Talking to the Combat-Reluctant GM

I’ve spent this week talking about the reasons why a GM might be prone to combat evasion, as a continuation of RPG Blog Carnival. No amount of knowledge, however, does any good without putting it to use. So what can you do if you’re looking for action but your GM isn’t enthused?
First, see if you [...]

More Meta-Fight Rewards for GMs

Yesterday, I continued my stream of RPG Blog Carnival posts by talking about about why many of the player rewards for participating in a fight didn’t apply quite as well when on the GM’s side of the screen. But what other sorts of rewards can a GM whose thing just isn’t combat look for or [...]

Meta-Fight Rewards: GMs vs. Players

“As a GM I often feel too much like I’m trying not to win, but to fail with style.” –my regular GM, during a discussion of his tendency to flit between systems.
In yesterday’s RPG Blog Carnival post, one of the problems I noted for GMs going into combat was that many of the rewards that [...]

Why a GM Might Not Fight

In the spirit of RPG Blog Carnival, I spent the last week suggesting ways for GMs whose players are averse to combat to address the problems that cause that aversion and mitigate them. This week, though, I’m going to hit the converse of that topic: what happens if you’re itching for a fight, but the [...]

Some Things I Love About Shared Backstories

I recently talked about the process I’ve found most successful when concocting a shared backstory between two or more PCs. As you’ve probably guessed from the collection of cross-backstoried characters I listed off during said post, I find shared backstories to be one of the most rewarding parts of putting together a new character, sometimes [...]

The Art of the Cross-Backstory

We don’t have to work alone when we’re coming up with our PCs’ histories—and a lot of us don’t want to! GMs like cross-backstories because it means they can circumvent the getting the group together part and focus on the actual plot; a lot of players enjoy the chance to collaborate—heck, some game systems even [...]

Culture Acclimation: Five Ways to Not Give Offense

It’s good to know what we need to know before we turn our characters loose on a new culture, and how to find it out, but sometimes knowledge just isn’t enough to keep our character’s feet safely out of their mouths. Instead, we need to figure out where the cultural traps are, and how to [...]

Ways to Learn a World

I talk a lot about characters fitting into their worlds, but I know it’s not always easy. Most of the time, there really isn’t time—or in some cases, there isn’t much motivation, or enough information—for a player to really understand the world that she’s just started playing in, or even the specific combination of culture [...]

Players on the Boundary

When we think about the line between GM and PC blurring, usually what we think of is the infamous GMPC, apparent center of the universe. And certainly, that is a prime example of too little difference between one and the other.
But the blend isn’t always negative; neither is it always necessarily the GM’s role shading [...]

Why GMs Love Products of Their Culture

Making a character truly belong to his or her culture isn’t just a way to give her depth, color and a distinctive style. For the RPG player, it’s also a way to score points with the GM. What’s so great about a PC who’s clearly been shaped by her environment?
First, it shows a willingness to [...]