Archive for the ‘Mike’ Category

Consequential Expertise: A Neglected Plot Opportunity

Do your PCs know what they are doing? Not the players (they have no idea half the time) but the characters that those players operate – are they competent? Do they have expertise – in anything? Because there’s a type of adventure intro that seems, in hindsight, to be horribly under-used: the expert witness. Why? […]

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Ask The GMs: Many Hands, Mild Insanity: Large Groups Revisited

As I explained the last time I looked at large groups, I have only limited experience in the area, so this was one topic for which I definitely wanted to source a broader opinion base. The question at hand: If you are “fortunate” enough to have a large group of players, which games could you […]

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Throw Me A Life-line: A Character Background Planning Tool

When I was a child, I knew three of my grandparents well. My paternal grandfather and namesake, however, I have no memory of ever meeting; he died before I was born, he was only ever a photograph on the wall. I was thinking about that, and about how my experience of family was not adequately […]

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Encampments and other In-Character Opportunities

When I was starting the original Fumanor (D&D 3.x) campaign, I tried to get the players to establish the sort of routines that would come naturally in real life. You see this sort of thing in Fantasy novels all the time and it’s a great way for personalities to manifest and a useful tool for […]

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Ask The GMs: Death Is Only The Beginning: Resurrection Penalties Examined

This is the fourth of these Ask-The-GMs that I’m tackling without recourse to my usual allies and fellow-GMs. The notion of resurrection penalties is almost as old as the notion of resurrection in RPGs. It’s fictional antecedents go back even further, into the inspiration sources used by the designers of the game in the first […]

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The Best Of 2014 Pt 2: July-December

This entry is part 7 in the series The Best

This entry is part 7 in the series The Best This is Campaign Mastery’s 800th post! But it didn’t feel right to make a big celebration out of that milestone after touting the 750th-post anniversary so prominently last year. Instead, it’s business as usual – except that this particular article is, of course, a celebration […]

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He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Servomech: User-friendly Encumbrance in RPGs

This article was inspired by a Facebook post by Toolmaster way back in July 2015 on Dungeons & Dragons Memes, a facebook community run by The d20 Collective who offer various gaming-related clothing (and some cups) for sale. This post was then shared by GM’s Day, which is another Facebook community, this one run by […]

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Ask The GMs: A Target With Warp Drive: Maps and Minis for Sci-Fi

This is the third of these Ask-The-GMs that I’m tackling without recourse to my usual allies and fellow-GMs. Battlemats, maps, and tiles all have a valuable role to play in creating game atmosphere and letting people get on with play. The old adage states that a picture is worth a thousand words; an appropriate terrain […]

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If I Could Save Magic In A Bottle: Spell Storage Solutions Pt 1

This entry is part 1 in the series Spell Storage Solutions

This entry is part 1 in the series Spell Storage Solutions Sometimes it’s hard to think of topics for Campaign Mastery, mostly because I need to accommodate real-world deadlines and time windows as much as possible), and whatever article is scheduled to come up next looks like taking more time than I have up my […]

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A Palpable Difference: 14 Points of Adventure Distinctiveness

I spent most of the weekend working on the next adventure in the Zenith-3 campaign. While this adventure mines territory that will be familiar to my players, it should not feel at all repetitive to them except in the very broad conceptual strokes, and that’s because I make an effort to make each plot different […]

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Engagement vs Involvement: The forgotten balance

Every player, and more importantly, every PC, who is participating in an RPG is a member of a team. That team can be constructed to form an idealized “machine” if the players collaborate on their character designs, but more normally, things are looser. At best, you have the GM constructing a team model in which […]

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Fun in all the right places

This article was inspired by a question raised on twitter by Kevin Mason @jackmonkeygames, or more specifically, my response to the question: Q: What’s Your Best Tip for creating a memorable character? A: Enjoy the process of creating the character. That touched on a thought that’s been tickling around the back of my head for […]

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