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Amateur ramblings and essays on Game Design as well as running and playing in table top RPGs

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Latest Blog Posts

  • Looking Back To See The Big Picture
    on Dec 21, 2016 in GM
    When reflecting on this Sunday's Star Wars game, the one where I ran the largest battle I think I've ever run as a GM, I was a little sad but what felt like anti-climactic battles for two of the recurring villains in the series. Both villains died at...
  • I Ran The Largest Battle Scene I've Ever Run in 60 Minutes
    on Dec 19, 2016 in GM
    On Sunday, just a couple hours ago at time of this writing, I ran one of the largest battle scenes, if not the largest battle scene, I've ever ran and had it done inside of 60 minutes Today I want to talk about how that happened, and what I did to he...
  • DIscussion - How Do You Start The Party?
    on Dec 16, 2016 in Discussion
    Getting the party together is one of the first hurdles a lot of games face. It's such a common hurdle that some games build in devices to avoid it entirely. When the system doesn't, some GMs will have PCs start already having formed a group. It's jus...
  • 2 Primary, 4 Secondary
    on Dec 14, 2016 in GM
    Keeping the lens of focus shifting in more open games can be hard. Lately I've found myself doing this method, and so far it's working out pretty well. The idea is simple enough that I think it's good, but it also helps keep the spotlight moving from...
  • How My 7th Sea Game Died
    on Dec 12, 2016 in GM
    On Friday my 7th Sea game came to a pre-mature end. It didn't die from a TPK. It didn't die from lack of player interest. It died because somehow over the last couple months I completely lost the thread of the game and what was going on. I lost track...
  • Don't Plan A Solution To Obstacles And Problems
    on Dec 9, 2016 in GM
    When I'm setting obstacles in front of my players in game I don't always plan how they're going to overcome them. I figure out how the obstacle, or problem, is going to be introduced. I figure out what it does and how it can interact and - well, obst...
  • Roleplaying Outside The Information Age
    on Dec 7, 2016 in GM World Building
    One of the weird things about worlds like Star Wars and Star Trek - and other Sci Fi universes - is that the technology is super advanced, but if the world came into existence before the late 90s then there was no inkling of what the information age...
  • Discussion: What World Do You Want To Play In?
    on Dec 5, 2016 in Discussion
    Doing things a bit backwards this week and starting with the discussion. What world do you want to play in but so far haven't? It can be from a book, a movie, a cartoon, whatever you want.For me, I think it's probably Star Trek. I'd love to see how a...
  • Discussion: Hero or Villain?
    on Dec 2, 2016 in Discussion
    On Monday we talked about what it took to play a Hero. On Wednesday we talked about what it took to play a Villain. Today I have a simple question for you: Do you prefer playing Heroes or Villains?There are a lot of good things that come out of playi...
  • [7th Sea] Lessons from GMing My First Session
    on Sep 5, 2016 in 7th Sea GM System Specific
    On Friday I ran my first session of 7th Sea from the GM's side of the table. I felt I was fairly prepared, having been doing little but thinking about GMing 7th Sea since it came out, and participating in various discussions. Still, as anyone wh...
  • [7th Sea] Building a Villain To Build an AdventureWe had a bit of bad news in our gaming group. The GM for our 7th Sea game won't be able to join us around the table for the foreseeable future. Their life is just swimmingly busy. In an effort to keep the group together I volunteered to take over GMi...
  • Trust & Communication
    on Aug 31, 2016 in GM Players Table Craft
    Trust and Communication are the key elements for any healthy, working relationship. The game table is no different. Often times the difference between a great game and a merely ok game, or even a bad game, is the level of trust that exists between th...
  • Combat Descriptions
    on Aug 29, 2016 in GM
    A lot of my early Role Play experience came in the form of AOL chatrooms. The free form nature of the rooms aside, one of the clear dividers between the great players and the good ones was the ability to describe what the character was doing while&nb...
  • Discussion: Lethal Intent
    on Aug 26, 2016 in Discussion
    The voice in my head keeps joking that tonight's session is rated 'L' for 'Lethal.' Which means that there is a large fight planned for tonight's session where, if the dice go poorly, it could end up with a PC down and dead. It's not something I gene...
  • Preparing a LOT of NPCs
    on Aug 24, 2016 in GM Session Preparation
    My L5R game is entering Winter Court and that means politics and NPCs. How many NPCs? Well, I'm averaging 10 named Samurai per Great Clan, with a few extra named characters for important Ronin, Minor Clans, Imperials, and some extra for the host clan...
  • "Wasted Points" vs. "Power Gaming"
    on Aug 22, 2016 in Character Development GM
    In the gaming groups I've been a part of over the years, these two concepts have come up time and time again. They are almost always in opposition to each other too.  In the one camp you have players who sink points into abilities and attributes...
  • Discussion - What Genre Could You Play In Forever?
    on Aug 19, 2016 in Discussion
    Everyone has a favorite genre. We all have favorite systems too. Sometimes we're lucky and those link up. Sometimes we're less so.My question for you today is if you could have a 'perfect' system for your genre of choice appear, what genre would it b...
  • 7th Sea: Core Resolution vs. Dramatic Sequence
    on Aug 17, 2016 in 7th Sea GM System Specific
    On Monday we talked about three of the big things involved in GMing 7th Sea. Today I want to talk to the 'how' you handle those things at the table. I don't mean what you say and do, but the mechanics in place that lets you place conflict before the...
  • 7th Sea 2nd Edition: GMing, Brute Squads, & Villains
    on Aug 15, 2016 in 7th Sea GM System Specific
    One of the things I was most excited for at GenCon this year was 7th Sea. They had copies of the book there for sale, people running sessions of the game, and even several of the designers present to talk to. I must've stopped by the John Wick Presen...
  • KickStarter: Reflections
    on Aug 12, 2016 in Kickstarter
    I found out today from philgamer's twitter account that there is a 2 player RPG called Reflections in the works. In Reflections both players play Samurai about to meet for their duel to the death. You then reflect on your relationship with the charac...