Archive for the ‘Tools & Techniques’ Category

When Genres Collide: Using Non-Genre Sources

Some of the most fun that I’ve ever had as a GM was creating that down-elevator sensation in the stomach-pits of my players by taking an idea derived from one genre and importing it into another. It’s not easy to do well, but I’ve figured out at least some of the ground rules to success, […]

Comments (3)

Not Like My Tribe – Sophisticated Primitives, Part 2

In Part 1 (make sure you have read it before continuing) I made reference to a map of Australian Aboriginal Languages which contrasted so strongly with the media stereotyping of these peoples as a single collective population that it was revelatory and inspirational. I meant to provide a link to that map, but ran out […]

Leave a Comment

Not Like My Tribe – Sophisticated Primitives, Part 1

A lot of people seem to have the opinion that Primitive is the same thing as Simple. While I would hope that most GMs are better educated than this, that knowledge doesn’t seem to translate into their depictions of primitive societies within their games. Most Orcs, for example, are treated as being cookie-cutter representatives of […]

Comments (2)

Review Roundup: Three products of interest

I get offered more product to review than I possibly have time to read, other than superficially. Sometimes that product is already commercially available, sometimes it’s the center of a fundraising campaign, sometimes it just comes out of the blue. While I would love to give every review it’s own post of prominence, reality dictates […]

Comments (1)

The Gilligan Tools for better characterization

I was reading an article the other week about a fan theory regarding Gilligan’s Island – well, actually, it’s more like two related theories, one of which is partially contingent on the other. As I was musing (and chuckling, I must admit), the thought occurred to me that with a little tweaking, one of those […]

Comments (3)

An Amazing Ancestry

I’m a regular viewer of the TV show “Who Do You Think You Are?”. We in Australia are in the privileged position of seeing not only our own domestic series, but also the US and UK series of this show. For those who have never watched it, the show traces the ancestry of a celebrity […]

Leave a Comment

The Incremental Art Of Escalation

There are all sorts of situations in which the GM wants a situation to escalate by a measured, finite quantity. There will usually be several such escalations that he intends to occur before the situation reaches its climax and resolution. It can be quite difficult to actually plan these escalations as a smooth progression, especially […]

Comments (1)

Finding Your Way: Unlocking the secrets of Google Image Search

For those that don’t know, Google offers a wealth of tools for finding illustrations useful to your adventure just by clicking on the “Images” button on the search homepage to enter Google Images. And, at first glance, it can seem fairly intuitive to use. But there are traps to be aware of, and some tricks […]

Leave a Comment

Choosing A Name: A “Good Names” Extra (Revised & Extended)

This entry is part 9 in the series A Good Name Is Hard To Find

This entry is part 9 in the series A Good Name Is Hard To Find Something unusual this week in that today’s article is a revised and expanded version of last week’s article on Names. There are two reasons for that: first, I didn’t have time last week to prepare all the examples and material […]

Comments (4)

Character Incapability: The distant side of the coin

Last week, I wrote about creating adventures based on what a character could do. This week I’m going to look at the far more difficult proposition of basing a mini-adventure on what a character can’t do. This task is much trickier; just because a character is incapable of the action that would resolve whatever problem […]

Comments (3)

Character Capabilities: An often-forgotten source of plots

Recently, for the Adventurer’s Club campaign, my co-GM and I had to construct a number of small plotlines – one for each character – simply to mark the passage of a period of time in which the PCs should be doing something. We employed an old technique of mine – but one that has never […]

Comments (5)

Basics For Beginners (and the over-experienced) Part 6: Challenges

This entry is part 6 in the series Basics For Beginners (and the over-experienced)

This entry is part 6 in the series Basics For Beginners (and the over-experienced)I’ve been asked a number of times what advice I have for a beginning GM. This 15-part series is an attempt to answer that question – while throwing in some tips and reminders of the basics for more experienced GMs. This is […]

Leave a Comment