Posts Tagged ‘D&D’

Engagement vs Involvement: The forgotten balance

Every player, and more importantly, every PC, who is participating in an RPG is a member of a team. That team can be constructed to form an idealized “machine” if the players collaborate on their character designs, but more normally, things are looser. At best, you have the GM constructing a team model in which […]

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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, […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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All Wounds Are Not Alike IV – Accelerated Healing

This entry is part 5 in the series All Wounds Are Not Alike

This entry is part 5 in the series All Wounds Are Not Alike When I first started gaming, one of the hot topics of conversation was always Clerical Healing and how to stop Clerics being nothing more than “holy drip bottles”. Over the next 30-odd years, not much changed. At the heart of the problem […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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Use The Force, Fluke: Who’s On First This Time?

For the record, none of the PCs in the Star Wars campaign is named Fluke. But the pun was irresistible. When we started playing Star Wars: Edge Of The Empire, we got the initiative system all wrong. What’s supposed to happen is that each PC and NPC / NPC-Group rolls initiative to create a set […]

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The Perils Of Players Knowing Too Much

The Backstory I was posting a reply to @RPGKitchen on Twitter last night (relative to commencing this article, now about 3 weeks ago) when a stray thought suggested itself. It was recently posited that starting a campaign or adventure off with the characters engaged in activities that are relatively familiar to the players, such as […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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