Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Not All Enemies Should Dislike The Players

Throughout the world we have shades of gray not black and white. Throughout most RPGs we have this as well. Even games about Good vs. Evil like D&D have room for the Neutral characters and various kinds of good and evil that are out there. Why then, when it comes to NPCs, do so many of us default tot he fact that an NPC that is against the PC must dislike them just for that.

Even better is that by bringing in NPCs that act against the PCs, but like them, you also open the door to the PCs liking people that they may have to act against. The tension you can get when a PC wants to take a course of action, but also doesn't want to bring themselves against a particular NPC.

On the other hand you can also end up with awesome and dynamic relationships where real professional courtesy can shine through. An NPC who doesn't kill the hired guards while breaking in to threaten the PC because he respects him. The NPC who takes the time to warn of an attack before doing something. Things that make your villains stand out from just another Chaotic Evil psychopath with a magical artifact.

Your PCs will notice it and respond in kind. By adding this layer of depth to the NPCs you encourage the Players to add it to their own characters. Once that starts to happen...well, the game takes a life of its own and that's just awesome.

So how do you do it? It's simple. Find something in your PCs to respect, either as a group or in a particular individual, and develop the NPC that would respect that and in turn has a characteristic the PCs can respect. Combat prowess and codes of honor are easy ones to start with. But you can always find something, even if it just means making the NPC as big a scumbag as the PCs are.

Have fun with it. Let them know who the new guy (or gal) is. Let them get to know each other. See what happens when you do.

Monday, May 4, 2015

Dynamic Character Relationships

Some people in my regular RP group were talking today, and specifically we ended up talking about a conversation one of us had had with an old friend about their RP group. Turns out that my friend and the other person had been swapping war stories when they came to the conclusion that our group was very different from theirs. How so? In our group, the nature of the PCs relationships with each other, with the NPCs, and the NPCs relationships with the PCs and other NPCs is the core to a lot of the action while their games were a lot more mechanical in nature. With that in mind, I thought today might be a good time to talk about dynamic character relationships, and why they can be great to have in your game.

Friday, May 1, 2015

Discussion: Catching Up Players

Today's post is nice and late thanks to being sick again, and so I'm going to keep it short. Missed games happen, but sometimes when it happens it is just a player missing session instead of the group not having game. When that happens, how do you catch the player up? Do you tell them what happened in game? Let them figure it out themselves? Do you only give them partial information? Do you even have a standard way of handling it?

For me it depends on the session before. If we ended going into a combat, the PC is there even if the player isn't. They can fight, they can die, just like anyone else. For those, I try to tell the player everything as their character was there. If not though...well, that depends on my mood I suppose.

How about you?

Wednesday, April 29, 2015


Themes are important. We don't often think about them, but they are there in every story we tell. Themes are the running currents just beneath the surface. They tell us what the story is about. As a GM it can be a good idea to identify the themes in your game, especially the ones that resonate with your players. Why? Because if you can identify the themes, and you can play with the theme, the story will become a bit more meaningful.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Introducing New Players To The Hobby

I talk about this here from time to time, but with the discussion on Friday I figured it might be a good time to bring it up again. Introducing new players to the hobby is both easier and harder than ever. In general, some of the stigma around RPGs seems to be gone as the concept of people of all ages playing games becomes more and more accepted. However, there are also new challenges in the age of videogames and past the age of MMOs.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Discussion: Who Got You Into Gaming, And How?

For today's post I want to talk about our roots as gamers. Now everyone has a first game, first session, and first adventure story and those are awesome. Today though I'm curious about who was the person who got you into roleplaying games? Was it a boyfriend? A girlfriend? A parent? A sibling? Just a school friend? Did you get yourself into it when you either heard about or saw it at a store and wanted to try? What was it that brought you into the hobby, and how did it go well enough that you decided to make it a thing you still do to this day?

For me the blame lands squarely on the shoulders of my cousin John. When my family first moved to the states we lived about an hour and a half from John's family. This meant there were sporadic but regular times when one family or the other would visit the other for the weekend. When that happened the kids would all play, and as frequently happened John and I would play RPGs. Only, at first I didn't know that is what we were doing.

We didn't start with D&D or anything like that, but rather with the Marvel Collectible Cards that had relative power levels. They looked like this:

Using these cards we'd make teams of heroes/villains and do battle using dice and adding the stat number for various things to determine who won or whatever was going on. It was a stupid, simple, and rudimentary system but it was a lot of fun.

From there we progressed into other games, Star Wars, D&D, Palladium's Heroes Unlimited, but that's a story for Monday I think.

How abot you? Who got you into the hobby? How did they do it?


I apologize, and I know this is happening a lot lately. I spent yesterday with a high fever. Today's post is coming. It'll just be a little bit. Sorry!