Tuesday, April 3, 2018

GM Toolbox: Things to Do from January 24, 2005

Shortly before I was going to run my first game back in the early months of 2005 I was sitting in the Den working on a list of things that I felt like I had to master before actually running my first session. Thought I'd share those with all of you real quick.

TO DO
  1. Know all the rules
  2. Internalize everything about the world of El Fantasma del Sur (a homemade world I was using at the time)
  3. Plot out the path of the campaign for the first six months.
  4. Create an award system to encourage the players to role-play correctly!


Not a long list but full of bullshit that cripples a game at the outset. 

Know all the rules

This is the trap that a lot of players fall into when they first start talking about running a game as a Game Master for their friends. They convince themselves that the only way to do so is to know everything about the game - to achieve mastery over it - and as a result they never actually get around to playing the game. I was in that very stage of fucking off when my brother pushed me into running because he understood what I didn't at the time: that if I didn't actually run the game I would never get around to it on my own because the game isn't something that you can know perfectly. There are too many rules that are either conflicting with other rules, poorly worded, or vague enough that it's left up to the individual Game Master to come up with an understanding of how the rule is used with their group. 

When it comes to running a role-playing game knowing the rules perfectly isn't the most important thing. Getting your players to become immersed in the game, to push their own creativity, and to challenge your conceptions of what the game could be is what's most important. The rules are a framework to build your home game around. They are there for you, and your group of players, to build a game that all of you can play in together and that will allow for an experience that kicks all of your tails!

Internalize everything about the world of El Fantasma del Sur

Fucking A. This is the one that would have hung me up forever if I had really stuck to my guns on it. A game world is supposed to this organic experience where you and your players discover it piece by piece until you've built up this wholly unique thing. Whether you're in a homebrew world like El Fantasma del Sur or in a published setting like the World of Greyhawk the story that you all craft together creates a unique experience. Those settings are your own. Let them live.

Plot out the path of the campaign for the first six months.

HA!

God, I was so fucking dumb. 

Create an award system to encourage the players to role-play correctly!


HAHAHAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

I once created a split in a dungeon. Down one path I hadn't figured out what I wanted to do on it so I made it supper fucking scary with spider webs, screams, and a troll dragging a crying drow. On the other hall I had path out the dungeon and some smoking hot elven women looking down to them. They took troll road and would every time because, as my wife later told me; "When ever something seems like it's going to be okay we get nervous. If you give us two paths and one has certain death while the other has hot chicks and hard dicks we're going to take certain death every time. We can beat that. We have before. But hard dicks and hot chicks brings on mystical chlamydia, jealous ex-lovers who will kill us in our sleep, and six months of demons, devils, and dragons trying to use us as biological weapons. Fuck that."

Monday, March 19, 2018

Old Files and Transitory Thoughts

When I first started getting into playing role-playing games back fourteen years ago I tended to go online a lot searching for articles that I could use and that would inspire my imagination and improve my games. Often I would copy these into a folder I lovingly called my "DM Toolbox." The thing is that after fourteen years the Toolbox has become more akin to a junk drawer filled with all kinds of odds and ends than anything useful. 

I need to remedy that.

My plan is to explore some of those resources on here every so often and see if the articles are still worth using or if they should be deleted off my hard drive altogether. You'll be able to tell when I'm doing these articles as they'll be indexed as "GM Toolbox" on the blog. This should make it easier for people to search them. 

More later.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

We Were Strange Before You Thought it Was Cool

I was sitting down this evening and thinking about playing Dungeons & Dragons when it occurred to me that I hadn't done a Greyhawk poster in a while. So I figured that I should fix that tonight.



The question though remains: how do we bring more eyes to Greyhawk? How do we get Dungeon Masters who have never plumbed its depth to start exploring it's caverns, forgotten citadels, and foreboding tombs?

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Silly Elf Games and Bullshit Schedules are Meant to Fall Apart

There are nights, like tonight, when I find myself wondering what the fuck I'm doing with my life. I have a full time, regular, job which has allowed me to be able to provide for my family. And that's wonderful. It is. But I spend a lot of time worrying about things that don't matter and that only hamstring my efforts to be better at this life thing.

There isn't really a point here. I'm just worrying about things that I can't control and the things that I can are just causing my head to ache.

Anyway.

I'm thinking that I'm going to just do things that make me happy creatively for the next few weeks and then I'll try something else. 

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Life, Mother Fucker. Life

I'll be back to Gygax's Role-Playing Mastery read through on Monday but right now we're rocking out to Phish and wrestling with all the kids in the neighborhood. Time to get back to the fight!

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

GM Toolbox: Things to Do from January 24, 2005

Shortly before I was going to run my first game back in the early months of 2005 I was sitting in the Den working on a list of things that...