jaegamer: (GOD)
March 4th is GM's Day, time to show some appreciation for your GM(s).

Geek's Dream Girl has some useful suggestions.

This isn't a naked plea for prezzies from my players, but instead a reminder that it would be nice to tell your GM how much you appreciate what s/he does to entertain you. GMing is fun (or I, at least, wouldn't do it), but it's always nice to hear that your work is appreciated.

GM's Day is actually several years old, and happens to be the anniversary of Gary Gygax's death.  This is a coincidence, as GM's Day predates the passing of that gaming icon.  Here's a posting from ENWorld from 2005 discussing how it began in 2002 (original thread).

Do something nice for your GM(s) in March - even a sincere thank you is always nice.

GMing Tips

Jan. 7th, 2010 10:27 am
jaegamer: (GOD)
I'm participating in a panel on better GMing at Confusion (Troy MI, Jan 22-24, 2010), and I'm compiling a set of useful tips.  It's a one hour panel, and I'm sure I'm not the only one on it.  I'll be storing my own ideas in this post (and will be updating it as things occur to me), and I'd appreciate any tips any of you have.

In no particular order...
  • It's not just YOUR story, it's THEIR story too (collaborate).
  • Don't be wedded to your scenario.  If you plan for 4 possible choices, the players will take the 6th.
  • GM ain't havin' fun, ain't nobody havin' fun.  (The inverse is also true.)
  • Know your players and their characters.  Make sure there's an opportunity for everyone to shine.
  • If you don't want them to screw it up, don't let them roll the dice (contsts/tests should be meaningful - if they need info/success/whatever to continue, *give* it to them
  • Nobody likes a no-win scenario.  Make sure you've thought of at least one way to succeed.  Mind you, the players will probably come up with another.
  • Failure can be even more interesting than success.  (differs from no-win, in that failure at a particular test means an unexpected outcome, as opposed to "too bad, you're dead".
  • Players don't mind losing a character if the death is meaningful.
  • Complicate their lives, complicate their lives, complicate their lives.
  • Dependents, cohorts and NPC friends - snack food for monsters and ways to complicate their lives.
Stuff I've appropriated from other people:
  • Failure is boring.  The credible but unrealized threat of failure is very exciting (Robin Laws)
  • Say "yes" or roll the dice. (Vincent Baker)
  • Try to give your players at least one meaningful choice in an adventure with no pre-determined conclusion. (@slyflourish)
  • "The game must be fun shall be the whole of the Law." Making Light
jaegamer: (killerdice)
Dungeon Mastering LogoI read a lot of RPG blogs. A lot... Lately I've been finding so much good stuff that I have to share some of it. Or at least store it where I can find it later.
  • One Sentence NPC Generator - an oldie but goodie from RPGTips. Stuck for NPC ideas? Click this puppy till you find one you like. A few examples:
    • Clumsy, drunken wizard morbidly afraid her own sobriety.
    • The town witch doctor, reputed as a medical miracle worker, is actually nothing more than a lucky fraud, in way over their head.
    • Highly superstitious about local fey, the blacksmith only takes payment in silver for fear of being duped with 'faerie gold.'
    • Depressed elementalist has forgotten how to summon all but the nicest of weather.
  • 5 NPCs That Won’t Put Your Players to Sleep - From Dungeon Mastering Some good general tips for designing interesting NPCs. I've used a few of these myself and will probably use more of them in the future.
  • Nerdy Chix - Web site by and for female MMORPG , videogame and RPG players.
  • D20 end of year deals from [livejournal.com profile] montecook . "WotC pulled the plug on d20, so that anything with the d20 logo on it can't be sold after the end of this year." I didn't realize that. eek!
  • Delta Green Rules for Survival - from RoleplayingPro - I just discovered this blog, and it's full of nifty, interesting stuff. If you've ever played Delta Green (or the shared world campaign Delta Files) this will ring really true. If you haven't, and you're within driving distance of Lansing MI, email me and we'll set something up. X-Files meets Cthulhu for the win!
  • How to Get Players More Involved again from RoleplayingPro. Oh, heck, just go read everything there!
Finally, from [livejournal.com profile] muskrat_john , is a bit of gaming holiday shopping advice (humor).

jaegamer: (Chill)
It's the season for Chill, and I have a problem.

I love running Chill, and I have a group of wonderful players.  Until I took a hiatus a month ago, we'd been running weekly for a couple of years.  I tend to long, involved scenarios deeply linked into the backgrounds of the characters.  That made for a lot of good play, but Real Life has reared its monstrous head.  Odds are good that no more than 3 of my six players will be able to make any given week night session, which ends up limiting my story options.  What do I do if I've centered the story around a character who can't make it that week - or for several weeks?

I don't want to replace the players who can't make it often - they're great players, they just have Real Life conflicts.  I want to make my game more "absence friendly" without losing the personal connection that I feel is so important in a horror game.

I'd like to go to a more episodic approach (a la Supernatural, Friday the 13th the Series or Poltergeist: the Legacy), but I'm kinda stalled.  I don't want to do tired old stuff - these folks are all pretty well mired in the horror genre.  I'd like to string the episodic events into arcs so that eventually they'd look at them an realize that this and this and OMG THAT all apply to their personal arcs, and it's time to batten down the hatches.

So I turn to you, my fellow evil geniuses, for a burst of ideas for short (3-4 hr) torture sessions...er... games.

Edit: Game blogs are available at: www.chillrpg.net/chilldetroit

jaegamer: (GOD)
I just wrote a lengthy screed to a group that's forming (and that I hope to join) where a new, young player is having a lot of difficulty with the preferred style of the rest of the group.  I think it's fairly cogent, so I've removed identifying features and am posting it here.  Feel free to offer opinions and suggestions or not.  One of the things I like best about my Flist is the accumulated role playing wisdom contained therein.

Beneath the cut out of consideration... )
jaegamer: (GOD)
http://projects.thomashandkeefe.com/lgA moment of silence, please, for the passing of one of the Great Masters.  E. Gary Gygax died today at his home, of a heart attack (according to what I've read thus far).  He was 69.

Love him or hate him, without him the hobby I so love would not exist.  When he and Dave Arneson got roleplaying on their wargaming, they created something magnificent, something that created a culture I am proud to be part of.

Most of my dearest friends came to me through gaming, and it still forms the core of my leisure life.

Thank you, Mr. Gygax.  I wish you all the best as you begin your legendary journey to your next destination.
jaegamer: (GOD)

My players, $deity love 'em, have a pet name for me.  The story (which I will tell beneath the cut) goes back a number of years, and I take great pride in my nickname.  I run horror, for the most part, and if they don't cordially hate me, I'm not doing my job.  The trick is to scare the jeebers out of them, but to make it so intriguing and so personal that they keep coming back for more. 

So... this is how I became the Evil, Evil, B****

jaegamer: (GOD)
Listening to music while I work reminds me that I've always taken a lot of inspiration from songs. From movies as well, but in this case I was listening to "Land of Confusion" by Genesis, and it struck me that it's a perfect anthem for a modern superhero game. Or a game where the players are fighting the established order, trying to make right what's gone wrong.

In particular:
I won't be coming home tonight
My generation will put it right
We're not just making promises
That we know, we'll never keep.
and
Now this is the world we live in
And these are the hands we're given
Use them and let's start trying
To make it a place worth fighting for.

This is the world we live in
And these are the names we're given
Stand up and let's start showing
Just where our lives are going to.
I've been itching to run a Heroes-inspired game, but haven't found the time yet. This would make a good basis, perhaps along with Mike and the Mechanics' "Silent Running".

Read more... )
jaegamer: (GOD)
This was inspired by a discussion on GameCraft about a GM equivalent to[profile] robin_d_lawsPlayer Types. (I took that quiz a while back, recorded here.) I see portions of my GMing style in a number of the different types, but am inclined to agree that Master of Ceremonies reflects the bulk of my style.






GM types by Georgios
Master of Ceremonies
You are the GM that really gives Players a full range experience.

Take this quiz! Quizilla | Join | Make A Quiz | More Quizzes | Grab Code

I'm going to quote the initial post here, because I think it's useful and it's on a forum (and they are notoriously ephemeral). All credit goes to Georgios, who originally posted it in German as was kind enough to also post it in English. Go read the original discussion.

(Caveat: these GM-Types, much like those by Laws, aren't mutually exclusive of course. Many, if not most GMs fall somewhere in-between. And two GMs of the same kind aren't necessary alike. But I feel that they give you at least a rough idea, of what to expect and what is expected of you.)

The World Builder has the goal of presenting an in-depth game world. It's not just some random place, where faceless NPCs wander around boring building. The game world has a history. The landscape is diverse and exciting. NPCs are part of a living, breathing world, that features a nearly endless amount of details. The World Builder is someone who draws on sourcebooks, non-fiction books and genre literature to have a wealth of information to make the game world come alive. You might call the game world his work of art, and the players his audience.
Playstyle: If you're playing with the World Builder you should take an interest in the setting and enjoy the complexity of the world. Especially when the World Builder uses a published setting, you'll find many references (and also some intentional contradictions) to pick up on.

The Duelist is looking to compete with the players. He relishes playing the opposition to the characters. To him the game only starts when the group is fighting for something. That is not to say, that the Duelist only values combat. It's more that he's out to challenge the players. He loves victory to be hard-earned and have the players avoid defeat by a hair's breadth. But if the players display great tactical or strategic skill he will not deny them their well-deserved win. To him it goes without saying that his rule calls must be hard, but fair. Otherwise every victory is shallow and meaningless.
Playstyle: If you're playing with the Duelist you should never walk away from a challenge or base your decisions on anything other than tactics or strategy. With the Duelist you really have to work for everything you want, and have to prove yourself again and again. The Duelist's word may be law, but it would be an offence to his honour as a gamer to be biased and give anybody (let alone himself) an undeserved advantage.

The Plotmeister considers himself the master of puppets, where all threads come together. He brings a complex and multilayered plot to the game, that the players have to unravel. To him the game world is not so much a place, as it is a web of cause and effect, with the characters caught in the middle. This can sometimes lead to even the simplest and most common plot hooks leading to a wide fog of surprising twists and unexpected developments. It's the Plotmeister's goal to constantly baffle and surprise the group, but doing so with plot developments which, looking back, are both consistent and sensible.
Playstyle: With the Plotmeister you should always pay attention to what happens and never lose track of even the smallest of details. He likes to give the players all the pieces of the puzzle, but it is up to them to piece together the big picture. As a player you should make notes and constantly exchange theories with each other. Never take any assumptions for granted and test them in the game first.

The Master of Ceremonies is all about running a very atmospheric and immersive game. A game with the Master of Ceremonies should be unique and allow the players to dive into a whole new world. He likes to use all kinds of aids to make the game more vivid and real. He'd use things like lighting, background music, carefully crafted props and fancy handouts. It's also important to him that his NPCs talk and behave appropriately, that is to say.. authentically. To the Master of Ceremonies a roleplaying game is above all an experience and an act of escapism.
Playstyle: Gaming with the Master of Ceremonies requires the players to suspend their disbelief and keep heckling to a minimum. Nothing makes you more unpopular with him, than an out-of-character comment at the wrong time or an action that breaks the atmosphere. He especially disapproves of any kind of metagaming (which can include purely tactical/strategic play).

The Actor pours all his effort into the NPCs. He wants to present the players with many different NPCs with peculiar features or at least NPCs that are clearly and easily distinguishable. For the Actor the game world consists of characters with their preferences and dislikes, their strengths and quirks. To him roleplaying is all about character interaction. That of course requires the NPCs to have a consistent personality that is not subordinate to any rules or constraints of the game. The Actor wants the characters and their interaction with the players to be memorable.
Playstyle: To get along with the Actor your character needs to have character. Just like you have the opportunity to find out more about the NPCs and their motivation, the Actor wants the game to reveal more about the players' characters. Who are they? Why are they the way they are? Contradictory actions of a character must always stem from some inner conflict. On no account should it be because the player didn't care if his actions today are consistent with those from before.

The Director considers roleplaying a medium to create stories together. In order for this creation to be exciting and entertaining he draws from all available means of roleplaying games (e.g. adventure structure, great challenges, dramatic conflicts, etc.) but also from any and all narrative art he's familiar with (e.g. three act structure, genre rules, cinematic language, etc.). The Director is only interested in playing the „important stuff“. Actions that don't advance the plot or reveal something about the characters, he prefers to avoid or completely cut out of the game.
Playstyle: The Director expects the players to work on bringing their vision to the game. That means, they should actively look for situations where they can forward the story. In other words, they should take charge in specific situations and push the story into a new direction. The Director wants the players to surprise him.

The Provider is the kind of GM, who doesn't have his own stake in the game. He has fun, because the other players have fun. Many Providers simply enjoy the company and are only GMing because nobody else wants to do it. The adventure is often made up of the player's preferences and he implements them according to the rules and to the best of his abilities. He's also willing to give the players more power, if that would increase the player's enjoyment of the game. The Provider feels obliged to meet the player's expectations halfway.
Playstyle: It doesn't take much to get along with the Provider. It's one of the reasons why most players consider him the best kind of GM. But there are two things, with which any group can push him away. As a player you must have at least a general idea of what you enjoy in a roleplaying game. Nothing is more frustrating for a Provider than players who claim to like one thing, but in reality want something completely different. Additionally, the Provider – more than any of the other types of GM – needs confirmation that the game was fun. A group that doesn't regularly tell him that he did a good job and they enjoyed themselves in his game, is practically chasing him towards burnout.

jaegamer: (GOD)
Jamestown ZombiesThis article, from BoingBoing, conflates the 400th anniversary of Jamestown with the whole Zombie trope. And all of a sudden the plot bunnies are breeding, and I find myself wanting to write a scenario about early colonists dealing with a zombie infestation in the New World.

To quote:
those pilgrims were starving to death, and living in absolute horror. It got so bad, some were reduced to subsisting off old shoes, rotting corpses, pools of blood left behind by the sick and dying, the salted flesh of murdered spouses, and -- BRAIINNNNNSSSSSS! The story of Jamestown and Pocohontas and Thanksgiving was not so much a Disney movie, explains radio producer Nate DiMeo in the voiceover -- it was more like a Wes Craven movie.

Oh, yeah... but what system? Chill could certainly handle it, or maybe the upcoming Witchhunter: The Invisible World or Colonial Gothic. Hrm....

Be afraid, be very afraid...
jaegamer: (GOD)
Ok, GameCraft is fantastic. I've put it in my link list, and will be checking it out in greater depth from home. Please credit GameCraft if you pass this along.

Getting Feedback - Repeat, Clarify, Probe

First, ask specific questions. Were the scenes and encounters too hard? Too easy? Too long? Did they feel railroaded, did they feel 'adrift'? Stuff like that.

Second, repeat what they tell you. When they answer a question, put it in your own words, and ask if that's what they meant, just to make sure you're understanding clearly.

Third, probe for details. That is, ask about various little bits of what they said that seem to be leading somewhere. The dragon wasn't too tough, just a bit simple. What struck you as "simple"?

Fourth, clarify. Recap everything you've learned by asking. Thank the players for their feedback, and pay attention to it. The players are telling you not only how their priorities were served, but what those priorities are. Try to look at their answers in light of what they are telling you is important about the game.
jaegamer: (GOD)
This, by Levi, an admin at GameCraft,  is so simply perfect that I'm quoting it entire - please credit GameCraft!  I don't mind when people quote from my LJ, but it's only polite to credit.  In this case, this is NOT my original content, but it's so very good that I want to share it.  While you're at it, you might want to check out GameCraft in general.


1. Come For A Good Time
If your primary goal at the table is something other than having an experience you enjoy, and that others can enjoy with you, you should be doing something else. Generally speaking, that means having fun. Sometimes it might be more specific - crafting a satisfying story together, or having the experience of seeing things from the perspective of your character, either in addition to or instead of classically fun stuff. But if what you want when you sit down at the table on any given night isn’t enjoyable to you, or does not allow enjoyment for others, do not sit down at that table. Not gaming is better than bad gaming.

2. This Is Your Gamespace, These Are Real People.
Accept and understand that the players around you are real people that are also here to have fun. Nobody comes to the table to watch one player discuss their personal character’s stuff with the GM when it could wait, or to watch two players crack inside jokes at each other and exclude everyone else. Nobody comes to the table to be treated to the personal aroma of another player, or to closely observe their food being chewed. Nobody hosts a game hoping for a marathon cleanup session at the end. Nobody comes to the table to be the ego-boosting kick-toy of anyone else. Never, ever, forget that you are playing the game with real people.

3. Accept Responsibility
Taking the same point as #2, and bringing it into the game - what you do at the gaming table is your responsibility, and you should accept this. What others do is their responsibility, and they should accept that, too. This absolutely includes what you decide that your character does. This absolutely includes the actions of the GM as world. If playing your character as written could very well interfere with the fun of others, you need to decide where to go with that – it’s your call, though; excuses are lame. If you ruin the game by playing your character or the world ‘correctly’, then you still ruined the game.

4. Give Feedback
Anything from telling the GM “I had a good game tonight” to “here’s ten specific moments of play I really liked, and ten moments I really didn’t”, can help. For the GM, telling the players what they loved about their play, and what they found dull, works the same way. The GM can’t read the minds of the players here (or anywhere else), and the players don’t know what’s going on internally for the GM either. Unless they tell each other. This doesn’t need to be formal – in fact, it seems that it often works best if it isn’t. But the clearer it is, the better; and it’s often good to get a quick idea of this stuff before you start.

5. Share Creativity
No one person at the table has full control over what happens in the game. If someone does, you get some really boring shit. At the very least, a player generally controls most of one character in the game. There are an infinite number of little variants on how the GM and the players share control over who gets to put stuff in, and things work best once the group hits a level of input from each person at the table that they’re comfortable with. Find that level. If you’re looking for ways to muck about with that level of input, there are quite a few ways to do that.

6. Seek Consensus
The people at your table have, if your game is actually running at all, a consensus. The ideas in their heads of what the game is and does match up well enough to produce good play. Sometimes a group will hit on little moments when their ideas just don’t match up, and they’ll need to talk about what this specific thing looks like in their heads and agree on one way to go about it. Once in a while, one of the people at the table will want to bring something in that they aren’t sure will match up with what the others have in their heads, and it’s a good idea for them to mention that before they do.

7. Negotiate Honestly
When problems come up in your group, the first step is to make sure that everyone at the table is onboard with at least the basic ideas of the first five things here – they don’t have to be “skilled” at these things; being onboard is plenty. If they aren’t, I don’t really have any good advice for you – for myself, I likely wouldn’t play with them for much longer. If they are, and you still have a problem, then it’s time to sort that out. Now, my own recommendations on doing that are below, but they aren’t really ‘polished’ and they’re kind of artificial; if you’ve got any ideas on that, I’m really interested. But here’s another standard saying that ties into this – it’s usually a very bad idea to try and solve out-of-character problems with in-game events. That’s dishonest, and doesn’t generally work. Also, using the rules to ‘punish’ your players or ‘get back’ at your GM? Same thing.

8. Consider Your Options.
When someone makes an attempt to alter 'your part' of the fiction - the world if you're the GM, your character if you're a player, you have choices. You can simply agree, or disagree; you can put it to the mechanics, you can modify what they’ve stated and give it back to them. Limiting your options in this case is silly; most advice to limit these options in a ‘positive’ way comes from a desire to keep the energy of the game high, or allow for trust between players above and beyond the basic average; those are good goals, but instead of using limits on yourself and others to achieve them, simply remember that your decisions will affect those things as well as the specific matter at hand.

9. Watch The Spotlight.
At any given instant of play, someone has the spotlight. This doesn’t just mean ‘one person is talking’. It means that if there are a whole string of scenes, one person is usually “center stage”; the scene revolves around their stuff, whether that’s world stuff or character issues or whatever. If that person isn’t you, then you’re a supporting character in that scene; try to play good support, whether that means keeping quiet, offering support or advice, playing up the effects the setting has on your character a bit, whatever. If that person is you, then fill that scene; it’s there for you to step into. If nobody is sure who should have the spotlight, then act as support for each other, until the focus hits. But watch that spotlight, too. If you’re getting more than a fair share, work to make more scenes about other characters. If you’re getting less than your share, then when a scene doesn’t really have a focus, step up and take it. Now, sometimes the players will think that different people are getting too much, or not enough spotlight time – we’re people, it happens. Talk about it; most of the time, whoever’s being a hog or hiding away just needs to know about it - and on those occasions when that isn’t true, work it out.

10. Play the Game At The Game
This is a close partner to sharing creativity. Sometimes, you’ll have an idea about the game before you sit down at the table, about something you’d like to see happen there. Sometimes, you’ll have a whole string of them. That’s good stuff. But when those ideas start to look like a whole storyline, you need to be careful with it. A storyline like that is great raw material, but don’t get too attached; if you get too attached to that storyline, you’ll find yourself pushing to make it happen, and ignoring or working against all the other good ideas and creative input at your table. Remember, at all times; raw material is good. But don’t play the game before it starts – play the game when you’re at the game.

11. Show Your Stuff As You Go.
Almost everybody wants to feel like the fictional world, and the characters in it, are real to them enough to imagine. This is, of course, achieved by describing things. But nobody wants to be bored by drawn-out description, or huge whopping chunks of detail. If the GM rattles of ten facts about the place the characters are standing, only the first few will sink in; likewise if a player does this when describing their character. So, the key is to describe as you go. If a player wants us to know that her character Jill is a graceful woman, she shouldn’t simply tell the group that at character creation; her character should ‘glide’ and ‘move nimbly’ in play – her description at creation need only be a single, vivid image, that she can build on by describing not only what the character does, but how. This works in the same way for the GM; when the characters walk into a abandoned study, it can simply be an old, dusty study, smelling of books; as the characters interact with it, the GM can note the thick books, the puffs of dust as things are moved. One key to a good description that’s often missed is that it starts simple and vivid, and grows as you go, so that it’s never boring.

12. Learn To Speak The Same Language.
This is an ongoing effort that every group needs to make together. Every single person thinks that different phrases and wordings imply slightly different things, and this is one of the biggest things that can knock down even an honest attempt at talking to other people. Your group, to communicate both well and quickly, will sometimes need to hash out things related to this; accept that it’s going to happen and try not to get too serious about a problem until you’re sure this isn’t it.

Feel free to add to this list...
jaegamer: (Shadowrun)
Every so often when technology catches up with Shadowrun, I have what I call a "Shadowrun Moment".  I shake my head in wonder that things that seemed purely sciencfictional 17 years ago are happening now.  Such as when I read last year that "there are more than 750,000 employees of security companies, which exceed the number of state and local police." (source)  Wikipedia has more information on Private Military Contractors.

raincoatVia Gizmodo - the future of fashion today! 

Gizmodo says: If you're worried about some thug trying to jack your iPod, this raincoat should give you some peace of mind. Not because it makes you look like a really big Matrix fan, but because it's bulletproof and stabproof. You can flaunt your fancy gadgets all you want, and if someone tries to jam a broken bottle into your sternum you can just laugh, laugh heartily right in their face. Well, until they stab you in the neck or something. The jacket won't protect your neck. Just keep that in mind.

The manufacturer's site, Spycatcher of Knightsbridge, has a wealth of gadgets, gizmos and armored vehicles.  Since all of the things are available now, you can use this site as a resource for your modern (and Shadowrun) games.
jaegamer: (Default)
Okay, I want them all...

aleta tools ultimate GM caseBut... ohhhhhh... I really want this one!  There's just too much D&D/D20 in my life, and they're so pretty!  And easy to carry in the handy case...

:: wipes up drool ::monster tiles

If you haven't looked at Alea Tools and you do a lot of GMing involving miniatures, you should have a peek at these. They stack under miniatures and let you see status (flying, invisible, whatever) at a glance.  And it's fun to play with the magnets.  So I'm easily entertained - sue me!

And, while we're at it, you might want to check out Monster Tiles.  I have a one deck metal card box full of these, and they're super easy to carry with me (if a little heavy).  You can write on them in pencil, which makes it easier to differentiate between foes.

dragonfire laser craftsThe third product I use frequently are Dragonfire Laser Crafts Monster & Dungeon Dressing tiles.  The pack I have covers everything from medium sized to Colossal, along with status tiles (flying, invisible, etc.)  They're very lightweight, and I don't worry about damaging them.




Because, you know, you can never have too many toys...
jaegamer: (GOD)
I love making props for my games.  When the players can hold a newspaper article or photograph in their hands, it makes the game that much more real to them.  Since I run a modern horror game, I need everything I can get to tie them into the real world -- then they're more freaked out by the weird stuff when it happens.

Here are a few of my favorite generator links:
jaegamer: (Desk)
World Wide Adventure Writing MonthHere's an idea I have to like.  The clever, GM friendly folks over at Treasure Tables are supporting and promoting World Wide Adventure Writing Month (or WoAdWriMo).  It's along the same lines as National Novel Writing Month - they're calling upon GMs everywhere to write a 32 page adventure and make it available for everyone else to  use.
June is Worldwide Adventure Writing Month.
Join us in expanding the number of free, downloadable adventures for tabletop roleplaying games! The goal is to write a complete 32+ page adventure module by June 30th, 2007.
If a lot of people participate, it would be a tremendous resource.  I plan to, though me and plans - we often go separate directions.

Don't panic - it's not till June.  You could get started now, though.  I know I'll have to - I'm that slow.
jaegamer: (GOD)
This is a neat-looking idea for building adventures.  I'll take any tool I can get my hands on when I'm creating, and this one has promise.  Haven't tried it  yet, though.

I Waste the Buddha With My Crossbow

Check it out!
jaegamer: (Default)
I've meant to comment on this one for a bit, but have been swamped with other stuff... so a bit behind the curve, Game Dream #4.

To wit:
What is the role, if any, that movies and books play in your campaigns? When entering a new genre, how important do you feel seeing (or reading) a good genre example becomes? Have you ever been assigned a "mood" book to read by the GM, or gone to a group movie viewing? How do you feel about game-based fiction, whether "pulp" novels or movie attempts?

Not so much books, but movies have always been a significant source of inspiration for me. I think that I'm more visually oriented, and movies seem, to me, to lend themselves more to role playing scenarios than books.  An attempt to weave in the manipulative psychiatrist from Dean Koontz's "False Memory" failed abysmally; perhaps in books the relationship with the protagonists is too intimate (and too linear) to work for a role playing troupe.

I'm currently writing a scenario for the Living Death campaign inspired, initially, by "The Ghost and the Darkness", the story of the Man Eaters of Tsavo (a true story).  I'm taking some liberties, of course...

I ran a monthly Chill gamefor many years, and my best scenarios were inspired by movies.  Character update was a relatively complex process, and while I worked with each player to update their characters, I'd have them watch a selection of two or three movies that were inspiring the next scenario.  I never 'ported anything directly into my scenarios, so they'd drive themselves nuts trying to figure out what parts of which movies I'd be using.  Not only did the movies inspire me, they got the players in the right mind-set for the game.  When you're running horror, atmosphere and attitude are everything.

I think my best misdirection was "Candyman".  They were sure I'd pitched them into a faithful rendering of the movie when one of the characters woke up covered with blood, next to a butchered body.  In the end, though, it turned out they were dealing with a recurring possessing entity, known, among other names, as "Jack the Ripper".  The players actually headed to the library between sessions, reading like mad and forming their own theories as to who Jack the Ripper really was.

Another time, they pursued a killer creature across the country as it skipped from victim to victim, corrupting the purest souls it could find.  They watched "Fallen" in character, and were scared out of their wits till they figured out that the creature they pursued was not quite as powerful as the subject of "Fallen".  Mythology is like that -- there's often exaggeration in the telling.

I wrote a convention scenario, Don't Go In the House, inspired by a combination of Ghost Story, Legend of Hell House and The Changeling (all excellent movies).  It's December 21st, and a documentary director is filming a "ghostbusting" parapsychologist as he tries to prove that the persistent haunting of an isolated house is explainable by science.  As the sun sets and the snow begins to fall, the characters realize they are trapped in the house, and the hauntings may not be quite so easily explained away.

Music also frequently inspires me.  A friend and I (Hi Jason) wrote a two round Shadowrun/Earthdawn crossover scenario inspired by David Crosby's "Hero" and Yeats' "The Stolen Child" (which is performed admirably by the Waterboys on their album "Fisherman's Blues".  The story revolved around a team of shadowrunners bereft of their charismatic leader ("The reason that I loved him was the reason she loved him too; he never wondered what was right or wrong, he just knew"), called back together to rescue the ward of the Lord High Protector of Britain.  A child, if the report is to believed, stolen by fairies. 

I launched an 18 month campaign centered around the family of a character who was a concert pianist inspired by David Lanz's "Christofori's Dream".  (Christofori invented the scale exercises that pianists use.)  The pianist character had a vivid dream involving the song, her mother and missing -- presumed dead -- father (and a narration I provided), and the other characters were pulled into the dream as well.  When a frantic call home revealed that the mother had disappeared, the characters began a race through central and eastern Europe to save her before it was too late.

Someday I swear I'm going to write the scenario that's screaming to get out of Jim Steinman's "Tonight Is What It Means To Be Young"
 
Specifically:
I've got a dream 'bout a boy in a castle
and he's dancing like a cat on the stairs
he's got the fire of a prince in his eyes
and the thunder of a drum in his ears

Okay, that's enough for now... I need to go listen to music and see what it inspires me to write...

GM Meme

May. 19th, 2004 02:12 pm
jaegamer: (Meme Sheep)

All of the choices are pretty slanted toward the negative, but I am a Narrative GM (duh!), so here's the meme.  Make of it what you will.

Narrative GM: You like the sound of your own voice and you talk, talk, talk. Your game is rife with information - usually more than necessary. Every detail is verbalized and you love adjectives.

What style of GM are you? (brought to you by Quizilla)

Edit: gacked from [livejournal.com profile] innocent_man
jaegamer: (Default)

I came across an entry in someone elses's blog remarking that they'd stumbled across their first Internet posting, and that got me curious about mine.  I like to joke that I was waiting at the onramp with my bags when they first opened the Information Highway -- well, maybe not, but here's the earliest I can find from yours truly.  This does not, of course, address participation in BBS's in the pre-Internet world.  I post (repost, I guess) it here because, appropriately, the first posting I can find was to ADND-L, on the subject of gamesmastering.  Not only that, but I think it's darned good.  It's fairly long, so behind the cut )

it goes...

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