In which I relate the things I learned at Gen Con this year, tell some strange stories, and tell you how to get the stinkeye in a hotel lobby OR YOUR MONEY BACK.
I am still in the process of brainstorming on the following topics, but this post is an essential part of the process as I express my thoughts so far and more importantly get feedback from others and hear about their experiences. After running an adventure of D&D last week that included our friend Dixon Trimline, he and I were having a post-adventure geek out because we don’t get the chance to talk in person that often. During this geek out we discussed the history of my D&D campaign, specifically the world that has been built before and during the game, when I caught inspiration for an idea of presenting nations and world building as character background “packages” that can be taken by players.
I’m going to clue you guys in to a nifty little secret that I’ve been using for a while now in my RPG encounters – adding height to a tabletop RPG can be one of the best ways to invigorate your encounters. You must be careful, because using something like height in your game can become something of a gimmick or a trick and if overused could become predictable or boring to your players. However, when applied correctly and in the right amount height and depth can create some of the most memorable moments of your game and can also help enforce or dissuade certain styles of play.
World building can be one of the most intimidating tasks for DMs and GMs when it comes to running their own RPG campaign. No matter how much advice you read or receive from your friends, creating a world of your own or modifying someone else’s world can still feel incredibly daunting even for people who are experienced at running their own games. In my last solicitation for questions and suggestions to discuss in this series on twitter, clampclontoller said this, “In my homebrew, creating histories in specific territories is a challenge – particularly linking them to the whole world.” Since this is an issue that I’ve struggled with many times myself, it feels like a good topic worth exploring here!
As I introduced in my last post about improvisation, I believe that the key to being able to design a location (whether beforehand or on the fly) is grounded in what I’m calling your toolbox for design. The key is that once you have a well developed toolbox to pull ideas from, you can more readily and quickly design a location for your tabletop Roleplaying Games on the spot or adapt your planned locations to fit the developing needs of the game table. An underlying goal of this series of posts is to help you develop the toolbox required so that you will be able to accomplish this task with relative ease and a good amount of confidence.
From humble beginnings at the age of eight, I have been building ‘adventure’ games for my family and friends non-stop. My first game system didn’t go down so well as I spent most of my time trying to convince my older brother and parents to spend their weekends sitting at the table to hear me rant on and on about imaginary monsters and villains that they had no concept of. Since then I’ve continued relentlessly in the homebrew department to the point where I am running weekly games for two groups of six players. Below I’m going to share with you some of the basic tips I have picked up over the years.