Monthly Archives: January 2014

The Importance of Communication (A discussion of discussions)

Here’s something that a lot of people may not realize, even if they deal with it regularly.  Game Mastering is hard.  You have to keep up with your players’ wants, needs, abilities and plans.  You have to craft situations that challenge them or that let them feel powerful, and sometimes you have to craft a […]

End of a Series: Lessons Learned

ATTENTION:  This is the last part in a four part series.  Hopefully it stands on its own, but you may find yourself wanting to go back to the introduction a few articles back. There are a lot of things that I got better at in video game RPGs since I started playing the tabletop variety.  […]

Video Game RPGs vs. Traditional Part 2: Mechanics and Math.

ATTENTION:  This post is part of a series.  If you find yourself confused, go back and start with “JRPGs, WRPGs and Tabletop RPGs (Connections and Disconnects).” One of the big things that a player used to video game RPGs has to get used to when switching over to tabletop games is that the mechanics are […]

Narratives in Videogame RPGs Compared to Tabletop RPGs.

ATTENTION:  This is the second part of a multipart series, if you find yourself wanting a setup for how we got here, please read the previous article. As I said before, I started my RPG career with videogame RPGs.  For the longest time I didn’t know what the letters “RPG” stood for and I didn’t […]

JRPGs, WRPGs and Tabletop RPGs (Connections and Disconnects) Introduction

So much like what I assume is a large part of the current generation of RPG gamers, I got my start in front of a Nintendo rather than at a gaming table.  I played the Final Fantasy series and Chrono Trigger back when my mom was still convinced that those Dungeons and Dragons books would […]

Tabletop Tales: Large Groups Revisited

A while back I made a post about RPGs with large groups.  The other day I had my first session in a long time with seven players and I decided it would be good to revisit the subject. A big group is daunting for a lot of reasons, not the least of which is the […]

Worlds, Entry 1: NPCs, Adventurers, Heroes (Know the Difference).

My “Worlds” entries are going to be where I talk not about general gaming ideas, but specifically ideas related to creating and running worlds that not only feel organic and alive but that also feel like a world to be adventured in.  Keep in mind that these are my personal methods; I cannot speak to […]

Tabletop Tales: Big Groups

So I’ve recently let the size of my Pathfinder group get larger than I am typically comfortable with.  The group started at four, and then a player left, and then we got a new player to put us back at four.  Then one of my friends wanted to play, so we were at five.  Then […]

The Problem with House Rules

House rules are like explosives.  They can be a wonderful tool for GMs who need to tweak a system to better suit their game, but if they are used recklessly or are allowed to get out of hand then they can blow everything to hell.  Here are some simple guidelines on how to safely and effectively implement […]

Great Heroes Need Weak Adversaries (No, Seriously)

This article discusses challenge.  It also uses a lot of references to creatures in 3.5 Dungeons and Dragons and the Pathfinder RPG as that is the system I am most familiar with.  However, hopefully the concepts translate well when thinking about other RPG systems. There’s an enemy that I don’t believe sees enough play after the […]