Posts Tagged ‘DM-Advice’

The Heirarchy Of Deceipt: How and when to lie to your players

This irregular column resurrects lost blog posts about RPGs from Mike’s 2006-7 personal blog on Yahoo 360 and updates them with new relevance and perspective. One of the decisions every referee has to make is how much NOT to tell the players. To be blunt, the referee has to decide when to lie to his […]

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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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Lessons from the Discworld of Terry Pratchett

There are a number of valuable lessons for any RPG that can be observed in the looking at how Terry Pratchett achieved the success of the Discworld series of novels. Introduce the Key Concepts Early In the first entry in the series, he introduced the Discworld itself, established its basic physical and conceptual parameters, and […]

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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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Fire Fighting, Systems Analysis, and RPG Problem Solving Part 1 of 3: General Advice

This entry is part 1 in the series Problem-Solving

This entry is part 1 in the series Problem-Solving In 1990 I was trained as a Safety Warden / OHAS representative for my then-employer. At the time, I was employed as a Computer Programmer and acting as a Systems Analyst for the commercial software systems for which my former department were responsible. Both aspects of […]

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Digging into Difference: A review of The Unconventional Dwarf

Warning PG-13 content It’s been suggested that I should advise readers that some of the discussion that follows touches on topics of a mature nature and may not be suitable for thos under the age of 13. Children should consult their parents before reading this article. Personally, I think most children these days are well […]

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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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