Run Club and Other Ideas  

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I just got finished chatting online with Dan about science fiction. As I've said recently, I've rediscovered my love of science fiction, in a large part due to my Fantasy/Sci-Fi class. In fact, I've been on such a sci-fi kick recently that I finally stopped digging in my heels and decided to change my NaNoWriMo novel into a science fiction story. That means it's probably going to be an even crappier read to begin with, since it commits the grave sin of starting out like a fantasy story and then suddenly turning out to be a virtual reality game (If people want to read fantasy, they'll read a fantasy novel. Genre fiction readers generally don't like the bait-and-switch with genre)...but NaNoWriMo is about writing quantity, not quality. It's supposed to be crappy. See Anne Lamott in Bird By Bird - she mentions this about first drafts.

Anyway, I'm all science fictiony these days. Here's the logo I put together for my novel.

You may say something about the fact that I may have spent more time making my logo than writing my novel, but hey - I'm a Comic Art major, I work with visual narrative. Besides, some people have gone much farther than I did...

As far as my word count goes, I'm currently at 6960 words, which is still pretty far behind. I was encouraged by an e-mail from Chris Baty, the founder of NaNoWriMo, who said he's currently at 8400. I'm still due to write tonight, so I should be posting a new word count later.

I also wanted to post something I just read, a suggestion called "Run Club." While it's still too soon to talk about gaming with my old friends - separated by hundreds and hundreds of miles as we are - and while it sounds much like the sort of gaming we used to do, Run Club is basically designed to allow everyone to play/GM, to allow everyone to roleplay on a semi-regular basis amidst busy lives, and encourages participants not to get too caught up in the whole preparation deal, which is always what bogged me down. The idea is simple:

1) Every month (or two weeks, or whatever works) someone takes a turn and runs a game. One-shot, short game. No campaign. No big picture. Just a single game.

2) Everybody who plays will GM. Everybody. This is the core principle of Run Club. You cannot play if you will not GM. That's the pact.

3) When everyone has run a game, the round is finished and you can start over again.

That's it. Simple on the surface, but in that simplicity a number of complex issues are addressed.

Since the requirement is to run a single stand-alone game, planner/procrastinators are called to the carpet and made to deliver (the "good GMs run games" principle). You don't need a continent to run a single game, you need a town or single dungeon at most. Part of that procrastination is certainly fear, so now you get to confront that fear.

...Even though it isn't a written rule, participants in Run Club have a sense that they have already signed up for the process, so there is much more willingness to play in each Run Club game even if you expect it is going to bomb. It's almost expected that many of the games will tank horribly (and they will), but everyone knows it's a learning process so the usual resistance to playing in a potentially bad game (or one in a genre you normally would not like) is diminished.

...You're the center of attention, with a crowd of loyal players, and then someone else offers to run a game and everyone is excited to play in it. Were people really bored with your game? Were you doing something wrong? Sometimes they are, and sometimes you were, or sometimes people just want a change of pace no matter how good your game is. Run Club lets other people try sitting behind the screen without threatening the status quo.

Seems like a pretty good way to be able to game semi-regularly without all of the horrible distraction issues roleplaying tends to cause us creative-worker types. It would also be nice, I think, because then I'd actually get to run some of the freakishly wide variety of games I own, most of which I've never run or played even once.

Just a thought, something to mull over for the next year or two before I move back to California. I'll be back later with a new word count, unless I don't come back.

This entry was posted on Thursday, November 09, 2006 at Thursday, November 09, 2006 . You can follow any responses to this entry through the comments feed .


You forgot the number one rule about Run Club don't talke about Run Club!

4:13 PM


What "Run Club"?

5:15 PM

So I like this idea of this la gioco nostro (because we don't speak of it by name) and want to do it. Now.

My question is about our temperaments. We're creatures who long after the long story--is there any room in this system for campaigns? Could one GM, say, run all his or her games for a time as a consistent storyline? That would seem to give that GM time to put things together for each adventure (if you're only running one game every four or five months) without getting bogged down. I love the idea of one-shots, but I admit I would miss the chance to follow a single set of characters through a longer story arc.

9:33 AM

Would it be plausible to pick a setting or game (e.g., ShadowRun, EarthDawn, D&D,...etc.) each year, half-year, quarter, or timeframe of choice, and have all games run during that time in that setting with the same characters. It seems to me that 30-40% of each game is taken up with Character creation.

What about co-GMs? Or is that a recipe for violence and disaster?

12:30 PM

I've wanted to try co-GMing for a long time. That is, if we mean the same thing by the term.

With Earthdawn and a few others (Star Trek, notably), we switched off GMing the same character teams. That has a few drawbacks (how do you play your PC as an NPC when you GM without showing favoritism or leaving him/her out entirely?), but has worked the few times we've tried it. It tends to have the same troubles as any other "running a giant campaign" game, only with the added difficulty of not wanting to step on the other guys' plots, though.

I have much wanted to run a game with a co-GM, someone who would manage the NPCs while I just stuck to the plot and setting details. I think that could work terrifically well.

And yes, character creation has taken up much of the adventures you play with us. When we're in a groove with the same characters, it gets taken up with pointless out-of-character jokes and rehashing the last game.

5:20 PM

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