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Showing posts from 2017

Bardic Inspiration: Another Random-Roll Adventure!

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Random roll tables! Random encounters!

Oh sweet baby Gygax, do I have a problem.

I love random tables! I love them in ways that I am not entirely comfortable with yet. And why wouldn't I? Random roll anything is basically at the heart of most any RPG. The players roll dice to determine the success or failure of their actions. The GM rolls (though they really don't need to) in order to determine all manner of things, from encounters, treasure, and randomized NPCs (yes, I know all those examples vary from GM to GM).

Fate has a definitive hand in the games we play. That pure randomization is arguably one of the best elements. It adds a sense of the unknown to the proceedings, to the point that even the Game Master isn't entirely sure what may happen next (though a canny one can go with the flow). It turns the game into a thrill ride, where anything can be around the next corner.

For me, random tables serve something of narrowing ideas. You see I have a lot of ideas just bubbling…

Player Advice: 5 Roles For You Character To Fill

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I recently began rolling a character for a new game I will be playing in.


Yes, playing.


I can't quite explain how excited I am. It's been quite some time since I've actually been a player (close to two years to be precise). I do the full write up; stats; backstory (blog about that forthcoming), personality, etc.


However, there is one thing that the players' handbooks and core rulebooks never delve into. Something that is never quantified or noted on a character sheet. That missing element?

What role will the character play?


When I say role, I don't mean melee damage sponge, arcane battlefield control, divine healing or skill-whore. Those are roles granted by classes and class abilities. They are the roles most folks imagine when they think about roles. What I am referring to is the role their personality will play in the party.

A character is more than the sum of their attribute scores and saves. There is a personality that comes out when we play that isn't ea…

50 Shades of Greyhawk: How Your RPG Group Is Like A BDSM Relationship

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A gaming group is sort of like being in a relationship. It requires trust, good communication, and the desire to achieve a common goal. It can be emotional and often requires a lot of effort to really make it work, but in the end, it is worth it to see the mutual satisfaction on the faces of everyone involved, and that warm feeling of knowing something you did made them happy.

However, the kind of relationship a gaming group resembles is something a bit different than what many are used to. I had intended to write a fun little article about how gaming is like being in a relationship, but somewhere along the way, I took a hard left turn into uncharted territory, to a place with significantly more leather.

"Not exactly what I meant by Dungeon Master..."
So, let this be a disclaimer of sorts. This article will deal with some mature themes pertaining to the power dynamic of alternative relationships. It is some heavy stuff not for the faint of heart. If the topic of Dominance, s…

Roleplaying With A Mental Illness

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Do you remember a fellow by the name of Ed The Bard? I daresay I used to read something about the man. He was a blogger if I recall correctly. Liked talking about roleplaying games, like Dungeons & Dragons and Pathfinder. I haven't heard from that guy in months. I'd say he'd been eaten by wandering owlbears if not for the occasional tweet.

What happened to that guy?

Well, intrepid reader, I can tell you with no small measure of certainty that I am not only alive but somewhat sassy to boot. Yes, I am a sassy, sassy bard. And, like any good bard worth his salt, I have a story to tell. It's a personal tale, one that may seem bleak in some areas (all the best stories do), but it has a happy ending, I can assure you.

I've wanted to tell this story for some time. Since I started this beautiful blog in January of 2016. Every time I sat down to tell it though, the words didn't feel right. As a bard, I am very particular when it comes to words. Words have power. Pu…

So You Want To Be A Game Master - Part 6: Plot Hooks

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Previous Entries
Part 1: The Beginning
Part 2: Cutting Corners
Part 3: NPCs
Part 4: Villains
Part 5: Story

Here we are! We finally made it to game night! I am so proud of you! No, seriously, I am fighting back tears...

"You kids grow up so darn fast."
So the game begins. You have all the resources you will ever need, a plethora of interestingNPCs, a decent place to begin, a well-crafted story and a nefarious villain who your players get the pleasure of thwarting.

Now, all you need to do is convince them to engage in all that.

No, really.

You may be prepped for the next 200 sessions. but if your players don't latch on to the story you so painstakingly crafted, all you have managed to accomplish is waste copious amounts of time making something no one will ever see.

"Which is not always a bad thing..."
If you want your players to jump into the artfully constructed story you've plotted out you have two options; railroad them (which we DO NOT do), or feed them a…

Ed The Bard Turns 1!

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Do you know what today is, dear reader?

It's January 24th! And while that may seem like a random and arbitrary date, I can assure you that it is never the less momentous.

You see, it was one year ago today, in the heady game-inspired haze I swam in in the days following my home convention, SnowCon, that I put fingers to keys and made good on a promise I had made myself years ago...

...To start a blog that offered advice and inspiration to aspiring game masters and players.

That's right! Ed The Bard is now officially a whole-year-old!

And what a year it has been! So much has happened that it is almost impossible to summarize it all. But you know what? Summarizing impossible things is what I do. So let's take a self-aggrandizing look at the past year, and how it has shaped the Bard as you know him (me) today.


It began simply enough, with a basic laying-out of my gaming credentials. That being accomplished, I set forth on a tirade of advice, breakdowns, reviews, and musings.…

Bardic Inspiration: Random Roll Settlements For The Lazy GM

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Greetings and salutations, my most magnificent meeples. It is I, Ed The Bard, bring to you the first offering of 2017! 
But what could it be? A long essay on the philosophy and pseudo-science of Game Mastering? A primer on the key elements of perfect character creation? A new entry for Campaign Creation, Racial Bias, or Class Acts
Nope! RandomTables!
... I might have a problem.
 "Step two is giving a damn about step one."
You know me. I love me some random encounters. I love easy to roll tables. In a weird, strange sort of way, they can be very Zen-like. Also, if you decided to do something silly, like put off game prep for a week, a random table can save your ass.
Case in point, look at me! I should have been a little more attentive in my Game Mastery duties, but with the recent Con schedule and publication work, I've scarcely had time for luxurious things, like sleep. Still, as a Game Master, I have made a solemn vow to provide my players with an evening of entertainm…