System-Neutral GMing Advice
 

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I have some grading to do

Lately I’ve been a little busy at work. You see, I don’t have full time employment. Instead I work a handful of part time jobs. A few weeks ago one of my coworkers had an emergency and I had to pick up as much extra work to cover their shifts as possible. I managed to cut back at a few other jobs and add hours where they were needed, but my schedule was very tight. Then a coworker at another job moved on to a […]







GMingAdvice012

Looking for a change-of-pace scenario for a longstanding campaign? Consider an infiltration encounter that requires nonlethal solutions against friendly, or at least neutral, opponents. It’s the sort of single-session event that can satisfy a group that needs a break from the traditional kill the monster loot the dungeon routine. Players who’ve created combat monkeys might find their characters stretched to complete some of the tasks, but on the other hand, characters with noncombat skills will get the chance to shine. The setup: This can be […]

GMingAdvice03

You don’t always have to raise the stakes. Recently, I got a call from an old gaming friend who was coming to town for a few days and wanted to game with “the old group” again. As it happens I am able to pull everyone together for a one-shot session and I dusted off the characters from a favorite campaign. I fired up the old computer and began musing about the epic adventure I was going to write. Unfortunately, the characters had been on so […]

GMingAdvice04

In many stories in books, on television, and in the movies, the protagonists are often dealt one or more setbacks before the story reaches its climax. In these cases the writer crafts specific events with an intended purpose and outcome. In Role Playing Games, we GM’s often rely on the players to create their own setbacks during a session and within a campaign through bad rolling and impulsive decision making, but there are times the GM wants to write a setback into the game. Depending on […]

Nutrition Label

Over the last few years, I’ve been a fan of creating worlds together or otherwise drawing players into world creation. Our big crusade against the Evil Dwarven Empire was based on a world that we created together, using Dawn of Worlds. When we tried out Diaspora, we only got as far as Cluster Creation, but that alone was fun. Our Primetime Adventures game, Time Preservers, was a show that we created at the table–nothing any of us could have come up with alone. Skills Not […]

"Secrets to Success" by Celestine Chua Some Rights Reserved

Whenever I run a game, I want to make sure it is the best possible game I can run. I want players walking away talking about it and ready for the next session. Maybe 1 in 5 games goes this way, even when I wing it, but it is always rewarding when it all comes together. The other week I was talking to a friend of mine who is getting into GMing. He was lamenting the lack of positive response to his games. We talked […]

Crock Pot

One legacy of the game’s origins is a dungeon laid out on a grid: A collection of rooms, hallways and doors drawn out on an 11- x 8-inch sheet of cyan lined paper. Good fun to be certain. But talk to a geologist. A feature of natural terrain are vertical shafts, carved from the rock by volcanic lava tubes or eroded away by water and gravity. And let’s not forget the activities of human beings, who dig wells for that most precious resource of water […]