As it turns out, I’m a pretty terrible DM, and you can become dramatically better by simply avoiding everything I do, including telling stories and pursuing reality.
Archives for September 2010
When it comes to designing locations and buildings, the DM/GM has a much more daunting task ahead of them than most players or even the DMs themselves realize. Thankfully in most of the RPGs we play and run it is far from crucial that the design of the world is 100% accurate and entirely believable. Most players are willing to suspend their disbelief to an incredible level and almost all DMs don’t really have the time to make sure every location they put into their game is believable. However, creating an environment that is believable can actually make your players lives easier because they will buy into the game on a more unconscious level. This added level of believability just might turn out to be the whole new layer of depth that your game needs.
I lost my grandmother yesterday. She was 83 years old and one of the most awesome people I’ve ever known. Everything I write seems terribly inadequate, but I do want to try and share how important she was to me and who I’d eventually become.
RT @Neuroglyph: Tried a 4E build comparison: Check out "Dueling Shadows: Essentials vs. Traditional 4E Assassin!" http://tinyurl.com/2e9e3pr # Tests happening about D&D PDF books? (rumor) http://bit.ly/9fvPGy # RT @KoboldQuarterly: 25 Essential Expressions of a Gelatinous Cube. http://cot.ag/dfxMFH ^wb # RT @Comixace: DC Ends Wildstorm and Zuda lines. http://bit.ly/9iBK5E # RT @Nikchick: We are doing an […]
I think one of 4e’s problem is that the DM tools are now so structured, it becomes a hindrance for people with creativity issues to push through the proposed models and discover “new tech”. I know I’ve been having a hard time selling some of my weirder ideas like “Trap-Monster hybrids” and “The whole party stuck in the same body” because it seems people can’t see it done (or can’t afford the effort to squeeze the concept) in their 4e games.
Loss shapes us. How one responds and moves on from loss can have a profound effect on the shape of one’s life in the near and far future. In this world, loss is inevitable but often without deep impact. We don’t live in a place where kobolds can eat our babies or a maniac can call up the avatar of the Mad God. Our characters do, though.
It’s been a few weeks since my last Architect DM post, but don’t worry the series will continue and there seems to be a lot of information to cover! In my last post I talked about function and playability of a location in a more general and meta sense, but what I originally started that post to discuss was the specifics of how the environment is experienced. One of the most crucial considerations when it comes to design in Architecture is the human experience of the environment, after all the buildings are designed by humans for our own use and appreciation.
At this point, the players really got into what Vincent Baker told me Apocalypse World was all about: Loyalties in the face of crises. With the column of Hummers and APCs heading for Shanty Town, Thunder ordered his whole gang around to go defend the home base. Raven, sitting behind Thunder on his Hog, didn’t see it in the same light and we were subjected to a spat about the importance of protecting the many against going to help the truly meaningful.
Key of Fey, published by Emerald Press, is a GSL-licensed module for a party of first to third level Dungeons & Dragons, Fourth Edition characters. While Key of Fey can be played “straight” like any other adventure, it is designed for a mode of play the authour calls mercenary. At the beginning of Key of Fey, the PCs come (for their own, individual reasons, but on the same transport) to a town that has been overrun by orcs. Each character has severed ties to their previous lives, and they are drawn together by their common need for work and amoral willingness to take any opportunities that present themselves. This leads them into conflict with a Feywild-related cult and quite possibly leads them in over their heads.
With three years of weekly games, published adventures gave me the framework I needed when I wouldn’t have the time to write up my own campaign, but in some cases modifying them took as much time as building it myself. I’ve spent these three years seeing what worked well for me with these published adventures and what did not. Adventures, as written, do not give me exactly what I want.