Friday, January 23, 2015

Discussion: Pitch Your Dream Game

On Wednesday we talked about how to pitch your game. Today I want you to put it to practice and pitch your dream game in the comments. You don't have to follow the structure I gave on Wednesday, but do try to keep it concise. This is a pitch, not a sales brochure. You have one to three sentences max.

Some of mine:


  • A world very much like our own must adapt as super powers arrive on the scene. Are these new super powered people friend, foe, or something in between, and how will the world react to the amazing things they can do?
  • The PCs live in a remote village that has suffered for weeks from cattle raids by a neighboring community. When the PCs move to investigate and retalliate for these raids they find that they're not being attacked by human beings, and that there is a lot more at stake than a couple of cows.
  • Rokugan tears itself apart when the Emperor dies before expressing which of his identical twin sons will succeed him and rule the land. The PCs must take sides as both brothers gain forces and seek to take the throne their father clearly wished for them to have.
What is yours?

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Starting A New Game - The Pitch

In the last post we talked about how to construct your group and handle the "mechanics" of starting a new game. Now you've got a timeslot and location in mind, and even a group of potential players to entice into playing with you, but they need to know what the plan is. With that in mind, today we're going to focus on pitching your game in a way that should entice players without giving away the whole story.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Starting A New Game - Gathering The Group

The urge comes to every GM at some point in time. You want to run a game. Usually this means that some idea has begun to percolate in your head. You get an itch that, no matter what you try, you just can't scratch. Ideas for plotlines, NPCs, and epic moments play out while you daydream - or just regularly dream. One problem though: you need a group and a time slot when you can all get together and play.

Today we're going to talk about this as the first part of a small series on starting a new game. The focus for this first installment is on gathering your group of players for the game you want, and what impacts that may have on your group's dynamics.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Discussion: Single Die Or Multi Dice Typer System?

Games seem to break down on this line fairly often.

On the one hand you have the D&D and D20 games and their various offspring that put a pool of different types of dice in your hands and let you roll D6s here, D12s there, and D20s all the time for everything. It's good fun, and lets you really get your geek on with a wide variety of polyhedral shapes at your finger tips ready for rolling.

On the other, you have games like World of Darkness, Legend of the Five Rings, FATE, Shadowrun, and other assorted games that make pools of a single die type (usually D6s or D10s in my experience) and those are the dice that you roll to determine what you get.

On the mystical third hand you also have single die systems. Games like the Warhammer 40k line from Fantasy Flight Games where you primarily roll a percentile dice, or like Mutants and Masterminds and True 20 where everything is done with a single D20.

Do you have a preference between the three? If so, which one and why?

Personally, I don't.

When it comes to fun, I find rolling pools of dice is a lot of fun. There is joy in the physical act of it, and I find this most clearly when playing the FFG Star Wars game. It is almost child-like the joy I can get from grabbing a handful of dice - D12s, D8s, and D6s - then scattering them on the table before matching and eliminating symbols to find out what I got.

When it comes to practicality though, I like the simplicity a single die can bring. We roll one dice, read the result, compare that to whatever we need to compare it to, and boom we're done. Maybe it isn't as fun rolling a single die, but it can be a lot faster and clearer to understand than the alternative.

Beyond that aspect of number though, I don't much care what type of die is in my hand. I care about what it means for the system (variance vs. PC skill and all that) but in the game itself? Not really.

How about you?

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Know Your Sheet...

I thought it would be fun for the 5 year anniversary to take a look at the most viewed post on this blog. In truth this is the second most viewed post, but the first most viewed is only that because 1) it was for a blog carnival and 2) it somehow made it onto a page that all the spammers use to find blog posts in hopes of luring clicks.

So, what is this blog post? It was a ranty post on how a Player should know their character sheet. You can find it here. Below the break are my thoughts on that post.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Five Years And Counting (The Gameplan Going Forward)

Around this time in 2010 I had the notion that I had a lot to say about gaming and table top RPGs. I theorized that I could probably go on for years, daily, talking about gaming, what it meant, tricks for doing it better, and all that. Turns out, in a way, I was right. How do I know? Because we're now around this time in 2015 and Reality Refracted is still here.

Friday, January 9, 2015

What Does Your Game Call The GM?

I finally started reading through some of the game books I bought at GenCon this year. Yeah, I took a while to get to it...oops. Anyhow, as I am reading through the base book for Shadows of Esteron I noticed that they, like many games, have a different title for the GM. It got me to thinking, how many titles for this role are there?

In my twenty years or so of gaming, I have been called the following for the crime of GMing:


  1. Game Master
  2. Dungeon Master
  3. Dragon Master
  4. Story Teller
  5. Animator
  6. Leader
  7. Game Leader
  8. Mission Control
  9. Inquisitor
  10. Manga-ka
  11. Command
What about you? Obviously I default to GM since that is the term I use here all the time. Do you default to one in particular?