Sporadic Saturday Sweetness: 2016-04-23 5

The Pikes Peak Writers Conference that displaced last week’s post went off very well. Everyone had a good time. Everyone learned lots (probably more than their brains can handle in 2 1/2 days of programming). Drinks were drunk. Deals were made. Friends were made and met and kept forever. I couldn’t have asked for more!

Speak of deals… I made one. I sold a novel to Strigidae Publishing! That’s right. A novel with my name on it is finally getting some forward progress. You can find out more about it over at my author web site. I’m caught somewhere between “is this real?” and “holy crap!” in my reactions.

Of course, you came here to find out what cool stuff I found in the RPG blogosphere in the past two weeks or so. Here are the links!


If you have a throw-away NPC, maybe adding a mannerism or trait to them will make them more important to you and to the game. Even if it doesn’t, that one detail thrown in will make the world more immersive to your players.

The Incremental Art Of Escalation

I have an issue with escalation when I run the game. I go from “minor threat” to “major threat” to “end of the world” very fast. It’s a flaw in my planning and outlining of the game progress. I’ve known about my issue for years. Mike has an article here that really helps me out. The next time I run a non-improv game, I’m going to put his words of wisdom into play and see if that helps me out. I bet it does.

Crypts and Sewers

I love this map because I can see all sorts of creepy crawlers lurking about in the minor details of this wonderfully drawn piece of art. This is evoking some creative ideas in me, and I feel that is what maps are supposed to do.

Who Owns Your Campaign?

I love this article because it sums up the collaboration in an RPG quite well. I especially love the closing out summary because I’m always on the look out for the folks on the other side of the screen. When I’m a GM, I feed into the players’ desires. When I’m the player, I love throwing hooks and plot ideas (in character) to the GM. If you’re having some contentious times with your gaming group, I bet this article will be of some help to you.

30 Top Sites for Storytelling GMs

How meta can we get? I’m linking to a post of links. There’s some great stuff in Phil’s list. Go check it out! I haven’t made my way through everything yet, but I’m working on it.

An Amazing Ancestry

I’ve thought about doing ancestral charts for some of my vital NPCs (or groups of related NPCs), but I’ve never pulled the trigger. It just seems like so much work and effort, and I wasn’t sure of the gains. Mike’s article here has enlightened me into seeing the benefit of doing this for a few key NPCs (and maybe a PC or two?) in order to increase the historical and world immersion for the players. Will they care? Dunno. Maybe. Either way, it sounds like a fun exercise.

The Fevered Caves

I love how Dyson layers maps. The ups and downs and tunnels over the top of others always amazes me. It’s actually the clarity of his maps that brings up my level of amazement. Anyone (almost anyone) can draw a map with overlapping tunnels, but Dyson manages to pull it off in a clear manner.

The Problematic Ranger

I’m with Rob here. “Why is any class necessary?” People bash on bards and rangers and druids and other “support role” characters as being cruft in games. Honestly, I’m not a big fan of class-based games. I would much rather go with the skill-based games, which frees me up to attempt to emulate characters from the fiction that I read. That’s another topic, though. In this case, some players need a pre-built template handed to them, so they can wrap their heads around the “correct build” for getting to being a ranger or whatever. These are training wheels to help new players around until they can get on their own and ride for themselves. There’s nothing wrong with it at all.

The Gilligan Tools for better characterization

I love this post because it delves deep into the motivations of the characters for Gilligan’s Island (great show!!!), but as Mike calls it, these deep dives into the hows and why-fors of a sit-com are “pretentious twaddle.” That phrasing made me laugh because my reaction to the deep inspection of “Gilligan’s motivations” invokes a more vulgar response from me. However, Mike’s words sum things up nicely. The entire post illustrates how character creation in a group dynamic can lead to something wonderful… or something potentially disastrous. This is why I love for my players to sit around the table and chat about their players before any dice are rolled. It leads to better group cohesion, and not just to make sure all character classes are used to “fill the gaps.”

Return to Durahn’s Tomb

I love this post for two reasons. The first is seeing Dyson’s progression as a map maker. He shows us the older, original map he’d drawn along with the beautiful, current version. It’s awesome to see how people improve over time! Of course, the second reason is the artwork he’s presenting today in the form of the new map.

5 thoughts on “Sporadic Saturday Sweetness: 2016-04-23

  1. Mike Bourke Apr 24,2016 5:51 AM

    Thank you so much for the compliments, even on the posts that came out while you were dealing with the Writer’s Conferance, Hungry – or maybe I should start calling you JT now that you’re going to be famous. Congratulations on the book deal; 2016 is certainly turning out to be a watershed year for you 🙂

    • J.T. Evans Apr 24,2016 10:38 AM

      Thanks for the congrats on the book deal. 2015 was an abysmal year for my writing. I still wrote, but made zero forward progress on getting anything published. Things are certainly turning around for me this year!

  2. Mike Bourke Apr 24,2016 5:58 AM

    I should probably add that my first reaction to reading the Gilligan’s Island (second) Theory was rather shorter and more Latin, consisting of 2 words, the first of which relates to male cows… I recast the thought into more polite language that still gets my point across.

  3. Phil Nicholls Apr 26,2016 12:02 AM

    Hi JT,

    Thanks for linking to the article at Tales of a GM. I am so glad you like the list of sites, and I hope you can find some new and interesting ones.

    All the best

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