Monday, April 23, 2018

Plotting a Murder

Murder Mysteries are one of the more common 'puzzle' based plotlines that comes up again and again in role playing games. It's not a surprise either. A classic "who done it?" is well, a classic, and beyond being the basis for several genres of novels, it's just a good way to mix things up in your game while giving PCs reasons to not kill antagonistic NPCs for at least a few minutes while they figure things out. That said, a Murder Mystery has a lot of moving parts to it, but like a lot of complex works once you break it down it becomes a whole lot easier.

Friday, April 20, 2018

Discussion: Do You Enjoy Dungeon Crawls?

I'm curious how much people enjoy Dungeon Crawls. There is obvious merit to them. The puzzles and brain teasers can be fun to beat. As can the combat challenges. Mix it all together and you can have a fun, mostly game mechanics and puzzle based time.

However, most games I've been in also tend to slow down a lot with dungeon crawls. There's a lot of uncertainty regarding which way to go, when to go, how to handle doors, and that sort of thing.

So, where do you stand? Do you love dungeon crawls? Or not a huge fan of them?

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Self Care

Take a moment and repeat after me.

My game is fun.
My players have a good time playing my game, otherwise they would not still be in it.

No one knows, or cares, that I didn't execute that scene as well as I imagined when making it.

No one knows, or cares, that the villain didn't get to say verbatim that witty turn of phrase I thought of when planning the encounter.

It is not my fault the dice turned against my players.

It is ok for the dice to turn against my NPCs.

As long as people are having fun, everything is going just fine.

Yes, that includes my fun too.

And if you're a player...

I don't need to have all the answers to all the questions

It's ok to fail.

It's equally ok to be proud of a clever idea, build, or whatever.

It's ok to geek out about a character and invest a lot into them

It's ok to take a game very seriously - provided it's not to detriment of the group.

It's ok to not take a game very seriously - provided it's not to detriment of the group.

It's ok to talk to the GM about what I want to see in the game

It's ok for my character to be a trope

It's ok for my character to be a clone of a popular character in fiction

It's going to be ok.

Monday, April 16, 2018

Adventuring Royalty

On Friday one of the PCs in my D&D game became the emperor of a newly formed kingdom. They now are the high ruler of a nation formed from 13 tribes of Hobgoblins. The Paladin in the game has taken their money from the same war and built themselves a castle and has started to hire guards and others for their new home. The idea of the PCs having a home base is nothing new in D&D. Heck, Matt Coleville just had the biggest RPG kickstarter in history for a book about building strongholds. Today I want to talk about some of what this means for your game.

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Lord of the Rings: A Low Level Adventure

I forget what I was listening to earlier, but it had an interesting comment about how the Lord of the Rings - the movies at least - could be viewed as a low level campaign - maybe around level 5 at least for Fellowship of the Ring. My mind immediately rejected the idea. Movie characters are almost always high level, and have feats and abilities that go beyond RPG rules - including the ability to always crit when dramatically appropriate/necessary.

However, the more I thought about it the more I liked the idea and could see it. It's alo relevant for other games, because in a sense it shows how framing can give a sense of larger than life, even if the system has a lot more to it. Today I want to talk about it...because, well, reasons.

Monday, April 9, 2018

Traps and Puzzles

Talking about Murder Mysteries with some friends got me talking about traps and puzzles, and the pitfalls (heh, whoops) that can come with them at the gaming table. Today I want to go over them briefly, and give you some pointers on how to employ them.

Friday, April 6, 2018

Discussion: Lessons From The Table

One of the things I miss about playing games in stores with mixed groups of people who come and go is that you'd learn the most interesting things about...well, everything.

Even with a stable group and playing games you'll pick up weird tricks, weird bits, and other little factoids.

So, what have you learned around the table? And has it been useful or not?

Some of my favorites have been more interesting than useful. I learned about Japanese not having a proper future tense or much in the way of plural while playing L5R. Also about the various levels of politeness in the language.

Come to think of it, I've learned about as much about linguistics around the gaming table as I did from college courses.

Beyond that is other fun stuff. Bits of lore about weapons, types of armor, traditions of warrior communities and types of soldiers. Bits about fighting styles. Bits about ways castles work. A whole slew of historical stuff - including that 'historical' is normally the wrong word when talking about games.

And then there's the weird stuff. Like that the human body is fully functional for some time after death, things cannibals have said about the taste of human bodies, and some truly horrific ways people have died.

Again though, what about you?