Friday Five: 2010-02-19

What? You want to Sleep here?

As a player, I have to say that it’s been really, really rare that I’ve wanted to build a campsite in the middle of a dungeon. I’m always the advocate of a careful retreat to a safer place in order to setup camp and get some much needed rest for my character. Of course, not everyone follows this rule, and make camp in some of the strangest (and maybe even dumbest) places. Check out what ChattyDM has to say on how to mess with players that pick poor spots to camp out and get their beauty rest.

Hack and Slash vs. Titanic Struggles, or the Goblin Massacre and Giant Slaying Approaches

I love this post because it breaks down combat into fighting lots of little guys (goblin massacre) or one large, tough opponent (giant slaying.) The maxims outlined in this post are so very true to almost every RPG combat session. It’s challenged me to change the way I approach setting up encounters to see if I can come up with some alternate and more exciting methods for throwing Bad Guys at the PCs.

World Building 101: Organizing your Organizations

Where would people be if they had no place to hang out and no one out there with common interests to hang out with? Probably at home watching American Idol. Organizations are the heart and soul of every great nation, and without them the world would be very flat and boring. Use the knowledge freely given by Brandan over at d20 Source and make your worlds a more lively place!

Uniqueizing Your Campaign

I’ve rarely liked it when a GM uses goblin stats and changes the name of the monster to “Snarglepuffs” or something like that. I link to this post, so that I may give my dissenting opinion. There are classic tropes in fantasy, science fiction, horror and every other genre. When you use a common item and decide to make it “unique” by giving it a strange name, you’re really doing nothing more than lying to your players about what they are facing. Yes, I know that they shouldn’t be meta gaming, but there are other, and better, ways to fix meta gaming problems other than to lie to your players and give them false names for the monsters. If you’re really so desperate for uniqueness in your game, then start making new monsters that you can give your own names to. This is much more preferable to renaming a standard goblin to something else.

The Almighty Player

Muahahaha… Every rookie GM thinks they are in control of the game, but they rarely realize (until it’s too late) that the players are really the ones that are in control of where the game goes. I had a GM for a single session that tried to railroad the entire group into a castle to force us to fight our way out. He was so heavy handed about it, that I fled to the sewers and hid from the goblin invasion there. He was so miffed that I found a way out that he simply declared, “You catch a disease in the sewers and die a few hours later before you can do anything else.” I shrugged, packed my dice, went home and never went back to that particular game. He thought he had taken my vast control of the game away from me and was shocked when I refused to return next week with a new character. Another anecdote along these lines. We talked Nat into running a game once, and she ran a fine game for a few sessions. Then she suddenly stopped and said she was amazed at how little control a GM really has and she didn’t like it at all. GM’ing isn’t for everyone (but I still asset that everyone should do it at least once.)