Sunday, May 02, 2010

Ummm—Tell Me Again Why We're Going In the Dark Creepy Hole?

I am not happy with the way last night's session of Deadlands went. It was my fault. I felt as direction-less as my players were probably feeling. I had decided that they would probably end up going back to Denver. Brandon decided to Retcon the Head Chopping action from the last game, and I was perfectly happy to allow that. What I wanted to do was feel out what the players wanted to do when they got to Denver. I had 3–4 things that I could take the players through after feeling out what they wanted to do in Denver—and most likely ended up headed to Mexico.

Things were very direction-less however, so I had to make a decision. I felt like I was forcing things, and I messed up part of the description that I'm going to have to fix.

I felt a little flustered every time Brandon would "loot" the scene. It was pulling me out of the narrative, but it wasn't out of character for him to be doing that. I also think I need to read up on how spell-casting works; I trust Brandon, but I would feel more comfortable if I understood the mechanics of it better.

We started the Flood last night, and I found it a little tricky to get the characters to go where they needed to go. I guess if they had decided to not go down into the scary hole, they would have met some sharply dressed businessmen back in Denver.

I had also planned to run an interlude session on the Train, but I forgot to print out the interludes document. I wanted to run the interlude, because part of the issues I have as Marshall (Game Master) seem to be rooted in the fact that the posse doesn't feel compelled to be together. So they decided to role play it out sans interlude card drawing. I think that went ok, but I feel it cemented the fact that there's not a lot of cohesion in the group.

I guess I just didn't feel connected to the game last night. I was pretty upset about it, it was stressing me and I even snapped at Justin when he questioned part of the narrative.

The only part that seemed to go okay was the combat. I threw a lot more villains at them than the scenario called for, and it seemed to work out okay, I was rolling lousy—but I was using Fate chips, so was everyone else, so that went well—but there wasn't a lot of description (another failure on my part) so it was the ROLL play portion of the evening.

I feel that overall I did a lousy job last night. I hope I can run a better game in two weeks.


  1. I really think you are too hard on yourself. I think you did a better job Saturday than you're giving yourself credit for. There were a couple of moments that you had a struggle or two, but it happens.

    This is just my take on things, I'm certainly am not the fount of all wisdom. I think the problem stems from the fact that you feel the events of the game are spiraling out of control. From what I know about you and the way you DM. You don't like feeling that events are out of your control.

    You seemed more relaxed During the "Zombie Run" game. In "Zombie Run" The events were easy to control because that game was "on rails". This game isn't even close to being on the rails.

    The DM controls the setting and the NPC's but only has limited control over player Characters. This may be one of the hardest things you do as a GM but, I think you'll have less frustrations with your game if you'll just relax control just a bit and trust your players to assist you in telling the story. You have good characters, good players, and a good story in an excellent setting. From that you will get a good story but it may not turn out exactly as you planned. In my experience it almost never does.

    That's just my 2 cents.

  2. You did fine, it was just a bit of a rough session. Just not as smooth as it could have gone.
    I did like the train shoot-out, it's always fun to roll a fight.
    Maybe I should Co-GM with you, ha ha ha!

  3. @ Brandon

    Nope, I think you're completely off target. I don't think I'm a control Freak—I'm just bad at Improv. Mostly I hate dealing with loot, and you're constantly forcing my hand.

    The other thing is, I was trying not to lead the story in a certain direction(I had 3.5 contingency plans), but I wasn't giving story hooks—so in Denver people were aimless.

    My yardstick for success is a three part system. A) Do people seem bored or lost during the game? B) What Feedback do I get After the Game? C) Was My Wife Bored or Annoyed at any Point During the Game? (and Frankly C carries a lot of weight)

    @ Orangemily

    You should Co-GM. But You'll need to read the Rules First.

  4. Man we missed the game again. I am sure you are doing a great job as the DM

  5. I know for a fact that you do a great job. We all have off nights. I kick myself every time I read your posts about that game because I want to be in there playing. I just gotta get my schedule together.