There is a concept that I’ve seen with GMs and systems that can lead to a muddied role playing experience. This is a gaping problem I’ve found with what’s become called on the podcast and elsewhere as Session Zero. Using these systems and methods we can create vibrant settings for our players to interact with and there can be a multitude of options for what story element gets spun into the narrative that moves the group forward. Continue reading “Eyes Up: The Story Thrust”
As a player I’ve seen many GMs get distracted by the seeming whims of a player. The plot wanders all over until the GM finally gets inspiration and starts asserting their creative direction on the narrative. It isn’t enough to come up with a setting and then thrust players together to get moving themselves, as a GM you’re at the table to provide guidance and narrative shove to the player characters. Continue reading “Eyes Up: GM Focus”
I’m an improvising GM. I know that this hurts my games in some ways, but I work to even these issues out. I’ll go through my preparation stages to give a few windows into how I work out what happens in a session as well as how some of my bad habits can be overcome by other methods of pre planning. Continue reading “Eyes Up: Preparation”
My name is Ben, and I’m a GM. There isn’t a way on this planet that you could get me to change this.
I came across an article about the Yucca Mountain waste facility and the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) when the warning labels that they are trying to put in place for radioactive waste jumped out at me. This could be the label sitting over the enclosed domain of a lich or a warning for a great evil. It’s started to make me very interested in these ideas of how to best keep people out of an abandoned, and dangerous, facility. This is a very realistic but grim view of how people design these facilities.
Something weird happened with the last Eyes Up, people asked questions and commented. Here’s one that I knew would take me longer than a 5 minute response to have the answer be any sort of use.
GMs have to strike a weird balance in ongoing campaigns. Don’t do too much preparation; so that when players go off the blazed trail you aren’t starting the nights campfire with your notes. But, also have enough structure so they aren’t just spinning on the log flume again and again going nowhere. All while having a little bit of fun while doing it. Many people look to random tables to solve the preparation issue to avoid burning out from creative fatigue. The problem with that is many of the encounters I’ve seen using encounter tables have been horrible; worse than just throwing a dart at the index. There is little life to the encounter and the GM doesn’t understand how the monsters are to be utilized in the scene.