I’m back from Paris, and alive… barely. I came down with a very nasty head cold last Thursday which wiped me out on Friday and damn near ruined my plans for the weekend. I ended up back in the United States Wednesday night, took Thursday off work, and I’m mostly recovered today. I had some time to snag some links, but not really read them and comment on them as I normally do. This means I’m falling back to my “old style” of adding the links and comments all in one fell swoop for the week. This means the comments may be a little on the short side this week, but they’re there!
In this post, Mike links to the PDFs that include everything from the 5-part series he posted about The Secrets of Stylish Narrative. If you don’t want to consume the intense wisdom of Mike Bourke in chunks, you can get it all in the PDF form. The overall grade that I give Mike for his long-running series is a solid A+. I wish I had time to write up a complete review of the entire series, but that would require going back to each part and digging in deeper. That’s something I just don’t have time for at the moment. These PDFs (or the series on his blog) are well worth your time if you’re the word-slinging creative type.
Different systems have different styles of play. This is why it’s the #2 question to be answered by the group when firing up a new campaign. The #1 question is “What genre?” because that will weed out systems that don’t fit the genre. I doubt anyone is going to run a sword & sorcery style game using Traveller as the system. Yes, it can work, but you’ll be “fighting the system” the entire way through. Once a genre and style of play are established, the system should lend itself to support those decisions. This will keep for a more seamless and streamlined role playing experience.
Con season is pretty much over, but there are a few straggling cons this late in the year. I always love the Do/Don’t style of advice because it’s incredibly easy to ingest and put to use. In this case, the Do/Don’t advice focuses around running con games as a GM. These can even be applied to a serial or regularly scheduled game.
I love using photos and illustrations of locations and critters that I can drop on the table in front of the players or quickly flash above the screen for a “glimpse” of the Bad Guy that is currently hunting them in the darkness. I can use 1,000 words or a photo. I’ll tell you now that the photo will have more impact.
Peter has pointed me to a book that I think must add to my library of historical military information. I, of course, have plenty of books on arms, armor, castles, tactics, battle plans, etc., but I don’t really have much in the way of something like this. I think this is a great find to add to my collection. Thanks for the pointer, Peter!
If you name a city-building book that focuses on the RPG market, I probably have. Maybe two of them. When it comes to world building, focusing on cities is my favorite thing to do. It’s amazing to see a civilized (or maybe not-so-civilized) collection of people unfold before me. Mike’s article about building out villages is top-notch. It’s full of little details, hooks (important!), vital NPCs, and things that will make the location memorable beyond, “Was that the place we bought the rope or the place we bought the rations?”
When I’m running a fantasy game (which is the norm for me, but I do run the occasional sci-fi/cyberpunk game), I love having soundtracks on that support the theme and mood of the game I’m trying to run. Great orchestral soundtracks like Conan the Barbarian, The Hobbit, or Lord of the Rings work best, but there are plenty of other options. I also have a “Conan the Barbarian” Pandora channel that I keep handy for gaming, but I keep an eye on the music. Sometimes (for some freaky reason) it likes to wander into 80’s Pop Radio without warning.
This post is awesome. It shows quite well that you need to have a goal in mind and prep toward… or rather… from that goal to where you are now. It’s good stuff. In my rush to get this post done, I’m not explaining it as well as the article behind the link does. Go check it out!
Hey, Mike! Will you run this for me and my group? This sounds awesome. I love this campaign idea and arc. It looks like a rockin’ good time that will keep the players at or near the edge of their seat for most of it. I love the dystopic seed the campaign grows from and the arc it has. Well done!