In light that I will be running a preview one-shot session of Mage: the Awakening tomorrow. I felt it appropriate to put all my cards in the table regarding how I’ll be running not just this session, but also the game. Now, admittedly Social Contracts of this sort isn’t really a formally binding thing, but it does work to assuage fears of a Bait-and-Switch situation. Furthermore there’s always the benefit of these articles opening up further discussions in terms of how people want to play.
So without further ado, let’s begin…
- My job is to make a game enjoyable to everyone, not just a select few. If my players can be bothered to give me 6 hours of their time, then I should give them an equal value of fun. No character should be neglected.
- Players will rely on me to give fair and impartial rulings, and I should not betray that trust. I should be familiar with the rules, or at least be aware enough of where to look up a given ruling.
- My task is to challenge the player characters, not to destroy them. There is nothing fun, nor inherently admirable about using all the infinite resources a GM could conceivably use to crush characters. As a GM, my job is to make a game where everyone can contribute to a story, and everyone gets up from the table hours afterwards with a smile, and plenty of good memories.
- As a GM, I also maintain a form of leadership role. I don’t lord over the players, but it is my job to organize the game, keep things running, and even adjudicate character vs. character conflict.
- I will reward careful play and creative thinking. Don’t turtle. nMage is a game that is also as much about creativity and wonder as it is about secret societies.
- nMage was described by some people as an Occult Mafia / Espionage / Conspiracy game, and for the most part I agree with this outlook. As such, information, favors and deceit will all be a staple of the game.
- The World of Darkness is inherently unforgiving. Dying is a very real possibility. While I won’t kill characters in one shot with a sniper without them having some chance of survival, I can’t honestly say that the enemy will give you a fair shake.
- I’ll be implementing training times, and merits acquisition can only be performed in play, not in downtime. If you’re planning to learn to shoot a gun, take up a seminar and hit the shooting gallery a few sessions, then I’ll allow it. Pump some iron if you’re looking to increase Strength and take that shy girl you met in the Library of Congress out on a date if you’re planning to grab a dot in Contacts.
- Be prepared to get hurt. Nobody really comes out unscathed. Your characters may be put through some really nasty stuff. If you as a player have any hot topics or sensitive issues that you do -not- want to see or play through in the game, then please say so before we start so I know what to avoid.
With this, I’m hoping that we’ll be able to see the start of a great campaign that everyone will enjoy.