Woo Hoo! Last night’s game as an utter success. We all had a blast (except for the player playing the fighter… but he was running on 2 hours of sleep and had been up for over 24 hours at the start of the game. Stupid Day Jobs.) Traps were triggered. Others were found and disarmed. Riddles were encountered, but none were solved (I was certain the bard spoke Draconian!) We all had a really good time.
I have some down time right now while getting an oil change, so I’ve put the polishing touches on the post and am getting it out the door.
However, you’re not here to listen to me chatter about my gaming session or my car maintenance, so I’m going to get on with the links. There are quite a few here this week.
I’ve never liked the concept of “this hex is swamp” and “this hex is jungle,” but I understand the need for hexes for the ease of measuring distance and travel and placing markers and such. It’s a fine system, and it works. However, that’s not really the point of this article despite the title. Troy’s post can be applied to the “sandbox” as well. Basically, make sure there’s a reason the players are headed cross-country, maybe throw in a target for the travels, and toss out some fun new monsters while you’re at it!
I love tables. Like Peter, I tend to read through them and use them for inspiration. If I can’t find something I really fall in love with (or too many things catch my eye), I’ll roll three times on the table and pick the one thing from those three that I like best. Then I’ll run with that idea for deeper thought and see where it takes me. Peter also has some links to some great resources, so check it out!
When someone breaks out the statement, “Let’s play a cinematic game!” I always cringe. This (in my experience) usually equates to, “I want to play a character where the rules don’t apply to me!” *sigh* I know that’s not the case. However, it’s happened to me too many times that the phrase still hurts me. I guess when I try to limit someone’s actions with a reasonable obstacle or circumstance, the player response has been, “I thought this was supposed to be cinematic?” Ugh. Anyway…. Mike has a fantastic post that’s changing my mind about cinematic games and teaching me how to approach them. Since there’s a “Part 1” in the title, I can only assume there will be future parts as well, and I’m really looking forward to them!
Ya gotta move if you wanna get there. That about sums up movement in many games. Sure, it gets more detailed or technical than that for most games. Douglas drops a great breakdown of various systems on how movement works, is measured, and is limited. I’ve done the same maths he has done with Olympic sprinters and trying to figure out what a “reasonable” top-end speed for a human is, so that part of the post really made me happy.
I used to do crafts similar to these two posts when making handouts and maps (see previous mentions of handouts lasting 3 seconds… my maps were different), and the players loved it because of the “aged” effects I put on the paper. Matt’s taken the aging, preparation, drawing, and marking up of maps to a whole new level though! Go check out his two posts on the topic and learn some fantastic new skills.
I’ve always loved adventures that were written with questions in mind. This gave me, the GM, a level of agency in the execution of the game that a straight “scripted” adventure doesn’t. We always talk about the players having agency to make decisions that affect the game. We don’t want to take that away from the players. However, the GM needs some agency as well, and straight-up telling the GM that the NPCs/monsters will always do a certain action robs the GM of his/her agency. This is a good post from Mike along those lines, and I think it hits home more with me as a writer and game designer than a GM or player. Thanks for the info, Mike!
Woo Hoo! Some fantastic (and HUGE) maps from Dyson. I especially love the level-based color coding he did to help clarify some of the things about the different layers of the map. Thanks for sharing that, Dyson.