Articles from August 2010



Impractical Applications (Bringing in the New)

I talked a lot this week about the introduction of new players to a system in general and a game in particular. I’ve reason: my game was supposed to add two this week (we canceled due to a couple of scheduling conflicts, though). Both are people I’ve gamed with before, in different online contexts, but [...]

Tales from the Sketchbook: Tsubame

A picture paints a thousand words; a picture with context can say a lot about a game; but explanations of the random sketches of an artist-gamer can say the most of all. In this series, I look at the just-had-to-draw-them images distilled from my games: what they are, what they mean, why they demanded drawing, [...]

For New Players: How Does This Work Again?

It’s rough being a new player in an unfamiliar system, particularly when there isn’t much time to learn, or you’re the only one who’s functionally a new player. Particularly when there are two ways of figuring out what you’re supposed to be doing; look through the book again, and ask questions. (Probably ask questions; I [...]

Teaching a New Game: A Matter of Need To Know

Another one for RPG Blog Carnival.
The most intimidating thing about a new player joining a game, particularly an old game, is the knowledge barrier—not only for the newbie, who has to absorb all the requisite information, but for whoever brought the newbie in, usually the GM. After all, that’s the one who has to make [...]

Establishing Game Tone: Show, Don’t Tell

Playstyle, I think, is one of the likeliest things to drive a group apart. When you’ve got a full group on the same style, and on the same wavelength with the GM, it goes well. When you don’t…. well, you’ve got one person cursing things another was directly encouraging, the GM’s about ready to scream [...]

Teaching a New System: Keeping the Player’s Interest

RPG Blog Carnival this month, over at Evil Machinations, is on teaching the game to new players, whether they’re raw beginners or just inexperienced with your particular system.
I’ve had a lot of occasion to learn this one from my end. I see the game and its immersion as the main end, and the mechanics as [...]

The Generic Villain on the Status Quo

We’ve spoken about having allies, even having friends. But that’s not all. There is one thing can be the greatest ally to any Hand of Darkness; one force that bestows greater longevity than a thousand mysterious artifacts; one thing that should be sought, taken advantage of, and a part of your plan from the beginning. [...]

Impractical Applications (Keeping Track of a Battle)

I talked a while ago about a fight I’d run in my solo game, where the sole (and rather noncombatant) PC Kiriko was witness to a fight between her two allies, three enemies, and, at the very end, a third NPC. It was a formless, initiativeless, and pretty much unscripted fight, involving a whole lot [...]

How Not To Be Lost in a Scene

Yesterday, I talked about how a GM or a writer can keep from misplacing characters in a character-dense scene. But while it’s harder for someone who controls multiple characters to keep perfect track of all of them, it’s still possible for even a PC to be misplaced in a scene. Everyone’s talking too fast, it’s [...]

How Not To Misplace People in a Scene

One of the biggest problems with having four or five people operating in the same scene, regardless of its type, is the risk that the better-imaged ones will take over and the less-definite ones will get lost in the shuffle. A couple days ago, UZ asked how to avoid that without creating a completely patterned [...]