Posts

Mundane Magics

Ever since my long-ago teenage years, when I wasn’t allowed to play D&D - just look at the books, I’ve played a kind of mental game with the spell lists from the various editions of D&D – What spells would I want to be able to…

Games Within The Game

I’m likely going to make the world meta-explode with this one, but let’s take that risk and talk about games. Not just the tabletop games we play, or the video games  we play when we aren’t running a game or playing in one. No, let’s…

Nine Words That Improve Your Game - What Do You Want To Get Out Of This?

Every Game Master has been in the situation where a player starts pursuing some course of action that you just can’t divine the purpose off. They attempt a long complicated string of skill rolls, roleplaying interactions, and other hare brained…

Hot Button: To Meta Or Not To Meta?

If you happen to do a search on the tag meta here on the stew, you’ll find that I tend to dominate use of the tag. That could be because I’m the only one who uses it, but it is also because the metagame is a key component in a lot of my…

Intangible Rewards – Character Development

I've got a little story for you today, it came from my last game session and it centers around the kinds of rewards we, as GMs, give to players. Sure there are rewards of straight in-game currency, there are rewards of items that boost the characters'…

A Good Story Or A Good Game

A lot of my gaming friends and I are into gaming as a storytelling experience. I tend to talk about improving games and focusing on the story at the table. That is how a lot of my games go. However, some of the recent books I’ve been reading,…

The Devil In The Details

I often find myself walking a fine line when it comes to the level of detail in a game. As both a Game Master and a player, I sometimes enjoy and sometimes hate the level of detail that a game setting provides. Sometimes I loathe being told…

Johnny’s Five – Five Things About Your Game That Will Never Beat The Reality Test

No form of entertainment is entirely realistic. Movies, video games, books, and pretty much any other form of media cut a lot of corners when portraying the world. If they didn’t, they would be bogged down with boring minutia and detail. However,…

Defining Goals

I run very improv heavy game sessions. I also do a lot of sandbox style game.  Because of this, there are a lot of nights around my gaming table where I’m picking at the players for some direction for the story. Sometimes the players…

Think About Your Game As If It Were A Movie Or TV Show

Do you ever step back from being the Game Master for a second, look at what is going on in the game, and imagine the action at the table as if it were a TV show or a movie. Even the most boring combat I recently ran has been brought up by the…

Challenge and Complexity Does Not Equal Drama And Action

As gamers we tend to think of high mechanical difficulties as bearing more drama and action. The less likely it is for us to make a roll or succeed at an action, the more exciting and tense the gaming will be. Sometimes this is true. Pulling…

Johnny's Five - Five Reasons/Ways To Get Out of A Not fun Combat

I recently ran a game that had a far too long and not fun combat in it. The party size is a little bloated, and I had planned out a combat with lots of combatants (mostly mooks who got taken out very easily, but a few actual threats) that became…