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Leitz October 3rd, 2012 01:37 PM

What do you ask players when forming a game?
 
Some of the things that come to mind are:

SF favorites; movies, books, tv shows
Merc, Trader, Explorer, or ??
What entrances you about SF?

What else? I'm trying to make sure when I start my game there's a shared vision. One of the issues Traveller has is that SF is so broad that people can come in with wildly different expectations. With D&D it's generally LoTR based, with some mythology. Genre specific games like Star Trek and Star wars have their own expectations and environment. Traveller is wide open.

Leitz

hdan October 3rd, 2012 05:44 PM

That's a good question.

I my latest (and truth be told, only recent) Traveller campaign, I presented the game as a short campaign (really a "one shot" game, but given my group's playtime situation, the game takes place over multiple 1-hour sessions) that pits some characters against "Death Station". I included the pre-generated characters and had my players pick their favorites, then wrote up a simple background for them.

But if I were doing a campaign, I'd probably ask:

Game Type: how much cohesion between "capers"?
* sandbox - random encounters, tracking all expenses, basically "using all the rules".
* saga - one of the published "sagas" like the Sky Raiders, the Twilight's Peak sequence, etc.
* episodic - like sandbox, but with less attention to "between" time and finances.

(Episodic is an idea I've been playing around with. The idea is that each session will be like an episode of a TV series, but without any story arc to speak of. Players still spend their earnings on personal equipment and ship upgrades, and naturally there will be recurring characters, but the Ref can always start an adventure with, "a series of bad deals finds you preparing to depart from Vanejen with a nearly empty hold and little free cash. Which makes the Vargr's offer all the more tempting....")

Game Focus: what should players be considering when they make their characters?
* Merc - everyone's a fighter, the level of equipment available can be pretty intense.
* Travellers - the players run a merchant ship and always need money, but can "aim to misbehave", bounty hunt, trade, or even attept to lead respectable lives, but are still responsible for their ship.
* Scoundrels - Less responsible Travellers
* Explorers - the players are part of (or maybe all of) an externally funded mission
* Dilettantes - adventures of the rich and famous, probably in more high-tech settings unless they're out on safari or something.
* Other stuff I'm not thinking of right now

Setting: where will this campaign take place?
* How accessible is technology? Is this the frontier, or are there ships bringing in high tech goods from the core every day?
* How well developed are the worlds you'll mostly be visiting? Small towns with largely unexplored planets? Huge metropoli with sophisticated infrastructure?

Leitz October 3rd, 2012 05:45 PM

What fiction character is a lot like your character?

What group(s) would you want to join?

If the group you're in had a purpose, what would it be?

How strictly does your character follow law and social convention?

What challenges your character?

CosmicGamer October 3rd, 2012 07:36 PM

Do you have a predetermined idea for your character or are you ok with role playing whatever rolls up?

Leitz October 3rd, 2012 08:19 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by CosmicGamer (Post 406532)
Do you have a predetermined idea for your character or are you ok with role playing whatever rolls up?

Good one! I always have a pre-determined image and wouldn't have thought of that!

Leitz

Leitz October 3rd, 2012 08:22 PM

hdan, good thinking! One of the things I'm considering is telling the players "These are the things I don't do well. If you want to contribute to the campaign, feel free to write stuff up." For examples, I'm lousy with animal creation.

Leitz

timerover51 October 4th, 2012 12:51 AM

First thing is tell players how you run your games. I do not allow illegal activities for player characters except under exceptional circumstances. I view rules as guidelines, not as set in concrete, and I tend to modify every game that I play or run. As Gamemaster, I run the game, and if a character starts acting in a manor that I do not regard as acceptable, he will get one warning, and then bad things start happening to him and the group as a whole. Rules lawyers will be shown the door very quickly.

If they have a D&D background, I ask them what their character alignment normally is. Evil types, especially chaotic evil types, as advised to look elsewhere.

I ask them if they are going to take good care of the NPCs that they may hire. I normally role up significant NPC hirelings, give then a background, use them to feed information to players, and keep track of what they do, as recurring characters for use in a campaign. If they start to use the NPCs as "security men" or cannon fodder, bad things will start to happen.

After that, anyone still left is asked what type of character are they thinking of playing, and I see if we have a functional group. A range of characters seems to work best. Then I have them role up characters and based on those, figure out what sort of adventures/quests to develop. I like to run more trade-based or quest-based games. I am not interested in setting up a mercenary outfit for their benefit or running a small war. The sort of things that I like to run are things like Leviathan, Chamax Plague/Horde, Research Station Gamma, and Twilight's Peak. I am not into Mercenary, Striker, or High Guard.

As an example why I ask what type of D&D characters they may have played or play, here is what a friend and I did to one teenage Dungeon Master at a local convention. We were handed pre-generated characters, basically all of which were some type of evil. I was given a chaotic evil magic-user to run, and my friend would up with a very strong fighter, also chaotic evil. The DM said that we had to run them as chaotic evil, so I and my buddy had a quiet discussion of how we would play that, and then proceeded. It was an overland adventure taking a couple of days to get to the target. My buddy and I volunteered for the first night watch. Once the rest of the party was asleep, I thoroughly reinforced their slumber with several sleep spells, and then we cut the other 5 throats, and split up all of their goodies. (Think: A Few Dollars More) Needless to say, the rest of the players were not amused. We just looked at them and asked if they had any idea as to how chaotic evil characters would act when a guaranteed rich haul is before them verses a highly uncertain reward in the future. I should note that at the time I was 30, my buddy was in high mid-20s, and we were both seminary students. We were not impressed with being told how we had to act. We left the DM and the rest of the group to sort things out.

Amber Chancer October 29th, 2012 06:48 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by timerover51 (Post 406569)
As an example why I ask what type of D&D characters they may have played or play, here is what a friend and I did to one teenage Dungeon Master at a local convention. We were handed pre-generated characters, basically all of which were some type of evil. I was given a chaotic evil magic-user to run, and my friend would up with a very strong fighter, also chaotic evil. The DM said that we had to run them as chaotic evil, so I and my buddy had a quiet discussion of how we would play that, and then proceeded. It was an overland adventure taking a couple of days to get to the target. My buddy and I volunteered for the first night watch. Once the rest of the party was asleep, I thoroughly reinforced their slumber with several sleep spells, and then we cut the other 5 throats, and split up all of their goodies. (Think: A Few Dollars More) Needless to say, the rest of the players were not amused. We just looked at them and asked if they had any idea as to how chaotic evil characters would act when a guaranteed rich haul is before them verses a highly uncertain reward in the future. I should note that at the time I was 30, my buddy was in high mid-20s, and we were both seminary students. We were not impressed with being told how we had to act. We left the DM and the rest of the group to sort things out.

I love it!

I never did like the defined characteristics thing ... which is one fo the reasons I never really got on with D&D.

kafka47 October 30th, 2012 01:36 PM

What SF tropes are they familiar with?

What SF inspirations do you draw from? Film, TV, literary - and what properties.

What is your literacy in science? (my games tend to be Hard SF)

Can you get verbal cues (ie fly by the seat of your pants gaming) or do you need visual (whenever, I call a task roll, it is indicated by a different colour index card) or do we have slow the game down to look up rules (almost never an option).

What other RPGs do you enjoy?

What fundamentally terrifies you in real life?

What excites you in real life?

What would you like to do but never had an opportunity or might never have an opportunity?

Do you like music/sound effects in your game?

robject October 31st, 2012 09:19 AM

What sort of characters have you played before, and how did you play them?



I don't know if they can answer the second question, but if you can figure out what their playing style is (munchkin, strategist, butt-kicker, ninja, method actor, narrativist, etc), then you know what they enjoy, and you can prepare for each of them tasks they enjoy.


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