Sunday, January 6, 2013

RPG Waiting

This may be obvious to some of you, but from conversations I’ve had with some game masters, not to everyone. What do you do when the party separates? There are always those times when player characters have to go in different directions in order to get the job done. Urban missions, especially in modern games, seem to be the most common “party splitters”. So what do you do as a GM? Whispering or throwing notes back and forth are both inefficient and boring to the other players. The best thing I have found is this: We always played in the basement. So when the party split up, the players who were not involved go upstairs (any different room) and watch a movie. What kind of movie - well, if you want them to come back when they are needed, it has to be a movie everyone likes, but they have already seen a couple times. That way when it’s their turn, they aren’t telling you as the GM to wait. This has all sorts of advantages: First, the movie helps drown out the sound of you talking to the players who are “active”, plus they aren’t right there. Second, the players who are not active are not bored, or at least not as bored as they would have been. Third, you can swap players in or out of the movie room as their characters enter the action, and all the time, you are right there with all your notes and paperwork. If you take a couple of players off to a corner, you probably don’t have all your papers. Not being part of the action can be boring, and your players don’t show up to be bored, but everybody recognizes when the party needs to split up for short periods of time. By distracting your players with a decent movie, they don’t notice the time flying by as much. One warning - it is best to make sure that you always have three people in the “movie room”, especially when its co-ed. No point in letting the down time turn into a romance!

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