My very first online community was a dial-in BBS message board hosted by the school district. My friends and I would log in and leave messages there in the guise of our RPG characters. We were young and full of imagination. The thing is, among all the very serious conversations, no one cared what we were doing. I even had one person offer up the floor plans to the White House to help with a story I was planning. This was all done over 300 baud modem. If you don’t understand the word ‘baud’ don’t worry about it. Think ‘telegraph’ or ‘smoke signals’ and you’ll get the idea. This was not the way to transmit video, pictures (who had a scanner?!), or music. Just text all the time. Continue reading “The Lost Islands of Online Communities”
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.
I’m always looking for a way to make myself more creative. Breaking out of ruts, trying to make creativity a habit, and studying new skills are all things I’ve tried and continue to try to keep my creativity flowing. The number of ways to spark creativity, eliminate writer’s block, or shift one’s creative perspective are innumerable and some will work for us and others won’t. There isn’t any one set formula for something as abstract as creativity, so it is important to have a complete tool set available to us to rely on when we find the need for a creative boost.
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”