Archive for the ‘Planning & Preparation’ Category

Shades Of Suspense Pt 2 – Fourteen Types of Cliffhanger Finishes

For those who came in late: Cliffhangers are a wonderful way to end a gaming session. Ending play at a moment of high drama leaves players anxious to get back to the gaming table, and makes a gaming session memorable. They serve as milestones within the adventure. In Part 1, I listed eight general tips […]

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Shades Of Suspense Pt 1 – Eight Tips for Cliffhanger Finishes

Cliffhangers are a wonderful way to end a gaming session because they end play at a moment of high drama that leaves the players anxious to get back to the gaming table, and that tend to be fairly memorable because of the drama. You can think of them as milestones within the adventure. The primary […]

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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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Stormy Weather – making unpleasant conditions player-palatable

Following the publication last week of the rules on Windchill and other weather-based environmental effects, I was asked a very profound question by Rob, one of several GMs that I associate with on Twitter: Any tips on the drama side, Mike? My players have always felt a bit meh about weather – deadly but dull […]

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Who Are You? – An original character naming approach

I was half-listening to the commentary from the Tour De France a few moments ago (as I write the first draft of this opening paragraph), and I misheard something. No great surprise there, that happens all the time when you’re only half-listening. But what I thought I heard gave me a great idea for a […]

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Touchstones Of Unification Pt 3 – The Big Picture (Genre and Style)

This entry is part 3 in the series Touchstones Of Unification

This entry is part 3 in the series Touchstones Of Unification So we’ve looked at Themes, and we’ve looked at Concepts, and even touched on the relationship between the two. But now it’s time to address the elephant in the room – twin elephants in fact – Genre and Style, and how these modify that […]

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The Flunkie Equation – quick and easy Hors d’Combat

A few weeks ago, I described my processes for creating Partial NPCs, a methodology that determined how much NPC definition was needed for that NPCs role in an adventure, in Creating Partial NPCs To Speed Game Prep. This was described as essential know-how for the article that I was originally going to write and publish […]

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Touchstones Of Unification Pt 2 – Concepts

This entry is part 2 in the series Touchstones Of Unification

Part 2 of the article trilogy looks at concepts within an RPG, how they relate to the campaign themes, and throws in some free game content as a bonus.

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Touchstones Of Unification Pt 1 – Themes

This entry is part 1 in the series Touchstones Of Unification

This entry is part 1 in the series Touchstones Of UnificationI was watching an interview with Jim Keays from 1975 the other day, discussing what was then his latest album. He was explaining that he had started with three or four songs that all had similar subject matter, and realized that he could build the […]

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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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Creating Partial NPCs To Speed Game Prep

How much character do you need? Or, to phrase it another way, how much character construction do you have to undertake in advance when creating an NPC? You could simply have a random character generator throw up something to avoid any character construction, but the results never seem to mesh properly with the situation in […]

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3 Feet In Someone Else’s Shoes: Getting in character quickly

It’s not easy being a GM. Not only do you have to create dozens or hundreds of characters for every one PC, but you have to create adventures and encounters that bring those characters to life in an entertaining way for the benefit of the players – all while refereeing a complex simulation of a […]

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