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  #1  
Old April 28th, 2006, 01:28 PM
stofsk stofsk is offline
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I'm interested in hearing how you decide to ref your games. Do you plan things down to the finest detail, do you make use of the adventures that are released? Or are you the 'fly by the seat of your pants' referee? Where improvisation rules and planning be damned.

Both are extremes, so I wager most refs will fall in a middle ground. Though I imagine there is always room for manoeuver. Planning more than improvising, or planning for certain things while the rest is more or less on the fly.

Secondly, what little things do you do - either in-game or out-of-game - to *enhance* the play experience? Do you have atmospheric music run in the background? Do you have artwork that depicts who or what is encountered in-game? Do you get a game tithe thing happening where players come with offers of booze and feasts of snacks to appease the mighty gamemaster? Do you use miniatures, do you have a large print off starmap you pin on the wall the players can always get up and look at? "Oh! So THAT'S where we are... and that's why we're being attacked, because there's this red circle thing around the system."

Thirdly, is there stuff that you just don't do? Certain things that haven't worked (the music thing: maybe you found that it was too distracting)?
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  #2  
Old April 28th, 2006, 02:56 PM
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I am definately a fly by the seat of my pants ref.

I let the jump capacitators hold a charge pert near indefinately. And even let the pc's fuel up after charging up to add jump range.

Most, if not all, of the ships that I use or design are way over the tonnage or space allowed for that ship.

I've cheerfully used the traders and gunboats plan for the far trader without nary a peep from my players.

And don't let me get started about putting drives and weapons into ships that not ought to have them fit all right and proper.

Why???

Because we have fun playing this game [img]smile.gif[/img]

And that's why we're all here too.
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Old April 28th, 2006, 03:08 PM
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All my stuff is created while comuting to and from the work by subway. Later at home I make some notes, which rarely take more than a single sheet of paper. That's all I need. No wonder I am fan of Traveller's simplicity as it fits nicely with my gaming style.
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Old April 28th, 2006, 05:19 PM
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Plans last about 5 minutes of playing time, so I make a generalized outline of what I want to give my players to work with, then it goes from there. As a player, I usually tear up what the ref had in mind, so turnabout is fair play. If we start with a generalization and the players want more specifics, either they get made up on the spot or pushed to the back burner til next session when I fill in the blanks.

For example: The game I am running head to head with a single player was left behind when he branched off in the opposite direction I was going. I made up things right and left to keep up with him. He met a NPC, asked a few questions about something, and I ended up with a main character when he decided to bring justice into that NPC's life. He ended with leaving the system, subsector, and even the Imperium just ahead of the local noble's wrath that his (the noble's) corrupt handling of the NPC was exposed. My opening plan was for the retired scout (PC) to take a message to a covert operative in the Federation of Arden, but he took up his fight for the underdog before I could get him his assignment with the old "You are a retired scout with a scout ship who has just been recalled..." routine. He went to Darrian, got a job looking for skipped shipowners and is now back in the Imperium playing bounty hunter to support his scout. He doesn't dare go to the Vilis subsector until he can find proper authorities to pass incriminating evidence about a certian Marquis. If we ever get a chance to play again, I have an offer that I think will entice him to turn in his scout ship at the nearest scout base. Then we will see if I can get my new plan going before he adopts another cause to scrap that plan.
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Old April 28th, 2006, 07:26 PM
Keklas Rekobah Keklas Rekobah is offline
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I like to plan each session as an outline with an "If/Then/Else" format. The more detailed the plan, however, the easier it is for the players to make it irrelevant. On that note, here are a few things for every referee to keep in mind:

- Anything a referee does can get the players angry. This includes doing nothing.
- Arguing with the referee is a sure way for players to get results (but not the results they want, right?).
- Bonus experience points should only be awarded when the player was smart enough to think of a plan, stupid enough to try it, and lucky enough for his or her character to survive.
- Allow the players to munchkinize their characters; because if the players can bend the rules and munchkinize, then so can the referee!.
- Incoming pizza always has the right of way.
- Keep all the players involved; it gives them more to think (worry) about.
- Long-time players are predictable; it's the newbies that are dangerous.
- Never trust a player who carries more books and dice than you do.
- No plan of events ever survives the first few minutes of play intact.
- The only thing more deadly to a character than a critical hit roll is a critical failure roll.
- When in doubt, roll the dice and smile.

[img]graemlins/file_23.gif[/img]
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  #6  
Old April 28th, 2006, 09:02 PM
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I start with what the characters are like, and go from there. I sometimes make event so large that they could not handle it, and must solve Around the Event. Either that or I keep them wound up so tight that even the mundane stuff has been seen to be potentially lethal.

Action wise, it goes like a Book. I do an intro to a thread or Adv. and then the players react and do dialog. Players do a lot of the description of what thier character does. How effective that is , is up to the character.

Even a well described action can not always end up good for the player, but at least it is interesting, and fits an overall scope.

As far as technically, I automate everything into adaptable segments to anticipate any player divergences from the Event Outline.

But key is keeping it moving.
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Old April 28th, 2006, 10:40 PM
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Klaus Klaus is offline
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I ref like I teach - think about it all for an hour before going to sleep and then just make it up when the time comes (though I'll often have loads of npcs pre-prepared). I tend to play by the seat of my pants, and if thrown heavily off course I'll slot in a favourite scene from a sci-fi novel (which can sometimes give my players a weird and strangely personal sense of deja vu when reading a new book...)
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Old April 28th, 2006, 11:22 PM
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My players are mostly self-directed with objectives and goals. My job is to get in their way.
Level of Plot Detail: General points, goals and objectives. Mostly I use their guesses and fears to build the next adventure. Action and encounters are location based like traps. Go to system X and event A occurs, in system Y event B occurs. Sometimes they are part of the plot sometimes not. Try to make encounters that will engage everybody.

Humor, we must have that.

Support materials: Loads of details, NPCs, TAS news updates, and homemade maps. Detail the locations till you need a database to keep track of it and adventure is sure to follow. We always have good food and wine to make the event something special.

Things I don’t do: Get bogged down by rules and tables. Good role playing beats good dice rolls any day. No mood music.
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Old April 28th, 2006, 11:49 PM
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Sifu Blackirish Sifu Blackirish is offline
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Long ago I realized that the best laid plans of mice, men, and referees will be thwarted by a hot dice hand, munchkin players, and lack of preparation.

I losened my planning to just include bare notes and location of subplots in my voluminous poorly filed notes. Naturally everyone expects the ref to look at noites during play. With everything cross referenced, I can counter player's surprises with my own!

I pretty much let players get away with almost anything, if they can throw some convincing technobabble at me and can convince me that their handwavium is plausible.

Background music, handouts, pictures...It all gets thrown into the mix. I don't allow recrestional narcotics, though...too much loss of attention span... [img]tongue.gif[/img]
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Old April 29th, 2006, 12:05 AM
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JAFARR JAFARR is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by Dominion Loyalty Officer:
.... With everything cross referenced, I can counter player's surprises with my own! ...
As a refereeing friend of mine used to warn players who saw problems of some sort in everything, and proceeded to run on and on about what was going to happen, "Don't give me any more ideas. What I have planned for you is bad enough already." or words to that effect.
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