Today we’re joined by GM KillerVP and his merry band of adventurers to talk to them about their long going game A God…Rebuilt, winner of April’s Campaign of the Month! Take some time to sit down and gaze upon this truly collective and collaborative campaign, and read this interview to know what’s going on behind the scenes!
Killervp: I am in my mid-40s, happily married to my best friend who I have known since I was a child- and she doesn’t play RPG’s (nobody is perfect). We have 2 Labradors, and love the outdoors. My first GM was Black Vulmea, a COTM winner back in August, 2011- the game was Traveller, and it was the late 1970s. In 1985 my group discovered TMNT and other Strangeness- these turtles were like the comic book, not the joke they became. Since then I have been a major Palladium fan. Palladium books create phenomenal settings and we are all looking forward to the release of their new underseas book this month!
So, A God Rebuilt seems pretty deep. Can you tell us about the game in a nutshell?
Killervp: The inspiration was from the Dragons & Gods book from Palladium, which listed all the parts of Osiris and their powers. I scattered them around the world, and the players must retrieve them and bring them to safety with the forces of Dark hot on their heels. Rell: It’s this group of misfits that really only have one thing in common: We’ve all been chosen by our gods to try to put the pieces of Osiris together.
Tyvernos: Think Mr. Potato-Head meets Labyrinth…or the game “Operation” crossed with Conan the Barbarian. Gavin: The group comes together under one banner known as CrIsis. We have characters with very different backgrounds working together, and there can be many squabbles while they are trying to get these goals achieved.
Who does all of the work on your wiki, both from a design standpoint and from a content standpoint? Do your players regularly contribute to the wiki?
Tyvernos: As players we contribute by offering Character Logs from the perspective of our characters after each session. We collaborate with the GM on a regular basis and he puts almost every design-decision to a democratic vote. As a player I really feel like I’ve had a hand in shaping both our extensive wiki page and the landscape of the campaign itself. It’s an incredible feeling to be a party to such an amazing work of collaborative, imaginative fiction.
Gavin: We did however, decide to make the jump out of character and item sheets provided, and opted towards the wiki design for them. This is why many are updated constantly by the players. We as players observe that our actions have a direct affect on the stories and the wikis. An example is the fact that Gavin set free a large group of slaves in one game session. These slaves are now roaming the country side causing havoc and mayhem to slave owners all over one country, while the party is in a completely different country. So in essence everything done has an effect on the world whether good or bad.
Chip: We all have input as to what we like for our characters, whether it’s the parchments, fonts, and we all submit photos/pictures for our logs. This is one more way we can feel like part of the world, and I think it helps each character stand out even further to the audience.
Killervp: One player is assigned to do the “official” log each session (every 2 weeks), and others can write logs for extra xp. Each character is responsible for updating their own sheet, and this must be done before the next session. I handle the rest of the wiki- but the world has input from the players at every step, and it really is their sandbox.
If you answered yes to the last question, what is your secret?!
Gavin: One is the most obvious to anyone in that there is a reward to a player for creating posts about events or things that happened both in and out of the game. For some this is enough to get a simple article out after each game. However, for the players it seems to be about bringing the story to an audience who responds to the posts being made. It is fun to see someone comment on how things are going
Tyvernos: We have such dynamic gaming sessions that I literally can’t wait to blog about the encounters of our intrepid adventurers; it helps to know that our contributions are appreciated and that killervp helps with assigning artwork, creative direction, and artistic license.
Chip: The opportunity to get our hands dirty by presenting the awsomely fun game we’re playing from our character’s perception (so much goes on behind-the-scenes for any given character, it’s great to see everyone’s reactions, thoughts, feelings etc. about what they or someone else did in a session…) is the real joy. Plus, I think, we’re all a bit of a ham during the sessions… and where else can that come out but in the logs?
Rell: The secret to getting players to work on your site is to make them feel included in the world. If we feel that this is our world as much as the GMs then there is no reason for us NOT to contribute. Killervp: Make it the expectation in the beginning- once the ball is rolling, it is easy. We have never had less than 2 logs written by the players, and one session recently had 7 different logs!
Killervp: Make it the expectation in the beginning- once the ball is rolling, it is easy. We have never had less than 2 logs written by the players, and one session recently had 7 different logs!
Your players, how long have you known them and how long has your group been together. How long has your game been going on?
Chip: I’ve known killervp for… too long. We’re closer personal friends, and we met while working in Los Angeles during the dot-com boom. I quickly got sucked in to his ongoing Palladium Rifts game then, and it’s been RPG mayhem since… D&D, play-by-post, Rifts and now Palladium Fantasy games have kept us connected. I even flew down to LA from Canada for a weekend of gaming to star in a one-shot game.
Killervp: The game just celebrated its 1 year anniversary in March. I have known the person playing Chip for over 10 years, but the rest of us have “known” each other for a year or less. We play over Skype, and I have only met Chip in person! I am in Los Angeles, one character is in Calgary, 3 are in Utah, one travels for a living, one is in Central California, one is in Connecticut.
I see you’ve got some videos for your campaign, who put those together? That’s a really nice touch!
Tyvernos: Killervp compiles all the images, narrative, and music for the videos. While I don’t know if he has any formal training I can attest to the sheer “WIN” that seems to burst through his every videography endeavor. I’ve been silently lobbying for him to apply his impressive talents to more constructive avenues like amateur pornography.
How much time on average do you put into your wiki per week? Do you use OP at the table or only for prep / tracking?
Killervp: I have put a lot of time into it up until this point as I have had many overhauls, but I am finally satisfied with the general appearance. I could never done any of this without the OP community- Arsheesh, Duskreign, Chainsaw, Magavendon, Stephen Wollett, Morrinn, and many others have helped me make this site. Currently we are having an artist do portraits of each player- Kenari, a player from the Campaign of the Year 2011, Spelljoined. We use OP for everything! With a Skype game it is essential! I reveal pictures, sites, and characters in session, and use it out of game for planning and sharing with my players- and they use it to do the same with me.
Have any pearls of wisdom for other GM’s out there trying to get their players more involved?
Overkill: Being a GM is hard work but a good story is a reward in itself. Have structure but be loose. Allow the characters to truly be the X factor in the story. You can be surprised at what comes out; the best story that you never anticipated.
Gavin: One key is to get at least one or two players you can count on to lead by example. The others should follow suit, especially when a reward is involved.
Rell: When you start a new campaign, let them know that it’s their world too. Their contributions help breathe life into it. If it is an established campaign, ask the players what they expect going forward. Let them know that you want them to contribute, and ask them what they feel is the best way to get them involved.
Killervp: The only things I would add are be consistent, and most importantly, listen! Let the players do what they want, not what you want.
Do you play any other games aside from A God Rebuilt? If so, what are they?
Killervp: I am lucky enough to play with a bunch of gms. Rell runs a play by post game on OP, Its Good to Be Evil. Overkill is starting a follow-up game to a Palladium Heroes Unlimited game we played last year- the follow-up is Taur War. Gavin ran a Palladium Dead Reign (zombie) game called Last Man Standing. I have been a player in all of these. A God…Rebuilt is the epic, long running campaign, with a 5 year schedule. The others we play a maximum of 1 year.
What would you say the single biggest highlight from the game has been so far?
Gavin: My highlight is watching people slowly join the character death club. Right now the members are Gavin, Greldarr, Overkill, and Rell.
Tyvernos: My character’s resurrection of Rell in the wake of a vicious Light vs Dark bar brawl.
Rell: The then six members of the team standing off an army of orcs inside a fortress made by kobolds. Tyvernos: My character’s resurrection of Rell in the wake of a vicious Light vs Dark bar brawl. Chip: Watching 2 of my companions get killed by a Dragon: one Dwarven speed-bump (1-shot kill under 50 tons of scaled death!), only momentarily preceded by the Wolven Priest taunting said Dragon and getting one-shotted for his troubles; SPLAT! No, seriously, the single biggest highlight has been every rollicking session of giggles and laughter: 6-8 hours of merriment with a great bunch of people!
Killervp: The characters phenomenal role-playing capabilities and contributions that I did not expect or plan- Overkill’s head being shaved by another PC (he still doesn’t know who), Cava’s possession by Anubis (his idea, not mine!), Chip getting back on a surfboard after being dragged underwater by aquatic demons, Gavin freeing slaves who ended up causing a civil war, Karma talking to her lance, Overkill being a dwarven mariner who can’t dock, Rell deciding his background was a dream, and Tyvernos being convinced that the only way to talk to his goddess is through his dog!! In other words, I have an awesome group!
Okay, before we get out of here, give us some of your best GM’ing pearls of wisdom.
Overkill: I had a plan for how this game was going to play out but I am so glad that the players contributed to its success. I could not have done this game without them.
Killervp: Let your players make the world, do as much as they want. Never box your players in. Remember, this is a game for them- if they have fun I guarantee you will! Of course, that has all been said before, so here is a different one: Never tell players they can’t, only ask them why. If it makes more sense than your previous reason of can’t, then change your mind or the rule.