Tag Archives: improve your game

[Horror] Take Your World and Break It

Tweet One of the most powerful ways to run a modern day horror campaign is to take the familiar and start blending in a little bit of strange.  The differences don’t have to be dangerous right away, just strange enough to make the players feel threatened or at least ill-at-ease.  This form of discomfort keeps the players guessing as to what…

[Horror] Take Your World and Break It

Tweet One of the most powerful ways to run a modern day horror campaign is to take the familiar and start blending in a little bit of strange.  The differences don’t have to be dangerous right away, just strange enough to make the players feel threatened or at least ill-at-ease.  This form of discomfort keeps the players …

World Building Part 3 – Getting Started with World Tone

Tweet Last time, we talked about making sure to keep it at least a little bit “old school” when it comes to world building by never leaving your handy notebook behind. Today, we are finally going to get down to the meat and potatoes of our topic and talk about getting started building your world; this first post will have more to do with the first time world builder, so…

New game, new tools!

Tweet This past weekend I began a new campaign. We reached a natural lull in the ongoing Pathfinder RPG campaign, which has run for 65 (almost) weekly sessions and decided to put the game in hiatus for a couple of months and try the superhero campaign I’ve been itching to play for a while now, and about which I have written here in the blog (Here is the …

And then she said, “Wait, Professor Jones can help us with this one!”

Tweet Have you said that in a game? For the longest time that was taboo in my games, but these days I’m willing to consider it. I’m not talking about Professor Jones per se, but famous characters from novels, movies or TV in general appearing in my games. I’ve talked about names in games before but this time around I’m not talking about name…

Learning to say no…

Tweet It’s hard. There I said it! What? No, no get your head out of the gutter. What I meant was saying no when people want to play at my table. And why should I say no, after all, if people want to play why should I stop them? When I read the stories of people trying to find groups to play with…

Learning to say no…

Tweet It’s hard. There I said it! What? No, no get your head out of the gutter. What I meant was saying no when people want to play at my table. And why should I say no, after all, if people want to play why should I stop them? When I read the stories of people trying to find groups to play with it’s…

Reimagining ourselves…

Tweet I recently read Superman: Earth One . “WAIT! This isn’t a comic book blog”, you say. I ask, bear with me for a minute I will get to my point. This reimagining/retelling of Superman’s origin by J. Michael Straczynski left a strange taste in my mouth, figuratively speaking; I don’t normally lick graphic novels. I am a fan of…

Death & Traps

Tweet As a Dungeon Master (DM) I have a confession to make. I want to kill a player character at my table. Just one. Not the whole party. Just one, or maybe two and I don’t care which one. I just want to kill one. I have wanted to kill one since I started this 4th edition D&D game two years ago. My D&D game has…

Infinities

Tweet Roleplaying game settings based on an existing book, movie or computer game franchise can be either a boon or a curse. On the one hand you usually get a fully fleshed-out world which your players are already familiar with. When you play a Star Wars game for example, you don’t need to explain what a Jedi, a blaster or a snow speeder is. After explaining the …

“A rose by any other name…” Poetry and Role Playing Games

Tweet The much quoted line in this post’s title is from a play you might have heard about, Romeo and Juliet, written by a Billy Shakespeare. This guy was old school, so much so that when he got to be a Bard he had already gotten levels as a Fighter, Thief and Druid! (If you did not get that AD&D 1 st edition joke just read this .) I love poetry…

Telling the story my way…

Tweet As a long time Game Master I like to try different ways of telling a story. My latest session serves as an example. The previous adventure had ended as the players set forth on a sea journey to a place they had heard of since the beginning of the campaign, a voyage that should take about a month, but they began their travel …

You Don’t Always Need A Home Run

Tweet Hi there!  This is Zachary Houghton from RPG Blog 2, stepping in for my buddy Michael and his pals at Stargazer’s World.  This seems to be a week for GM advice, so I figure I’d throw another piece out there. When I was in Little League Baseball, the coach always used to tell us, “Don’t go out there and try to hit a home run…

Come to me my jungle friends!

Tweet Recent events in my life have me thinking about pets. Be they familiars, animal companions or summoned animals, whatever way your system of choice calls them, why do we feel the urge to have pets in our games? I can see why… The joy and happiness they bring into our real lives is one we want to recreate in the game as well. Or maybe we…

Dungeon Master Burnout… My cure!

Some context… I read a post by Chatty DM on twitter this past Sunday about him possibly taking a D&D sabbatical and ended up briefly tweeting with Greywulf about D20 burnout and how despite having been a D20 game master continuously for over 17 years I’ve avoided it. Greywulf suggested this may be a good blog post, so here it is! I’ve been a DM most of my…

Combat Tiers Review

Recently I ran into an issue with my weekly D&D game. My players where trying to attack a dragon while it was flying away. It became increasingly difficult to track how high up and how far away the dragon was as it flew away. Because this was such a pain in my game I started investigating solutions. Enter Combat Tiers by Tinkered Tactics . A set …

The Worst Game of My Life

A couple of weeks ago I ran the worst Dungeons & Dragons game of my life!  It was the kind of game that felt like a slow motion train wreck. Something had gone horribly wrong and I didn’t think my players, or myself for that matter, where going to make it through the whole game.  When it was finally all over…

Improve Your Game: Character creation as a team effort

In some modern roleplaying games, especially games based on FATE rules, character creation is something one player can’t do on his own. In order to create your character you have to cooperate with your fellow players. The character creation method in FATE makes sure the background stories of the player characters are already intertwined in some way. The GM (and the players) will never have to face the issue of…

Improve Your Game: Narrative Control

This post is the first of a series of posts in which I want to share some of the things I’ve used to improve my game. Those tips may not be applicable to all games, but I found them very helpful for the games I’ve run so far. Today I want to talk about narrative control and how the GM can improve his game by …