Posts belonging to Category Tactics

Recurrences, Plot and Catch-22

We all know about recurring villains. They’re fun, they save you chargen, they exist as reasons for the PCs to get better and as targets for them to go strike at when they might be otherwise unmotivated—in short, they’re blasted useful, so we use them. Good stuff. On the other hand, that means that every [...]

Just Because It’s Not Your Scene…

Into every game, a couple scenes that not everyone’s enjoying seem to fall. (Heck, even the enjoyment varies. Some people have characters who are into it but are dead bored themselves, or are enjoying the scene but the character has no use for it.) It’s reasonable not to be having fun. We aren’t a tabletopping [...]

Challenge vs. Slog, Part 2: Contextual Slogging

Yesterday, I talked about mechanical factors that could turn a challenging battle into a boring slog. Today, I’m going to talk about contextual factors; reasons why what’s going on in the game could bring out the slog in an otherwise awesome challenge.
We really can’t see the relevance. One of the things that helps keep a [...]

Challenge vs. Slog, Part 1: Mechanical Factors

There is nothing many game groups like more than a challenging fight. But somewhere in every battle is a point where it goes from a brilliant challenge they’ll be talking about several plot arcs down the road to the worst thing a fight can become: the dreaded slog. The slog might not defeat the characters, [...]

Weaponized Weaknesses

I’ve talked a lot about the kinds of things a character can turn into weapons—but then there’s one of my favorite ways, one that backfires easily, but that works spectacularly. What happens when a character uses her own weaknesses as part of her arsenal?
Things get interesting.
Part of it is just the effect. A character uses [...]

Battlemap? What Battlemap?

When I looked over the prompts for this month’s RPG Blog Carnival (Location, Location, Location, hosted at Campaign Mastery), one of the first that stood out to me was “How do you represent a location if you don’t have a matching battlemap?” It’s not that I’ve never had that problem, just that I’ve never seen [...]

How Not to Talk to Yourself

Yesterday I talked about things a GM can do when running a scene in which it makes sense for the focus to be NPCs talking to each other. Enough positivity; let’s look at what not to do.
Don’t make it an uninterruptable soliloquy. Heck, don’t make it something where it could technically be interrupted, but the [...]

The Art of Talking To Yourself

Running a scene, or even part of a scene, in which the only ones talking are one or more NPCs is a vexed issue among tabletoppers. On the one hand, the PCs are expected to be the focus on the action; if they weren’t, why else would we be playing? The game’s about the PCs. [...]

Dealing with Setting Discontent

A setting can make or break a story. Sadly, the setting is a lot more rigid than the character; characters are expected to arc on a regular basis, and can usually do so with relatively minimal justification, but for precepts of a world or a culture to change generally requires a bit more of an [...]

Running for Smart PCs

It’s pretty easy for a GM to manage a group whose idea of ideal characters to emulate are your standard sword and sorcery hero. Provide plenty of things for them to pound/spellcast at/otherwise beat to a pulp (possibly with variations for the ones who do it from behind, or do it with a little bit [...]