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GM 2021 in Review

Game Management

2021 in Review

Three Years of a Blog

The end of 2021 marks the 2nd Full Year I have been writing this blog and people have been coming to look at my own brand of madness. The purpose of this blog is solely to work with my own games and simplify referencing material I am using to run it.

It started out as reviews of books, talking about experiences in roleplaying games and evolved into more of a reference for use in game.

This was, and still is, an ongoing process where older material is being updated to reflect what I want to use, and how my thoughts on the settings have matured over time.

I have moved from having players manage their characters in isolation to bringing them into the blog for all to see as a work in progress as we play the games.

Three Years of a YouTube Channel

In year one (2019) we started with our first video recordings (I have audio recordings of most sessions before this) going from session 991 to 1016 since I started running again in 2009. 25 sessions in the first year was not too bad. These are the most watched video’s even though I have a lot less polish in running games here.

In year two (2020) we went from session 1017 to 1151 dropping 138 games over the year with a maximum I could fit in being 156 if I ran every week. Shows just how many games I tend t run over a year. And this was with the worst outbreaks I have experienced of Fire, then Ice, then infection causing much mayhem in my town.

This last year three (2021) started with session 1152 and ended with session 1280 dropping 136 games over the course of the year with worsening health issues to the point where for my own health unvaxxed players have to remote into the game due to the risk my family faces with this virus. Its an extreme measure, but one that will hopefully see me continuing running over the next few years at least.

They started out more awkward, and now they are natural for all my players as its now possible for them to review what they have done in the past (technical issues hopefully not in the way). I have enjoyed making them available to the public but occasionally run afoul of the copyright laws of music due to the music being sourced from Syrinscape. I have successfully won each copyright challenge, but it did highlight what I need to do going forwards with the music at the start and end of a game session. The music needed other sound effects overlaid or it would trip the 3rd party auto checkers. Since implementing that I have not had a claim raised.

The next big part of the video’s is it give new players the ability to see what the game is like before joining as there is no post editing down, its posted as its recorded, and represents the live game session as it is.

A Forever GM

The last time I played in a game was before I started making video recordings of my sessions, so now I have run at least 290 game sessions since I last played in a game at PAX in 2019. Before I started counting game sessions as a wholistic approach in 2019 I had previously run about 500 games over 20 years of gaming. As I tend to run three games a week, and two seperate groups for each game a fortnight it has taken up most of my capacity to participate in games behind the screen.

As a player, very little is required between games, to be honest I rarely see work being put into the games from players beyond level advancement and backgrounds. While it is not advertised I give a lot of leeway for players to invent and create stories in the games as long as it fits the shared narrative. What is a shared narrative you might ask, to be clear it is the ongoing storyline that the players are experiencing through their characters and the games master is trying to keep consistent with actions having consequences and fallout.

Why don’t I get invited to play, well the main reason is that I am very busy keeping these games consistent and planning out the six separate gaming groups and three settings so that when I get to a session there is less issues involved. This is very much like a full time job that I enjoy, as it takes up a big chunk of my functional hours. It is also the only real time I get to speak to people.

I have been asked to drop games and run fewer games over the years by those who don’t understand that running games is a passion that helps me get out of bed of a morning, but it does have a tendency to cause isolation.

As a GM I have had to come to terms with the fact that many friends in my games are friends only while they are in the games. Very few long term friends are still around as I struggle with travel and need them to come to me otherwise I run out of energy too quickly and pain levels can lead to poor company when I am out.

This has lead to hosting movies, painting and board games days to try and have a way to catch up with people. I would like to spend time with friends where I was not their Games Master, but that is not always possible, and with games closed for the year I have time, but no energy to reach out to my community of friends. The Covid vaccine has left me in lots of pain, and maybe another christmas in isolation. So what this means is if you want to talk to me, the best time to catch me without games getting in the way is the next three weeks while I have closed games for the year.

Is a Game Night Socialisation for a GM (No)

While most players can socialise before, during and after games, as the GM running the game I have quite a few tasks to maintain. While it might not seem like much I am very busy most game days.

Due to my disability I am usually sleeping for about an hour or two before game to conserve energy. This downtime is necessary to give me enough energy to run the game, and keep focused so planning social time in the hours before I run a game is rarely done.

I am also chasing up players as most are not good at letting me know if they are able to make the game till the game is starting. Again this does impact the game, as planning side stories and personalisation for players relies on knowing the player is available beforehand, and potentially what they are interested in.

While getting the game ready to start, I get about 5-10 minutes to talk, sometimes more, while setting up the recording, videos, camera’s, microphones, players, following up on rules, character updates and pre-game details to make sure the players are ready to go. This does take a lot of my concentration so I am not paying as much attention to the conversation as the players. The reason the games generally run smoothly is what is done before and after game.

When the game finishes, a majority of players are up and gone as the end credits are being recorded and saved, and occasionally I am able to talk after game, its not always possible due to player needs and my own energy levels. While this is happening I am also trying to upload the game session to youtube and have it out of the way as less of an impact on other aspects of my life. Usually after I get the video uploaded, I pile into bed and sleep.

So the crux of this is that Games while my main source of social contact with gamers is not really my social time due to the work I am putting into running and maintaining the games. I would like to socialise outside of games, but finding that time with people is rare.

Conclusion

The year has been good for the games, I intend to write up some posts on each of the games to give some predictions and insight into the upcoming storylines I plan to utilise, as well as my fallback games for when a campaign implodes and stops. There are many options available from my suite of gaming lore and knowledge. While I may be a good strategic gm, I am a better storyteller thanks to my groups and their willingness to embrace new concepts and ideas.

I feel very lucky that I have a bunch of nice people willing to spend a night a fortnight helping yo tell an amazing storyline.

Content Updates

Game Management

GM – 2021 in Review, Choosing a New Campaign, Downtime Uses, GM’s Luck Roll, House Rules, Running Games over Skype, Sandbox vs Linear, Story RPGs, Table Rules, Tracking Experience

Annotated Stat Blocks: Dungeons and Dragons, Pathfinder, Pathfinder 2, Star Wars FFG

Creating a Campaign: D&D Mystara Design (2022), Genesys, Pathfinder, Pathfinder 2 TRAP Design (2022), Shadowrun, Star Wars (Mandalorian, 2022)

Character Creation: Dungeons and Dragons, Pathfinder 2, Star Wars Beta, Star Wars FFG

Concluding a Campaign: Star Wars

NPCsTalking to NPCs, Working with NPCs.

Virtual Table Top (VTT) Software – d20Pro: Installation, Realm Works: Players and their Characters, Using for D&D, Realm Created

Library of Books

B5, d20 System, Pathfinder, SW

Main Logo

This site is constantly under revision, no blog posts are final as this is a work in progress place for me to develop my game settings and rules. Some posts might be placeholders for future content, so feel free to check back later for updated information.

Basic Links: Who Am I?, Home, Game Tools, Game Session Videos, My Campaigns, My Library, Site Map, Subscription Information

Game Systems: Dungeons & Dragons, Pathfinder 1 & 2, Shadowrun, Star Wars. Other Game Systems

Site sponsored by the author AS Hamilton (my wife) with her books available on amazon kindle.

By thedarkelf007

I am a long term gamer, I run 6 RPG's a fortnight, host board game, card game and LANs each about once a quarter and have an addiction to buying more games. Games I am currently running are Pathfinder (1st and 2nd Edition) and Dungeons and Dragons (5th Edition).

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