System-Neutral GMing Advice
 

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GMingAdvice05

I was running out of time to prep my games. Sounds almost ironic from the guy who wrote Never Unprepared, but it was true. Things have changed in my life, and my ability to prep was straining against my dwindling free time. I had maximized the usage of my time, and I simply had less time to prepare than before. It was time to re-evaluate the way I prep and evolve my prep to meet my new life situation. Prep-Lite you say? Four years ago, […]







GMingAdvice03

You’ve heard of “using the whole buffalo,” right? The idea that if you’re going to kill a buffalo, you should respect the buffalo by making every bit of it useful: eating the meat, tanning the hide, making stuff from its bones? When your players hand you their character sheets, think of each of those character sheets as a buffalo. Then, mix your analogies: Everything on your players’ character sheets is a flag. A what now? A flag, gaming-wise, is this (courtesy of our woefully out-of-date […]

GMingAdvice012

Next month I’ll be running several events at GenCon (primarily Victoriana, which is near and dear to my roleplaying heart!). Whenever I run events, I have several goals in mind, including 1) ensuring everyone that plays has a good time, 2) an adventure is completed, 3) the players get the ‘experience’ of playing the game, and 4) I never have to crack open a book at the table. This last point usually consumes a lot of my prep time. I try to make my character […]

GMingAdvice04

Your group has just completed a major story arc. They have been down in the depths of the Dungeon of Ultimate Sorrows for weeks. You are ready to start off the next delve, into the Tower of Unimaginable Anguish, but are your players ready, and more importantly are their characters? Perhaps all they want is some R&R, to head into town, spend some of that hard-looted gold, and find out the latest gossip. Before their assault on the Tower, they need a repositioning session. Come […]

Picture of an old-school dungeon

If you don’t follow him regularly, you might not have noticed that Chris Chinn is on fire these days. He’s long been writing great articles to help you diagnose your group and provide awesome tools, like the Same Page tool, or the super quick one sentence character motivator. Some of the more interesting ideas for 4th edition plots and stories came from his site, including The Five Blades of Bahamut– a game I’d still happily play. Now that Fifth Edition is out, he’s got a […]

Guess which characters were played by women. (Drawn by Chris Mann, one of the players from the game. Used with permission.)

When we’re first introduced to gaming, we’re told we can play any character we want and our imagination (and the system) is the only limit. Your character can be anyone you want them to be! Do you want to be a brawny fighter despite struggling to carry a 40lb bag of kitty litter from the car to the house in real life? Go for it! Do you want to be a brilliant scientist despite flunking chemistry back in high school? Absolutely! Do you want to […]

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A minor kafuffle went on in the RPG blogging community recently over the concept of the 7.5 hit point orcish standard. I don’t think that’s what anyone else called it. That just seems like a good name to me.  The original premise is this: If you’re an orc, or some other common low level fodder one hit die wonder, and you roll a one for hit points, you’re screwed. At some point you’re going to trip and hit your head on a rock, get into […]