I messed up last week, and forgot to click the “Schedule” button after my last “Save Draft” click. This meant that the post didn’t go out as planned on Friday, but on Sunday when I realized my error. I’ll try to keep that from happening again as I have my posts for Friday already put together ahead of time.
Now, on with the links!
I’ve been fortunate in that many of my groups have been eager to learn and play new systems. This scratches my itch for trying new systems, styles, games, and such. Yeah. It can lead to confusion, some burn out, exhaustion with learning new systems, and the like, but I prefer changing things up as an opportunity to learn. I have had some push-back from players in that they want to stick to what’s comfortable. I get that. Sometimes, I want to work with my players on a great story concept, so I don’t want to spend the effort on a new system. This is where I fall back to what I know and love.
Peter’s got a great post over at Dungeon Fantastic on his approach at writing rumors and keep track of things. I love the fact that he doesn’t decide the truth or falsehood of a rumor at the time that he writes it, but decides upon that facet of things later. This is brilliant, as I’ll often get hung up on “Is this true?” or “How true is this?” and it’ll start guiding (or forcing) my hand at other rumors that I’m putting together.
Troy makes a great point that I’ve always missed in my tavern creations. I’ll come up with a cool name to tell my players, and a “star rating” that I don’t tell my players and call it good. My “star rating” is a system I’ve come up with from an Old School Dragon Magazine article that very quickly lets me know what is and is not on the menu. Anyway, I rarely think about the people in the tavern unless they are explicitly there for plot elements. Of course, that’s the furthest from the truth of the matter. There are the regulars, the one-timers, the trouble-makers, the wallflowers, the drunkards, the gamblers, the bar staff, the wait staff, and so on. Depending on the size of the tavern, there could be anywhere from six to sixty people present. Of course, detailing sixty people would be painful, but throwing in descriptions for the more noticeable folks will really add a ton of flavor to the setting.
Holy cow! Now this is a city map! When you click through to Dyson’s blog, make sure to click the map to enlarge it, and then zoom in on it (if using Firefox or Chrome) to check out the intricate details. I love city maps like this one. Great job!
Many new GMs will usually fall into the trap of thinking that every NPC needs to be as detailed as the PCs around the table. I’ve done it. You’ve probably done it. If you are currently doing it, stop now. PCs are the main characters of the story. They live in the spotlight, and this spotlight can reveal minor details about the character. This means those minor details need to be created. NPCs, on the other hand, tend to live in the edges of the spotlight, if not in the shadows themselves. This means those minor details and really in-depth backgrounds will never be seen. Why create them? BUT! There are details that will come out during play. It’s hard to predict with 100% accuracy what those details will be, but if you have a few of them handy, life will be better for you, and the game will run more smoothly. Mike’s got some great tips on how to approach this (both for combat and roleplay situations). Please make sure you read to the end where he has two examples of how things are put together. In one case he put together 54 flunkies and 1 boss in less than 6 minutes. In his role play example, he put together 152 usable NPCs in less than 30 minutes. That’s quite impressive, and using his approaches, you can do it too!
Dragon-mouthed entrance! An apparent worship room at the far end? Six more sets of stairs that lead to who knows where? A tree (alive? dead? undead?) in the center! Holy cow! So many possibilities here. I had another map in mind for an upcoming series of encounters, but I think I’m going to scrap using that other map and go with this one! Thanks, Dyson!