Troy has a great article about slowing down the game a bit and taking time to get to know things. This can be the characters, the players, the world, the rules, or just about anything else associated with the game. With RPG time in such short supply for older folks (jobs, kids, school, etc.), there’s a natural tendency to speed things up in order to squeeze as much juice out of the clock (or something like that) as we can. Slowing things down can actually add to the enjoyment of the game. Try it out.
First off, Mike is trying some new layout goodies on his site to call out subsections with indentation. I like it because it’s digital. He didn’t introduce left/right scrolling (a big no-no in web design), and there aren’t any pages to count or print, so it’s all good. Makes a great visual for me. Now, on to the meat of the article… There’s a question/answer set about approaching large problems. It goes like this, “How do you eat an elephant? — One bite at a time.” Well, I think Mike’s approaching the eating of the elephant from a slightly different angle. He’s teaching us how to determine what not to eat on the elephant, so we can more easily identify the bites we need to take. This can help us focus in on our planning of RPG materials and provide us with a better gaming experience since we won’t “over plan” or “plan outside the parameters” of what the players will encounter.
Infodumps are the bane of two of my worlds: gaming and writing. They’re so painful to sit through (or read through), but they are sometimes necessary for the worldbuilding, plot development, making sure the players (or readers) understand the motivations behind what’s going on right now. It’s a tough thing to do, but can be done. Let’s focus on gaming here… Phil proposes three approaches: box text, the elf, and the scroll. The box text is the classic approach, which the GM reads out loud to the players. The other approach is “the elf” which is really any NPC the players meet and interact with. Lastly, is a handout created with some artistic flair for the PCs to get their hands on. Of these, I like the elf the most because that gives me a chance to interact with the PCs in a different voice. If I have the time and art materials handy for creating a handout, I’ll drop one on the table. It’s rare, though. I will resort to box text if I have to, but that’s only if I’m running a pre-printed adventure, and I don’t have time to absorb the knowledge myself and present it with my own style.
Disadvantages in my GURPS Games, Part I: The Basics
Disadvantages in my GURPS Games, Part II: Mitigating Disads
Disadvantages in my GURPS Games, Part III: Changing Disadvantages in Play
Disadvantages in my GURPS Game Part IV: Point Theory
Peter has a series of four (will there be more? Dunno.) articles about disadvantages in GURPS. While these posts are GURPS-specific in their examples, the overall ideas around how to use, misuse, and apply disadvantages (or whatever your game calls them) in role playing games, is vital. I love these posts because my own RPG has “flaws” (to offset “perks”), and I think I might need to adjust a few things based on what I’ve read here. Thanks for the articles, Peter!
As I open up this article, my wallet lets out the usually refrain of “Noooo!!!! The pain!” again. Pulp fiction? Steampunk? Alternate history? Golden age (and before) of sci-fi? Writing reference books? Mapping books? Public speaking guides? Loads of GMing books? Naming books? Creative writing books? Yeah… There is lots in here that makes my wallet weep. I just checked my “buy this stuff” bookmark folder. I added at least 14 new books to look into getting. Thanks for compiling a great list, Mike!
When I first launched into this article, I thought Ang was going to talk about how the teleportation spell (or similar magic/tech) totally screwed up a game and how to fix it. Once I got into the article, I realized the title is quite accurate. The player (as opposed to the character) is flipping between locations to join in on the fun (or ruin the fun) in places where their character is not or should not be. I’ve rarely had this issue, but I handled it very much the same way Ang advises. Go check out her article. It’s a good one!