Archive for the ‘Planning & Preparation’ Category

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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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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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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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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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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Fire Fighting, Systems Analysis, and RPG Problem Solving Part 2 of 3: Prioritization

This entry is part 2 in the series Problem-Solving

The second of three articles looking at lessons learned in the art of problem solving focuses on Prioritization, which is an essential skill for long-term success. Knowing which problem to tackle first can make the difference between achievement and disaster. The article considers a theoretical analysis and then uses it to offer two practical approaches to the problem.

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Casual Opportunities: Mini-encounters for… Barbarians

This entry is part 1 in the series Casual Opportunities

This entry is part 1 in the series Casual Opportunities About the Casual Opportunities series: I realized recently that something is missing from my campaigns, and has been for a long time: casual opportunities for the PCs to establish their primary role within the campaign. Casual opportunities for heroes to be heroes, for villains to […]

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A folder for every file: My Document Organization for RPGs

Introduction A week or two ago (as I write this) I was chatting with someone on twitter, and they wanted to show me a map they were working on – but couldn’t find where they had stored it on their computer. File organization is one of those areas that no-one ever really talks about, so […]

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The betrayal of all that’s unholy: Treason and infidelity in RPGs

In celebration of Guy Fawkes Night, this month’s blog carnival, hosted by Nearly Enough Dice is all about Gunpowder, Treason, and Plots. I decided to take a comprehensive look at treason and betrayal as Campaign Mastery’s contribution…

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