Tales from the Gazebo – Progressive Games Introduction

Progressive Games Introduction
By Cape Rust

Progressive game, WTF is a progressive game? You might call them something different, but in my world (yes it is an awesome world; full of all you can eat buffets and all the gaming you want and yes you are all invited!) a progressive game is a game where you switch GMs during the game; you keep the same characters and follow the same storyline (sort of). Progressive games are a bit like the old telephone game you played in your younger days. For some people the idea of a progressive game will seem silly or just make them really cranky, for others like me it is a way to add some interesting variations on your normal game.

I can’t tell you when or where I heard about the concept of a progressive game, but I do remember that as soon as I did, it appealed to me. As a player I can’t even begin to tell you how many times I’ve been on that side of the GM screen that had pictures rather than information and thought this is a really cool game, but it would be even better if we… It has never been a case of trying to be a backseat driver, it was always more of a case of stealing a good concept from someone else and customizing it. I’m sure many of you out there have been in a game where the characters were great, the party dynamics were just right and the GM got burnt out; your group is stuck with a dead game full of lots of great aspects that the players want to resuscitate!

I always say that real life is what happens when you aren’t gaming and the sad truth is that real life has destroyed as many if not more games than all of the other game killers out there combined. Real life is that 800 pound gorilla that sits in the corner of your preferred gaming location eating all of your Doritos and drinking all of your Mountain Dew and energy drink concoctions waiting to proudly and completely disembowel the success of any game. The progressive game has the ability, if done right, to keep that monkey off of your gaming back.

As with most things a fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants approach can work when it comes to progressive games, but a well-thought out and well-planned game will take you much further and be more enjoyable for everyone involved. As you’ve probably guessed, this article will be the opener for a small series on planning for and running a progressive game. Topics will include, but are not limited to, what types of groups are best suited for running a Prog Game, determining who starts the game and what order GMs go in, character creation, house rules determinations, how long each GM will run the game and continually books/sites. I hope that in the next few weeks I can share some of my past Prog Game experiences with you and dole out what I think is good advice.

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