JADE's Game Mastering Problem

I don't know how it is in your game group, but quickly after JADE got into Tabletop RPG's everyone wanted to host their own game. All four of us had ideas for campaigns, and were willing to put in the time to get them set up.

From what I have heard this is fairly unique, as most of my other gaming groups had a single Game Master (Me), or maybe one other person who was interested in creating their own world for a single campaign or session. Generally I have found that most people would rather go on an adventure then write one, but that was not the case for JADE and that created a problem.

With only one or two Game Master's hosting a game, scheduling games isn't so bad. However when you have 4 Game masters all clamouring to host their own campaigns, it can become a logistical nightmare. We simply had too many chef's in the kitchen.

To try and solve this issue, when we first got our campaigns going we tried to keep it simple: everyone wanted to host a game as soon as possible, and so we would alternate each week. Everyone would get two consecutive weeks to get their campaign rolling for the first two games, and then we would rotate the GM's chair in order among Jeff, Myself, Dave and Elijah. It worked fine for the a few months, but a few serious flaws started to appear.

First, it would be at least a month between campaign games. And to make it worse, if the GM couldn't make it, we were stuck pushing back the schedule another week until they could.

Secondly, due to the length between each campaign game, and the sheer volume of games going on people were losing interest in plots, forgetting how to play their characters and games simply weren't getting finished. It wasn't working and something had to be done.

After not accomplishing much for almost a year, we finally agreed on a way to handle the problem: we would have one game at time, and that game would be voted on by the group. So everyone would present all the campaigns they were interested in hosting for the group that round, and everyone would pick three campaigns they were interested in. The most commonly selected campaign would be the one that we played and JADE's Official Campaign. Ties were settled by another round of voting. And it worked quite well.

If your campaign won, you had 10 games to tell your story before we moved on to another round of voting. If you had more story to tell you could always put your campaign back up for election again. And so it was.

This system had a huge amount success. We were able to finish two campaigns in six months, and everyone stayed on point and in character. We had found the focus we needed. At least we'd found it for a little while.

As time wore on, everyone schedules started to pick up. People weren't always available on the weekend, and we all wanted every member of JADE present for the campaign games. It meant that like before, games were getting pushed back, and things were not getting finished while we waited for the full group to be available. So after our initial boom it took us an entire year to finish one ten game campaign. And that brings us up to a few months ago...

Our campaign hosting democracy was good idea. It let everyone one join in on the fun of playing and Game Mastering. However irregular attendance to sessions due to the unavoidable inconveniences of life made it a very slow process. We needed to speed things up.

So we decided to shorten the length of an Official Campaign to six games, and to make sure that the scheduled game got played so long as the Game Master and one other player could attend. Essentially were we going ton continue come hell or high water.

Now we haven't tried this new system yet, and it admittedly is still being debating among the group. Some of us felt that slow pace of going through JADE's Official Campaign was fine because at least everyone was there for the game. To accomodate this view, we also agreed that everyone must be present for the first and last games of the campaign for its six game run. That way everyone knows how it starts and how it ends.

I will let you know how well this system works, and where we end up going from here. Jeff's upcoming 2nd Version of his Elementia Campaign will be our first test.

Does your game group have multiple DM's? How do you choose what game to play next? Let me know in the comments.

Written by: Andrew Gregory

Edit from Nov 2018: Looking back on this from almost three years in the future is honestly kind of funny. This plan unfortunately did not let us speed up and attendance remained an issue. Eventually we abandoned our D&D democracy in favour of running a single campaign with several spin offs as we could arrange it with the other players. About 18 months after this article was written we all agreed that we would start JADE's Arachnophobia Campaign which is now going into it's 29th game.

JADE's Game Mastering Problem JADE's Game Mastering Problem Reviewed by JADE Gaming on 1/26/2016 02:19:00 pm Rating: 5

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