Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Surprise Is Overated

People love surprises, or so goes the saying. When we have something big coming up, something that could alter the game or the relationships of the characters in the game, our natural inclination is to keep it a secret. We don't want people in on it until it happens in game. Why? Because we have it in our heads that when it's done as a surprise that we'll get a more authentic reaction. The only problem with that is that while a surprised player might give you an emotional reaction to what just happened, it might not be authentic, or even how the character would react. Today, I want to talk about that, and why it may be worth at least telling your GM before you spring a big one on your player group.

Monday, August 31, 2015

Siege of Amimono no Toshi Pt. 2

Some of you asked me to report back after I wrapped the current (now previous) generation of my L5R game. As I write this it's been 2 days since the session ended, and I've had some time to think about what happened. Over all, I'm pleased. Still, I felt it only fair to answer your request and write about what happened.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Imposter Syndrome

Do any thing long enough with any modicum of skill you had to work for and you're going to run into Imposter Syndrome. What is Imposter Syndrome (simply I.S. from now on in this article)? I.S. is the feeling that you are an imposter. It is the crippling doubt that you know you're a fraud and it is just a matter of time before everyone else figures it out. It is caused by, among other things, self-awareness of where you are weak combined with a fixation on those weaknesses to give them more credence than they should have.

I don't know a person who GMs good games that doesn't feel I.S. from time to time. Today I want to talk about that, and how you can try and fight the feelings.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

For The Good of the Story

New RPGs, and numerous advice columns - like this one - suggest that when in doubt you make the ruling or decision that is in the best interest for the story. To some people this statement has an intuitive meaning. For others it is less so. I never thought about that until I saw a rant the Angry GM had on twitter (fair warning, he can be abrasive at times and I don't agree with everything he says but he regularly has good gaming advice.) recently where he said it was basically a meaningless statement. It got me to thinking, and I find that on this issue I actually stand opposed to Angry's rants. Today I want to explain why, and how "for the good of the story" is anything but meaningless drivel.

Delayed Post

Hello. Today's post is going to be delayed. I apologize, but real life got in the way pretty hard core today. I hope to have something up by 5pm. We're going to be talking about "For the good of the Story" type thinking as something of a response to a twit rant by the Angry DM. See you guys later.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Changing Gears for Fun and Profit

The L5R game one of my housemates runs every other weekend is on hiatus while she recharges her batteries and prepares for the next (modern day) generation of the game. To fill the time while we wait I volunteered to run a mini-campaign of D&D 5th edition. I've wanted to run D&D 5th for a while now, and this seemed a good opportunity. The only rule I had for my PCs? They had to play dwarves.

My reasoning for doing this? Simple. D&D is a style of game that I don't normally play. That means it focuses on muscles and skills I don't use often as a GM, and those are skills I want sharp to add to and enhance the longer term games I am running. So how did it go? Well, that's what I want to talk about today.

Friday, August 21, 2015

Discussion: Do You Pull Players Aside?

With the talk of Dramatic Irony and what the players know versus what their characters know, I thought it would be a fun time to ask this question.

Do you pull your players aside for hidden scenes the other players don't get to know about?

Depending on the group this seems to be more or less popular. In particular I've seen it used a lot where PvP could come up, or where players wanted to surprise the group with ideas. I've also seen it used as a way of the GM playing a meta-game where he deliberately hides something from players, telling them different things away from the table, and seeing where things play out.

Personally, for my current games, I don't do it. I trust my players to be cooperative with each other and myself in telling the story. However, that does mean I lose out on some of the benefits from this technique in exchange.

What about you? Do you use it? If so, why? If not, why not?