GMing and Me: Plot Holes

So, my (nearly) latest RPG adventure!

Much excitement in a world with secret commandos, vampires, and cool college boys with Prii! (I have been informed, by experts1, that this is the correct pluralization for Prius.)

I don’t think I’ve ever had an RPG, even a silly one shot, where I was less prepared! It was really interesting from a GMing perspective, and a good stretching for the ‘make it up as you go’ muscles. One of the things I noticed, and, obviously, got to thinking about, was the plots holes. There were a lot more then normal. My plots are usually pretty holey (especially if you actually figure out what’s going on. Good thing players mostly don’t!), but this was a whole new level of hole! It was like one big hole!

I enjoyed it. I think I might like ‘seat of the pants’ GMing a little too much sometimes, but, since it was a one shot, it worked out despite the lack of planning. The real problems I have with making it up as I go along are the plot holes, and the problems with plot holes are long term.

For example:

1. It makes no sense later, but looks like a Big Mystery now.

2. If the eventual solution is lame or cheep, players are disappointed.

3. Sometimes, it’s irreconcilable, and then I have to say, ‘okay guys! I broke it!’ which can be really annoying for the more involved players (or worse, I just keep piling on unexplainable explanations and drawing it out and they realize what’s going on and glare at me).

All of those problems become problems later, not problems now. The plot problems I ran into during the course of this one shot I just called “BIG MYSTERIES” or made up a temporary explanation that looked like it made sense. Since the game was over when we stopped, none of it came back to bite me later.

This lackadaisical attitude toward plot is different from the Pokemon RPG scenario I’ve been trying to run, which is also supposed to be short and low pressure, but is supposed to finish at a certain point. I have a lot of room to bluff and make things up, because the player knows very little about the word, but there are still three or four sessions, which means that the details need to line up! The spaces between sessions are dangerous, because that is when most people do the most of their thinking. And when people are thinking, people are niggling at plot-holes!

(I guess that’s one of the major things I’ve learned about GMing. I have to think about the game at least twice as much as my players, so when I have think-y players, I’d better well love my game.)

I’m glad to have had this experience with the crazy one shot. It was a confidence boost for my seat-of-the-pants, on the fly skills, but also taught me that if I want something to make sense in the longer term I need to slow down when I’m making up details.
1 And by experts I mean my sister.

3 thoughts on “GMing and Me: Plot Holes

  1. Hey, where’s my weekly story? ;P

    In seriousness, though, this had a cool thing. It’s interesting that GMing for thinky players is more work for you; I feel like GMing is easier the more contemplative my players are because non-thinky players don’t get it and then they don’t have fun and they get upset when their characters die and they have no idea why that happened 😦

    Also exercise is good for you! I hope you keep it up and then sometime you’ll get so good at it you can just be like all RPGs all the time! ^^

    Looking forward to more personal insight posts, now that you’re out of 1000s. We’ll learn who you are and what you see yet 😉


    1. Yeah, that sounds like it SUCKS. I think I’ve never actually played with people who were _that_ unthinky though.


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