As you can probably tell from my various posts about DRT-Style modules (including A Wedding or a Funeral and BLOOD FEUD!) running one of these modules is distinctly different than running a tabletop game. Tabletop games are a LOT of work. DRT-Style games are a also lot of work . . . but it’s not the same sort of work.
For example, characters sheets don’t have any stats on them for a DRT-style module. Instead, they’re 1-3 pages long, and they consist completely of prose. Prose the GM has written to explain your characters backstory. And, no, you can’t just give everyone amnesia and think you can get away with less writing that way. I’ve played in a module like that. It didn’t work out that well.
DRT-style modules are also usually BIGGER than their tabletop counterparts. Take GLITCH, which I’m working on now. It’s supposed to run for 16 characters. Averaging everyone out to two pages of backstory, that’s 32 pages of writing. Not to mention at least a page on the general setting. THEN you get around to prepping “events,” things you’ll do in the module to move things along if they get slow. The key to writing an excellent DRT-style module is to try and create conflicts in the character sheets, so that the players do your job for you for four or five hours. However, you always need to have some things planned or the PCs will wander around, waiting for a story to start.
My friend, Jeff, who originated the DRT, likes to play a song before the start of every module. I’ve stolen this idea becasue it’s a good way to signal the players “All right, time to get in character and STAY THERE.” (Side Note: That’s another thing I love about these modules–people stay in character the whole time. No geek jokes, no random quotes interrupting the flow of the story. How cool is that?)
For GLITCH, my Co-GM and I have decided upon Frontier Psychiatrist, by The Avalanches. The music video is not accurate to the mood we’re trying to set. The song is.
To add my own personal flair to the modules I run, I started drawing portraits of the characters people will be playing. There’s a variety of reasons for this. I think it’s nice to have a visual. Of course, it means I’ve been doing nothing the past two days after work except for drawing. The results have been good . . .
. . . but I still have 7 more characters to draw/color and only two evenings in which to do so. I’ve been working on this module pretty much nonstop since the beginning of this month. But you know what? It’s worth it. Luckily, I already know my players are going to appreciate it, but, more than that,I’m having a good time working on it–all of it.
Now if there were only more hours in the day in which to do so. . . . .