Game Master's Schedule or Stop Waiting On Slow Players Guide
This Post covers the fact that it is the Game Master, Dungeon Master or Referee that runs the pace of the game and not the Player. If the Game Master is waiting on Players before he makes a push forward (Progressing the game) then something is wrong with the game's Schedule and it needs to be adjusted.
First of all, there are similar Threads that should tie into this one, however I will only mention them now so you can reference it if you have not already done so:
* Game Master's Nag Player Button
* Game Master's Rule & Policies Page
* Don't Break A New Player's Enthusiasm
* Right Amount Of Role-Players
There are more Threads that Discuss how Players rely on the GM in order to have fun or think they must also wait on other Players before they make a move. While those Threads focus on the Player we want this one to focus on the GM.
How Do I Know If My Game Is Becoming Dull?
Lack of participation! People are active in things that are fun - its nature. If you haven't seen someone show up to your Role-playing Game in more than 36 hours then watch out - that might be a trend towards 2 days or even 3 days. Of course that does not include where they stated an absence in their Introduction.
Its Not My Fault If The Players Aren't Posting On Time!
What does "On time" mean, have you defined it? This Thread isn't about blaming you for your Players' inadequacies, its about making your Role-playing Game so much fun that you won't have to worry about when Players turn up. That might sound weird but its a catalyst for your Role-playing Game.
A couple of things: As a GM you should see your Role-playing Game like a solo game and the Players as those who just happen to come in and add to it. Let me explain it this way: If you were playing a game alone how much fun would you want it to be? Let's say you were already having fun but others wanted to come and watch how would that affect your fun? It wouldn't because you already have the game functionality in operation and those looking on are just the spectators. If you look at your Role-playing Game like that then you will get an idea of what I am trying to push forward here which is to say - put enthusiasm into your Role-playing Game and others will naturally want to come and be active in it.
So How Do I Do that?
Make a schedule. You decide when your game updates - not the Players! Remember the solo game analogy? We're not waiting on Players to have fun - we are going to have fun with or without them. Your schedule must state when you will update your Role-playing Game and what is expected as well as your intentions if someone doesn't make a move. For Game Masters this is supposed to be a daily event (At least once for the day or every two days if the Players have something challenging).
When that time comes around you move ahead by doing some 'routine maintenance' on your Role-playing Game:
1. Update the main game. Use actions of existing Players and use the inaction of Characters for some dark comedy (This can be expanded in another Thread)
2. Update your rules, policies or expectations and tell the players about it.
3. Use the Nag Player button and send out some messages.
4. Encourage Players to deliberate a current outcome in the game. This can be easily handled by giving some choices and the possible outcomes rather than simply saying, "What do you do next?"
5. Work on a part of your game's history or characters so that your story continues to build. Remember you're a storyteller, a writer, a big world builder with something to say and no one is going to limit your world or keep you back - including yourself.
The function of genius is not to give new answers, but to pose new questions which time and mediocrity can resolve. --Hugh Trevor-Roper in "Men and Events"
Got to tell you JB this is fantastic! A [GM] has to be in charge of his game he cannot allow players to dictate the pace or decide the rules because that will end up leaving good players out who are genuinely there for some serious role playing.
Fantastic! I can endorse this even though I'm really a nobody in the role-playing world. I just like the fact that its not just me who thinks that games should keep going even if other players don't show up. Other players will show up when they want to no matter how much we wait for them so we may as well play on!
How delightful to read. Its the first time I've seen a roleplaying site giving good advice to game leaders that are so afraid to lose players that they end up waiting on everyone to play. All that does is makes the regular players want to leave your game.