Wednesday, April 16, 2014

GM Analysis: Frank!

Seeing as Frank Punch (not his real name) was so enthusiastic to read about my opinions on various GMs, I figured I may as well start with him.  Frank Punch is new to Game Mastery and his previous experience (as far as I understand it) involves occasional game running of munchkins where the GMs revolved their spots between playing and GMing as well as a more recent very casual family games where several parents come along to play while their children play together.

Since I dropped the Flashpoint game, he chose to take up the slot with some Pathfindering of his own and decided to run one of the published adventures he'd purchased.  It proved a pretty cool game, embroidered with his use of purchased miniatures and hastily drawn maps, with a high focus on combat and peril.  The enemies played cleverly and used their abilities to their full advantage which led to very long combats, with one boss battle taking up an entire session (2 hours, approximately).  Since the enemies were tactically clever, these long combats didn't grate and the players were energised still by the end of it.

To be honest, one of my main failings as a GM is that combat rules, in particular, tend to slip freely from my mind and so I don't play the feats and the sheet as well as I might.  This makes my combats remarkably fast but also generally easy.  (Somehow my players haven't clued into the general ease of such combats, though, so my descriptive ability must be somehow driving the fear of the Gods into them.)

Once we had finished this pre-generated adventure (which killed three PCs and sent the fourth one fleeing for help), we moved onto a dungeon that he partially randomly generated and partially painstakingly created.  I believe the maps and architecture were the main part of the random generation (completed by a computer generator) and the rest was done by himself.

He uses a house rule where "What you say is what you get".  This isn't to say that he takes OOC comments to be true.  This isn't that kind of super serious game.  It is a dungeon crawl, after all.  But if you say you walk down a corridor, you can't later complain that you were sneaking.  He drilled the point home by having a door resist being pushed open, since it opened the other way and had to be pulled.  A silly point, perhaps, and one that could have indicated a bit of anal retentiveness, but later exploits in the dungeon revealed  the inclusion of that piece of dungeonry was probably more of a cautionary point so that we would have to put a bit of thought into our word use.  In other words, he wasn't so anal at later points so I think it was more to drill the point home!

Other than this, he makes good use of traps.  He included a faux trap involving well-placed spears alongside some descriptive clues that there was no trap there (including the fact that I could find no trap).  He also included several other traps with neat descriptions for those who locate them.  He also includes faux treasure points, such as a Mimic hiding under rubble which looked like a treasure chest and a corridor into nowhere that would normally include treasure (as a reward for coming all that way) but instead contained a trap (as the In World dungeon architects would have suspected we'd assume a reward).

All in all, it was a lot of fun with an easygoing atmosphere, high importance placed on the scenery of words (pay attention to the verbal clues), and with roleplay encouraged to be mostly about asides rather than character arcs and conversations.  I don't know what he's like with other formats.  It may be that his preference is for dungeon crawls and combat-to-combat games.  It may be that he's just dipping his toes in that end of the pool.  I know, at least, his tastes will run towards action as they do as a player as well.  I also can't say what his NPCing talents are or if he has them because it hasn't really come up.  Since we've only been playing for about five sessions, they haven't really needed to.

So yes, there you go, Frank.  You have been analysed.  If I were to steal two of your talents, thus far, it would be your combat preparations / battle ability and your trap wizardry.  At least, thus far.

1 comment:

  1. *Tips Hat*
    I'm glad you're enjoying my ever so recent delve into taking the helm.

    Now, you just need to hit up some of your other previous GM's, DM's and ST's so that I can steal from... er... learn from their experience.