Archive for the ‘Beginners’ Category

The Thinking Man’s Guide to Intelligence for Players and GMs

A Message from the Writer/Publisher: As I write, a hostage situation continues to unfold in Sydney, as it has for almost 15 hours, capturing world attention for all the worst reasons. For those who may be concerned, I am completely fine. But I must share my contempt for those who have attempted to politicize events […]

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Ask The GMs: Buzz and Background

Excitement. Buzz. Anticipation. Enthusiasm. How best to create these for a new campaign? This question comes from BlueNinja, who wrote: “I have an idea for a campaign, that follows off the plot of a popular CRPG [Computer RPG -- Mike] (set a few centuries later, of course, so that the PCs don’t have to compete […]

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Seven Circles Of Hell – Creating Politics for an RPG

Politics is one of those inevitable conditions, like death and taxes, that every GM has to master to some extent because it will make its presence felt in every campaign. There’s always something more to say on the subject. In this article, I’m going to look at the basics of political relations between similarly-scaled entities; […]

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Things That Are Easy, Things That Are Hard

There are lots of things that are hard to do, or at least to do well. This article is about two of them, and a Kickstarter project that looks like a serious attempt to do both to a very high standard. Challenge The First The first is low-level adventures. Many GMs find these difficult to […]

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Vampire’s Creep and other stories: Working With Places

What’s the first thing you think about when considering a location in an RPG? There’s no one right answer to that question. A lot depends on why I’m thinking about that location at all. Location: a place for things to happen A location is not a simple thing to pin down. Let’s say that we’re […]

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The Heirarchy Of Deceipt: How and when to lie to your players

This irregular column resurrects lost blog posts about RPGs from Mike’s 2006-7 personal blog on Yahoo 360 and updates them with new relevance and perspective. One of the decisions every referee has to make is how much NOT to tell the players. To be blunt, the referee has to decide when to lie to his […]

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Two Emails and a ‘summon collective wisdom’ request

In the course of the last week, two different emails have been sent to Campaign Mastery that are going to form the core of today’s article. Since they are about as different as chalk and squid ink, the results might be more than usually schizophrenic, but I think it will all come together in the […]

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The Arcane Implications of Seating at the Game Table

A few weeks ago, I was contacted by Benoit, a regular reader and occasional commentator here at CM, who has translated a couple of my articles into French for a wider audience. He had noticed an unusual phenomenon during a recent game and was wondering if… well, why don’t I simply quote his email? Hi […]

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Back To Basics: Example: The Belt Of Terra

This is part four from two (yes, you read that right) in a discussion of the basic principles of creating adventures and hooking them together to form a campaign; I wasn’t originally going to include these examples, feeling that the principles would be clearer to the reader if they weren’t distracted by another narrative threat […]

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Back To Basics: Example: The White Tower

This is part three from two (!) in a discussion of the basic principles of creating adventures and hooking them together to form a campaign; I wasn’t originally going to include these examples, feeling that the principles would be clearer to the reader if they weren’t distracted by another narrative threat running concurrently – and […]

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Back To Basics: Campaign Structures

A short time ago, we received an ATGMs question that made me stop and think for a minute. The question was straightforward; Angeline wrote, “I need some help, I’m a starting DM and I just have so much trouble coming up with Campaigns or good plot lines. Please help!!” Last week, in Part One of […]

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Back To Basics Part 1: Adventure Structures

A short time ago, we received an ATGMs question that made me stop and think for a minute. The question was straightforward; Angeline wrote, “I need some help, I’m a starting DM and I just have so much trouble coming up with Campaigns or good plot lines. Please help!!” Every now and then in this […]

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