Another week! More links! More great links, that is!
Yep. That’s all I have this week. Just some links.
I picked up a few Judges Guild products back in the day, and I loved every single one of them. I found them incredibly useful. I think I might still have some left in the collection somewhere. If I don’t, this is my chance to pick them back up!
Lots of GM advice comes from fellow GMs and their experiences. This particular post is also for GMs, but from the player’s perspective. What does this mean? It means, pay attention! Your players are your audience. They are your consumers. They are your customers (they tend to pay more with their time than their wallet, but that’s a more valuable resource in my book.) Check out what Paul has to say on how to run a mystery game to help your players, keep your players engaged, and not to “leave them in the dust” with the brilliance of your convoluted plot lines.
I love this post because it shows how easily a new rule set can come together from a simple concept. Is it perfect? Probably not. Would it be fun to play? Looks that way! If you’re looking to adapt your favorite commercial property, you can either create a splatbook for a good generic system (GURPS, Hero, Fate, Savage Worlds, etc.) or if the concepts of the property are way out there, you can run with your own set of rules like is outlined in this post.
C.S. brings up two opposing approaches at pacing a game. The first is event-based triggers in which nothing happens until the PCs arrive on scene to witness it. The other is a timer-based trigger in which things happen no matter what the PCs are doing (unless they’re in the right place at the right time). Both of these approaches have their ups and downs, but I’ve had good success with using events that start a timer that then trigger the events. This means the PCs can usually be nearby when something happens, but if they start the timer (often without knowing it) and then meander away to chase a squirrel and miss out on the fun action, so be it. The aftermath will be there for them to clean up when they come back.
I’ve never seen such a wonderful description of how politics truly works, and Mike does a fantastic job of tying it into how politics can impact an ongoing game. I’ve run a few political games in the past with mixed success. When I get my most bang for the buck, I’ve used more than just government factions. There are a wide variety of groups that can come into play to sway the players’ decisions. Don’t just limit yourself to “good” and “evil” groups. Groups (by definition) are made up of a collection of people. Within this collection, there is undoubtedly going to be variations of opinion and desires. An “all evil cult run by the even-more-evil master” is cardboard cut out. It’s weak. Don’t do that. If you have a group that wants something for its own best interest, present the world (and the players) with an opposing group. These factions (or groups) can be governmental, mercantile, magical, societal, religious, cultural, foreign, domestic, support a common cause, etc.. Take a look at how our real world works, twist it a bit to add your own flavor, and run with it in your game. Politics can be more fun than just fast-forwarding past the “elect me” (or more closely “don’t elect that other guy”) commercials on the DVR.
I’ve said this before, but it bears repeating. If you really want to learn a new system, make your own GM screen. Don’t copy/paste from the PDF into your own document before printing. Don’t scan/print/copy/paste from the book when you find a cool chart. Type out the information yourself. This is the proper way to build your own screen. By typing out the information, you’ll see the flow of the numbers. You’ll see the patterns. This will deepen your understanding of the game. When I created my own RPG, I came to the point when I needed a GM screen. I started typing things out (even though I had created the game), and that’s when I realized some of the ranges, patterns, flows, and curves of the numbers didn’t quite add up despite my deep mathematical analysis of the game when I created it. Huh. Well, it let me go back and fix some things.
Sweet map! So many opportunities to make use of some quality adventures lie in wait within the confines of these lines and artistic representations that I can’t stand it. Full stories flourish in my brain from look at Dyson’s maps. Great work!