Post by Eternally Lost Zeppo on Nov 27, 2010 13:46:52 GMT
Just out of curiousity, I thought I'd ask a question about how people pace their Doctor Who adventures, or even any adventures they run in general.
Personally, I always tend to keep my adventures tightly paced, so that the adventure is wrapped up in one session (unless I specifically decide to stretch things out and do a 2- or 3-parter). So, as a Doctor Who GM, my style of pacing could probably be described as following the New Series format (where most stories generally take up only an episode each).
I know a few other GMs though, who can run campaigns where adventures will often take several sessions to complete. As far as Doctor Who GMing goes, they could be described as following the Classic Series format (one story takes place over 2-4 episodes, maybe even 5 or 6).
So what kind of Doctor Who GM are you? Classic, or New Series?
"By the ancient rites of combat, I forbid you to scavenge here for the rest of time. And when you go back to the stars and tell others of this planet, when you tell them of its riches, its people, its potential, when you talk of the Earth, then make sure that you tell them this...[shouts] ...it is defended!"
New, I guess. Very pacey and finished in a single (and not that long) session. The problem I encountered with that scheme is that there are too many Story Points floating around. Towards the end of the first "series", I connected the last few chapters, stating that I would not replenish the Story Points in between sessions. This worked well, though each session still only featured one location and basic plot with its own win/lose scenario (more Keys of Marinus than Talons of Weng-Chiang, for example).
New. I honed my skills running Buffy The Vampire Slayer for six years, so single session episodes with the odd cliffhanger are my default. I've purposely broken from it with other games, but going back to it with Doctor Who seemed natural.
Mine are like the new series, but we play for about 2 hours and I think thats a good pacing or everyone will start to loose interest after a while. We normally play for 3 months then move to a different game and then come back for another "season" or "series" of doctor who.
I've not run episodic before, but with my WHOniverse campaign, it will be predominantly single session episodes, with a two-parter opener, some single session episodes, another two parter (two session), then more single session episodes, then a two parter finale.
My sessions are designed for 4 hours long. I try to devise the core plot points in an episode like TV shows do, with 4 parts. Each part adds a twist, or ups the stakes. With that model, I can easily pace my sessions with one plot point per hour. This gives enough time to let the players have some breathing room and from feeling railroaded.
I usually prefer ~4 hour sessions. But my current gaming group is 3,000 miles away, and time changes and fiddling with web cams and the difficulty of syncing lives means that most sessions are only about 2-3 hours. We game pretty much every weekend.
My adventures tend to be long rambling things that strongly resemble Dr Who's style from the 1960s (Investigate, fight, Investigate, get captured, Investigate, figure out what has been going on, Fix It).
For me, a three parter is a SHORT one. A five parter is about normal. I hit 8 or 9 parters often enough. I think my record might be a 19 parter. (For these reasons I usually toss out 1 Character Building point of experiance at the end of most stories.)
- Marnal Gate
"I was told by the producer that the guiding principle was to make the scripts complex enough to keep the Kids interested and simple enough for the Adults to understand!" -Douglas Adams on writing Doctor Who
I play DW:AiTAS in two groups. The first is just a 2hr session with an adventure lasting 4-5 weeks usually. The other is the game club, 3-4 hours. I have got through a short adventure in an evening. Most take just 2-3 sessions. Although it depends on the players. One night we can cmplete an adventure, another they spend the whole night walking down one corridor.
"There's no use being grown up if you can't be childish now and then."
I run 4 hour games that are usually concluded the same night. However, each game includes some element that hints to a big-bad at the end of the campaign and ties all the games together into one larger story.
Since we don't get to play all that often, sometimes one adventure - a good one with a lot of story and plot - can take 4 or 5 months. Which is a situation that may change when my sister gets out of school.
The Professor (our main Timelord) just finished his battle with the Triffids a few nights ago. And that took some time. But it was a pretty involved story, and had a very dramatic ending.
On the subject of Story Points (or Courage Points, or Drama points, depending on your system) I've found that the slower a GM is to restore them, over time, the less likely a player is to use them. I had one player let his character die rather than use them (this was in Star Trek, not Who) because he was afraid I'd make him buy them back at the end of the game with Experience Points.
That's when I started giving them back at the end of a scene, or an encounter - and it has improved the fun of our games 200%.