Monday, May 21, 2018


Pacing is a tricky skill to get down right. A lot of factors go into making sure a session is paced right, and it often has to be adjusted on the fly more than pre-planned. Mess up your pacing, and you'll end up spending 6 sessions on something that should only take half of a session. Alternatively, you'll rush through something and miss all the nuance you wanted in the scene. Today, I want to talk about that.

Friday, May 18, 2018

Don't Forget To Enjoy Your Game

I ended up in a small twitter conversation the other day. Philgamer mentioned me as someone he'd love to have in an L5R game (so honored by that :D ) but mentioned anxiety being a problem - along with conflicting schedules. The other people tagged all chimed in fairly quickly, and turns out we all suffer varying degrees of anxiety around our GMing. It's fairly normal it seems from other conversations I've had.

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Can vs. Will vs. How

I've talked before about how I much prefer to focus on what my PCs will do in my games rather than can they do something. For me it is more interesting, and is a question that comes with built in drama and intrigue while can is just a yes/no question. However, a lot of RPGs and adventures focus on can. And there is no problem with having "can" in the cards. Today I want to talk about what the three questions reveal about characters, and also when you should be looking to ask them.

Monday, May 14, 2018

Preparing NPCs - Personality Generators

The internet is an absolutely lovely device, and can do a lot of the prep work for you if you know where to go. There are sites that will randomly generate dungeons for you - complete with placing traps and encounters. There are sites that will do random treasure generation for you. There are dozens of sites that will give you random lists of names for anything and everything under the real world, fantasy world, and/or sci-fi world sun(s).

Friday, May 11, 2018

Discussion: Where Do You Take The Most Stuff From?

Good writers borrow, great ones steal. That is how the quote goes at the very least, and it has wisdom to it. I find the same is true for GMs as well, and everyone has their own sources of inspiration. So what is yours?

I'm not ashamed to say that over the past few years I have stolen a good amount of things from League of Legends. League has been a big part of my life - my free time anyhow - for the past several years, so obviously the exposure is there. Beyond that though, League has 115+ characters that have each been designed in such a way they could be a main hero or villain in a number of stories. The world itself is also interesting, and being more and more developed with every year.

Now, remember the quote. Good writers borrow. Great writers steal. The key here is to be stealing content, which means making it your own. You can't just lift a character you like and insert them into your game - well, you can but unless they're from that world it could feel awkward. However, you can take the character and make them your own. Take what you love about the character, change some of the details around that. Make the character your own, slap it into your game, and it will look like it belongs there.

Obviously if you take from something your players are familiar with they may recognize the source. But that's fine too. If you've done the work to make the character your own it can still surprise your players, and that's always fun.

So where do you take from? And how well has it worked?

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Preparing for the Final Combat

It occurred to me very recently that with the L5R game wrapping up, I'm going to be running the fight with the big bad soon. This struck me as weird because for 8 years this thing has been working in the background but never in a way that would bring them face to face with the PCs. They've been a concept, an unseen force, a lingering doom, an ever present threat....but they haven't had stats, because I didn't need them. Now I need stats, because odds are the game will come down to a fight - it is an L5R epic with a lot of bushi PCs after all - and for the PCs to have a chance at victory it has to have stats. But first, I need to consider some other things, and the questions I have to answer may help you as well.

Monday, May 7, 2018

Making An Ending

Endings can be tricky things. You have to do a lot to make a satisfying end, especially one that comes naturally and not from the death of everyone in the party. Today I want to talk about that and some of the things you need to keep in mind.