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Showing posts from March, 2016

GMs vs Players: There Is No Choice

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I am a gamer. If you've frequented this blog, you have probably gathered that. Those who may be reading my stuff for the first time, I offer you this assertion. I am a gamer, down to my very bones. It flows through my veins, lives in my blood. It is not "just a hobby" to me, it is a lifestyle, an intrinsic part of myself. I am proud to admit that fact, and wear the deceleration like a badge of courage.

But I am troubled, and have been for a long time. Almost as long as I have been chucking dice and rolling initiative. Something that occurred to me early in my gaming career, that I could not entirely understand, and still have trouble grasping.

Long ago, when I was a simple college freshman, I was introduced to the glory of Roleplaying Games, and when I say that, I mean that they were my first foray into the genre, be it tabletop or video game (though since I have developed a rather unhealthy relationship with the Final Fantasy series). I loved it. It was fascinating hav…

Lets Build A Campaign Setting - Part 4: Gods (Building A Pantheon)

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Previous Entries Part 1:The Foundation Part 2:Inspiration Part 3:Gods (Their Roles)
Gods can be some of the most mythical entities in any campaign setting. They can also be the most diverse and varied, ranging in power and skill from demigods, like Hercules, to Overgods, like Faerun's Lord Ao. Their appearance can be something as simple as an old crone to a multi-horned, four armed muscular dog-man with a crown of ever-burning flame.
Since we have already established what the role of a deity is in a campaign setting, we can focus our efforts on building our own pantheon, with a unique flavor that fits with your world.

Domains A domain is is an abstract or elemental concept that the God represents and embodies. Over the course of their divine career, the deities collect a few of these domains and add them to a portfolio, like some kind of heavenly or infernal investment banker.
"Okay, so maybe not heavenly."

Domains can literally be anything. Weather, the sun, burnt meatloaf. …

Steal This! 5 Memorable NPCs To Steal For Your Game

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Never underestimate the staying power of an NPC. Long after players leave a town/city/village, the memory of that NPC can stay with them. Often times they try finding excuses to return to that place just to experience that NPC again. These can be people who move the story along, or just amusing distractions during downtime. No matter what the case, these folks become seared into players' minds, thus, in a way, immortalizing whatever campaign they appeared in.

Below are 5 NPCs I have used in my own personal games. Some find their way into campaigns that they had nothing to do with, simply because of the demand to see them again. As usual, with my Steal This! articles, feel free to lift any of these for your home campaigns.

1. Gimble Namfoodsheppinstumbleduck III (Pronounced Gim-bul Nam-foo-dul-shep-pen-stum-bul-duck):
Profession: Shopkeep
Info: Gimble is a gnome who tows the line between charismatic tinkerer and raving lunatic, so... you know, a gnome. He fancies himself an inventor,…

Musings Of The Bard: The 5 Stages Of Character Death

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When you have a good character, a really good character, everything at the table seems brighter. The battles are more tense and thrilling. You are emotionally vested in that character, which means that both and your Game Master have done something right. That is why when that character suddenly dies in a brutal an unexpected way, the grieving process begins.

I know some may say, "Hey Ed, it's just a made up character. There is literally nothing to grieve".

Well, you are wrong, bucko. Character death can hurt you right where it counts, because that character is a pat of you. It is the sum of your creativity and imagination, so... ouch. There are five stages of death and grieving that a lot of players go through when a character dies. I know the feeling all too well. I've been down that dark and dusty road. Today I will show you the five stages of character death as I experienced them with the loss of my dwarf barbarian Klad "The Unbreakable".

First, A Little…

GM Advice: Getting The Party Started - How To Bring Characters Together

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Session 1! It's finally here. Long have you prepared for this day. Hours of prep time has gone into crafting a unique, original world for your players to explore and experience.You ask the players to describe their characters, and it goes something like this: "I am a lawful good  human paladin who does not condone any illegal activity of any kind, which includes, but is not limited to: theft, public intoxication, aggravated assault and murder. I also firmly believe that 100% of the party loot should be donated to several orphanages, and all magic items be liquidated for gold to also donate."
"I am a chaotic evil drow sorcerer who wants to take over the surface world and rule it with an iron fist. I frequently consort with demons and command a small army of the undead. I kill indiscriminately, steal from children, and kick baskets full of kittens."
"I am a true neutral halfling thief who steals everything not nailed down. My kleptomania is so profound that…

GM Advice: Building Badass Boss Battles - Part 3: Building Better Battles

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If you just joined us, be sure to check out Part 1, wherein we build a better boss, and Part 2, wherein we find just the right location to have our battle.

Now we've done it. We've grown a boss of true power and terror. We've patted the characters against it in the most frightening place imaginable. Now it is time for the thing we've all been waiting for. The battle.

I could spend two or three separate articles detailing tactics. what you should and shouldn't do, and so on and so forth. But when it really comes to tactics, it is really dependent on the location, the situation, and how your players play their characters, so I leave those entirely up to you, the Game Master. I know you'll do just fine.

And in this case, we are going to make tactics out bitch..

No, today we are going to discuss the not how to fight, but the fight itself, and the effect it can have on the landscape (spoiler alert: its a big one). A lot of boss fights are pretty straight forward, c…