Monday, July 16, 2018

Starting A New Game - Running From The Book

Pre-published Adventures and Modules have been a thing since the very beginning of the hobby. I can't think of a single RPG that doesn't have at least some pre-packaged adventures. They are an important tool. They give the GM without as much time to prep - or who doesn't feel super creative - something to run, either as just an inspiration or verbatim. Today I want to talk about running from the book.

Friday, July 13, 2018

Description: Do You Prefer Mechanical Flaws Or RP Flaws For Your Characters?

In doing Character Creation for a friends new game last Saturday, I got to thinking about this. I, and a couple other people at the table, when given a choice of stat lines to go for got eager for stat lines that had some clear big numbers, but also some low numbers. Others tried to avoid those stats, but weren'y shy about building in other flaws to their characters through RP choices or how they built up their characters.

Do you have one you fall into?

I want to say I like mechanical flaws. I'm excited about my new character with a 4 charisma, and all the problems that could cause as I try to be social or sociable with said character. At the same time though, I'd be lying if I said that has always been the case.

In L5R for example some of my favorite flaws are ones like 'Driven', 'Haunted', and others along those lines. These flaws have no mechanical consequences to them in particular, but they are strong with narrative implications. I suppose - in a sense - driven has a mechanical component but more in the sense it says there is nothing you won't do to accomplish your goal.

If I'm being honest there is something fun about mechanical flaws and the trouble they can cause, but I also learned to GM when more adversarial GMing was the norm and so my instincts are also wary of it.

How about you?

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Starting A New Game - Preparing Your World

You've got your map, but that's not really enough to get the game going. As awesome as maps are, and as strong a tool as they can be for running your game, a map is just a picture of your setting. Yes, a picture is worth a thousand words, but when it comes to your setting those aren't the words you need. At least, they're not the words you need now, because you already have them in the form of a map. Today I want to talk about fleshing out your world.

Monday, July 9, 2018

Starting A New Game - Making A World Map

World maps aren't necessary for all games, and you should never feel bad for not having a map. However, I made the decision I wanted to at least learn how to make maps a few years ago and have taken some steps to learn. I also find for some games - particularly campaign style RPGs in fantasy universes - that it can be a lot of fun. Today I want to talk about building a world map, share some advice, and, well, we have pictures so why not.

Friday, July 6, 2018

Discussion: Favorite Encounter Monster

What is your favorite monster for an encounter? I don't mean what is your favorite encounter, but what is your favorite monster or type of encounter that PCs run into over the course of their adventuring days?

For me, I have a tie between two games.

In D&D I love kobolds.

I love Kobolds because they let the GM be very creative, and they can be fun encounters for the players or a nightmare.depending on how things are going for them. Kobolds can pull you into labyrinths of traps where every step can be dangerous. or can have you fighting swarms of bad guys where every swing of the sword lets you feel like Sauron from the first Lord of the Rings movie.

You almost never know what you're going to get with kobolds and I love that.

The other encounter I love is peasants turned bandits in L5R.

I love this because it is one of the fastest ways to show players in an L5R game that they're not in western fantasy anymore. The peasants have become bandits. Why? because they're starving. They've taken up arms. They've killed tax collectors. They've taken food for themselves, and they'll do it again. But ultimately, the crime is that they are hungry and so they took the food armed soldiers took from them back.

There are ways to navigate this problem in L5R so the peasants don't take the full wrath for their crimes - after all, if the peasants are hungry the lord has also messed up - but navigating that can be tricky. And it makes a great introduction for new players.

What about you? What are your favorite encounter monsters and why?

Thursday, July 5, 2018

Starting A New Game - Initial Planning

We've got our game, and we've got our characters, now is the time to get some planning done. I call this 'initial planning' but really it's more like a second wave.  Your "initial planning" is in deciding what kind of game you're running. Most GMs I know will get a basic idea for what the PCs are (even if just 'adventurers'). Still, this is where you start to really plan your game out. As you get more experience some of this will happen on the fly, or faster, but for a new GM taking it step by step and being thorough really can't be beat.

Monday, July 2, 2018

Starting A New Game - Character Creation

On Friday my group got together and we had a chat about what we want to do next. Due to some of the real world stresses several of us are under, we decided that a game that was more morally 'black and white' than 'shades of gray' was a good idea. Not that we don't want to tell stories, but we want ones where we can blow of steam and not worry about moral complexities and whether or not it's ok to be punching that guy in the face.

After going through the options we had, it was decided that I would stay in the GMing seat, and that we're going to play D&D fifth edition. This makes 2 D&D games I'm running - something I never thought I'd say again - but I also like to think it's a testament to 5th ed's strength that my whole group is ready to go into it - sometimes while already playing in the system in another game. That's rare.

Anyhow, with the GM and game decided, we're onto Character Creation. So let's talk about that.