I didn’t do a post last week for a couple of reasons. I was swamped at work, so didn’t have a chance to read as many articles as I’d like. This led to only a few links for last week. I decided to save them up for today. I might have missed a few quality posts here and there because of the chaos caused by my Day Job.
Anyway… On with the links!
I find the heist theme to be interesting when watch from a distance, but when you get up close and study the internals, they just all fall apart. I’m not much of a heist person. I’ll fully admit that I’ve not seen many heist movies and have never read a book where the core component wrapped itself around a heist (with one exception because it was part of a series I love). I love Mike’s article because I learned quite a bit about heists and how they are executed. However, it still didn’t “convert” me over to want to run out and pick up Oceans 11/12/13 or anything else in that genre. I guess heists just don’t land in the positive area on my subjective radar.
I love this map because I can envision bad guys or PCs getting onto the freestanding pillars and using ranged weapons against the melee-only type folks on the other side. The whole thing is ripe with chances for tactical maneuvering… and falling a considerable distance.
I’ve talked about disconnects between GM beliefs/ideas and what the players are perceiving in other places. Ang does a great job here of addressing this issue as well. Part of avoiding these issues is to have a solid “session zero” where the GM sets up the environment, themes, play styles, etc. to the players and making sure they understand these before making characters. As Ang pointed out there are also themes (usually religious or political) that need to be addressed and have the stage set before the game starts. These are touchy subjects, but that means they are all the more important to get everyone on the same page from the start.
This is a great idea for a campaign! I love tasking the party with going out doing something as mundane as counting things. Imagine all of the shenanigans the PCs could get into while being sidetracked from their main quest of counting sheep… or owlbears… or dragons!
I’m not a fan of linear campaigns, but I do have quite a bit of fun with linear dungeons. They’re great for side quests, distractions, or simply taking the time to pump up the levels/gear of the PCs if it’s quite apparent to the GM that they’re not ready to face down the Big Bad that is “around the corner.” There are a couple of ideas in the post about how to structure a linear adventure. Why not head on over there and throw a few more ideas into the comments there?
I always make sure to get a marching order from my players. This is especially true when traversing wilderness. Once in a dungeon delve situation, the placement of minis on the mat make character locations quite clear. However, when you’re moving miles downfield at a time, I like to know who is where in relation to everyone else. I also capture the “side-by-side” characters, and the space gaps between the advance character and the trailing character and everyone in between. My notes tend to go something along the lines of: A-60-B-20-CD-20-E-30-F. The letters would be replaced with character names, and the numbers represent the gap (in feet) between the characters. You’ll note that “CD” are next to each other. These would be the “side-by-side” characters.
This quick post from Peter calls out two important pieces of advice all GMs should take to heart. The first one (probably listed first on purpose) is the most important of the two, in my opinion. If you’re winging it, just go with it. Don’t break the fourth wall and let the players know that you’re making stuff up on the fly. It’ll break their world immersion and could run the flow of the game for everyone. The second piece of advice is great as well. There are certain campaign concepts where the characters not knowing each other is key, but those are the exception. It’s best if the characters have close ties that are created during the session zero of the campaign.