The truest struggle of the DM/GM/MC/Keeper is knowing how to please as many players at your table as possible at the same time. What makes such a seemingly small goal a herculean task? Your players have no idea what they actually want. It’s your job to show it to them.
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There is a very thin line between pissing off everyone at the table and an interesting, dynamic, and rewarding secret. Most, if not all, legitimate secrets are kept for one of two reasons:
- To keep the peace, keep things moving, not burden the group.
- Gain an advantage by others’ ignorance of the information.
How can DMs and players alike decide what is worth keeping secret, what is pushing the social construct of the table too far, and what is downright annoying?
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Have you ever been in a game and things start to slow way down to the point players are losing focus and teetering out of the immersion you’ve built together? Chances are, the stakes have been lowered too far for your gaming experience. In this article, I’m going to show you an easy and time-tested trick to make those slow bumbling moments into something incredibly memorable that will fling the story forward – all with very little effort on your part.
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Another week of sad postponement for a product review. I’ve got amazing stuff coming up, but due to weather and personal strife – it’s had to take a back seat. Instead, I’m going to talk to you about a very important aspect of Tabletop Gaming that I’ve finally felt adept at: Improvisational Roleplay. What it is, how it works, tricks to get into the mindset, and important information every player – new and veteran – needs to hear over and over again.
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I see this quite a lot in tabletop games: a new player is introduced to the game and a Game Master says “Make a character, here’s the books.” No frame of reference, no suggestions one way or another, no way for the new player to parse the information avalanche that comes from a novel-length rules compendium.
Suddenly the 5’4″ thin blond girl who smokes a lot and wings her eyeliner like a champ is playing a 5’4″ thin blond elf girl who smokes a lot and has naturally perfect eyelashes.
There is a danger and disservice on the part of the Game Master in allowing this to happen. While new players should feel safe and secure, they should also be advised, not forced – mind you, to play a character that is different from themselves in a variety of ways.
Let me explain why.
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We all diversify eventually – and today marks my expedition into GM/DM/Player guides. Some of my players have brought up my adroitness for “centerpiece combat” encounters. Hopefully, by the end of this article, you’ll understand how to plan out a story filled, interactive, and memorable combat encounter for your favorite RPG – a capstone for a story arch only solvable through violence. Let’s get to it.
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