Archive for the ‘Game Mastering’ Category

The Blind Enforcer: The Reflex Application Of Rules

This article is the result of a confluence of many different vectors, from reading a review in the current issue of KODT of the original “Paranoia” RPG to reading an article at E Pluribus Unum about Twitter mistakenly suspending an account as a purveyor of spam. Setting aside the questions of anti-spam techniques and technologies […]

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Writing to the limits of longevity

Every minute spent writing more than you need is time wasted. Write to your target longevity to boost efficiency while avoiding the traps that lurk in the dark for the unwary writer.

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Epigrams Of Life and Gaming: Selection No. 2

This entry is part 2 in the series Epigrams Of Life & Gaming

This entry is part 2 in the series Epigrams Of Life & Gaming About the “Epigrams Of Mike” series: An epigram is a brief, interesting, memorable, and sometimes surprising or satirical statement. Usually under the hashtag #Musing, I have the habit of occasionally tweeting notions and thoughts and philosophizing; the 140-character limit of twitter (and […]

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Ten Million Stories: Breathing life into an urban population

The sheer scale of a modern urban environment is something that we all tend to take for granted. It’s so hard to grasp it, because we only ever see the very tip of a very large iceberg – with far more than nine-tenths of it removed from our sight. In any city there are the […]

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Swell And Lull – Emotional Pacing in RPGs Part 2

I didn’t want to split this article in two. You really need to have read part one before you can get full value from what’s below. So I’m going to assume that you’ve done just that, and don’t need a synopsis to refresh your memory, and just dive straight in… Transitions & Global Emotional Flow […]

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Swell And Lull – Emotional Pacing in RPGs Part 1

Swing Swing Dodge Swing Scurry Duck Scurry Scurry Dodge Kick Swing Leap Swing Parry Swing Duck Swing Scurry Dodge Swing… …it gets a bit dull and repetitive after a while, doesn’t it? Every adventure, every combat, heck, every campaign needs to have its highs and its lows, its frantic periods and its lulls of inactivity. […]

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Brick By Brick: Base Rules Made Easy

I’ve been thinking about some very basic HQ construction rules for use in Superhero campaigns, Pulp Campaigns, etc, for quite some time now, after a number of earlier attempts failed because they got too complicated. At last, I think I’ve solved the major issues… As I’ve mentioned before, Hero Games have very specific, but reasonably […]

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The Envelope Is Ticking: Insanity In RPGs

“Your shoelace is untied.” By the end of this article, you’ll understand the significance and meaning of that phrase. Mentioning Call Of Cthulhu in Monday’s article reminded me of a discussion that I once had with Dennis Ashelford, still probably the best CoC GM that I’ve ever seen in operation, about how best to convey […]

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I See It But I Don’t Believe It – Convincingly Unconvincing in RPGs

Verisimilitude is critical in a role playing game in order to facilitate the suspension of disbelief and players (and GMs) getting into character instead of viewing events from a meta-perspective. Believability is hard-won at the gaming table and subject to constant attack by game mechanics and real-world distractions like side-conversations. More difficult still is the […]

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The Application Of Time and Motion to RPG Game Mechanics

How do you tell a good House Rule from a Bad? I know, I promised something short. As long-time readers will know, I don’t do “short” very well… “Time and motion studies” used to be the favorite tool of “efficiency” experts who optimized a process for speed. They quickly became the butts of a lot […]

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The Loss Of Innocence: Some unexpected insights

I was watching a documentary on the roles of Women as portrayed on Television the other day, and it yielded a couple of unexpected insights – one into modern society, and the other into the edition wars that have plagued D&D over the last few years, and the divide between “new school” and “old school” […]

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Ask The GMs: The Passage Of Substantial Time

Last time around, James Senecal posed a double-question. Because it was the easier of the two, and I was flying solo, I chose the easier question for ATGMs #27. But now it’s time to bite the bullet… How can you have substantial time pass within a campaign? “If death is to have a consequence, if […]

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