Friday Five: 2011-08-26

Ok. So maybe I can’t count, but I have six links for you today. They were all so awesome, that I couldn’t help but include all of them.

Unlike past weeks, I actually have time and energy to comment on each one. Yay!

Here goes….

Fantasy Cuisine – Get It While It’s Haute

This is a fantastic post with tons of information and charts about eating and possible dishes to have during fantasy-style times. If anyone wants to spice up (pardon the pun) their environments by surrounding the players with top-notch food, this is a link to bookmark!

The Cyberpunk Sandbox

The title of this article is what first caught my eye because I thought to myself, “Is there any other way to run Cyberpunk?” When I’ve run CP2020 in the past (and I used to run it quite a bit,) it was always a sandbox game within the limits of the city (usually Night City or a modified version of my hometown.) Because of the rapid transit possibilities, a GM really can’t push the PCs from hex to the next in any orderly fashion. I would just allow my players to run amok to their heart’s extent, and see where things went. There were a few times that I tried to follow a pre-planned storyline with CP2020, but it never did turn out too well. I’ve learned my lesson from those games and will now only do sandbox-style games for that system.

World Building Part II: Communities and Politics

Cities and nations are made up of more than just locations and NPCs. There are many interlaced relationships going on that mold the world and environments into what they are. This post is full of great information and awesome links to books and other web sites about how to go about doing this in your world or nation or city or whatever. It also applies to more than just fantasy games. All of this advice can be well applied in many different genres.

Quick and Dirty Location Template

I just said that the world you’re running is made up of more than locations and NPCs. While this is true, the locations that you decide to drop into your world need to have some detail and importance to the PCs. Otherwise, it’ll feel like you’re just showing off your creative muscles for no good effect in the game. This template is a great one for detailing pretty much any kind of location that you can imagine dropping into your game.

Listen To Your Players When They Aren’t Talking

I’ve had many a new player join my games in the past and I always get to know them as a player, so I can try to customize how I run the game to help fit their desires. Even after doing this, I sometimes become complacent and start running a game that I want to play instead of ones that my players want to be in. The best way for me (and other GMs) to avoid this is to listen to them. Not just their voices, but their inflections when they speak, their body language, how excited they are to be involved in the game and many more things. Go check out Callin’s post for more details.

Learning The Game

There are many approaches to learning a new game, but this one post seems to incorporate all of them. The key piece of advice that I can echo here that is mentioned near the bottom of the post is to create your own GM screen. Don’t just scan charts from the book and tape them to a card stock screen. Actually type out (or write out) the charts from the book that you feel are important. Dropping things into an Excel spreadsheet, adding borders and printing it out is immensely helpful. It really helps you focus down on what you think is important and by typing/writing the charts out yourself, you’re more likely to remember what the chart is all about. Don’t forget to include page numbers for reference when putting a chart on a GM screen!