I’m gonna count Orlando Trash as a successful campaign at this point, which means I’ve run two successful campaigns. Maybe three if we count the Iowa City Vampire campaign; it’s vanished in the mists of time for me, but I think we didn’t go more than five or so sessions. Regardless, everyone’s enjoying Orlando Trash and I still get compliments on Huey Long’s Men of Action, so definitely successes.
Okay. Two is not enough for a trend analysis if I was being a scientist, but I’m being a GM.
I get into running games with larger than life PCs. I like running for PCs who can affect the world; I tend to want them to be close to very important NPCs, without a lot of layers of bureaucracy between them and the authorities.
In both games, the PCs have wound up as operatives of the ruling powers, while still maintaining a strong degree of independence. I’m not sure if this is an inherent tendency or if it’s just a convenient frame. That’s something I’d like to play around with in my next game. Hm; if I’d ever done Whitey Bulger’s Men of Action, it would have fit that formula. Of course, Men of Action games kinda fit that by definition, don’t they?
I tend to mix action and talk. I’ll happily run a session that’s almost purely action, but I won’t run two of them in a row.
I like dumping problems on PCs. I do it for the emotional rush that I believe the players get when they resolve the problems. My goal — this is pretty much stolen from Carl Rigney — is to ratchet up the pressure on the PCs to the maximum possible before they shatter into a million pieces.
Sometimes those problems come in the form of mysteries or puzzles or conspiracies. My players seem to enjoy getting to the bottom of those. Discovery is a big emotional payoff, in my experience.
I like strong, broad archetypes. I don’t reuse ‘em over and over again; Prince Sabado is pretty much completely unlike Huey Long. There was no Sheriff Steel equivalent in Men of Action.
Some of my players read this. What else do I do a lot?
Once I chew on all this some more I’ll talk about my next game, which’ll be fantasy, and which is preliminarily named Tarnished Brass. I think.