Posts belonging to Category Tactics

Ravyn’s Rules of Mind Control

Into every game, a little mind-controlling the PCs seems to fall. And why not? It ensures they’re fighting one of the scariest things on the field, it forces them to change their tactics, and it gets one or more of them out of your hair. But when we’re doing this, we still need to remember [...]

Honest Manipulators

Most of the manipulative characters in both fiction and RPGs are absurdly good liars—you know, the type who could sell shoes to snakes or convince a person that the sky was red while standing outdoors at noon on a clear day. But that hides the fact that the people who are terrible at lying can [...]

Working Around “What Am I Doing Here?”

One of the perennial problems of playing in an RPG is the risk that you’re going to end up with That Character. The one who was a really cool concept originally, or who fits your style perfectly, or what have you—only then you get to the actual game and they end up completely unsuited to [...]

Condensing the Rumor Cloud

When you’re trying not to make your hints too obvious, or you want to give people a cross-section of what’s going on in a location, sometimes just one rumor isn’t going to do the job. Instead, you’ll want a rumor cloud: a set of rumors with varying levels of truth and relevance. I find the [...]

Dissecting a Rumor

I’ll be honest—when I first started writing this post, I’d been going to spell out steps for devising a single rumor. Then I realized it isn’t necessarily sequential; I, for one, start with the subject and message when I’m planning a rumor ahead, but a lot of the time I have to come up with [...]

All Rumors Are What?

I talked a lot yesterday about how useful rumors as a narrative device can be, but they often run afoul of dubious execution. In particular, I find one treatment of rumors that, unless the whole point is not-so-subtle herding, drops a lot of what makes rumors useful: when the story falls under the description “All [...]

The Joys of Rumors

Whether they like them in the real world or not, when it comes to their own worlds, plot creators—writers, GMs, you name it—tend to love rumors. Why?
Rumors are everywhere. You don’t have to worry about justifying people maintaining such a perfect oral tradition that the one little poem that perfectly describes how to circumvent the [...]

Musings of a Terrier PC

Game today included an Incident. I’ll grant, Incidents are pretty common in this particular game. We are, after all, the kind of people who will infiltrate a black market weapons convention, as vendors, with a mess of stockpiled items that would all make excellent weapons for the cause of world domination if they didn’t have [...]

Four Tips for Helping the Inexperienced Combatant

I talk a lot about people who aren’t comfortable with combat situations—since I am one, and since I’m currently in the process of running another one (and let me tell you: there’s nothing quite like having a hyperpowered character and next to no practice, while being surrounded by other players who Don’t Get how you [...]

Reprise: When Players Choose the Battleground

Originally posted on September 8, 2009.
There are some patterns I tend to see in RPG combat, particularly regarding enemy behavior. In fact, it seems like most GMs are following a simple algorithm: “If the PCs know about the enemies, the enemies make the PCs come to them. If the PCs don’t know [...]