At DragonCon I decided to brave the stench and attend a few of the RPG gaming advice panels, given that I seem to be hellbent on setting up a game that I’ll probably never run. Anyway. I was amazed to find that the stench wasn’t that bad (it WAS in the aboveground areas, not down in the game pit), but I also heard some good advice.
There was a GM 101 panel that had a pair of veteran GMs offering advice and answering questions and that was a lot of fun… well, aside from those people asking questions that felt they needed two minutes of backstory to ask what should have been a ten second question, tops. There were a couple other panels too, though less useful.
At any rate it occurred to me afterwards that I should go looking for podcasts to get more such info. I began searching around for something worthwhile, and was met with a wall of despair. There are loads of podcasts out there, sure. But so many of them are just lame. Or I find them lame, some of those seem to be quite popular. They tend to be dry, uninteresting reviews of new games in which they merely read the blurb on the website.
I did stumble across a new-ish one that’s actually quite good. A pair run a podcast called 2 GMs 1 Mic (gee, wonder if that’s a reference to something…) and I was shocked to find that 1) they have actual personality, 2) they provide useful, real advice based on their own experience, and 3) one’s a GIRL! Diversity reprizzent. Anyway, shoutout for them there. It’s good stuff.
Meanwhile the lesson that keeps coming up is that planning too much is a major problem: you can’t keep the players on rails very much. Which is a concern, given how much I’ve planned. Instead I’ve decided to go hybrid with my setup. The first act of the campaign is relatively rail-y, but not lasting too long, and ending with an opportunity to really let the players explore. After that I have a few handfuls of ideas for adventure hooks, but the planning for those can be relatively minimal.
The concerns there would be having to map on the fly. I think I can manage that though.