Archive for the ‘Players’ Category

The Thinking Man’s Guide to Intelligence for Players and GMs

A Message from the Writer/Publisher: As I write, a hostage situation continues to unfold in Sydney, as it has for almost 15 hours, capturing world attention for all the worst reasons. For those who may be concerned, I am completely fine. But I must share my contempt for those who have attempted to politicize events […]

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Ask The GMs: Buzz and Background

Excitement. Buzz. Anticipation. Enthusiasm. How best to create these for a new campaign? This question comes from BlueNinja, who wrote: “I have an idea for a campaign, that follows off the plot of a popular CRPG [Computer RPG -- Mike] (set a few centuries later, of course, so that the PCs don’t have to compete […]

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“I know what’s happening!” – Confirmation Bias and RPGs

I was watching a documentary the other week. (I know, it seems like I watch a lot of TV. I actually watch less than it might seem, but I’ve gotten a number of articles out of what TV I do watch.) Anyway, the subject in this case was the investigation of the crash of a […]

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Layers Of Mis-translation: RPGs and Dubbed TV

I was watching a repeat of Iron Chef the other day, and (not for the first time) ruminating on the evident personalities of the three chefs. Sakai always comes across as the friendliest of the three, Chen with an impish sense of humor, and of course, Michiba is the oldest, and in many ways, the […]

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The Wandering Spotlight Part Two of Two: Shared Stories

My co-GM in the Adventurer’s Club campaign and I work very hard to maintain player engagement even when the spotlight is not on that player’s character (which only makes it all the more obvious and painful when we fail in attempts to do so). While there is little that I regard as especially novel about […]

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The Wandering Spotlight Part One of Two: Plot Prologues

In the midst of all the angst on display in the last article, correspondent, friend, and involved party Ian M included this comment: …as GMs, Mike and Blair are very good at making sure even PCs that (by skillset, background or whatever) are more or less side-lined for a specific situation are still well-engaged. While […]

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An Experimental Failure – 10 lessons from a train-wreck Session

Tomorrow (as I write this), as usual on the final Friday of the month, I will be deep into prep for the next session of the Adventurer’s Club campaign. Unlike the usual situation, this won’t be final prep – we usually play that campaign on the first Saturday of the month. This article will look […]

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Dr Who and the secrets of complex characterization

I’m going to do something a bit unusual for Campaign Mastery today, and talk about one character and one TV show in depth. Specifically, as you should be able to tell from the title, I’m going to talk about Doctor Who, the iconic British sci-fi series that has just celebrated it’s 50th Anniversary and which […]

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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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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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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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