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 [...]

Isn’t That a Bit Too Much Power?

I’m not going to try to claim that the power fantasy isn’t an integral part of the RPG experience. The illusion of competence, lots of shiny effects with which one can attempt to butter-knife through one’s foes—that’s always been a part of it. But there are always those who get the shinies on their first [...]

They Mean Well

I think this might be the most universal of traits for RPG parties that don’t fall into the Chaotic Klepto mode: they mean well. UZ referenced one a few comments ago. Ursula Vernon’s Livejournal occasionally has the adventures of another. My groups fit as well, usually in a “This wasn’t quite what we intended to [...]

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 [...]

Feelings and Proactivity

Not long ago, I found myself listening to the audiobook version of How We Decide, a book about how the brain makes its choices. There was one point within it in which it pointed out that while it’s been assumed throughout history that eliminating feelings and leaving a person as a purely rational entity should [...]

Take Back (Part of) the Limelight!

It was an accident, really. Maybe it was a long-established game and you were a new player. Or it was a new game, but you hadn’t had as much experience with the system as the others, or assumed a different focus from what the game ended up being, or just didn’t mesh quite as well [...]

To Order or not To Order?

For many people, taking turns is an integral part of the RPG experience. Battle has initiative order. Play-by-posts might have posting order. As it came up when one of my friends in the wiki play-by-post we’re both in talked to the GM about his adherence to posting order, “I told him again that posts shouldn’t [...]

GMs Need Parameters Too!

The other day, I was working with one of my colleagues on an adventure design, and came up against a problem involving an encounter build—I had an image, he had some things he wanted out of it, we were having a somewhat hard time finding the middle so we could meet in it. But the [...]

Exercise: As Someone Else

This one’s an idea I’ve toyed with on several occasions—once as a sort of RP team-building exercise, once as a theoretical experiment, once because I was bored. Like most of my exercises, it helps to know the available pool of characters. Unlike them, it also helps to know the pool of players; this one isn’t [...]

Authority Levels and the Gaming Table

Yesterday, I talked about comfortable authority levels, the general hierarchical positions to which people tend to find themselves drawn. But they aren’t just for characters; I’ve noticed that comfortable authority levels can also have a large influence on how a person both GMs and plays.
Of yesterday’s types, leaders are the likeliest to end up GMing [...]