First-time Maid session tips?

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Mar 22, 2014, 11:50:41 AM3/22/14
Hey all!

I'm placing an order for the rulebook the second I get paid this month. After scouring the net for as much data as I could (podcasts, reviews, etc) I get the feeling that this game is kinda like Paranoia.

Now, I love running Paranoia, but I hate setting it up. It takes forever to put original content together in exciting new ways. It also sucks hard when the players derail it in a way I didn't expect and I waste several days worth of planning.

How much prep goes into DMing a pick-up game of Maid?

Can anyone point me in the direction of any starter tips that won't be in the rulebook?

L.B. Bryant

Mar 22, 2014, 11:55:13 AM3/22/14
I just recently started my own first time campaign and found that as long as you have an ounce of creativity, it's really easy to come up with campaign settings. Just create your master and mansion first and expand from there.

Example: I rolled up a space setting with a master that has political power. Expanding from that, I created a scenario where my team of maids must help this guy get re-elected to his space politician position.

The possibilities are really endless.

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Angel Garcia

Mar 22, 2014, 2:42:21 PM3/22/14
Now, I love running Paranoia, but I hate setting it up. It takes forever to put original content together in exciting new ways. It also sucks hard when the players derail it in a way I didn't expect and I waste several days worth of planning.

Then the problem does not lie with the game, but with the way *you* see the game.

"Derailing" is the best thing that can happen to every story. It means the players have managed to get some control over the story, and they can finally express the kind of game *they* want to play. That's when you start giving it to them, waiting for their reactions and upping the ante at every turn.

Improvisation is the key to a great RPG story, always. You can spend *hours* designing the most amazing city setting, but if your players decide they want to travel from town to town, you have to be ready to break apart your setting and give them the way *they* want it.

Paranoia is the kind of game you DON'T run: You prepare each scenario, knowing full well the players are going to wreck it, and possibly each other (A best case scenario is a FPW in the first scene, caused by themselves <3 ). Then just let it happen.

Regardless of the game, I divide each scenario into 4 parts: Introduction, Setup, Climax and Conclusion. For each part, I write a couple of sentences on how the NPCs/World is going to move, and ways in which the PCs may get involved. When the unexpected happens, I improvise, keeping that structure in mind, so when a derail happens, I can change the setting to move up the NPCs agendas.

If you want to *avoid* "derailment", then design a setting with NO story, ask them to make characters and to give you THREE motivations, or three things that they want their characters to live/achieve. Then you plan the plot around those motivations!

Romance? Introduce multiple potential NPC partners, each with at least one good quality and bad quality. Spice!!

Adventure? Traveling around the world, catching criminals, recovering artifacts!


ALL OF THE ABOVE?! A potential NPC partner gets kidnapped by an Egyptian cult led by YOG-SOTHOTH. Time to travel to ancient undiscovered ruins rife with treasure, deadly traps, cultists and maybe even looooove!!

Good luck, and happy gaming!


Stewart S

Mar 22, 2014, 9:39:01 PM3/22/14
In my opinion, MAID is one of the simplest games to just pick up and play as a GM without much preparation. In fact, MAID is the only game I've been confident enough to run without any preparations in advance. The two main reasons for this is that MAID is most of the time a completely random game. Characters are rolled randomly, and most aspects don't have any mechanical function and are mostly just for roleplaying purposes (such as Special Qualities, Maid Colors, Maid Weapons, etc.) so even if your players don't have the book, there's really not much to explain. Just have them roll for each aspect, and tell them the result. As for making up NPCs and such, sure, you could roll up a Master and a Mansion that are fully detailed. Or you could just assign the Master a 2 in each Attribute and leave it that, and just have the mansion as a background detail without any stats for it. The same goes for minor NPCs and enemies, just assign them an Attribute number for all their Attributes (there's a guide for doing this) based on how powerful they're meant to be, and you're done.

As for coming up with stories, it's also not as big a deal. Maid can follow a set scenario with a plot, but based on the example scenarios on the book and the bonus material, most Maid games are only intended to run for a few hours, perhaps one session or at most two. So you don't have to worry about coming up with a long, complex campaign spanning months with lots of plot twists and surprises. Keep the idea in mind that Maid - in my opinion - runs best for shorter games, just a few hours covering one ore two sessions, after which you roll up new characters and start a new scenario. That knowledge will help take some pressure off.

The other common way to play maid is as a purely random game. There are charts for all kinds of random events that can be used as adventure seeds. Just roll a random event, and go with that. If you're just going for a crazy, wacky one-shot those random events are often more than enough. Such a game will basically be like a slice of life story, with the Maids trying to do their domestic duties and gain the Master's Favor, yet keep always getting interrupted by having to deal with attacking giant robots, ninjas, zombies, pirates, etc. You can also find ways to pit the Maids against each other to create rivalries, and let their competition against each other to be the Master's favorite also be a driving force of the game.

Finally, don't be afraid to shake it up. Though it's called Maid, you can turn the game into pretty much anything following the basic idea of there being one person who is the "boss" with a number of females who follow said boss. A Maid game could have a police station (and on a larger scale, the city itself or at least the area that the main character's consider their beat) as the mansion, with the Chief as the Master and the police officers as the Maid. Actually, recently I ran a spontaneous, unplanned game for someone to teach them what roleplaying was, using Maid. In the case, the Master was a young boy, and the player's Maid was his older adopted sister, and he was now old enough to set out on his adventure from his littler sleepy village to quest across the land fighting monsters and finding treasure on his way to the Demon Lord's castle to slay him, while the "Maid" had to follow along and keep him out of trouble by protecting him from danger and monsters. It was basically a console JRPG plot, but using Maid.

Anyway, have fun and good luck.

Mar 23, 2014, 2:52:17 AM3/23/14
Maid tends towards the comedy end of the spectrum (especially if random events and/or items are allowed), so you can normally get away with a lot of plot 'messiness' compared to a more serious game.  If you're playing something serious, and ten weeks of someone's planning gets ruined because a mecha laser-gorilla appeared for no particular reason, they might get a bit pissy.  In a 3 hour pick up game of Maid?  Meh, spend favour for another random event and ramp up the crazy.  It can help to have a few things in mind if gameplay starts to slow down (e.g. 'The Master tells a maid about someone he has a crush on' or 'a rival of the Master comes to visit, show them who has the better servants') but for a pick-up game, just embrace the crazy and let it run over you, and don't spend more than 10-15 minutes thinking of vague scenarios and rough stats for random stuff that can appear.  The system is light enough that you can just guesstimate stats on the fly, or just roll with the randomness (I once almost managed a TPK when the angel of death shows up to challenge the maids to Yu-Gi-oh, killing the losers.  They only survived because a maid charged in mid-way through with healing soup and a change of clothing for everyone.  The scenario was fantasy, with the characters in a castle beseiged by a zombie army, everything else was just made up on the fly). 

If you want to run a more serious, longer game you certainly can (the rulebook has a few examples).  For those, you typically have some form of schedule, disallow or heavily edit the random tables, and then run with that - as the maids are supposed to be serving and making their master happy, they shouldn't go too far off base, as they should mostly be hanging around the mansion and helping out, and then plot happens.  I prefer shorter, more random games though, and for those, a starting point is pretty much all you need.
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