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The Premise

My premise here is fairly simple. I could be another gamer writing about the games he plays. But I’m going to spin it a little differently. You could go and read many other blogs about running games on the internet (for a start, I have a few links to your right), but what I plan to provide is some insight on being a Modern GM.

That isn’t to say a GM who is up to date on the latest things, but rather, a GM who runs games that take place in the modern era. This may not be all that revolutionary, but the fact of the matter is that the majority of tabletop gamers out there play games in fantasy settings. There is a reason for this. And that’s all fine and good, but if you do decide to set a game in the modern era (or something that looks like the modern era, like cyberpunk or certain post-apocalyptic settings), some things are going to be a tad different. Suspension of disbelief is going to be more difficult (who’s to say what a dragon would really look like, but if your characters get on the same 61 bus that Jeff uses every morning, he’ll expect some accuracy), setting is more constrained (there’s no beach in Jackson Hole!), and generally, your pacing will need to be somewhat different (the first bad guy shoots you. You’re, uh, dead).

There really are a million different ways to go with this. Many popular games are written for modern settings, with varying amounts of change (World of Darkness, Cyberpunk 2020). But in the end, what makes modern settings interesting are the challenges associated with playing in the real world (or a world designed to mimic the real world). The constraints are tighter than they would be in fantasy settings (though there are exceptions on both sides), but (in my opinion), the opportunities are greater (or at least less often used). So let’s go on a journey of discovery, and occasionally rambling…and, if this introduction is any indication, a lot of parentheses.

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