Hacking the Game

I've got a player who loves D&D, except for the parts of anything that he thinks suck. This class is underpowered in this way, this power doesn't work most effectively, etc. He isn't a power gaming type and he isn't a houseruling type, but…

F.A.P.: The Problem With Dexterity

I'm going to be starting a new series of posts about Frequently Abused Powers. Things that can overpower a game and kill the fun factor. Something like a really high Dexterity. I'm going to call it . . . F.A.P. (Frequently Abused Powers):…

First Time GMing - Doing a Job That You Don't Know How To Do

I remember my first time GMing. It was after the third game I'd ever played in any system, ever. I caught the bug. I wanted to GM and do a better job than our current GM. Boy were there LOADS of things that I didn't know. I hadn't read enough…

What Dr. Horrible's Sing Along Blog Can Teach You About GMing

So if you didn't catch Dr. Horrible's Sing Along Blog while it was around then you missed out on something incredible and must now go purchase it on Itunes. For those who missed it, Dr. Horrible's Sing Along Blog stars Neil Patrick Harris as…

Ah, the good old Scry and Fry.

Ah, the good old Scry and Fry. The term Scry and Fry was brought to my attention recently and it got me thinking about information gathering techniques in games. In most any type of game setting there is always some element of information gathering…

Tell Me How To Run a Super Short Game

I'm going to be running a few convention games at Origins this year. Mostly demo games for a new system, so they will be structured with all the elements layed out before I go. However, a few of the games will be games that are fairly standard…
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The Smell of a Good Wine, The Sound of a Crushing Bone

One of the things that I love to do at the gaming table is to create a sensory experience for the players. I like to use music to set the mood, handouts and props to give a tactile feel, and unique pieces of scenery on the gaming space to create…

Game Balance or Catering to the Players?

Almost as big as the debate over GMs fudging or not fudging die rolls is the debate over whether games should be balanced to the rules or cater to the players enjoyment. Well maybe not so much, but it is definitely something we talk about…

Making Challenges That Players Love To Beat

I talked a bit before about what inspires cool gaming moments. The hardly subtle (the b is silent) tone of that post was about GMs molding their games to the players to make cool things happen. This is one of many ways to get players to talk…

The Inspiration for Cool Gaming Moments

For all the times that I have run a game, it is never a full campaign that is talked about after the fact, but the individual moments that make the characters shine. When Sun the warrior battled the mythic beast in one on one combat, or when…

The Tools Of The Game

The way a GM sets up their personal fortress of solitude at the gaming table is very indicative of their style. Some GMs run their games behind a stack of books and official published material, while some GMs run their games with just a pair…

Illustrations vs. Descriptions: And the winner is . . .

As I've started to run more and more published settings and adventures, I find myself doing something new to my GMing style. I've been turning the adventure/setting/rule book to my players and just pointing to art that is built into the product. Using…