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Archive for the ‘DM Tips’ Category

Simulate your battle during prep

Over on Dungeon’s Master, Ameron writes an interesting post about DM rehearsal. He discusses his experiences with regard to running D&D Encounters for two groups. He notices that the second run through is smoother and seems more enjoyable for the group.

While I think this goes without saying, I also think it bares repeating.  When a DM is comfortable with the material, it will likely run much smoother.  The easy takeaway would seem to be to prep MORE.  However, I don’t know that’s the most productive course of action. This is simply because increasing prep time doesn’t actually obtain the same results as running the material for a group.

Ok, so what are we to do?  Is this a situation that is a no-win? We simply need to run a game rehearsal or suffer the consequences? Obviously it’s not that dire. Ameron goes on to point to ways we can utilize aspects of rehearsals to improve our game. We can listen to actual play podcasts, spectate at conventions and other things.

I’d like to add something to that list, particularly as it relates to combat. (more…)

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Ok, so one of the inspirations I plan to use for discussions on this blog will be games I’m running or playing in.  Currently, I’m running a 4E campaign at Heroic Tier. It’s interesting because until I started running this game about 5 months ago, I had never met any of the players at the table.  Some of them knew each other, and had gamed together, but they were all new to me.

What this means is that I go into the game having no idea what the interpersonal relationships look like or even who’s a jerk and who’s not, if at all.  I have to say, it’s been a real blast as I get to know these people, these adult gamers, through their PCs. It takes some time to differentiate a person whom I’ve never met, from the PC they are attempting to role play. Who is it that I’m getting to know really? Is it the salesman across the table, or is it the Dwarven Battlemind leaping into the fray?  The lines are blurry and it’s something I didn’t realize would be such a deep experience. (more…)

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Spinning a yarn

This post was originally written by me for submission to Gamecrafters.net. Thanks Brian for giving me an outlet!

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I just read a great article over on Dungeon’s Master and I’d like to use it as a stepping off point for some thoughts and experiences I’ve had on the subject.  In this article, Wimwick discusses the subject of player input, and in particular, how much should players have in building the story and even the campaign.

I think he rightly surmises that player input is both vital to the story, as well as incredibly helpful to the DM, a person who often struggles with the endeavor of putting together an intriguing interactive fiction that is hopefully enjoyed by all.  He starts with the tried and true; the player back story. Then he moves on to what I think is just as key to keeping things moving along; the Paragon Path.  Wimwick supports my belief that Paragon path is more than a few extra class features and attack powers we can expect to get in the mid levels of the game. It’s something we can use to fuel our player progression and set us apart from (or bring us closer to) others in the group in a good way that advances the story while supporting creativity. (more…)

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This post was originally written by me for submission to Gamecrafters.net. Thanks Brian for giving me an outlet!

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One of the groups I currently run is taking a short break while I prepare for, and go on, a family vacation.  I had this planned for a while so I was able to make sure the narrative we were engaged in had tied up pretty nicely leading up to the break. There are several dangling strands for future adventure but nothing that is time constrained so as to make the break feel unnatural.  As far as my group of heroes is concerned, they’ve earned a nice chance to kick up their heels and let the locals gush over their hard fought successes. (more…)

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