Archive for the ‘Tools & Techniques’ Category

Ask The GMs – Up Hill and Down Dale: RPG Travel Laid Bare

Once again I’m daring to tackle a topic without the counsel of my friends and fellow GMs, largely because I had a clear answer in mind. Today’s question comes courtesy of Jason B, who asked, “Hey, I was about to start up a campaign that would ultimately take characters to all ends of the world. […]

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Blog Carnival November 2016: Ordinary Lives In Paranormal Space and Time

This is the fourth of five articles scheduled to be part of the November 2016 Blog Carnival, which Campaign Mastery is hosting. The carnival subject is “ordinary life” – in this case, how I create and manage subplots based on the ordinary lives of the PCs in my Zenith-3 campaign, how they connect seamlessly to […]

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Essential Reference Library for Pulp GMs (and others): 7th Shelf

This entry is part 8 in the series The Essential Reference Library for Pulp GMs (and others) Another monster post (18,400 words), another late posting. I once swore that I would never be involved in anything this large and complicated on a weekly deadline again; but every two or three years, it seems, overconfidence or […]

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Blog Carnival November 2016: The Extraordinary Life of a Fantasy PC Pt 2

This is the second half of this article; the first dealt with character backstories during character generation, and this deals with making use of them once play has started. It is also the third of five articles scheduled to be part of the November 2016 Blog Carnival, which Campaign Mastery is hosting. The carnival subject […]

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Blog Carnival November 2016: The Ordinary Life of a Fantasy PC

This is an article in two parts – the first dealing with character backstories during character generation, and the second dealing with them during play. It is also the second of five articles scheduled to be part of the November 2016 Blog Carnival, which Campaign Mastery is hosting. The carnival subject is “ordinary life” – […]

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Stalking Fear: The Creepy in Non-creepy genres

This is being written on October 31, which is one of those Iconic dates in North America and catching on (thanks to the marketing muscle of various supermarkets and retailers, who are always looking for an angle that will persuade you to buy something extra) through large parts of the rest of the world. This […]

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The Bigger They Are, The Bigger The Headache: The Proxemics Of Scale

I’ve been thinking a lot about the size of creatures lately, because it seems to me that size poses unexpected problems for the GM. This is a subject that’s been at the back of my mind for years, ever since it was pointed out to me that Dragons are never as tough as they are […]

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ATGMs42: The Hollow Echo Part 2 – Musical Traps

This is (still) the fifth of these Ask-The-GMs that I’m tackling without recourse to my usual allies and fellow-GMs. Traps and puzzles are always a tricky problem for the GM. All too often they focus attention on one particular character and leave the rest sitting around doing nothing, possibly for what feels like an extraordinary […]

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The Ultimate Weapon: Spell Storage Solutions Pt 5

This entry is part 6 in the series Spell Storage Solutions

This entry is part 6 in the series Spell Storage Solutions This is the (almost-) final part of a very intermittent series that examines alternatives and possible implications to the standard spell storage solutions built into D&D, Pathfinder, and, in fact, most fantasy games. Today, We look at Relics and Artifacts. Artifacts are some of […]

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The Hollow Echo Part 1 – Adding Music To Your Game

Music can provide an iconic trigger that instantly transports the listener into an associated memory. Soundtracks and scores for Film and TV have long recognized this effect and played on it. You might not know it, but every major character in a movie or TV show has their own “theme”, a handful of notes, usually […]

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Basics For Beginners (and the over-experienced) Part 9: Rewards With Intent

This 15-part series is an attempt to answer the question, “what advice do you have for a beginning GM?”, three articles at a time – while throwing in tips and reminders of the basics for more experienced GMs. This is the last article of the current trilogy. Rewards: Tabula Rasa To most beginning GMs, and […]

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Lightning Research: Maximum Answers in Minimum Time

One art that every GM should master is the knack of researching just enough information just as quickly as you can digest it. I sometimes call it the art of Lightning Research, and today I’m going to share a couple of tips for doing it successfully. These tips come in two parts – one for […]

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