Tips for Starting a Campaign
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- This topic has 10 replies, 5 voices, and was last updated 6 years, 2 months ago by Doug.
June 23, 2016 at 11:48 am #53347SpinstrikeParticipant
A few months ago, I mentioned that a few of my friends and I were inspired by the GBR podcast to start our own Ghostbusters campaign. Things have been going good so far, but I was wondering if anybody out there had any advice for running a campaign. This is my first time GMing, so I don’t exactly have that much experience.
So far, my biggest roadblock has been writing a cohesive storyline to tie the individual “episodes” together. I’m setting the campaign in Boston-just south of Lovecraft Country-so a Cthulhu Mythos monster seems to be the most appropriate for my “Gozer”. The problem, of course, is (A) what creature to use, and (B) how to tie all of the lesser encounters into it.
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NOW GO AND REST OUR POSTERS!June 23, 2016 at 4:29 pm #53350MaxParticipant
I would encourage you to keep it pretty loose, and let the game dictate some of those connections through the power of coincidence and retcon. If you plan it too tightly, players are going to immediately throw a wrench into it anyway. I would say have some encounters ready that are flexible enough to happen in a number of locations, and then the Players are going to drive the direction. Just remember it isn’t You vs Them, but You helping Them have a good time; so don’t get super attached to a monster or NPC, you want them to defeat it (or have interesting consequences for failing to defeat it).June 25, 2016 at 12:52 pm #53359
GBR was my first time running any kind of RPG too. If you’re worried about a plot, just steal one that you like. Any movie, comic book, tv show, or video game will do. If you look at Season 1 of GBR, it’s pretty much the first Ghostbusters film (if it was episodic). At the time, I just wanted to give my players the feeling and experience of going from a bunch of nobody’s, to heroes of the planet. And the first Ghostbusters film was a perfect template to adapt.
It sounds like you’ve already started playing, so there isn’t much else I can tell you but to ask for feedback from your players. What’s the mood in the room like when you finish a session? Are they anxious or excited to play again? Ask if they had fun, or if there was anything they were frustrated by. You can always change or fix things between games. Heck, there was one time I sent my players on a bust, and when they got there the client said they wanted them to RELEASE a ghost instead of capture one in order to scare someone else away. Easy money, right? They said “That goes against everything we stand for. We’re not doing that.” And then they left. Since that whole bust was all I had planned, I said “Okay. Well, that was all I had, so let’s take a ten minute break while I prepare.” I got out my notes, quickly rolled up a few foes using the Investigation Randomizer Chart, and the result was Episode 7 of Season 1.
No matter what you do, make sure they’re having fun. If you see a player getting fidgety, or playing with their dice, give them something to roll for! Don’t stress about if the overall story structure makes sense. You’ll have plenty of time between episodes to make it work. Not to mention that your players will unintentionally be giving you ideas all the time.
I hope this was some help. But if I misunderstood your question, or if you’d like something more specific, please let me know.
If you want to reach my in-character profile as "General Manager" of the Ghostbusters, tag me using: @sevenJune 26, 2016 at 11:14 am #53368SpinstrikeParticipant
@Doug Well, we haven’t technically started yet. I’ve done a few mini-sessions to introduce them to the system via the premade adventures (e.g. the haunted taxi, etc). I have written up a few encounters, though.
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@spinstrike Oh, in that case, have a discussion with your team and see what kind of campaign they’d like to run. Do they want something light and funny like The Real Ghostbusters cartoon? Or more dark and dangerous like Constantine or The Exorcist? Are they playing themselves? Or new characters they created? Based on what kind of story they want, your plans will need more jokes or more scares from you, but keep it loose. Like Max said, don’t get too attached to the NPCs or villains. Ideally, you want to cheer on your players as they go around savin’ the day.
If you want to reach my in-character profile as "General Manager" of the Ghostbusters, tag me using: @sevenJanuary 24, 2017 at 8:52 pm #55725DagrikParticipant
To revive this post a little:
When planning the campaign, do you pick the end baddie, then backward plan some of the events to tie in? How do you suggest building a campaign in this system so that the “episodes” or jobs string together with your story?January 25, 2017 at 11:03 am #55741
@dagrik, The main villain is always who I start with. Depending on the kind of game you’re running, you may not need one. I personally would grow tired of a non-stop “monster of the week” with no story tying it all together. But I’m more inclined to tell “cinematic” stories.
If you have a main villain in mind, it’ll help add structure. You just need to know what their goal is, and how they’re gonna go about getting it. Every single bust doesn’t have to be connected to the big bad. There are many episodes in Season 1, and a quite a few in Season 2 that have nothing to do with the main villain’s plot.
My recommendation is to figure out who your main villain is and what the final confrontation is likely to be, and plan backwards from there. Just don’t stay too “locked” in on what the order of events must be. The most important thing is to make sure the players are having fun. Your story is secondary to their enjoyment. Plus, if they’re having fun, you will too.
At the risk of being long-winded, I feel like I could answer in more detail during our upcoming Live Q&A. Once the next episode hits on Monday, we’ll start planning for that.
If you want to reach my in-character profile as "General Manager" of the Ghostbusters, tag me using: @sevenJanuary 26, 2017 at 3:04 pm #55752DagrikParticipant
Do you already have a list of questions for said Q&A, or will there be a place to send/ask questions?
My thought was to have a list of “calls” for the team to choose from, then letting the list grow to show a “pick-up of activity”. My “hope” is that when enough of the puzzle comes together to piece together the final baddie, the list may be disregarded in place of the team building for the final confrontation.January 28, 2017 at 2:16 pm #55769
@dagrik, we don’t have a list of questions yet. But we’ll announce a time and place to post them once we get a date locked in. Until then, feel free to keep posting here. I just can’t guarantee how fast I’ll be able to answer.
If you want to reach my in-character profile as "General Manager" of the Ghostbusters, tag me using: @sevenJanuary 29, 2017 at 7:35 pm #55794TomParticipant
Hey, Doug! Love the new season so far, and thanks for answering our questions.
Would you say you stick with fixed ectopresence for monsters/ghosts during the session, or do you play more fast and loose depending on the flow of the game?January 29, 2017 at 11:06 pm #55796
@hattiemcsandwich, Most of the time I just stick with fixed amount of Ecto Presence as planned. But I have on several occasions changed it up while playing. It really depends on how your players are handling it. If they’re having a blast, just let it play out. But if it’s just the same thing each round, and they all look like they’re getting bored, shake it up! Shave some Ecto Presence points off of it, and describe how beat up it looks. Maybe it tries to get away, but is just too weak. No matter what happens, try to make your players feel like heroes. Not just human “dice rollers” who need to “roll right” a set number of times to “win.”
If you want to reach my in-character profile as "General Manager" of the Ghostbusters, tag me using: @seven
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