particular personal aims they are working towards.  These characters should be recurring, and they should be seen to change and develop over time.  These should be relationships that the characters want to develop and choose to rely upon as they become mutually beneficial.    NPCs need to be persistent and mainly consistent.  If the NPCs die, players should feel it because they knew and liked them.  If the NPC gets angry with the party, it should matter.  If the NPC betrays the party, they should feel genuinely betrayed.  NPCs should develop trust with the players and make the players like having them around.  Not all NPCs should be nice, far from it, but the party should feel they have friendships they have cultivated and that help them invest in the world.

Player Character driven plot- The focus of the game is on the Player Characters and telling their stories.  They are the stars of the show.  There may be more powerful NPCs who act as patrons and enemies, but this story isn't about them per-se, it is about the Players' characters.  To this end, give the characters a sense of what they can do, and what their skills can achieve.  Give them a sense of how to achieve what you expect, then rely on their sense of agency to drive the story.  Their actions have consequences.  it is quite possible to have players become a victim of their own success, where their desire to hang on to their wealth becomes the driving force in their lives, and the source of the scenarios that drive their actions.  Take a note out of Hill Tribes RPG, and brainstorm the relationships between characters to give them depth before play.  Players need a reason to stay together, give them one, and let them build on it.  Most importantly, give every character a decent amount of "air-time", without being too contrived about it.

.ORG- Organizations have their own character, objectives and attitudes, it's just they take themselves more seriously.  Whether a clan, a tribe, a cult, a guild, a military unit or whatever, these bodies are implicitly political, and that is a roleplaying opportunity.  Organizations present a facade of being like great stasis runes that never change and only grind into action because of force and inertia.  This can be true, but it is only a facade.  If organizations seem slow to act, it is either because leaders are seeking clarification before acting, or because of internal dispute, and both of these are common issues.  Remember that every Organization contains factions (exact number to be determined by the GM), and each faction within the Organization contains cliques.  The Player characters represent a clique.  If the players start stealing the limelight from another clique, they will be resented.  If they help a faction, they may be promoted etc.  On the other hand, most leaders will find ways of under-rewarding characters with things they themselves don't want to manage.  Thus a cunning leader bestows magnanimous white elephants on the overly-competent until they don't seem so competent and need to start calling in favors.  That is one way leaders stay in power.  Remember, a leader who is too quick to reward too highly is an idiot who will ultimately lose their position.  Everyone in an organization is basically a friend and likely a rival too (if they have any ambition).  It is useful to keep track of politics by using a form of the Cult Compatibility Chart (E.g. Cults of Terror page 90), except with the factions and cliques and their relationships entered in place of cults.  As player characters have their reputations rise on the basis of their actions, they should make an impression and be forced to be political, even perhaps if they hate the idea.  Never forget that every organization is about managing resources, which may seem plentiful to "small fish" at the bottom of the hierarchy, but never seem enough to those in charge.  Remember that enemies too have their organizations, and your actions will affect them too.  Did you ever wonder why Robin Hood never killed the Sherriff of Nottingham?  It wasn't because Robin was necessarily a nice guy, but perhaps because he knew he was able to beat the Sherriff, but perhaps a replacement would prove too challenging.

If your players screw up your plot in an unexpected way, let them-  Simply put, your characters are going to go off the reservation.  If you keep them on rails, your game will become stilted and stifled.  Develop your ability to ad-lib, and give them the freedom to do what they want.  Then there is that moment when one of your players who is heavily invested in the plot snaps their fingers, their eyes flash with inspiration, and they solve the whole adventure but well in advance of where you thought they would.  Do not ret-con the plot to keep it going artificially and deny them their achievement.  Instead, reward them for figuring it out.  Players often feel like they are involved in a crap-shoot in the dark, so moments of clarity are important, and should be used to promote both individual achievement and group bonding.  A good GM will not throw the players into fights they can't avoid, but will drive them towards confrontations that the characters begin to ardently seek with enemies they genuinely feel something towards.  Politics and frustration are great motivators, and war is just politics by other means (Clausewitz).

Edited by Darius West
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The Consequential Conflict Principle: Strive to ensure each combat has meaningful consequences beyond just the survival of the PCs. The outcome of a fight should make a significant difference to the story of the session, and feel memorable and consequential to the players. Perhaps there are various obstacles to be overcome, such as the exotic nature of the opposition, their highly unusual tactics, the hazardous environment of the battlefield, innocent bystanders at risk, or PC objectives other than 'kill everyone' (e.g. rescue a captive, capture a position, escape the enemy, hold the fort). Equally, managing to avoid a fight can feel consequential if the PCs overcome obstacles such as the opposition's unexpected (or noble) objectives, racial/cult/clan distrust, internal agitators, unfavourable political backdrop, time pressures, manipulation of antagonists by off-screen villain etc.
 

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Listen to your players, as their paranoia often suggests a better route for plot twists that the scenario could take than your original thoughts.

If the players go off script rip up the script, improvise rather than railroad.

Edited by Sigtrygg
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