Confession of a Newb GM: Heroism at the Table

When we sit down at the table we tell tales of daring do larger than we think we could normally accomplish. I saw a tweet the other day that makes me wonder how we can encourage heroics at our tables. This brings me to musing about what makes a hero. Why are characters that would normally be the epitome of heroics be so hard to play in practice? Continue reading “Confession of a Newb GM: Heroism at the Table”

Confessions of a Newb GM: Vary Your Encounters

Few things leave me as bored as a GM or player than two sets of characters sitting at the opposite sides of a map running at each other. When several of these instances are chained together I start to wonder if I’m playing chess. I generally prefer chess in those situations. Those people can party like you’d never believe. Continue reading “Confessions of a Newb GM: Vary Your Encounters”

Confessions of a Newb GM: How to Not Win an RPG

In Dungeons and Dragons I was able to game my DM because we never went up against a group of NPCs that were smart enough to attack the real healer. Every single one of the NPC groups had an INT score high enough to go for the healer, I just made sure I wasn’t the first one to heal. They would never retarget after the other healer stopped and I started. This realization allowed me to win D&D. Winning any RPG is one of the most pyrrhic things I can think of doing. It’s boring and you should never let this happen to your group. Continue reading “Confessions of a Newb GM: How to Not Win an RPG”

Confessions of a Newb GM: Game with a Difference

The other day my former DM told me what I missed in the last session. He told me told it was two combats and two skill challengesas an example of how quick the session was moving. Hence why he’s my former DM. I know my new DM cares much more about having fun than winning D&D. Continue reading “Confessions of a Newb GM: Game with a Difference”

Confessions of a Newb GM: Thoughts for an Epic Fight

Massive battles aren’t what role playing games are good at. I have yet to see mass combat rules that are functional at a narrative level or that maintain the spirit of the rules set out in the core book. The rules don’t matter to playing on this scale. The conceit that you’re commanding armies of people often abstracts the rules to such an extent that you are either playing a board game with its own rules or the rules you started with no longer apply at all. Continue reading “Confessions of a Newb GM: Thoughts for an Epic Fight”

Confessions of a Newb GM: Rooms as Costume

When setting a scene you should have a reason for the players to be in the encounter whether that reason is a piece of information, a contest that one is going to participate in, or an NPC they have to deal with for other reasons. Any situation the party has in front of them has multiple solutions to it and as a GM you should be trying to show at least a few of these solutions. Continue reading “Confessions of a Newb GM: Rooms as Costume”

Confessions of a Newb GM: Skills and Structured Events

I want to help clear up a misconception that I’ve seen again and again in discussions. Skills are skills. It doesn’t matter if they’re knowledge skills, combat skills, bow hunting skills, or computer hacking skills it all comes back down to: The way you use a skill in one situation is the same as in any other situation. Continue reading “Confessions of a Newb GM: Skills and Structured Events”

Confessions of a Newb GM: When the NPCs Aren’t There

In the last article we looked at the basics of why an NPC is in a scene. Today we’re looking at where an encounter is taking place. I know I’ve covered it, @Brometheus has covered it, and @theangrydm has covered this before. Here I’m going to be looking at it a little differently. What happens when an NPC isn’t in the room, but you still need to get information across to the players. Continue reading “Confessions of a Newb GM: When the NPCs Aren’t There”

Confessions of a Newb GM: Making NPCs That Care

Getting a group together and sitting down to play can be fairly nerve wracking for a GM. Building the world that people are living in is a weird sort of skill to expand. I see the expectation time and again in many RPG products, GMs are expected to be able to go create something and make it wonderful for players off the top of their head. Continue reading “Confessions of a Newb GM: Making NPCs That Care”

Confessions of a Newb GM: Clunky Randomness

I’ve been talking with my D&D 4th Edition DM over the last couple of weeks. After trying to bring my DM to The Mad Adventurers Society and The Angry GM blog, in an attempt to bring the perverbial horse to water, we were discussing how the two of us envisioned a 5th Edition campaign. He wanted to wait for the 5th Edition DMs guide and delve into its depths before he was willing to run a new adventure. The biggest reason he gave for this was his memory of the DMs guide from Advanced Dungeons and Dragons with tables upon tables of things that can be rolled on. He was describing why this was a great thing, but there are some concerns when it comes to random encounters as a base for a campaign. Continue reading “Confessions of a Newb GM: Clunky Randomness”