Lessons From Las Vegas: Bait & Switch? Nah!

First things first – Hanging out with Lenny Balsera was a blast! Lenny is a smart, passionate, and outspoken individual. Exactly the kind of person I like to be around. By far the best part of my trip to Las Vegas has been hanging out with Lenny. Why? You will have to wait for my Gnome Stew article to find out.

Second – I apologize for the lateness of this post. I am on Las Vegas time though, so technically my streak of posting new content every day is still going (unless I cannot finish this post in the next 51 minutes). Now onto the GMing advice…

Tonight a co-worker and I walked the Las Vegas strip to entertain ourselves. I have been to Las Vegas before, but my friend and co-worker had not until this trip. So I suggested that we end the night by catching the “pirate” show at the Treasure Island casino. Bad call on my part.

You see, what we saw was not so much a pirate show as it was a poor musical with pathetic tunes and lame jokes. I know that I should not expect too much of a free show, but this one was bad. Do not misunderstand me – the performers obviously worked very hard to deliver the best that they could with their dancing and lip syncing (yes, I credit them for doing a good job with their lip syncing). It was just disappointing, because I wanted a pirate show.

What we saw was a very bad and prolonged music video for a bubble gum pop band from the 80’s. One of the lyrics was:

You take a little bit of honey,

and whole lot of suger,

and you shake it,

shake it up!

What the fuck does that have to do with pirates?

The answer – not a god damn thing.

So the next time you are GMing a game and decide to pull a bait switch think of the scene that I have just described. Your players will be sitting there waiting for a tale of pirates looting ships for treasure, and attacking the Imperial Navy in bloody wars upon the high seas. If you deliver a second rate Andrew Loyd Weber experience your players are going to be pissed, and rightfully so.

Expectations are such a big part of our hobby that you have to really try to deliver on the ones that you set for your players. Do not pull a bait and switch job unless you know that you can make it fun and memorable. Otherwise, deliver on those expectations.

That is how I feel about the matter. How about you? Leave a comment below and I promise not to respond with an assortment of imitation Duran Duran lyrics.

PS I finished in 18 minutes. The streak is still going! 🙂