Game Mastery


Game Wrap – NPCs as caricatures

by on Sep.06, 2011, under dnd4e, observations, organization, self improvement

Some time ago I wrote about trying to wear NPCs as hats.  I’m more of a method actor (assuming you can call what I do acting at all), so switching around between NPCs has always been a challenge for me.  In a previous post I discussed my plan to treat NPCs as caricatures, defining their outward traits first, never worrying about their inner psychology.

I’d link to that earlier post, but the method sucked and the beginning of the game sucked because of it.

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Game Wrap – My experience with D&D 4th Edition

by on Aug.27, 2011, under dnd4e, observations, organization

As of last night, my 4e game of the last 20 months has come to a close.   I decided to challenge myself in this game by breaking a lot of the rules I’d set for myself.  It wasn’t that I was tired of my own GMing style, I just wanted to check that my assumptions and assertions made sense.  Over the next few days, I’d like to discuss the effect of some of those changes and of some of the events of the game in general.

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Counterintuition – save time planning by writing more plots!

by on Aug.04, 2010, under dnd, game theory, GM, observations, organization

An odd thing happened in the shower today. I had an interesting realization about the way I run my games. That wasn’t the odd part. The odd part is that I remembered it. Showers are not conducive to notebooks or iPhones, so most of my hygiene related epiphanies go down the drain.

Anyway, what I realized was that my style of writing complex games with lots and lots of subplots may actually be easier to write than the simplistic one plot at a time approach.
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I got bored and made a mapping tool

by on Jul.22, 2009, under organization

Two games ago I decided I would never again attempt to run a game off my laptop. Ostensibly this was to keep me off the computer for a few more hours each week in a belated attempt to save my carpal tunnels. In actuality it’s because the computer was too damn useful and I kept finding new ways to make use of it when I should have been writing game.

Well, I’m between games now (that sounds a lot more depressing than it really is) and figured I could invest some time into coding up my own RPG tools.

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Why didn’t I think of that?

by on Apr.17, 2009, under organization, player management

Alright, so Game of Thrones is finished.  It was a good game but had some flaws.  One of the biggest flaws wasn’t entirely my fault.  We had a player who had trouble remembering what was going on.  That player happened to be a spy.  When he got caught and was explaining himself, he fabricated some pretty wild lies.  The problem was that I couldn’t tell if the character was lying or if the player simply couldn’t remember.

Now, I’d done my homework and kept a pretty detailed log on our group wiki.  The information was there, if the players cared to read it.  There was actually a lot of content there, but it was by and large ignored.  With the exception of our “rotating DM” game, I’ve never seen a game’s website get any real use or serve any purpose other than to frustrate the GM.  Long story short, I’ve been discussing this online and somebody posted a very simple, elegant way to get your players to use forums.

Post experience and loot there.  Even if your players aren’t loot whores, nobody wants to miss out on some good magic gear.  Level ups even less so.  Use the loot to get your players into your forum or wiki, and once there they may actually use it.  I think the best part of this idea isn’t even that the players will use the forums, but that division of loot will happen outside of game time.

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Tabletop Organization

by on Nov.26, 2008, under GM, organization

Like most GMs out there, I have limits on how much game can live in my head at any given time so I have to keep notes and lots of them. Everyone has their own style in terms of what works for them, and everyone’s style evolves as they GM. Here’s what I’m currently using – borrow what you like, critique what you don’t. (continue reading…)

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