Friday, August 28, 2015

Imposter Syndrome

Do any thing long enough with any modicum of skill you had to work for and you're going to run into Imposter Syndrome. What is Imposter Syndrome (simply I.S. from now on in this article)? I.S. is the feeling that you are an imposter. It is the crippling doubt that you know you're a fraud and it is just a matter of time before everyone else figures it out. It is caused by, among other things, self-awareness of where you are weak combined with a fixation on those weaknesses to give them more credence than they should have.

I don't know a person who GMs good games that doesn't feel I.S. from time to time. Today I want to talk about that, and how you can try and fight the feelings.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

For The Good of the Story

New RPGs, and numerous advice columns - like this one - suggest that when in doubt you make the ruling or decision that is in the best interest for the story. To some people this statement has an intuitive meaning. For others it is less so. I never thought about that until I saw a rant the Angry GM had on twitter (fair warning, he can be abrasive at times and I don't agree with everything he says but he regularly has good gaming advice.) recently where he said it was basically a meaningless statement. It got me to thinking, and I find that on this issue I actually stand opposed to Angry's rants. Today I want to explain why, and how "for the good of the story" is anything but meaningless drivel.

Delayed Post

Hello. Today's post is going to be delayed. I apologize, but real life got in the way pretty hard core today. I hope to have something up by 5pm. We're going to be talking about "For the good of the Story" type thinking as something of a response to a twit rant by the Angry DM. See you guys later.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Changing Gears for Fun and Profit

The L5R game one of my housemates runs every other weekend is on hiatus while she recharges her batteries and prepares for the next (modern day) generation of the game. To fill the time while we wait I volunteered to run a mini-campaign of D&D 5th edition. I've wanted to run D&D 5th for a while now, and this seemed a good opportunity. The only rule I had for my PCs? They had to play dwarves.

My reasoning for doing this? Simple. D&D is a style of game that I don't normally play. That means it focuses on muscles and skills I don't use often as a GM, and those are skills I want sharp to add to and enhance the longer term games I am running. So how did it go? Well, that's what I want to talk about today.

Friday, August 21, 2015

Discussion: Do You Pull Players Aside?

With the talk of Dramatic Irony and what the players know versus what their characters know, I thought it would be a fun time to ask this question.

Do you pull your players aside for hidden scenes the other players don't get to know about?

Depending on the group this seems to be more or less popular. In particular I've seen it used a lot where PvP could come up, or where players wanted to surprise the group with ideas. I've also seen it used as a way of the GM playing a meta-game where he deliberately hides something from players, telling them different things away from the table, and seeing where things play out.

Personally, for my current games, I don't do it. I trust my players to be cooperative with each other and myself in telling the story. However, that does mean I lose out on some of the benefits from this technique in exchange.

What about you? Do you use it? If so, why? If not, why not?

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Embracing Dramatic Irony

One of the things I've been experimenting with in my Star Wars game is the use of dramatic irony. I use it to play up the tension in certain situations, and that also frees me up to just give some OOC knowledge to the players to make the game feel more cinematic and like a story consumed from the normal mediums you get your Star Wars fix through. Today I want to talk about how it works, and - if you're interested - what you need to do it in your own games.

Monday, August 17, 2015

The Siege of Amimono no Toshi - Round Up

On Friday I ran the siege of the city my Legend of the Five Rings game has been set in for 3 generations of PCs across about 140 years of L5R timeline (starting before the second day of thunder.) By the end of the session 2 PCs were just shy of dead with 2 more in crippled or near there. The outer walls had fallen. The city was being overrun with the defenders falling back to the inner city and their second line of defense.

In short, it was a great session. But today, I want to talk about how the mechanics of the game helped it work.