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What kind of Gamesmaster am I?

This was inspired by a discussion on GameCraft about a GM equivalent torobin_d_lawsPlayer Types. (I took that quiz a while back, recorded here.) I see portions of my GMing style in a number of the different types, but am inclined to agree that Master of Ceremonies reflects the bulk of my style.






GM types by Georgios
Master of Ceremonies
You are the GM that really gives Players a full range experience.

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I'm going to quote the initial post here, because I think it's useful and it's on a forum (and they are notoriously ephemeral). All credit goes to Georgios, who originally posted it in German as was kind enough to also post it in English. Go read the original discussion.

(Caveat: these GM-Types, much like those by Laws, aren't mutually exclusive of course. Many, if not most GMs fall somewhere in-between. And two GMs of the same kind aren't necessary alike. But I feel that they give you at least a rough idea, of what to expect and what is expected of you.)

The World Builder has the goal of presenting an in-depth game world. It's not just some random place, where faceless NPCs wander around boring building. The game world has a history. The landscape is diverse and exciting. NPCs are part of a living, breathing world, that features a nearly endless amount of details. The World Builder is someone who draws on sourcebooks, non-fiction books and genre literature to have a wealth of information to make the game world come alive. You might call the game world his work of art, and the players his audience.
Playstyle: If you're playing with the World Builder you should take an interest in the setting and enjoy the complexity of the world. Especially when the World Builder uses a published setting, you'll find many references (and also some intentional contradictions) to pick up on.

The Duelist is looking to compete with the players. He relishes playing the opposition to the characters. To him the game only starts when the group is fighting for something. That is not to say, that the Duelist only values combat. It's more that he's out to challenge the players. He loves victory to be hard-earned and have the players avoid defeat by a hair's breadth. But if the players display great tactical or strategic skill he will not deny them their well-deserved win. To him it goes without saying that his rule calls must be hard, but fair. Otherwise every victory is shallow and meaningless.
Playstyle: If you're playing with the Duelist you should never walk away from a challenge or base your decisions on anything other than tactics or strategy. With the Duelist you really have to work for everything you want, and have to prove yourself again and again. The Duelist's word may be law, but it would be an offence to his honour as a gamer to be biased and give anybody (let alone himself) an undeserved advantage.

The Plotmeister considers himself the master of puppets, where all threads come together. He brings a complex and multilayered plot to the game, that the players have to unravel. To him the game world is not so much a place, as it is a web of cause and effect, with the characters caught in the middle. This can sometimes lead to even the simplest and most common plot hooks leading to a wide fog of surprising twists and unexpected developments. It's the Plotmeister's goal to constantly baffle and surprise the group, but doing so with plot developments which, looking back, are both consistent and sensible.
Playstyle: With the Plotmeister you should always pay attention to what happens and never lose track of even the smallest of details. He likes to give the players all the pieces of the puzzle, but it is up to them to piece together the big picture. As a player you should make notes and constantly exchange theories with each other. Never take any assumptions for granted and test them in the game first.

The Master of Ceremonies is all about running a very atmospheric and immersive game. A game with the Master of Ceremonies should be unique and allow the players to dive into a whole new world. He likes to use all kinds of aids to make the game more vivid and real. He'd use things like lighting, background music, carefully crafted props and fancy handouts. It's also important to him that his NPCs talk and behave appropriately, that is to say.. authentically. To the Master of Ceremonies a roleplaying game is above all an experience and an act of escapism.
Playstyle: Gaming with the Master of Ceremonies requires the players to suspend their disbelief and keep heckling to a minimum. Nothing makes you more unpopular with him, than an out-of-character comment at the wrong time or an action that breaks the atmosphere. He especially disapproves of any kind of metagaming (which can include purely tactical/strategic play).

The Actor pours all his effort into the NPCs. He wants to present the players with many different NPCs with peculiar features or at least NPCs that are clearly and easily distinguishable. For the Actor the game world consists of characters with their preferences and dislikes, their strengths and quirks. To him roleplaying is all about character interaction. That of course requires the NPCs to have a consistent personality that is not subordinate to any rules or constraints of the game. The Actor wants the characters and their interaction with the players to be memorable.
Playstyle: To get along with the Actor your character needs to have character. Just like you have the opportunity to find out more about the NPCs and their motivation, the Actor wants the game to reveal more about the players' characters. Who are they? Why are they the way they are? Contradictory actions of a character must always stem from some inner conflict. On no account should it be because the player didn't care if his actions today are consistent with those from before.

The Director considers roleplaying a medium to create stories together. In order for this creation to be exciting and entertaining he draws from all available means of roleplaying games (e.g. adventure structure, great challenges, dramatic conflicts, etc.) but also from any and all narrative art he's familiar with (e.g. three act structure, genre rules, cinematic language, etc.). The Director is only interested in playing the „important stuff“. Actions that don't advance the plot or reveal something about the characters, he prefers to avoid or completely cut out of the game.
Playstyle: The Director expects the players to work on bringing their vision to the game. That means, they should actively look for situations where they can forward the story. In other words, they should take charge in specific situations and push the story into a new direction. The Director wants the players to surprise him.

The Provider is the kind of GM, who doesn't have his own stake in the game. He has fun, because the other players have fun. Many Providers simply enjoy the company and are only GMing because nobody else wants to do it. The adventure is often made up of the player's preferences and he implements them according to the rules and to the best of his abilities. He's also willing to give the players more power, if that would increase the player's enjoyment of the game. The Provider feels obliged to meet the player's expectations halfway.
Playstyle: It doesn't take much to get along with the Provider. It's one of the reasons why most players consider him the best kind of GM. But there are two things, with which any group can push him away. As a player you must have at least a general idea of what you enjoy in a roleplaying game. Nothing is more frustrating for a Provider than players who claim to like one thing, but in reality want something completely different. Additionally, the Provider – more than any of the other types of GM – needs confirmation that the game was fun. A group that doesn't regularly tell him that he did a good job and they enjoyed themselves in his game, is practically chasing him towards burnout.

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4th Edition D&D

No comment... None needed.

4th ed D&D

Cribbed from rpg_crank  http://rpg-crank.livejournal.com/16311.html

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Girls, Games, Ponies

Ever since WotC's "April Fool's Joke" about "My Little Pony: The RPG", I've been noodling around (along with litagemini) about creating a real "My Little Pony" RPG.  The stories are all about cooperating to solve problems, and the ponies divide naturally into classes.  I thought it was criminally stupid of WotC, whose parent Hasbro owns the My Little Pony TM license, to NOT make such a game.

I was happy to see at Gencon that at least someone else has embraced the idea with Bella Sara.  It's not a role playing game, it's a card game with an online component, but it was one of the hottest things at the show.

I think they might have something there...

Internet Friends Meme

If there are one or more people on your Friends list who make your world a better place just because they exist, and whom you would not have met (in real life or not) without the Internet, then post this same sentence in your journal.

I've done it before and am happy to do it again.  There are some truly wonderful people on my flist, and they make my world better every day.

Gacked from varianor

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Origins 2007 Schedule

It occurred to me that I've been so busy herding cats that I never posted my Origins schedule. Sap that I am, I agreed at the last minute to recruit, coordinate, zero and organize Blackmoor gms for Origins and Gencon. And edit the modules we playtested. As usual (not just for Blackmoor, but for just about any campaign I've ever worked with) we're down to the wire and the premieres are in various states of edit/revision. I hope I get them before the con...


As you can see, every slot is busy.  On the up side, I might be able to slip away to the dealer's room after my marshaling is done for those slots, assuming that there's someone to cover the campaign resource table.  But no drinking the night away for me, not with that 8 am Marshalling.  Gah.

Needless to say, I've done very little on my WWAWM entry... fortunately, it's Cat, and it will be fun for the players even if I make it up on the spot.

Robin Laws continues to be brilliant

robin_d_laws  continues to be brilliant in this entry on Risk in RPGs.

What's clarified for me here is something I find very frustrating in play, but never found a definition to fit it. 

Years ago (in the late 1980's) I started advocating for a play-style I called "cinematically correct".  If it would look good on film, it was good. 

If I was playing, I'd seek out mechanics that would let me crash through the skylight and land on my feet, or at least have something really interesting happen if I failed.  If I was running, I'd flat out tell players that if they could persuade me something would look good on film, and frame it like a shot, I'd do my best to help them find a way to make it happen in the game.  Or at least have something really interesting happen if they failed.

Go read it.  Robin Laws is Brilliant.

WWAWMIn other news, halfway through the month all I've done on Toccata and Fur in A Minor is develop a map of the neighborhood and begin drafting personalities for sample cats.  I do have an outline of the events, but it needs fleshed out big time.

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World Wide Adventure Writing Month begins today - 31 days, 32 pages.

The challenge - write an adventure scenario (to share) in the space of a month.  I've certainly written modules faster, and as for slow... well, I never did finish Safari, my homage to Man-Eaters of Tsavo.

My scenario for the month is: Toccata and Fur In A Minor, a scenario for the Cat RPG.  I'll be running this at both Origins and Gencon this summer, so it seems like a good candidate.  I'm infamous for finishing my module as I run it - I'll be trying to avoid that, for a change.
Here's the blurb:
A new family has moved into the neighborhood, and from the melancholy music you hear it seems that not all is well. Misery & Boggins - always together, and you're just the cats to deal with both. Cat is set in a mythic suburbia where the player characters are feline pets that are our secret guardians, keeping humans safe from an unseen world of gremlins and evil. This simple system encourages family play and all age groups' participation.
My 32 pages will include maps and pre-generated characters.

So far, though, all I have are some sketchy ideas based on a session I ran for some friends in DC.

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Jamestown and Zombies Ho!

Jamestown ZombiesThis article, from BoingBoing, conflates the 400th anniversary of Jamestown with the whole Zombie trope. And all of a sudden the plot bunnies are breeding, and I find myself wanting to write a scenario about early colonists dealing with a zombie infestation in the New World.

To quote:
those pilgrims were starving to death, and living in absolute horror. It got so bad, some were reduced to subsisting off old shoes, rotting corpses, pools of blood left behind by the sick and dying, the salted flesh of murdered spouses, and -- BRAIINNNNNSSSSSS! The story of Jamestown and Pocohontas and Thanksgiving was not so much a Disney movie, explains radio producer Nate DiMeo in the voiceover -- it was more like a Wes Craven movie.

Oh, yeah... but what system? Chill could certainly handle it, or maybe the upcoming Witchhunter: The Invisible World or Colonial Gothic. Hrm....

Be afraid, be very afraid...

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GMS - How to Get Useful Feedback

Ok, GameCraft is fantastic. I've put it in my link list, and will be checking it out in greater depth from home. Please credit GameCraft if you pass this along.

Getting Feedback - Repeat, Clarify, Probe

First, ask specific questions. Were the scenes and encounters too hard? Too easy? Too long? Did they feel railroaded, did they feel 'adrift'? Stuff like that.

Second, repeat what they tell you. When they answer a question, put it in your own words, and ask if that's what they meant, just to make sure you're understanding clearly.

Third, probe for details. That is, ask about various little bits of what they said that seem to be leading somewhere. The dragon wasn't too tough, just a bit simple. What struck you as "simple"?

Fourth, clarify. Recap everything you've learned by asking. Thank the players for their feedback, and pay attention to it. The players are telling you not only how their priorities were served, but what those priorities are. Try to look at their answers in light of what they are telling you is important about the game.

How to Have A Good Game

This, by Levi, an admin at GameCraft,  is so simply perfect that I'm quoting it entire - please credit GameCraft!  I don't mind when people quote from my LJ, but it's only polite to credit.  In this case, this is NOT my original content, but it's so very good that I want to share it.  While you're at it, you might want to check out GameCraft in general.


1. Come For A Good Time
If your primary goal at the table is something other than having an experience you enjoy, and that others can enjoy with you, you should be doing something else. Generally speaking, that means having fun. Sometimes it might be more specific - crafting a satisfying story together, or having the experience of seeing things from the perspective of your character, either in addition to or instead of classically fun stuff. But if what you want when you sit down at the table on any given night isn’t enjoyable to you, or does not allow enjoyment for others, do not sit down at that table. Not gaming is better than bad gaming.

2. This Is Your Gamespace, These Are Real People.
Accept and understand that the players around you are real people that are also here to have fun. Nobody comes to the table to watch one player discuss their personal character’s stuff with the GM when it could wait, or to watch two players crack inside jokes at each other and exclude everyone else. Nobody comes to the table to be treated to the personal aroma of another player, or to closely observe their food being chewed. Nobody hosts a game hoping for a marathon cleanup session at the end. Nobody comes to the table to be the ego-boosting kick-toy of anyone else. Never, ever, forget that you are playing the game with real people.

3. Accept Responsibility
Taking the same point as #2, and bringing it into the game - what you do at the gaming table is your responsibility, and you should accept this. What others do is their responsibility, and they should accept that, too. This absolutely includes what you decide that your character does. This absolutely includes the actions of the GM as world. If playing your character as written could very well interfere with the fun of others, you need to decide where to go with that – it’s your call, though; excuses are lame. If you ruin the game by playing your character or the world ‘correctly’, then you still ruined the game.

4. Give Feedback
Anything from telling the GM “I had a good game tonight” to “here’s ten specific moments of play I really liked, and ten moments I really didn’t”, can help. For the GM, telling the players what they loved about their play, and what they found dull, works the same way. The GM can’t read the minds of the players here (or anywhere else), and the players don’t know what’s going on internally for the GM either. Unless they tell each other. This doesn’t need to be formal – in fact, it seems that it often works best if it isn’t. But the clearer it is, the better; and it’s often good to get a quick idea of this stuff before you start.

5. Share Creativity
No one person at the table has full control over what happens in the game. If someone does, you get some really boring shit. At the very least, a player generally controls most of one character in the game. There are an infinite number of little variants on how the GM and the players share control over who gets to put stuff in, and things work best once the group hits a level of input from each person at the table that they’re comfortable with. Find that level. If you’re looking for ways to muck about with that level of input, there are quite a few ways to do that.

6. Seek Consensus
The people at your table have, if your game is actually running at all, a consensus. The ideas in their heads of what the game is and does match up well enough to produce good play. Sometimes a group will hit on little moments when their ideas just don’t match up, and they’ll need to talk about what this specific thing looks like in their heads and agree on one way to go about it. Once in a while, one of the people at the table will want to bring something in that they aren’t sure will match up with what the others have in their heads, and it’s a good idea for them to mention that before they do.

7. Negotiate Honestly
When problems come up in your group, the first step is to make sure that everyone at the table is onboard with at least the basic ideas of the first five things here – they don’t have to be “skilled” at these things; being onboard is plenty. If they aren’t, I don’t really have any good advice for you – for myself, I likely wouldn’t play with them for much longer. If they are, and you still have a problem, then it’s time to sort that out. Now, my own recommendations on doing that are below, but they aren’t really ‘polished’ and they’re kind of artificial; if you’ve got any ideas on that, I’m really interested. But here’s another standard saying that ties into this – it’s usually a very bad idea to try and solve out-of-character problems with in-game events. That’s dishonest, and doesn’t generally work. Also, using the rules to ‘punish’ your players or ‘get back’ at your GM? Same thing.

8. Consider Your Options.
When someone makes an attempt to alter 'your part' of the fiction - the world if you're the GM, your character if you're a player, you have choices. You can simply agree, or disagree; you can put it to the mechanics, you can modify what they’ve stated and give it back to them. Limiting your options in this case is silly; most advice to limit these options in a ‘positive’ way comes from a desire to keep the energy of the game high, or allow for trust between players above and beyond the basic average; those are good goals, but instead of using limits on yourself and others to achieve them, simply remember that your decisions will affect those things as well as the specific matter at hand.

9. Watch The Spotlight.
At any given instant of play, someone has the spotlight. This doesn’t just mean ‘one person is talking’. It means that if there are a whole string of scenes, one person is usually “center stage”; the scene revolves around their stuff, whether that’s world stuff or character issues or whatever. If that person isn’t you, then you’re a supporting character in that scene; try to play good support, whether that means keeping quiet, offering support or advice, playing up the effects the setting has on your character a bit, whatever. If that person is you, then fill that scene; it’s there for you to step into. If nobody is sure who should have the spotlight, then act as support for each other, until the focus hits. But watch that spotlight, too. If you’re getting more than a fair share, work to make more scenes about other characters. If you’re getting less than your share, then when a scene doesn’t really have a focus, step up and take it. Now, sometimes the players will think that different people are getting too much, or not enough spotlight time – we’re people, it happens. Talk about it; most of the time, whoever’s being a hog or hiding away just needs to know about it - and on those occasions when that isn’t true, work it out.

10. Play the Game At The Game
This is a close partner to sharing creativity. Sometimes, you’ll have an idea about the game before you sit down at the table, about something you’d like to see happen there. Sometimes, you’ll have a whole string of them. That’s good stuff. But when those ideas start to look like a whole storyline, you need to be careful with it. A storyline like that is great raw material, but don’t get too attached; if you get too attached to that storyline, you’ll find yourself pushing to make it happen, and ignoring or working against all the other good ideas and creative input at your table. Remember, at all times; raw material is good. But don’t play the game before it starts – play the game when you’re at the game.

11. Show Your Stuff As You Go.
Almost everybody wants to feel like the fictional world, and the characters in it, are real to them enough to imagine. This is, of course, achieved by describing things. But nobody wants to be bored by drawn-out description, or huge whopping chunks of detail. If the GM rattles of ten facts about the place the characters are standing, only the first few will sink in; likewise if a player does this when describing their character. So, the key is to describe as you go. If a player wants us to know that her character Jill is a graceful woman, she shouldn’t simply tell the group that at character creation; her character should ‘glide’ and ‘move nimbly’ in play – her description at creation need only be a single, vivid image, that she can build on by describing not only what the character does, but how. This works in the same way for the GM; when the characters walk into a abandoned study, it can simply be an old, dusty study, smelling of books; as the characters interact with it, the GM can note the thick books, the puffs of dust as things are moved. One key to a good description that’s often missed is that it starts simple and vivid, and grows as you go, so that it’s never boring.

12. Learn To Speak The Same Language.
This is an ongoing effort that every group needs to make together. Every single person thinks that different phrases and wordings imply slightly different things, and this is one of the biggest things that can knock down even an honest attempt at talking to other people. Your group, to communicate both well and quickly, will sometimes need to hash out things related to this; accept that it’s going to happen and try not to get too serious about a problem until you’re sure this isn’t it.

Feel free to add to this list...

Supporting Our Troops In a Whole New Way

I've got another hobby horse... I know that there are gamers and industry folk reading my LJ, and this is for you. A group of soldiers in Iraq are putting together a RPG convention, and they are desperately in need of materials. Let's bury these men and women in so much gaming material they won't run out till they're old enough to retire!  News: I've set up a web site to use as an information center at Toys4Troops.org.

And lookie here - GAMA's Games for Troops program!



Let’s get those games out there!

Update: SPC Amberson says they're expecting around 300 people.  Not bad for a war zone!  Martin Rayla of Treasure Tables reminds me that Amazon will ship to military addresses, in case you'd like to use them.

Update: muskrat_john   aka John Kovalic (he of Dork Tower fame) is not only spreading the word via his LJ, he also says:
I'm making damn sure everyone at the con gets a comic book or two. I'm also sending a ton of trade paperbacks for door prizes, as well as Out of the Box games, Munchkin, Chez Geek, Mag*Blast and, of course, Chez Grunt.
Update: Additional places to send gaming stuff - Games for GI's. They send stuff to all forward deployed troops.
We are currently at an address where we can ship all care packages through military means free of charge. If you’d like to find out more making a contribution or volunteering, or if you’d like a copy of our needs list, I may be contacted at zacharythefirst@hotmail.com. Additionally, if you have a friend or loved one you’d like added to our care package list, contact us, and we’d be happy to do so.The address and central distribution point to send your contributions is:
Games For G.I.s
c/o Zachary Houghton
PSC 62 Box 6902
APO AE 09643

Update:  from Dave Amberson - they would be delighted to get PDF products as well. They have laptops and access to printers...
Update:  More love, this time from pandemonium_bks  in Cambridge, Mass.  They will take donations via Paypal to add to the shipment they're sending out May 2nd.

Horror RPG Inspirational Poster

I particularly like this one - it evokes one of my favorite horror philosophies... "Yes, but if they don't go in the house, there won't be a movie!"

Accessorizing

dice purseJust what the well accessorised gamer chick is missing - a purse shaped like a D6.  No, really, I am tdice necklaceotally not kidding - I saw it in my Paizo mailing today...

I've seen jewelry made of polyhedral dice for years (just do a Google search on polyhedral dice jewelry), and have found things like this, and this, and of course this.  I even think the jewelry is cute, but since I've started wearing my medic alert necklace I don't wear anything else.

But the purse... oh, golly, that is too precious for words.  Comes in brown as well.  It would, if nothing else, make a heck of a dice bag!

Motivational Posters for Villains

Everyone's seen the RPG motivational posters (and if you haven't, go here...)

Here are Motivational Posters for Villains. :: snicker ::

  You scored as Character Player. The Character Player enjoys creating in-depth characters with distinct and rich personalities. She identifies closely with her characters, feeling detached from the game if she doesn't. She takes creative pride in exploring different characters, often making each new one radically different than others she's played. The Character Player bases her decisions on her character's psychology first and foremost. She may view rules as a necessary evil at best, preferring sessions in which the dice never come out of their bags. For the Character Player, the greatest reward comes from experiencing the game from the emotional perspective of an interesting character.

Storyteller

 
95%

Character Player

 
95%

Weekend Warrior

 
55%

Tactician

 
55%

Casual Gamer

 
40%

Power Gamer

 
20%

Specialist

 
10%

What RPG Player (Not Character) Type Are You?
created with QuizFarm.com

Gal Gamer Alert!

Not that men might not be interested as well, but I've just come across a female gamer-oriented forum and wanted to share it.  I know a lot of women who game also read my LJ, and I'd love to see more of us over there.

The IRIS Network.

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Shadowrun moments...

Every so often when technology catches up with Shadowrun, I have what I call a "Shadowrun Moment".  I shake my head in wonder that things that seemed purely sciencfictional 17 years ago are happening now.  Such as when I read last year that "there are more than 750,000 employees of security companies, which exceed the number of state and local police." (source)  Wikipedia has more information on Private Military Contractors.

raincoatVia Gizmodo - the future of fashion today! 

Gizmodo says: If you're worried about some thug trying to jack your iPod, this raincoat should give you some peace of mind. Not because it makes you look like a really big Matrix fan, but because it's bulletproof and stabproof. You can flaunt your fancy gadgets all you want, and if someone tries to jam a broken bottle into your sternum you can just laugh, laugh heartily right in their face. Well, until they stab you in the neck or something. The jacket won't protect your neck. Just keep that in mind.

The manufacturer's site, Spycatcher of Knightsbridge, has a wealth of gadgets, gizmos and armored vehicles.  Since all of the things are available now, you can use this site as a resource for your modern (and Shadowrun) games.

My apologies for the SPAM

If you're on my Flist, you may have just been SPAMmed by an invite from Twitter. My apologies - I thought when I clicked the link it would give me a list to choose from, not just SPAM my friends. I signed up with Twitter and was just looking for people to chat with...

Mea maxima culpa

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Nothing to see here...


I'm just setting up a Meta Tag for Google Site Manager, but I don't expect it to work. Anybody want to tell me how to put a meta name tag into my LJ? I know how to do things like that when coding from scratch, but I am afraid of messing up my whole LJ...

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How to Have More Fun at the Game Table

This is shamelessly pirated, intact, from the Treasure Tables forums.  If you're not reading Treasure Tables (and the forums), you probably should be.  There's less noise and a whole lot more signal than most venues.


Read it for yourself here.

And while I'm sharing links, I use Google Reader as a blog aggregator, and you can see what I'm reading here.

Getting to Know You (me?)

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GMing Toys I Want...

Okay, I want them all...

aleta tools ultimate GM caseBut... ohhhhhh... I really want this one!  There's just too much D&D/D20 in my life, and they're so pretty!  And easy to carry in the handy case...

:: wipes up drool ::monster tiles

If you haven't looked at Alea Tools and you do a lot of GMing involving miniatures, you should have a peek at these. They stack under miniatures and let you see status (flying, invisible, whatever) at a glance.  And it's fun to play with the magnets.  So I'm easily entertained - sue me!

And, while we're at it, you might want to check out Monster Tiles.  I have a one deck metal card box full of these, and they're super easy to carry with me (if a little heavy).  You can write on them in pencil, which makes it easier to differentiate between foes.

dragonfire laser craftsThe third product I use frequently are Dragonfire Laser Crafts Monster & Dungeon Dressing tiles.  The pack I have covers everything from medium sized to Colossal, along with status tiles (flying, invisible, etc.)  They're very lightweight, and I don't worry about damaging them.




Because, you know, you can never have too many toys...

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Generators galore

I love making props for my games.  When the players can hold a newspaper article or photograph in their hands, it makes the game that much more real to them.  Since I run a modern horror game, I need everything I can get to tie them into the real world -- then they're more freaked out by the weird stuff when it happens.

Here are a few of my favorite generator links:
I don't think I look anything like Fred Astaire, and I can't dance...but other than that...

:: snicker ::

My LiveJournal Sitcom
jaegamer's Life (ABC, 2:30): jaegamer (Fred Astaire) sets inventedepics (Parker Posey)'s shampoo on fire. Upstairs, brannonb (William Shatner) claims to be doctor_toc (Colin Firth) in a job interview. That same day, jonnynexus (Alec Guinness)'s new friend alienates flinx (Tim Curry). Meanwhile, jodidiva (Kim Basinger) buys judd_sonofbert (Kevin Sorbo) a salamander. Later that day, dracschick (Richard Dreyfuss) oversleeps and misses lunch with femalegamer (Goldie Hawn). Hilarity ensues.
What's Your LiveJournal Sitcom? (by rfreebern)

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Worldwide Adventure Writing Month

World Wide Adventure Writing MonthHere's an idea I have to like.  The clever, GM friendly folks over at Treasure Tables are supporting and promoting World Wide Adventure Writing Month (or WoAdWriMo).  It's along the same lines as National Novel Writing Month - they're calling upon GMs everywhere to write a 32 page adventure and make it available for everyone else to  use.
June is Worldwide Adventure Writing Month.
Join us in expanding the number of free, downloadable adventures for tabletop roleplaying games! The goal is to write a complete 32+ page adventure module by June 30th, 2007.
If a lot of people participate, it would be a tremendous resource.  I plan to, though me and plans - we often go separate directions.

Don't panic - it's not till June.  You could get started now, though.  I know I'll have to - I'm that slow.

Baaaaa...

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Nov. 13th, 2006

I'm just a meme sheep... but dang, I sure could use more hugs in my life!

Hug me, babeeeez!


*HUGS* TOTAL! give jaewalker more *HUGS*
Get hugs of your own

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Wait, let me give that the font size it deserves...

I GOT A JOB!

I start Monday Oct 30th at the department of Family & Consumer Sciences at Michigan State University. Almost six years to the day after I left (in one of the worst examples of poor timing in history). The job is grant based, so it'll be renewed a year at a time, but I intend to make myself so utterly indespensable that they'll find a way to keep me. My office will be just upstairs from the MSU Dairy Store, so I'll have to work on the old willpower to only go down for ice cream once or twice a week.

The pay rate is decent, it's full time and my benefits will start in November. I couldn't be happier. Lori, the office manager who will be my boss, stressed that they chose me because of my vibrant, entertaining personality (as opposed to instead of it). I find that a particularly encouraging sign.

So... I'm off to go do my awkward but enthusiastic happy dance.

I've got a job!

Farador D&D

It's no "Fear of Girls", but funny (and a little pathetic/scary as well). This is a short comedy about D&D players in French, with English subtitles. Gacked from frabjousdave

Farador D&D
"Farador D&D" on Google Video

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The Adventure Funnel

This is a neat-looking idea for building adventures.  I'll take any tool I can get my hands on when I'm creating, and this one has promise.  Haven't tried it  yet, though.

I Waste the Buddha With My Crossbow

Check it out!

Meme Survey (baaaaaa)

I had better start posting about gaming again - I appear to have become a total meme sheep.  Baaaaaa....

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More meme sheepage

I'm working, really!  I'm just falling prey to meme sheepage today.  According to this, I'm nice but neurotic as hell and somewhat scattered.  Uh huh.  Like that's a surprise to anyone I know...

Where do I get these?

Someone in the dealer's room at Gencon (that narrows it down... NOT) was selling what were essentially poker chips with stats for various mounts on them.  I thought "what a clever idea"!  And didn't note down where they came from.  I think I even read about it in someone's blog, but I don't remember where.

Anybody?

GM-Fu - Resolution Lag, blogs and podcasts

I read a lot of gaming blogs and listen to a number of gaming podcasts - I'm on a constant quest to improve my skills as a GM and my enjoyment as a player.  I get a lot of good ideas from the indie gamers at The Forge; things that I may not agree with, but that make me think and examine my own assumptions.

Today's gem is Resolution Lag from RPG Blog. Wow. This essay completely nails my biggest dissatisfaction with just about every game system I've ever tried. I'm an immersive roleplayer, even as a GM, and it always seems to me that things slow to a crawl when combat (or conflict) begins. It's my primary complaint about DnD 3.5 (and D20) - the d20 "whiff" factor.  I miss you, you miss me, I miss you, attacks of opportunity, a gazillion modifiers to keep in mind... combat takes forever.  I'm bored and ready to move on long before the fight is over. 

I like my games fast and cinematic, and yet am unwilling to decide everything by GM fiat.  There is a place for randomness in my GMing/playing world; I just don't want it to stall the game's momentum.

I have yet to find a system that's frictionless enough for me, though Eden's Cinematic Unisystem comes closest.

Identity Revealed - Curses!

Okay, technically not a gaming post, but given my preferences and proclivities, appropriate.

I am Nylarhothep - fear me!
Who Are You In The Cthulhu Mythos?

You are NYARLATHOTEP, the mind, spirit, physical representation of and messenger to, the Outer Gods. Often manifesting in human form, Nyarlathotep is a great manipulator of humans, bending them to the will of his masters.In true form Nyarlathotep is a 55' tall monstrosity with a giant trunk-like proboscis. But he prefers the guise of a human, often appearing as a rich, well educated man, bending people to his will and towards their ultimate downfall.
Take this quiz!

Quizilla | Join | Make A Quiz | More Quizzes | Grab Code

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Gencon Moments - Most Embarrassing

Most embarrassing moment: 

I have arthritis in my knees, and am horrifically out of shape.  I just can't walk very far without sitting down, and it's hard to get back up off the floor alone.  So... when in the incredibly huge Gencon Dealer's Room, I'm constantly on the lookout for places to sit and rest for a few moments.  Order of the Stick has a board game (musssst haveeeee my preciousssss), and while they were sold out of the game, they were running demos.  I figured I'd sit down for a few minutes and enjoy the demo while resting my cranky knees.

Only... I missed.  I completely missed the flimsy plastic folding chair (which is what the majority of the dealers had - not their fault) and went crashing down onto the floor, bags and all.  I felt myself falling and rolled with it (that Theater degree is good for something, I guess), so the only thing injured was my pride.  I had to lay there on the floor for a few minutes, though, reassuring everyone that I was fine, I just needed a few minutes to pull myself together for the ordeal of standing back up.

I need a t-shirt that says: "Dex is my dump stat".
 
Edit: Order yours here! Thanks, wookiee71

I'm Getting Too Old for This

I'm back from Gencon and struggling to stay awake at work today.  I love Gencon - I've been attending since 1987 and have every intention of continuing to do so as long as there is breath in my body.  However... I think I am going to have to accept that I am neither as young as I used to be nor as young as I'd like to be.  Even though I only made it to one 8 am slot, I'm exhausted.  Next year I'm not going to even bother scheduling anything at 8 am!  And this was without the usual half-the-night carousing with friends.  I've been on antibiotics for months now with a stubborn infection in my leg, and so I gave the bar-crawling a pass.


Gencon remains one of my favorite destinations of the year, even if I can't play for 16 hours, drink for 3 more and then get up and do it again any more...

EDIT: The nice lady from Customer Service did refund my money to my account after I managed to connect with her at registration.  I pronounce myself happy with the final result, and appreciate that Peter Adkinson helped make it happen.

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Gencon 2006 Schedule

I keep needing to refer to my Gencon schedule, so I'm putting it where I (and others) can find it easily.  I wasn't going to run at all this year, but have allowed myself to be roped in by the Blackmoor people.  They've got 7 judges and 80 tables (and that's just preregistration!) for a D&D campaign that I mostly enjoy.  I am such a sucker...

I am at the moment pretty unhappy with Gencon LLC.  They double-charged me for my tickets, ignored my request for a refund, then sent me the double tickets.  At that point I emailed Peter Adkinson (who is a nice guy, and very reasonable, but, I think, not accurately informed by his staff) and got the ball rolling with Customer Service.  CS, however, wanted me to mail the tickets back to get a refund.  I finally managed to do so on Saturday, confident they'd arrive by the Wednesday deadline.  Not so much.  So, now I appear to be out the $37.50 because they have the extra tickets - I can't even sell them back on site now.  My finances are going to be very tight this Gencon due to some pilferage from my account (yes, cancelled the card and all, and expect to get it back eventually) and my recent run of unemployment.  I could have used that $37.50 to eat for a couple of days.  Grrrr...  I haven't given up - I have a letter detailing the tickets returned that I can send along - but it's not looking good. 

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Paying a meme debt

from doctor_toc

Leave your name, and ..

1. I'll respond with something random about you
2. I'll challenge you to try something
3. I'll pick a colour that I associate with you
4. I'll tell you something I like about you
5. I'll tell you my first/clearest memory of you
6. I'll tell you what animal you remind me of
7. I'll ask you something I've always wanted to ask you
8. If I do this for you, you must post this on yours. Or not.

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Origins Ho!

I have to say that Origins' registration site is faster than Gencon's - when it's up. The navigation, however, is beyond hideous. Pretty much the same as last year.  The navigation can't have been designed by anyone who actually has to use it, and you don't "claim" the tickets until you check out.  Since I was after some fairly "hot" stuff that had only a seat or two available once I managed to get the right screen up, I ended up checking out half a dozen times just to fill my schedule.  Everything takes half-a-dozen more clicks than it should.  Maybe it's a ploy to get people to not pre-register... Oh, wait, wouldn't the con go under if no one came? 

*sigh*  The two big cons of the summer, and their web designers are on some kind of wacky drugs... or at least, they have no notion how to design a web site for actual people to use.  I said it last year, I'll say it again: Read "Don't Make Me Think", folks, and forswear your wicked ways.

My Origins schedule is behind the cut.

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Cats + Gaming - Dork Tower Says it all

I'm catching up on back Dork Tower strips, and this one says it all.  Cats and gaming - a dangerous combination.  Of course, the most dangerous thing mine do is come up and rub up against the poor guy who's allergic, forcing me to exile them.

But they do roll dice, whenever they can, and leave them where I can only find them by stepping on them.

We have CoH!

After, oh, I don't know, forever trying and failing to stay connected to City of Heroes, Craig (the little brother I never had, but love as one) managed to reinstall it and make it work. Finally, Anygel of Mercy can beat up bad guys!  I'm so excited!

She's on Pinnacle, and my global name is Gamerchick.  W00T!

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Yep. That went well...

I ran my first session of the Serenity RPG today, for CARP.  All in all, I think it went very well.  The scenario, "Some People Juggle Geese", was only a few notes on a couple of scraps of paper, and I ended up using the crew from the movie (as statted out in the RPG), but it went really well.

I won't offer details, since I plan to run this at Origins (and possibly GenCon), but I haven't laughed so long or so well in quite a while.  Other than Inara, who was, in my opinion, somewhat neglected, all of the characters had their moments to shine.  I've figured out what I need to do differently next time to punch up the pacing a little, but all in all it ran very much like an episode of Firefly.

Best of all, I got this from one of the players in email tonight: I know he had a lot of fun watching the play, as we both agreed, it was like watching an episode of Firefly.

These are the moments that I, as a GM and storyteller, live for.

Keep Flyin'!

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... and it makes me sad, but not surprised. Given their thrust toward what they call D&D campaigns (and what I call "Table Top Video Games"), Dungeons & Dragons Online was, I suppose, inevitable.  Too bad it seems to incorporate all of the worst aspects of D&D (the eternal "whiff" factor, for example).  It wasn't that long ago that RPGA was a vital organization that promoted growth and fellowship in a hobby I love. *sigh*



There is good news. Shared World campaigns are alive and well.  Dave Arneson's Blackmoor is spreading out from its Florida home into the northeast and midwest, both hotbeds of gaming.  Hey, what else do we have to do in the winter?  Shadowrun Missions is alive and growing with the 4th edition of Shadowrun.  The folks at Paradigm Press have been gradually taking the Living Arcanis campaign independent (which is good, as RPGA/WotC has dumped con support for them at GenCon, despite the campaign's robustness).  Living Spycraft has also gone independent with its new edition.

There's a lot of good campaign table top gaming to be had out there, despite the current lack of a centralized source of distribution and publicity.  D&D Online looks like it's going to be as big a disappointment as RPGA has become.  If I want online fantasy play, it looks like I'll want to check out World of Warcraft.

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March Fo(u)rth for GM's Day (once again)

It's that time of year again, for the benign manufactured holiday for role players - GM's Day!

It's a day to let your GMs know how much you appreciate their hard work in making a world for you to play in.

Here's a link to my previous entry on this subject.

Long live GMs Day!

Memeing around...

If you had me alone...locked up in your house for twenty-four hours and I had to do whatever you wanted me to, what would you do with me?
Respond, then repost this in your LJ- or don't. You might be surprised with the responses you get.

gacked from rickj

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Thanks to the Internet

If there is someone on your friends list who makes your world a better place just because they exist and who you would not have met (in real life or not) without the internet, then post this same sentence in your journal.

More than I can count, actually. Many of them gamers. Ohhhh... Doc, I still live in hope of one day playing Chill under your evil auspices again.

Gacked from just about everywhere

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Fear of Girls

I actually saw this last week, but since all the cool geeks are sharing it, I think I will too. Fear of Girls is a "mockumentary" about two self-described "elite gamers". It's sad, funny and a little scary. Great googly moogly - please tell me this isn't how others see me in the pursuit of my beloved hobby!

Of course not... right?

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Fan mail

There's nothing so sweet as fan mail from your players. I got this from Phil, one of the players in my weekly Chill game, after the big finale to a current story line, involving an NPC they all like who was infected with lycanthropy.

Also, just wanted to say again how absolutely great the game was Wednesday night. The imagery you put in my head was just great and the sound effects were cool as all get out. You really did have me thinking we were looking at a possible TPK or at least running for our lives. I was trying to figure out if CHILL had rules for chase sequences. (i.e.- Can a werewolf/ghul run fast enough to catch a V-8 Chevy pickup at full highway speeds? ) Got interrupted about halfway through relating the story to the Friday night crew and the GM was literally leaning across the table asking "what happened next?" when the interruption stopped. The imagery of the ghul melting off his own skeleton even as he attacked got lots of comments.

Again, way to go Ms. Chill Mistress. It's not easy to inspire people to acts of heroism (Tony sacrificing himself) and desperation (Justin one second away from shooting Aiden-wolf when he got loose) in the same game session within minutes of each other.


I love these guys. We make role playing magic together.

Meme-ing

I'm not posting much about gaming these days (too busy doing it!), so here's a little meme-age that I picked up from various people on my flist.

When you see this, quote Oscar Wilde:

One's real life is often the life that one does not lead.

***

If you read this, if your eyes are passing over this right now, even if we don't speak often, please post a comment with a memory of you and me. It can be anything you want, either good or bad. I promise not to come after you with a spatula, either way.

When you're finished, post this little paragraph on your blog and be surprised (or mortified) about what people remember about you.  My money is on mortified...

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