Another week. Another missed deadline. Ah well… My weekends are usually jam-packed with goodness with the family and friends and gaming and such. This weekend was no different, but we also had prep for the Super Bowl and gathering together to watch the event. This added to the crazy of the weekend, so here I am at the Day Job with a chance to relax and type this up. (Also, my usual time for prepping this article on Friday afternoon/evening was consumed with crazy at work and a busy evening.)
On with the links!
LAND: Location Type, Areas, Natives, and Disposition. This is a brilliant and simple approach at developing a setting. This is not only going into my GM’ing toolkit, but my writing one as well. This is a fantastic approach at creating a setting.
Mike hits the high points on why story is important in video games and brings it home to talk about the importance of story in RPGs. This is a great article, but I’m going to take my comments in a different direction. There are only so many types of plots (3, or 5, or 7, or 11, or 21… depending on who you ask). However, there are an infinite number of stories out there in the world. The stories are in the execution of the plot. If I were to give a plot idea (or even a serious outline) to two different writers, I’d get back two different stories… with some similarities. This means that just because “it’s been done before” doesn’t mean you can’t sit down and tell your own story based on past ideas or concepts. This also means you can sit down, come up with a “it’s been done before” campaign or adventure seed, and then execute it in your own way. It’s the storytelling that is fun and exciting, not the plotting part. (Confession: I actually enjoy plotting, but not as much as writing the story.) So… Find those plots you love, adopt them to your game table, and see what sort of storytelling fun you can have with your friends at the table.
I needed Matt’s article about two months ago. While it’s late spring in my game’s timeline, the group is atop the highest mountain in the area during a storm. This means lots of snow and ice and cold and other wintery goodness. When they found refuge in a giant cube (eighty feet per side) made of obsidian, I went with strange and weird body-horror golems as the inhabitants. I think a better theme would have been the winter themes Matt talks about in his post. Now to save up these ideas for a future set of encounters or an adventure.
I’ve only tempted to share a non-published world with my fellow GMs once. We got so bogged down in the world creation (and waiting for the late submissions from some of the less productive GMs) that we never got the world off the ground, let alone started gaming in it. I’ve also never co-GM’d a game before. I’ve seen it done. I’ve been a player in one game that was run that way, but I’ve never shared the GM creativity side of things with someone else. I guess that’s because I’m a wee bit of a control freak. I guess I’m more of a “control monger” than a “freak” about it, but the concept still prevents me from diving in. However, I’ve been part of a shared-concept anthology (I was editor, publisher, and one of the authors on the project). That was quite a bit of fun, but each story is self-contained and only loosely tied by the anthology’s theme. Could I co-GM or co-create a world? Even though Mike’s article is packed full of great advice, I don’t think I could bring myself to do it. Just not my cup o’ tea.
This is a neat concept of explaining the consequences of actions before the dice are rolling. It amps up the tension of the die roll quite a bit, but it also tears down the “fourth wall” of gaming and makes the little lump of plastic more important than the story being told. I do like this idea, but I think I’ll make sure I reserve the “explain everything” approach for key moments when the fate of a character, important NPC, or the entire party is on the line.