What an amazing week in the RPG Blogosphere! I’ve barely been able to keep up with all of the fantastic posts that have popped this week! I hope your week has been as good as mine has.
Now, on with the links!
Want to know some of the tricks that the fabulous Dyson Logos uses to create his maps? Look no further than this link.
Fair, so long as the GM is fair and consistent. I actually like this idea because the point of a con game is first to have fun and secondly to have an experience you normally wouldn’t have with your regular gaming group. Time is limited (usually 4 hours) with zero chance of “We’ll pick this up next week.” Cracking a rulebook steals precious minutes from the game play experience. In the few con games I’ve run, if I space out on a rule (it happens), I’ll ask the table if they know of the rule. If the players are equally stymied, I’ll throw out a judgement and ask them if they think it’s fair. Usually they do because my off the top of my head ruling is generally very close to the published rules.
I’ve used this method in the past. What’s the method? Well, you’ll just have to click the link. I gotta say that it works very well for minimal prep. These days, I use Scrivener on my laptop instead of note cards. The way Scrivener (which is meant for writing, not necessarily note taking, but it works great) breaks out folders, files, and uses a hierarchical organization system works well with my brain. I can throw a folder of similar ideas full of files and fill in notes in each file to lay out what I’d like to have happen at certain points. It’s awesome! However, if you’re going more low tech (nothing wrong with that), then Chatty’s approach of note cards will work. Even if you think you have the “perfect” system for yourself (and you just might) still check out the link since he has some great ideas as to what to put into the notes.
I love this post because it closely echoes what I do when I sit down to write. It doesn’t matter what I’m writing. It could be a short story, part of a novel, RPG materials, poetry, whatever. I first have to clear my mind and “get the junk out” before I can dive into my prose. The first thing I do is make sure I have some good music going to drown out the outside world. What’s “good” music? Depends on your tastes, but I lean toward heavy metal and industrial. It just works for me, but might not for you. Once my tunes are going, I open up a file that I have name “Brain Bleach” and just type for 3-5 minutes about random things that pop into my head. Sometimes new story ideas hit me while doing this. Most of the time it turns out to be worthless drivel, but that’s okay. I’d rather bleach that out now than have it fall into my prose. Once my writing engine is warmed up after this exercise, I open up the file I intend to work on and get to work. A trick I learned (I think from Stephen King, though I’ve seen it credited to others, including Hemmingway) a LONG time ago is to stop in the middle of a sentence. This post explains the theory quite well. Now that you’ve seen my methods, hit Mike’s link to see what he has to say about it. His advice might very well work for you better than mine.
If you can’t come up with a story about this door (or what’s beyond) then something’s wrong with you. It doesn’t matter the style, genre, execution, or theme of story. There’s something wonderful there! Perhaps what is behind the door really isn’t all that important as compared to the door. Run with it. Have fun!
I love maps that include water hazards and multiple, intertwining layers. Guess what Dyson did here? Both! Go check it out!
A figure stands at the end of a darkened hallway. It appears to be a great post by Roger on the vagaries of poor description and dropping hints as to what things look like when you don’t want to just come out and say it. This is a vital post for anyone writing description in RPGs or describing things on the fly. Good stuff here.
Another post about prepping, but this time it’s about how to prep for a campaign, not just a session. Of course, the advice here can be used at any level, but I’m reading this as “campaign prep” more than “session prep”. That’s just my take. Phil drills down deep into his methods, so you could probably learn quite a bit from him if you’re stretched thin on time.
I’m usually not a fan of “side view” maps because they’re hard to read, hard to implement on the battle grid, and just make for headaches for everyone involved. However, there are some (like this one) that are just immensely wonderful works of art. The Howling Orc Bridge here is packed full of story, action, and possibilities. It’s a great one!