One of the things that people often take for granted when playing a tabletop game is the fact that their game mechanics are almost always engineered for a series of specific goals, and this will greatly determine the ability of a Game Master to actually create a table environment that is conducive to the sort of play that is desired. The core reason for a lot of this is simply mechanical; like a video game, if the rules don’t match the desired outcomes, the game will fail. Continue reading “Table Reflection: Finding a System that Works”
Most tabletop games take place in a world where death is a daily or weekly risk; they are glimpses of adventure, action, and risk rather than merely consisting of experiences with safety and security of an organized and regimented society. As such, characters tend to die, and many of these characters will be important. Some are meant to die, and others are not, but there’s a few general rules for the death of player characters that will keep GM’s and players happy. Continue reading “Table Reflection: Handling Player Character Death”
I can still remember a good deal of my formative tabletop roleplaying experiences, and since I essentially self-discovered the hobby they were pretty bumpy, and it wasn’t until much later that I actually read the sort of things that help with getting started playing. Today marks the beginning of my So You Want to Play series, intended to help beginners break into tabletop roleplaying with a minimum of inconvenience for both you and the group you join, primarily focusing on starting out as a player. Continue reading “Table Reflection: So You Want to Play 1 (Etiquette and Basics)”
One of the biggest things I hear players in a game I’m managing say to me runs along the lines of “Well, how do you actually set up one of these things?”. The truth of the matter is that it’s really highly flexible-some games require or encourage lots of bookkeeping (Traveller makes me shudder, but even D&D likes statblocks and numbers), while others are more fluid (Vampire the Masquerade, for instance, or a D6/Shadowrun styled system). However, there are some universal things that can help. Continue reading “Table Reflection: Managing a Campaign”
I’m a featured reviewer at DriveThruRPG, and while I haven’t been reviewing a lot of games recently because of schoolwork, I’ve been getting ready to get back in the saddle, so today’s writing will be about what I’ve noticed when playing games, namely the difference between genre and style.
One of the things that I often run into as a GM is that there’s a lot of skill required to make a good game. My players tend to like my games, but the truth is that they tend to fall a little flat, and there are a number of reasons for this, and part of the reason is that I often get over-ambitious and put my energy into the wrong places. Put simply, the important thing for running a campaign is to pay attention to one’s weakest link.
As a GM, what you do can heavily impact your player’s enjoyment of the game, and often ruin their experience altogether from a single rookie mistake.
Today’s Table Reflection isn’t going to be so much advice about what to do as much as a list of things not to do-that I’ve done. And I’d like to say that these were all from my novice days, but the truth is that they aren’t always just novice mistakes. Continue reading “Table Reflection: My Bad!”
Get it, because tabletop games usually involve dice?
Sorry, I figured I’d break the ice with a pun.
Moving on into more serious matters, tabletop gaming is one of my major hobbies-it’s cheap, entertaining, and social. Even though a lot of people who do it are often falsely labeled as anti-social (after all, who gets together to celebrate oft-violent narratives?) and some are rather accurately labeled as anti-social, I know a lot of great guys through the hobby, some of whom I’ve met online and some of whom I’ve met in person. Continue reading “Table Reflection: Learning to Roll With It”