Articles

An index to gamemastering-related articles published on the blog. For more specific browsing, you may want to search.

Homebrew on Tap

Gods for a Highlander (05/31/11)
With Eric and my characters in Le Morte de Mordred both having pagan gods in our backgrounds, I thought it might be fun to flesh them out a little more, replete with alignments and domains for Dungeons & Dragons 4e, along with suggested classes and builds to fit. The names are Scottish Gaelic, though you could make them more or less Irish, Welsh, or Saxon according to your taste or setting. (Read More)

Improvisation

A Review of Play Unsafe by Graham Walmsley (03/19/11)
Was it worth the price? Meh. Not least of all because I bought through LuLu originally and got ripped off at $10 when it goes for $8 at the UnStore. At $8 it seems more reasonable, but given my layout qualms and the lack of depth, and the sheer repetitiveness of material that’s freely available on the internet, I wasn’t as pleased as I could have been. 1/3 Crits. (Read More)

Player vs. GM

The Selfish GM (05/28/11)
When you realize that your once-weekly game becomes a chore, something you dread and stress over, you’re doing something wrong. Right now I just don’t like the way my players are taking the game. I have an epic movie playing in my head, something along the lines of the original Assasin’s Creed or Kingdom of Heaven. At the table I feel more like I’m running Aladdin and its sequels, with progressively crasser jokes and characterization. And I have a hard time standing by and watching them make a mockery of my homebrew setting.

But there’s a bigger question at stake here: is that really their problem, or is it mine? (Read More)

Story & Character

Chekhov’s Gun, Raising the Stakes, and Due Cause (03/12/11)
No, it’s not the monster tokens or the fucking badass 3D cart they’ll be defending a few sessions from now, it’s the story, the challenge, and their desires that really make the game. And, as one still new to DM’ing, I grapple with all three… (Read More)

The NPC Strikes Back (04/02/11)
I’ve learned a lot from the way my players treated the NPC’s from the pre-made adventures, such that I can turn those assumptions against their characters in the future, and make them work a little harder to get what they want. Here are the Six Assumptions my players make about NPC’s, and how they do make such asses of themselves in the process… (Read More)

Table Aides

It’s Written in the Stars (3/26/11)
Need to insert a random NPC or plot complication? Roll the Astro Dice! This is easier for me since I already have a sense of the signs and planets, though I’d have to count on my fingers for the Houses to match them up with their signs. I thought it might be fun, though, to write up some tables for those of you less fluent in astrology and its symbols, and to help you characterize random NPC’s, Plots, and Places on the fly. (Read More)

Theory & Meta

Behind the Name (03/06/11)
Before I hit college and sank my teeth deep into the gaming scene, writing, role-playing, and gamemastering seemed like three distinct entities. What ties the three together? Simply put, you creative a compelling narrative in all three–it is only the audience that changes, and even then, only in terms of degrees… (Read More)

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