Yet Another Belated Friday Five: 2014-03-23 3

I gotta get my stuff together on Friday nights. I used to be really on the ball with Friday Five postings, but I’ve been slacking lately. Perhaps I should rename this column “Sunday Six” or “Sunday Seven” and collect a few more links throughout the week and just post things on Sunday like I have been….

Anyway, here are are the five links from the previous week that caught my eye.

[Tuesday Map] The Granite Shore

I love this map for the clean lines and sharp angles, but not everything is set at 90-degrees to each other. I also like what appears to be a great hall that steadily climbs upward to where a bridge crosses a river into unknown territory. So many different adventures can be held here!

Places to Rob Adventurers, from Best to Worst

As a GM, I always feel nervous about setting up an encounter with the idea in mind of taking things away from the PCs. If it happens, that’s fine, but it feel cheap to me to do it. However, as a player, I’ve had a few encounters where the highly-intelligent enemy has snagged things from our camp and run off with it. It’s always amped up the tension and adventure, so I don’t mind it from the player’s side of the screen… so long as the tactic isn’t overdone or abused. I know these two views are dichotomous of one another. Perhaps I should readdress my GM view a bit?

For the First Couple of Sessions, PCs are Protean

I wholeheartedly agree with this post. Players don’t always know the rules quite well enough to get themselves at a good starting point that will lead to where they want to go with their character’s career. It may also be that there was miscommunication between the group at the table. The players might make a character that just doesn’t fit in with the other characters, or with the GM’s idea of the theme of the campaign arc. The characters might need to be thrown out whole cloth or just tweaked a little bit. I allow three gaming sessions for players to, with or without reason, change/replace their characters. At the start of the fourth session of the campaign, the player is locked in with the character unless they come up with a halfway decent reason for the change. Of course, I’m not a hard-ass about this. If someone simply is not enjoying playing their character, that’s a good enough reason for me. However, I’ll delve deep into the why behind the lack of enjoyment with the player. This will help ensure they won’t have the same reasons for the lack of enjoyment after a few sessions with their new character.

Sharpening The Saw

Back in my Society for Creative Anachronism days, I had an Arabic saying (written in proper Arabic) around the circle that formed the main body of my gorget. This is the piece of armor that protects the neck. The gorget was made of leather, and etched into the armor was the saying, “Learn. Master. Teach.” One of the most enjoyable parts of building my armor was building this one piece because I firmly believe that everyone should attempt to do these three steps with at least one discipline. This article covers the first two parts of this saying very well: Learn. Master.

Swell And Lull – Emotional Pacing in RPGs Part 1

I once taught a class on pacing and tension in writing novels for an old writing group of mine. The workshop was assembled with a different speaker and topic in mind, but the speaker bailed very much at the last minute via text message. I wasn’t too happy with the speaker, but I knew the workshop had to go on. I pulled a half-baked presentation from my back pocket with no prep. I scribbled charts and graphs all over the whiteboard, and I was told later that I had pulled it off quite well. If you want to learn more about pacing in storytelling and gaming and how tension should rise and fall (yes it falls during the course of a story), then check out Mike’s wonderful article. He’s embedded some wonderful graphics in the article to help you grasp the concepts of what he’s talking about. This is an excellent article and should be read by all writers, screenwriters, game masters, and storytellers.

3 thoughts on “Yet Another Belated Friday Five: 2014-03-23

  1. Mike Bourke Mar 23,2014 6:47 PM

    Thanks, once again, for the Kudos, Hungry. I’ve never done a course on writing, and your comments lead me to wonder if it would have helped or hindered the article. But I have read thousands of novels, and written & GM’d thousands of RPG adventures, and I’m good at observing and analyzing; those real-world experiences are what I am drawing on to write this article. I had some uncertainty as to how it would stand up in comparison with a “proper” course – my observations may not have been applicable to anyone else’s experience – so your comments give me renewed tranquility and enthusiasm to finish the article. Much appreciated 🙂

  2. Hungry Mar 23,2014 8:21 PM

    I’m glad the comments helped. Your article, as I’ve already said, was spot on. Keep up the good work, Mike!

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