After hearing from the player that quit the Deadlands Noir game that I am running, the players that were available and I had a discussion before we started the next session.
Now I know there are things that I need to work on, and since this is the longest I have run a game in close to five years, and I never really got used to running Savage Worlds games (this might be the longest I have run a Savage Worlds game ever, or at least it soon will be) there is a lot of rust and even older bad practices to work on.
The reasons why the one player quit were valid, I did do the things he was upset about, and they are in the list of things that I need to work on. So here are the items that I intend to work on, and what I plan to try to do to get better about them.
- I need to work harder at making the player characters the stars of the story. I have had cases were the non-player characters have shown them up for no reason other than the dice roll was really good.
- There was the feeling that I was overly protective of the non-player characters in general.
- There was some concern about my denial of resources to the characters.
- There was discussion about the number of bennies that I give out during a session.
- Some of the monsters that I had used were overly powerful/impossible for the players to deal with/defeat.
- The same rules didn’t always apply for the non-player characters as the player characters.
Those were the big things that came out, there were probably other things that I am forgetting right now, but I also have a plan to help deal with anything that I might be missing. Now I do admit that I am guilty of all the things that were brought up as issues and that they are problems, and since I want to be a better Game Master, that is why I want to work on them.
So these are the things that I am going to try to do or continue to do improve.
- I am going to continue to let the players lead where things go, to choose the tasks that they pick up and the order that they are going to deal with them. I am going to continue to minimize the number of dice rolls that I do and I am going to work at giving each of the players more of an opportunity to shine by encouraging them to make use of their specialties (Patent Scientists use of their Weird Science skill, the stealth characters stealth rolls, the private detectives investigation skill, etc.)
- This was really three different issues, and while I did do things that made it look like this was more of an issue than I hope it really is, I still need to work on them. The first part was a lack of explicitly alerting the players when they wound and a wild card soaks the damage, so I am going to work towards making sure that the players fully understand what is going on. The second issue was me actually being guilty of this at least occasionally, so I need to work to make sure that I don’t do this without at least awarding bennies. The third one is to make sure that we are all clear on the rounds and to make sure that we all are following the same rules.
- This will hopefully be mitigated by my explicit statements on how I am going to deal with resources from now on in this game. I know that I am not the best at giving out money in the game, because I just don’t find the tracking of money as interesting. I also though don’t want the players worrying about not having bullets for their guns or any other low-cost items like that.
- This is going to be the hardest thing for me to improve on. When I started with roll-playing games, there was nothing like bennies to give out. In addition, most of my experience playing Savage Worlds before this group didn’t hand out bennies during the session. My intention on this has always been to follow a lot of the concepts of Fate Core’s Fate Points, but I keep forgetting to do this, so I am going to try to pay more attention to this and hopefully also get help from the players to do better about this.
- I have a large number of Savage Worlds settings and there are some creatures in various books that I just find cool and want to use. One example of this was the Living House in The Lost Sons. The issue with this is that some of the settings have dramatically different power levels, and this is without including Savage Rifts. So I need to be much more diligent and critical about evaluating the monsters that are being used.
- For this item, I am going to rely on the players to call me on it when it happens (I am pretty sure it will even though I want to minimize it). I hope that I get better about this and hopefully I be better about it.
The last thing I intend to do from now on is to implement a little bit of agile retrospective feedback by putting together some index cards with three questions on them. I am not entirely sure on the questions, but let the players answer any or all of the questions and give them back to me to review and use to improve my skills. The questions that I am currently considering are:
1. What was your favorite thing that happened?
2. What would make the game more fun?
3. What would you like to learn more about in the game?