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Monday, September 16, 2013

Syncretizing Gaming Best Practices

I am attempting to syncretize a collection of GM touchpoints from my collection of RPGs and gaming articles. There are so many good resources out there, and I feel I'm swimming in a sea filled with numerous currents, pulled in many directions. I'm hoping to compile a guidance document to bolster my gaming.

This is probably just a fraction of the potential best practices to be gleaned from these games or resources, and I certainly have more items that I could trawl for gems. Some of these do have some bearing on the rules or character creation, it is true, but my ideal is to have a system-neutral skeleton that works for me.




At any time, if any person involved in the game becomes uncomfortable, they can tap or pick up the X card and the thing in progress will stop – no questions asked, no explanations required.
The TowerProvide a player with a graceful way out of a game; provide a benefit to the players remaining
Apocalypse World (and other *World offerings)
Fronts, PC-NPC-PC Triangles; Countdown clock; streamlined character sheet
Generate conflict between PCs; get characters up and running quickly
Aspects, Compels
Punch the player in the Aspects
Lazy Dungeon Master
Numerous shortcuts

3-Line NPCs
  • Line 1: What the players can see: NPC appearance and what the NPC is doing at the moment they meet
  • Line 2: What to portray: What the NPC does for a living and personality
  • Line 3: How to progress the story: Adventure or encounter hook

  • Introduce an NPC Every Session
  • Whack an NPC Every Session
  • Think Like/Portray/Impersonate the NPC
  • Crunch Out NPCs While You GM (using a standard array of stat bonuses)
  • 3x3 Method
    Relationship Mapping

    Location Description Template
    • Room Type/ Environment/ Status;
    • Obvious Elements/ Subtle Elements/ Hidden Elements/ Backstory Elements
    important "clue" elements in each list could be highlighted
    How to build a Villain, by Jim Butcher
    Villains need: a Motivation, some Power, some Admirable Qualities, and Individuality

    Jim Butcher’s Writing Advice

    1. Opening
    2. Big Middle
    3. End
    Character Development: Exaggeration, Exotic position, Introduction, CHARACTERISTIC ENTRY ACTION, Verisimilitude, Tags, Traits

    Three Clue Rule
    Permissive Clue Finding

    Automatic clues; spend for better clues; Drives

    Hamlet’s Hit Points
    Tracking story beats

    Stealing Cthulhu
    Switching up tropes, monsters, and motivations

    Wednesday, September 11, 2013

    Gaming Props: Token Efforts Continued

    I tried the 1-inch round punch on some of the thin chipboard sheets I use as backing for printed map tiles - the device is not sharp or strong enough to get through, so the best I could probably do is print on (or affix labels to) the thickest cardstock that my printer will accept, maybe laminate it, then trim using the punch.

    Tuesday, September 10, 2013

    Gaming Props: Tokens

    In days of old, I amassed a collection of tokens to be used as miniatures for the RPGs I was running (science fiction and fantasy, mostly). I bought sheets of 1-inch-round labels, on which I would print faces, monsters, etc., which I would affix to 1-inch round wooden disks from an art supply store. Some of the wooden disks were basically squared on the edge, which was perfect. Some of them, however, were a lot more rounded and smooth, which made the label crinkle at the edges.

    Recently, I acquired a laminator as well as a 1-inch punch. I think what I may do now is experiment. I have full-sheet labels, so my plan is to print a bunch of 1-inch portraits/images, affix the label to a letter-sized piece of cardboard, and then use the punch to liberate them. I may also see what I can do to seal them with acrylic or something like that.

    Another option may be to print on some cardstock, laminate it, then punch it out. That would expose the edges to possible damage, but the image would remain protected.

    Gaming Update

    It's been awhile since I blogged about gaming. I'm actually doing okay on gaming at the moment. There are plenty of games I want to try, and I have a stockpile of indie games I've collected and perused. But my time for gaming is already near peak.

    I belong to the LARP troupe Dreams of Deirdre, and we just published a book explaining the rules we've been using and honing for our games over the years: LARPS. We run games at a number of Bay Area gaming conventions. I am also the LARP coordinator for BigBadCon, an October RPG/LARP convention held in Oakland, CA.

    I just got out of a long-term RuneQuest game which we played almost every month for over 5 years. I am looking forward to moving on to a new regular game.

    My Monday group and I played the Dresden Files RPG for a number of years, and I was pleased how well they took to the Fate ruleset. I also spent a lot of time on the forums for DFRPG. We did a brief stint playing Apocalypse World, but it wasn't everybody's scene, so we moved on to Bulldogs!, a Fate game adapted (and streamlined) from a d20 sci-fi setting.

    In days of old, I cut my teeth on Champions, AD&D 2nd edition, and a little Call of Cthulhu on the side. I have since delved into Mutants & Masterminds, Trail of Cthulhu, and D&D 3.x. I never made the leap to either Pathfinder or D&D 4.0, though with the number of supplements I acquired for D&D 3.x, Pathfinder would make the most sense, nothing against 4.0.

    I got into Fate when my Monday group wanted to do a Dresden Files game, and when the opportunity came up, I invested in the Fate Core Kickstarter, which has been a bounty of great supplements and books. I have been adapting my Bulldogs! game with an occasional rule from the more recent Fate Core, but for some key elements, I remain true to the established Bulldogs! rules.

    I occasionally play Fiasco, and have amassed a hefty dossier of playsets.

    I have set up a GM Walk-Away Kit for gaming emergencies (though I'll have to rely on a laptop instead of a tablet).

    The list of games I want to try is quite long, and I may attempt it here later. There are so many developers creating new and innovative RPGs, and some larger publishers have created some beautiful work and nice games.

    Posting from Blogger

    I have successfully linked Blogger to my domain name, in the hopes of then linking entries up to G+.