Author: Scott Martin

About Scott Martin

Scott is an engineer turned gnome and game store owner. He lies awake at night building intriguing worlds and plotting your character's demise.

We recently had a chance to play an interesting scenario, set in an interesting time. We played a Deadlands: Noir scenario set in 1935 New Orleans. We’re a group that has played together for years, though our Savage Worlds experience isn’t extensive. While the characters were new to us (we were testing out pre-gens for a con scenario), we’re quite comfortable with each other as players. Despite that advantage, we hit a rough patch where one of the players felt de-protagonized due to the intersection […]

Birthday cake photo

As a GM, you have a lot of characters with serious issues to explore–both yours and the players. Sometimes, though, it’s the small questions that reveal characterization–and reveal more about the world you’re building. One of the most common celebrations in our world is birthdays. You can copy birthdays and bring them into your world, build a culture with a different birthday analog, or even use a culture that doesn’t care about your day of birth at all. There are many options. Let’s play with […]

Free RPG Day is coming up later this month (on June 21st), and we’re having a mini-con to coincide. In the past, I’ve gone light on running games to be available for emergencies, but the store is well staffed this year… and I’m eager to GM. (I’ve been fortunate enough to play in a few games recently; my batteries are recharged. It’s time to reciprocate.) One of the games that I enjoyed running earlier this year was Kingdom. It was a very interesting game; though […]


The truth is out there… This world looks very much like the one we all experience; birthdays, taxes, and grinding jobs. In that world, however, there is a secret organization, dedicated to protecting everyone from… something. Depending on your game something can be a lot of somethings, or one subtle difference. I have always loved alternate histories—including the old TV show Voyagers. Sometimes the tiniest twist is all it takes to make a radically different reality… if you indulge in some enthusiastic fallout from the […]

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 […]

Gaming Conventions

I got a chance to play a very different game recently at Bookwyrm, a cool local con. Several elements set Kingdom apart: you build a collaborative setting, featuring a high level of player input and control, with very influential characters, who navigate kingdom-wide crises. Many of those elements exist in specific games—but Kingdom puts them all together smoothly. Kingdoms can be traditional medieval nations, but the concept is very flexible. Running examples in the book include a fantasy city bordered by barbarians, an old west […]


It’s easy for undifferentiated life to blur together—even when it’s the hectic life of an adventurer. (Maybe even especially when it’s the busy life of an adventurer; the first orc is a terrifying foe, but after seven levels, how do you tell them apart?) Both players and GMs benefit from characters and campaigns with defined times and a grasp of events corresponding to their character’s development. Character Eras The story of your character’s life—especially as the character tells it—can be marked in many ways. Some […]