Friday, December 19, 2014

Discussion: What Is Your Strength As A GM/Player?

Everyone has strengths. Everyone also has weaknesses. With the end of the year approaching it feels as good a time as any to take stock of our strengths and weaknesses so we can see where we are good, and what we could improve on.

In the interest of starting on a high note I thought today we could discuss our strengths. So what are yours?

For me, I think one of my key strengths as a GM is I am able to set up and run situations where the player gets to feel like a bad ass, or the group gets a good/dramatic/cinematic mental image of something. This frequently happens in combat scenarios and involves going for things that, in a sense, are larger than life whether that be throwing superheroes through walls, daring special agents to go for trick shots, or having a samurai catch their katana out of the air when someone tries to steal it.

This strength only works though because my players know they can play into it. I have fostered a relationship where my players know that if they want to go for something badass that I'm going to be right there trying to help them accomplish the awesome.

In truth, it is one of the favorite parts of my games and something that, while other GMs I play with do do in their own way, is - I feel - rather unique to my games.

How about you?

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Convert To Fate To Test The Character

One of the fun things that marks FATE different from a lot of other RPGs is what set of rules the mechanics are designed to replicate. Simply put, where most RPG mechanics are designed to replicate the physical reality of the world - in some fashion or another - the rules of FATE are designed to replicate the rules of story.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Getting Players Involved

One of the hardest things to do in some games is to get everyone involved. By that I don't mean playing the game - just by showing up they will end up playing - but rather to get their characters hooked and involved in a plot that engages the player.

Some PCs make it easy, jumping in to anything and everything that is happening with joyful aplomb. Others make it harder. They stay quiet and near the fringes, their characters only really showing up for combat and mechanics but otherwise keeping to themselves.

Today I want to talk about how we fix that issue, and get the person involved.

Friday, December 12, 2014

How Will Your Character Die?

I did the 20 Questions for one of my L5R characters recently. I'm not sure I've ever done the full 20, but it was a fun way to go through and explore a character. For those that don't know, 20 questions is exactly what it sounds like: 20 questions about your character and different aspects of their life designed to help the player have a better grasp on who their character is.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

When Your PCs Can Go Anywhere...

How do you plan for a game session when your PCs can go anywhere? This is a problem that I am facing in one of my games, and that a couple GMs for games I am in are facing. See, once you give the PCs the ability to transport themselves, you lose a lot of the "control" you can have over a game. Why? Because at any point the PCs can just choose to go somewhere else and do their own thing. So how do you prep for that? Well, today I have some tips I plan to employ.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Sometimes You Just Need A Combat

My L5R game on Friday was pretty short. It wasn't really anyone's fault. Life just conspired to keep most of the players away through when we normally begin, and then the normal social time before game began took a little long. However, because of that short time something I didn't realize was needed happened in the game. We had a combat.

Friday, December 5, 2014

What Does Your System Focus On?

To find out what aspects a system focuses on you don't have to look much further than the skills chapter. Why is this? Because the breakdown of skills will tell you where and what the developer expects people to be most interested in.

For example, an L5R character I have right now has - among other things - 5 skills at rank 1. Four of those skills cover different types of fighting. He can fight unarmed, with knives, with staves, and with a bow. The fifth skill covers dancing.

Think about that for a second. With one skill rank my character is skilled (not highly, but that skill rank could be anywhere from 1 to 10 to cover how skilled you want) and is capable of doing any kind of dance that exists in Rokugan. Priestly dances for festivals, court dances, clan specific dances, samurai dances, peasant dances, eta dances. In a modern day setting that skill would allow my character to break dance on the street, or compete in top level ball room dances.

On the other hand, my knives skill will only let my character fight with a knife. Make the blade long enough it becomes a short sword and the character has no idea. Take the knife out of the character's hand (pretend I don't have unarmed :) ) and the character, who could otherwise be one of the deadliest people in the world, is suddenly defenseless.

As an example in the other way, by default FATE has one skill for all melee fighting (Fighting) and one skill for all ranged attacks (Shooting) and that's it. Why? Because FATE, by default, is not as interested in the nuances and details of combat.

So what does your system focus on? Why does it focus there? Is that a meaningful choice for a character?