Thursday, October 17, 2019

2019 GREAT BLOG ROLL CALL IS LIVE

After working on the next iteration of the Great Blog Roll Call for the better part of the year I've finally finished it! This year's list has over 450 blogs!



Tuesday, August 20, 2019

I've Moved Blogs! Have You Joined Me?

Hey everyone!

I know that a lot of people tend to bookmark a blog and then move on but I wanted to remind all my readers that I have a new blog called Dragons Never Forget. I've been writing there this year and I've actually managed to update every single month without fail.

If you've like my stuff in the past I sure would appreciate you checking out my new blog when you have a chance!

  
Oh! I almost forgot. I'm currently working on the 2019 Great Blog Roll Call on Dragons Never Forget. I've just passed the 2014 GBRC with 378 active blogs reviewed. I'm up to the R's (arguably the largest section of the Roll Call) so I've still got a long way to go before I'm done but there's a lot of progress going on there!

Hope to see you all there soon!

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Traps, Not Just for Ex-Girlfriends Anymore

When I first started running Dungeons & Dragons (D&D) I tended to treat traps as an exercise in dice rolling to overcome the challenge I had placed before my players. There was the roll to detect the trap and then another roll to disarm it. All this rolling tended to make for rather dull gameplay.

In an effort to remedy all this tedium I started looking for more complex traps, such as those found in Grimtooth’s Traps, and began to describe them to my players in detail. We still rolled to determine the chance of success but by actually describing the traps it made them exciting in the game and players spent time discussing how to conquer the challenge the trap presented.
I got so wrapped up in the process that I started neglecting the traditional, banal traps: arrow, pit, door, and poison traps were all too mundane. This neglect resulted in me falling back into the old habit of rolling to overcome. I was dissatisfied with this aspect of my Game Mastering but then Dungeons & Dragons Fourth Edition (D&D 4e) was announced.

Saturday, December 15, 2018

The Best Villains Money can Buy

I own seventeen monster manuals, tombs, and guides across a variety of systems and editions that now clutter up my gaming shelf – the vast majority of which haven’t been opened in years. The monsters that fill these volumes range from the common flesh and blood variety, so gauche, to clockwork creations that move about automatically and deliver a sterile, clinical death. 
I have demons, deamons, devils, extraterrestrial beings, reality shifting monstrosities, and even the odd elemental man. There are robotic dragons, electric men, ambulatory furniture, and sentient toasters. Tribes of goblins, gobbers, hobgoblins, bugbears, ogres, ogrun, and giants for every type of geological feature and weather pattern imaginable. 

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Dragons Never Forget

Over the last few months I've largely been absent from Blogger. The website has been aggravating me as I've lost posts I've scheduled, and the integration with Google Plus has become a joke. So I decided to start a new blog over on Wordpress called, Dragons Never Forget. If you liked the stuff I've written on Dyvers I imagine that you'll like the things I write on Dragons Never Forget as well. The site is a bit bare right now as I'm still learning Wordpress but should begin having a lot more content showing up on it. Anyway, my first real post has gone live last night and is titled An Introduction to the “Amazing Engine,” the Role-Playing Game to Conquer Them All that Never Did.

Dyvers isn't entirely dead, by the by, but it's largely shelved for the time being.

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

GM Toolbox: Things to Do from January 24, 2005

Shortly before I was going to run my first game back in the early months of 2005 I was sitting in the Den working on a list of things that I felt like I had to master before actually running my first session. Thought I'd share those with all of you real quick.

TO DO
  1. Know all the rules
  2. Internalize everything about the world of El Fantasma del Sur (a homemade world I was using at the time)
  3. Plot out the path of the campaign for the first six months.
  4. Create an award system to encourage the players to role-play correctly!


Not a long list but full of bullshit that cripples a game at the outset. 

Know all the rules

This is the trap that a lot of players fall into when they first start talking about running a game as a Game Master for their friends. They convince themselves that the only way to do so is to know everything about the game - to achieve mastery over it - and as a result they never actually get around to playing the game. I was in that very stage of fucking off when my brother pushed me into running because he understood what I didn't at the time: that if I didn't actually run the game I would never get around to it on my own because the game isn't something that you can know perfectly. There are too many rules that are either conflicting with other rules, poorly worded, or vague enough that it's left up to the individual Game Master to come up with an understanding of how the rule is used with their group. 

When it comes to running a role-playing game knowing the rules perfectly isn't the most important thing. Getting your players to become immersed in the game, to push their own creativity, and to challenge your conceptions of what the game could be is what's most important. The rules are a framework to build your home game around. They are there for you, and your group of players, to build a game that all of you can play in together and that will allow for an experience that kicks all of your tails!

Internalize everything about the world of El Fantasma del Sur

Fucking A. This is the one that would have hung me up forever if I had really stuck to my guns on it. A game world is supposed to this organic experience where you and your players discover it piece by piece until you've built up this wholly unique thing. Whether you're in a homebrew world like El Fantasma del Sur or in a published setting like the World of Greyhawk the story that you all craft together creates a unique experience. Those settings are your own. Let them live.

Plot out the path of the campaign for the first six months.

HA!

God, I was so fucking dumb. 

Create an award system to encourage the players to role-play correctly!


HAHAHAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

I once created a split in a dungeon. Down one path I hadn't figured out what I wanted to do on it so I made it supper fucking scary with spider webs, screams, and a troll dragging a crying drow. On the other hall I had path out the dungeon and some smoking hot elven women looking down to them. They took troll road and would every time because, as my wife later told me; "When ever something seems like it's going to be okay we get nervous. If you give us two paths and one has certain death while the other has hot chicks and hard dicks we're going to take certain death every time. We can beat that. We have before. But hard dicks and hot chicks brings on mystical chlamydia, jealous ex-lovers who will kill us in our sleep, and six months of demons, devils, and dragons trying to use us as biological weapons. Fuck that."

Monday, March 19, 2018

Old Files and Transitory Thoughts

When I first started getting into playing role-playing games back fourteen years ago I tended to go online a lot searching for articles that I could use and that would inspire my imagination and improve my games. Often I would copy these into a folder I lovingly called my "DM Toolbox." The thing is that after fourteen years the Toolbox has become more akin to a junk drawer filled with all kinds of odds and ends than anything useful. 

I need to remedy that.

My plan is to explore some of those resources on here every so often and see if the articles are still worth using or if they should be deleted off my hard drive altogether. You'll be able to tell when I'm doing these articles as they'll be indexed as "GM Toolbox" on the blog. This should make it easier for people to search them. 

More later.

2019 GREAT BLOG ROLL CALL IS LIVE

After working on the next iteration of the Great Blog Roll Call for the better part of the year I've finally finished it! This year'...