Game mastering encompasses a wide variety of skills but one that I think is often overlooked is the ability to sell your game, particularly the ability to sell your game quickly. In the past few years my gaming groups have had a few members willing to GM, and while they were all very good when it came to running a game, they lacked the ability to pitch a game to the group beyond a system and a setting. On the opposite end of the spectrum we have our forum gamers who canít seem to describe a game start up thread in fewer than 500 words. Both of the extremes leads to a very awkward first session. Either you have players trying to feel out the style of the game or they're floundering trying to keep all this background information straight. What a game master needs to be able to do is sum up his idea for a game in an elevator pitch. Just enough detail for the the players to get excited and know how to build their characters but without drowning them in information is the point of the pitch. Itís not the easiest concept to instruct so Iíll give you some example pitches I gave to my group as we came to the end of our Pathfinder game.
1. Hunter: The Vigil
The game is set in a small college town out in Lovecraft country. A town like this always has itís ghost stories and tall tales to scare tourists and freshmen, but theyíre starting to gain a little more weight as the student body starts to shrink. Winter is coming and the nights getter longer, colder, and darker, maybe its time for some foolhardy souls to shine a light in the corners everyone else seems to shun....
2. Qin: The Warring States
Mystical Warriors have kidnapped the Prime Minister of Zhou. Are you bad enough dudes to rescue him? And uncover the forces behind the plot?
3. Deadlands: Reloaded
Supernatural in the old west. A small team of outcasts riding across the weird west taking down baddies and helping people while trying to hold onto their sanity. Your first adventure is the Magnificent Seven during a zombie virus outbreak.
4. Star Wars: Saga Edition
130 years after Palpatineís death there is new Sith Lord on the Imperial throne, spreading evil across the galaxy. On an isolated world in the mid-rim an Imperial governor, sick of the sith tyranny looks for a band of heroes to help her defect to the insurection (Why yes the first arc is a riff on the Hidden Fortress, this is a Star Wars game after all).
I hope that gives you an idea of what Iím talking about selling your game.