Friday, May 26, 2017

Discussion: How Long Before You Invest?

How long do you wait before you invest in the PCs at your table? Do you even wait, or do you try to seed them deep into the world and the narrative from day 1?

If you're a player, how long does it take before you start to really feel the character?

I'm all for helping PCs build their character into the world, but as a GM I tend to not get too invested in any PC until about the 3-5th session. Those early sessions I try to learn who the PC is, but I also try to let the Player learn who their character is. There is some light poking and prodding, sure, but nothing serious. I'm establishing a baseline, not testing the limits.

After a few sessions though I find that the players tend to have a grasp on who their character is, and that means that I can start trying to peel back layers to see how deep things go. Even then, you have to start slow.

What about you? Do you jump right in? Wait a few sessions? Do you ever go after who the player characters are at their core? If not, why not?

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

XP Over Time Instead of Per Session

One of the few things I dislike about my current L5R game is that somewhere along the way I lost control of the passage of time. This isn't a serious problem, but over the course of about 18-24 months of sessions we've passed maybe 2 months in game. This means that in a short period of time in character my PCs have gone from relatively new and inexperienced characters to high level characters that are ready to take their place among the best in the Empire. It's not a problem for the game itself, but it means I have to go for a different feel going forward. it also got me thinking about different ways to do XP and what that could mean. Today I want to talk about that.

Monday, May 22, 2017

Play With Expectations

Some of the most fun sessions I've had as a GM have been sessions where I took the expectations the players had for the session and ran with it, but with a twist. The players still got about what they were expecting, but they got it in a different way. Today I want to talk about that.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Surrender Mechanics

One of the things I often lament in RPGs is that the nature of a turn based combat system robs some of the drama you can get in narrative combat, or even real life. This is particularly evident when you consider how specific mechanical statuses can be. Simply put, there's no easy way to end a round with a character's sword out of hand (but not out of reach) and a sword at their throat with the offer to yield. Still, it can be a thing players - or NPCs - want to do. So today I want to talk about some ways to try and make it happen.

Monday, May 15, 2017

Putting Your PCs Into The Setting

One of the biggest problems I feel I have in my GMing is selling the sense that the characters are in the world. Now, my players are good enough they can imagine themselves in something like the world, but this is more them than me. Even in writing I tend towards being very light on description, and it carries over into my GMing. It's something I am trying to work on, and I felt that today I'd try to go over some techniques I'm employing.

Friday, May 12, 2017

FATE Core Done Right

I had a different post in mind for today, but after watching this video I want to share it. Will Wheaton's Tabletop show recently did an episode where they had Felicia Day, Will Wheaton, John Rogers, and Ryan Macklin for a game of FATE Core.

The game they have is both entertaining, but also does a great job of showing how FATE Core is supposed to work, with everyone working together to tell the story and even suggest narrative aspects for the other people around them.

So take a look, learn something about running FATE (or not) and let us know what you thought in the comments.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

A Reason To Adventure

One of my biggest pet peeves as a GM is PCs who don't have a reason for participating in the adventure. You've seen them around. You're running a Super Hero game and someone's looking to play someone who is trying to hide their powers and not get involved - even if it means people get hurt. You're running D&D and someone is looking to make a character who would never go into an old tomb looking for their fortune. You're looking to run Shadowrun and someone's looking to make a SINner with a dayjob who doesn't want to mess either up by doing something illegal. It sucks, and today I want to talk about it.