Archive for the ‘Game Mastering’ Category

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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Lessons Learned: A change of perspective brings plot rewards

When you strike plotting trouble, a fresh angle can pay unexpected dividends. This article relates to the way in which plotting problems in an upcoming adventure were resolved. If some of the details seem a little vague, it’s because I don’t want to reveal those details before we play it. I’m going to try and […]

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The Soundbite Of Tomorrow is 140 Characters Long

Something of a change of pace, today. This article was drafted for Campaign Mastery, but didn’t quite fit; was then revised to make it suitable for a blog about Social Media, where it was rejected at the eleventh hour (no hard feelings, it wasn’t quite “on message” for that site, either); and has now been […]

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To Module Or Not?: A legacy article

This article grew out of discussions between Johnn and myself concerning the Q&A in issue #300 of Roleplaying Tips. Johnn happened to mention that he was currently running a campaign based on published modules, and I was interested in comparing the approaches to handling them to best effect in terms of the difference to a […]

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Ask The GMs: Fresh Meat In A Hurry

Ian Gray contributed to this article. Anniversaries have a way of reminding you of the promises on which you have yet to deliver, and so does the start of a New Year. “Ask The GMs” is one of the cornerstones of what got Campaign Mastery to it’s 5th anniversary. It’s now 2014 and for two […]

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Dice And Life: Bio of a gamemaster (A 5th Anniversary Special) Part 2 of 2

Introduction to Part 2 This post – or maybe it was the last one – marks Campaign Mastery’s 5th Birthday (I don’t really count the articles that were posted before the public could read them). CM is the culmination of all my experience and expertise both as a GM and in life; I try to […]

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Dice And Life: Bio of a gamemaster (A 5th Anniversary Special) Part 1 of 2

Introduction It’s hard to pin down a beginning for Campaign Mastery. The idea had been in development for three or four months before the first article was posted, and had emerged from protracted discussions between Johnn and Myself about the future evolution of Roleplaying Tips, where I had been an occasional – almost semi-regular – […]

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Lessons from the Discworld of Terry Pratchett

There are a number of valuable lessons for any RPG that can be observed in the looking at how Terry Pratchett achieved the success of the Discworld series of novels. Introduce the Key Concepts Early In the first entry in the series, he introduced the Discworld itself, established its basic physical and conceptual parameters, and […]

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The compounded interruption of basic services

The West Wing said it very succinctly: “The costliest, most damaging, disruptions occur when something we take for granted stops working.” We depend on the mundane and everyday aspects of life to function seamlessly at least most of the time in order to be able to cope with the occasional extraordinary disruption or Act Of […]

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Leaving Things Out: Negative Space in RPGs

“Negative Space” sounds like the sort of thing that pretentious art critics fill the air with when they have nothing of substance to contribute. It’s not some antimatter or “mirror, mirror” universe, either – though it can be either or both those things if you want. It may come as some surprise to those with […]

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The Scariest Villain

Something got me thinking the other day about the villains trilogy that I wrote last year – Part 1 – The Mastermind, Part 2 – The Combat Monster, and Part 3 – the Character Villain and about something that wasn’t included. What makes the scariest villain? Beginning at the Beginning: What is Fear? Wikipedia has […]

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Fire Fighting, Systems Analysis, and RPG Problem Solving Part 3 of 3: Complexity and Nuance

This entry is part 3 in the series Problem-Solving

This entry is part 3 in the series Problem-Solving This is the third, final, and largest part of this series, which examines the lessons in problem-solving that I learned through training as a fire warden and as a systems analyst back in the early 90s, as applied to an RPG context. The goal is offer […]

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