Saturday, April 30, 2011

Does Game Mastering = Riding a Bike?

It recently occurred to me that it's been about 14 years since I last ran an RPG session.  Amazing and kinda depressing at the same time.  Two years ago was the first time I rode a bike in 11 years (and it had been 12 years before that singular bike ride).  Riding a bike took me a few minutes for my body to remember everything, but after that it was natural.

Digression: (not game related) That singular bike ride 13 years ago needs a special mention.  It was in the South Bronx during the tail end of the crack epidemic.  My unit had arrested a number of, for lack of a better name, crack heads.  Our van was full of bodies, and as my arrestee had been on a bike, it was my responsibility to get that bike back to the Station House.  It was a bit over a mile, so I figured I'd ride the bike back,  Bad idea.

I was about 3 blocks from the arrest scene, coasting down hill, when the unit's van pulled up along side me with their emergency lights on.  Over the loudspeaker I heard: "The bike has no breaks!"  I tried the hand breaks and sure enough, nothing.  No breaks, lots of intersections and downhill.

"He says you gotta use your feet!"  "When you slow down!"  Slow down?  I was accelerating!  Here's a cop in tactical boots, full uniform with awkward gun belt going downhill without breaks being chased by a marked police van.  The van began getting to the intersections before me to stop what little traffic there was.  I tried dragging my toes to slow down but it didn't seem to be working.

At the end of the downhill was a junkyard, it's entrance at the end of the street I was on.  Thankfully it was open, and I travelled about 30 or 40 yards over assorted garbage and mud before wiping out on the hood of a junker.  Surprisingly, I managed to escape with little injured but my pride.  Well, that and the front tire of the bike looked more like a "U" now.

As the van pulled into the junkyard, I dragged the bike with me as I approached it.  Needless to say, both cops and perps were having a good laugh at my expense.  The kicker?  My perp didn't want the bike.  Said it wasn't even his.  He found it the day before.  He never expected anyone would try to ride it when he got arrested... at least until he saw me thru the van window and started screaming to my fellow officers that the bike had no breaks.  I left it in the junkyard.

End digression.

So, what I  want to know, or at least get some ideas about, is will my GM'ing chops come back, or will I be relearning my skills all over again.

Oh, and how do I avoid the disaster of 13 years ago if I get myself back behind the DM screen?(preparation and system knowledge is obvious - if you don't know a systems holes, it's like riding a bike w/o breaks... downhill... both ways... in 2 feet of snow ;)


  1. Took me 11 years to even CONSIDER riding again. ;)

  2. That right there is a thing of beauty. Oh my God, I pictures the scene as if it were a movie! Man, that is a great story!!!

  3. What I have is a plethora of stories of REAL police work ;)

    If you can ever find the old TV series "The Job" with Dennis Leary - it was the most authentic depiction of my job that I have ever seen (Brooklyn South from back in 1997 came damn close tho)

  4. Wow, I thought that I was the only one around here that hasn't ran a game in years. I think it's been about five years since I ran a campaign. I did run a one-shot last fall to get my feet wet, and I'm working on getting a campaign started up again. So personally, yeah I guess I'm going to find out about that riding a bike thing.

    So I take it you're thinking of getting a game going to run? Well, good luck to you. We're in the same boat. I hope we both do well!


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