Have you ever been working on something, anything, and you get a brilliant flash of insight? Something hits you, out of the blue, and your mind starts racing. You’ve got ideas, plans, you know just how to implement everything . . . . . . and it has nothing at all to do with what you’re working on. In fact, with this shiny new set of ideas, what you’re working on now seems dull and drab by comparison. You look at what’s in front of you and wonder how you’re ever going to get it done. Or worse, you...Read More
Author: Tracy Barnett
About The Author
Tracy was introduced to Basic D&D back in 1988, but didn’t really play and RPGs until D&D 3rd Edition came out. Since then, he’s ventured far and wide across different types of game. He loves indie games and how they empower players, and will always have a soft spot for D&D. In addition to blogging here, Tracy co-owns Exploding Rogue Studios and has published three of his own games in addition to some freelance credits. If you dig his work, you can support his Patreon at: www.patreon.com/theothertracy
There Are Many Articles Like It. This One is Mine. It’s been, shall we say, a bit of a rough day. Nothing serious is wrong, but my partner and I spent some time in the ER very early this morning, starting at 3am. This afternoon, the Head Gnome (John Arcadian) reminds me that I have a post I need to write for today. (This on the heels of my having missed my Wednesday deadline earlier in the week; we’re going for transparency here.) So, it’s 7:57pm on Thursday night and this post has to be set for consumption by 2am...Read More
NPCs are a GM’s best friend (as far as I’m concerned.) It’s one thing to describe the world to your players. It’s an entirely different thing to show them the world through the varied eyes of the people who call it home. Camp Adventure is no different. The NPCs of the setting are what bring it to life, both the counselors and the other campers. Today, we’re going to take a look at some of the counselors and how I like to set up NPCs. Think Anawanna-wanna… Here’s a section from the text about the counselors: At Camp Adventure,...Read More
Two weeks ago, I teased you with how different the cabin areas of the Camp would be for the campers. Rather than try to spend words describing them here, I’m going to give you the description directly from the text. The Cabins The cabins at Camp Adventure are perhaps the most unique and adaptable part of the campgrounds. Unlike the other parts of the camp, which are controlled directly by the counselors, the cabins are enchanted to simply respond to the needs and desires of the campers themselves. Practically speaking, what does this mean for a camper? As an...Read More
When I wrote the first Camp Adventure article a couple of weeks ago, I ended things up knowing I needed to pick a part of the project to work on next. I outlined a few possibilities in the post, but when I went back to the document, one of them jumped out to me. Location, Location, Location In my previous work on this project, I’d established a template for how I wanted to write up each area of camp. The general structure goes like this: Name of Area Short Description What You’ll See What You’ll Hear What You’ll Smell...Read More
I’ve been lucky enough to know Cam Banks for about six years, now. In fact, the first time I met Cam, I interviewed him about the then-brand-new Leverage RPG. I had no idea what I was doing, but he was kind enough to talk to me. Fast-forward to now and Cam is Kickstarting a brand-new, all-inclusive version of Cortex, the system that underpins Leverage, the Marvel Heroic RPG, Smallville, and more. I had a chance to send Cam some questions about Cortex Prime, so sit back, relax, and enjoy! Cortex Prime, Live on Kickstarter! Tracy Barnett: What motivated you to take on a...Read More
I’ve had an idea banging around in my brain for a while and I thought I might let it out. When I’m writing things, I like to talk about them while they’re in progress. It helps me do a couple of things that writing by myself doesn’t accomplish. When I write just for myself, things tend to go around in circles. I start and stop, and I end up not getting much done. I need a reason to write that’s beyond me to get much of anything done. Along that same line, it helps me think clearly. It gives...Read More
So Much Prep, So Little Time Things are going well in my gaming world. Almost too well. With the advent of TheOtherCast, I’ve added hours of audio editing to my day job work, other writing, and game prep. I only run games every other week, which is good, but that’s about to change. In addition to the Star Wars game that I record for the podcast, I’m going to start a likely-once-a-month Planescape game. I figure that about a week out from the first session of that game would be a good time to talk about getting a new...Read More
Sound and Fury Have you ever listened to how you run games? … That small pause was for all of the “oh gods, I hate the sound of my own voice” reactions that no doubt rippled through the Gnome Stew readership. The basic makeup of how we hear what we say in our own heads means that we sound different on recordings than we expect. It can be hard. I’ll tell you this, though: nothing has improved my GMing skills more than recording the audio of my sessions and listening back to it. Enter TheOtherCast Back in September, when...Read More
Yesterday, Exploding Rogue Studios released DEAD SCARE, a 1950s, feminist, zed-killing, fascist-punching tabletop RPG by Elsa S. Henry. If you weren’t familiar, I co-own Exploding Rogue with Brian Patterson. We’re absolutely thrilled to have been able to help Elsa bring this game to the public, especially now. So, let’s talk about representation in games. Lots and Lots of White Dudes In case you haven’t noticed, there are a bunch of white dudes in gaming. Doesn’t matter what kinds of games you’re talking, either. Tabletop? Yup. Video? Double-yup. So when Elsa approached me about DEAD SCARE and pitched it as a...Read More
A Long Time Ago… We all know how Star Wars starts, and that opening sentence firmly situates us in the setting. It’s not our time and it’s not our world. In fact, this has already happened. That phrase acts like an Aspect in that you can call on it and refer to it when you need a bit of story. It’s a bit meta, but it’s a nice jumping-off point for this topic. You’ve got to have a way for things to happen in your game. Sure, you can ask what an NPC would do in a given situation...Read More
I’ve been using the Principles, Agenda, and Moves I’ve talked about in my other posts for my Star Wars game. Now it’s time to take things to another level. We’ve been keeping things pretty basic (both in the posts and in my sessions). Now it’s time to complicate things. The Moves Beneath the Moves The whole point of using this approach to planning and running games is to let player motivation drive the game. We’ve been doing that for about five sessions, now. The players are pushing things forward, and they’re personally interested in the story. This is when...Read More
Last post I wrote had me talking about the Agenda and Principles I’d adapted from Apocalypse World to use in my Star Wars: EoE game. I’d left that post off by saying that Moves are really where it’s at. This is the Moves post. Moves Like Jabba In Apocalypse World, if you do something that includes picking up the dice and rolling, it’s called a Move. (FYI, that’s the last time I’m gonna capitalize that word, as it’ll get excessive if I keep it up). That’s the most straightforward definition to start with. From that perspective, moves can be pretty...Read More
In my previous posts, I’d been exploring the Agenda and Principles for Apocalypse World. This was partially because I think they’re really sweet, and partially because I was running a campaign of the game. Sadly, that game seems to be done, as we had two key players move out of state. In the meantime, with another group, I’ve started a Star Wars: Edge of the Empire game set in the Force Awakens-era Star Wars universe. The idea of Agenda, Principles, and Moves won’t leave me alone, though. I find them to be hugely useful, to the point that I’m...Read More
We got the chance to play our second session of Apocalypse World a couple of weeks ago. It was our first “real” session, as I prepped some Fronts and used things that had happened in the first “day in the life” session. It was an amazing session, and without further ado, we’re gonna dive right in to the recap. Primed to Blow The first session left off with Jeanette, the 2nd in command of Warehouse 141, strapped to the driver’s seat of a heavily armored bus, rigged to blow with explosives. The group wasted no time working to free...Read More
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