Hi, I’m Sean D. Francis and I’ve run RPGs since the early 80s. I do not pretend to have immense amounts of experience in game design, player psychology, or anything like that. I do not have revolutionary ideas on how to change games to make them better, in fact I err on the side of sticking with rules that are archaic and pointless out of an innate fear removing them will upset some gaming economy I don’t quite understand.Continue reading “D&D — Are You Making Initiative Too Complicated?”
Hey, so my wife and I are doing this thing called No Spend September. Is it really a thing beyond our house? I have no idea. Doesn’t matter. This is the gist of what is going on. We had an expensive summer. I went on wild tech buying sprees (buying WordPress themes and plugins, buying tech, buying kitchen gadgets), we took a trip to Montana where I finally was able to buy my wife a Yogo sapphire ring – something I wanted to do for our wedding but finally accomplished for our 2 year anniversary. Not a cheap thing.Continue reading “No Spend September – Meal Planning”
In the first part of How to Write a Memorable Adventure for a Fantasy Roleplaying Game, I discussed how to start creating an adventure for a fantasy roleplaying game. I discussed how to take a basic story idea and begin the process of fleshing it out by asking and answering questions regarding the idea. I started with a simple idea, the PCs are enjoying a cold pint of the hair of the dog at The Hidden Jest, an Inn located between three large cities ruled by three different political authorities. While resting at The Hidden Jest the PCs are given a task by a local wizard.
I didn’t discuss much on how to motivate the PCs. Do the PCs know each other before this moment? Why would the PCs even want to take on this task? For the intrepid reader, there are many answers to these questions. The truth of the matter is the reason why the PCs have joined together is a shared lie. A fabrication agreed upon by everyone in order to get to the reason why people come together – to play the game.
All gamemasters have struggled from time to time with writing adventures their players will tell tale of on those long winter nights sitting around the hearth fire with their grandchildren. There’s no shame in it. I was 14 years old, captivated by the complicated maps and lengthy descriptions in the original Ravenloft adventure my friend Greg had purchased. My attempts at creating an adventure up to that point stayed around the inn, an old man begging for help, a nearby tunnel of monsters, and the subsequent killing, maiming, and collecting. It seemed like a great formula and served me well. I refer to these types of adventures as Fight and Fetch. In fact I thought it was a pretty advanced form of storytelling seeing that my only other exposure to written adventures were the ones published in the D&D bluebook box set which was really a dungeon of random encounters (oh! good title!) and Keep on the Borderland.
Ready for the full on geek? I’ve been a Game Master of roleplaying games since the term GM related specifically being a Dungeon Master. From old school dungeon crawls to post-modern Storytelling, I’ve done it all and have roleplaying game books from more game systems than I can remember. I took a decade break from roleplaying but recently have gotten back into it and have had opportunity to speak with a few beginning GMs. In those conversations I realized I have specific knowledge that isn’t kept in those tomes of rules, er, I mean rulebooks.
Here are 17 tips you won’t find in any single roleplaying game rulebook.
For eleven hours a day, six days a week, over the course of three years Gerris mastered the Scylla Console. He knew every strength and flaw of this elite piece of technology. He knew the optimal temperature of the processor was 72.3 degrees Fahrenheit. He knew that in most of the Scylla Console’s constructed, the third memory module would short out if there was an electrical feedback over 14 milliamps. Most importantly and the easiest thing to learn about the Console, megacorporations security feared it.
Continue reading “No Brainer”