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 [...]

Reassuring the Mechanically Unsure

When I posted to RPG Blog Carnival about reasons why a player might avoid combat, one of the possibilities I’ve covered is that of the newbie intimidated by the combat mechanics. This is, I think, one of the most straightforward of the potential player obstacles to work around, being a matter of inexperience rather than [...]

Getting a Character Into the Fray

During Monday’s RPG Blog Carnival post about reasons why players might be avoiding a fight, I started with the most simple of all: it’s a character thing. People do play characters who aren’t interested in fighting in general, or for whatever reason aren’t interested in this fight in particular, and those characters are going to [...]

Rewards That Aren’t the Fight

Oh, come on, am I the only one participating in RPG Blog Carnival this month?
When I talked yesterday about reasons why a player might be avoiding combat, one of the points I mentioned was the possibility that the player just plain isn’t getting anything out of the fight itself. Regardless of how much we as [...]

Combat Avoidance: Why Won’t They Fight?

As I admitted in the opening post for this month’s RPG Blog Carnival (still open; post away!), I’m notorious for my combat avoidance; if there’s a way to get out of a fight, I will find it, and I’m likely to take it. But I know how important it can be to just run a [...]

Some Things I Love About Shared Backstories Part 2: Behind the Screen

Last week, I talked about reasons why I, as a player, love cross-backstorying with the other players. I don’t just see it as an advantage on the player’s side, though; having PCs who’ve taken the time to coordinate their backstories has made life easier for me as a GM. Here’s how.
First of all, I don’t [...]

That Was… Almost Too Easy

“What kind of graduate program,” I ask, glaring at the computer screen, “doesn’t even make you write an essay?”
I’m still in the throes of grad school application, comparing the one I’ve been stalling on my app to with the one I’ve probably just been accepted in. Sure, the former is cheaper, but something’s been bugging [...]

Reprise: 0 and 1, or The Problem With RPG Combat

This post was originally published on August 11, 2008. I’ve found myself revisiting a lot of my topics, looking at different angles or finding alterations to make to my position, but my thoughts on this subject have stayed pretty constant.
I’ve managed to avoid most of the typical problems with my game groups. We don’t [...]

Context as Opponent Enhancer

Our heroes of the last six years plus or minus a few cast changes, having narrowly escaped the bloodthirsty duelist they really didn’t feel like fighting, climb their way down the face and shoulder of the giant undead corpse-thing towards the elbow (through which they expect to make an entrance). As they approach the elbow, [...]

Too Many Characters?

They tell you in writing that you want to make sure that every character you bother to name and detail has a specific purpose, and strongly recommend you do the same thing in your games. As a rule, it makes sense: you don’t want to overwhelm your audience too much with all sorts of names [...]