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Keepers of Balance, The Grim Vow

I have been playing quite a bit of Diablo 3. The class that I am playing the most is the Monk class. Monks have been a very decisive class in D&D/Pathfinder. When anyone plays a monk, they want to play a Shaolin or wire-fu monk. But with some re-flavoring you can make a monk that better fits the medieval fantasy view that fits most settings. The purpose of making these factions for Gm’s as a source of NPC’s and new backgrounds for players to pull inspiration from. Factions I tend to create are left purposely open to work with any setting and allow the dm or player to embellish with their own flavor or taste Read More…

How the Game Master Can Split a Party

The top reason why I have heard parties should not split isn’t that doing so is deadly, but that it splits focus and detracts from the team working element of the game. In my previous post on splitting the party I covered what players need to do to safely split the party. In this post, the focus is on how a GM can split the party and still keep everyone’s focus and continue that feeling of teamwork. I will also talk a bit about setting up situations that require splitting, role playing and splitting, and how to salvage a bad split. Read More…

The Survival Game

How do you challenge players, teach them how to play better, fill your desire to kill them all, and have everyone loving the game when the night is over? The survival game. The purpose is not to survive to the end, but survive the longest. Every PC is going to die in this game. It is just a matter of time and overwhelming odds. At the same time, the GM is allowed to really let loose, to throw everything at the players, and even experiment with new ideas. This is also not a long and involved game, as everyone should be dead after a few hours. Read More…

Adding RPG Components to Other Games

Recently on my trip to Fear the Con Five I got the opportunity to play a wide variety of role-playing game. One of the games that was heavily featured was called Dread. Dread is a system that substitutes traditional dice mechanics for a Jenga Tower. Players make actions and the GM determines the difficulty of the action for player and has them make 1 or more pulls depending on the difficulty. What this does is it separates the normal chance mechanics of dice to building up a feeling of tension. The system was originality created to be used for horror games, but Dread has been modified for different themes. Lucid is a dread variant used for the setting of the movie Inception. Created by my good friend and fellow Kicked in the Dice Bags host Chad. These mechanics from board games had me wondering, what other board games could I base an RPG around.

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Building a Better GM: Making Use of Your Experience (Part Two)

Part Two – Drawing from Your Play

Chances are pretty good that if you’re running a game, you’ve played one before. While it’s true that some people may actually start as a Game Master before being a player, this is comparatively rare—and a GM who has never played in another’s campaign is rarer still. If you’re smart, you’ll put your previous player experience to good use when running a game of your own.

One of the most important things to consider is what, as a player, simply didn’t work for you. Meandering plot may have been a game-killer for you. Maybe it was a particularly brutal GM, who took pleasure in teasing and tormenting the players. (Don’t be that guy)

Also, when I talk about player experience, I’m not just talking about tabletop roleplay; computer- and console RPGs count, too—as do games that aren’t RPGs at all. Repetitive play and lack of a sense of progression are just as devastating to an action-platformer on the Super Nintendo as they are to your Friday-night D&D game.

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Crowds and Mobs

One challenge I have had as a Game Master in the past is how to handle dense crowds or mobs in the game. The idea that people stick to the one person per five foot square in a mob just doesn’t work for more then one reason. There is also a serious slow down of the game when you have to run more then 6 creatures in an encounter. Lastly, the creatures that you want to use in mobs are just too weak to run as individuals in a mob and end up being killed quickly before they even have a chance to deal any damage.

This is more of a workshop article then a clear cut house rule post. I haven’t yet decided how to handle this but I wanted to walk through the process in a blog post so that GMs could see how I write my stuff. In the end I will conclude how I will handle mobs, but I also encourage people to take what is found here to come up with their own rules. Read More…

How to Overcome a Lack of System Knowledge.

Fear the Con 5 was the first convention that I have ever attended. I am not sure when the next opportunity would be for me to attend a convention (as much as Caleb keeps tempting me to go to PaizoCon). I am not getting more vacation time until after most of con season.  For Fear the Con, I wanted to run a game, but not just any game.  I have run Dungeons and Dragons in the past.  I wanted to run a game I have never run before, since d&d and it’s spinoffs are pretty easy games to sell since all you would need to say is ” Hey, you want to kill Dragons.” There are a couple of different systems that I own that I have never gotten a chance to run or play.  One of those was Savage Worlds. When choosing to run a system you are not familiar with, and that you’re going to run at a con, my first recommendation would be one  that has a light rule system. More rules and crunch can work against you, especially since you haven’t run it before. Nothing causes me to disconnect me more from a game like constantly checking rules in the books. Read More…