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Apr
6

GamerNationCON 4 Debriefing

GamerNationCON 4 Debriefing Last weekend I flew down to Plano, Texas, for GamerNationCON 4, a tight-knit tabletop gaming convention put on by the amazing folks of the d20 Radio network. They’d invited me to the guest of honor and run some of my favorite games, as well as to give a talk on gamemastering and developing roleplaying games. I’m so happy they did, as I had a blast meeting the GamerNation tribe and getting to put some faces to the names of people in the Star Wars RPG fan community. And there were some unforgettable gaming moments to boot! Besides running events of my own, I was also...
Jan
24

What I Learned From Women RPG Groups

What I Learned From Women RPG Groups Like many women who are part of the hobby, my first experiences in role-playing games (RPGs) were with groups predominantly composed of men. Although I had a blast playing with them and quickly grew to love the hobby, it wasn’t until many years later that I had a chance to run games for groups that were made up of mostly women or all-women. I was shocked by how the tone of the group seemed so different from what I was used to: cooperation and camaraderie reigned over competition and power gaming. As a game master (GM), these groups that skewed heavily female pushed...
Jan
23

5 Tips for Gamemastering an RPG System for the First Time

5 Tips for Gamemastering an RPG System for the First Time Inspired to try your hand at running a new roleplaying game for the New Year? Approaching an unfamiliar ruleset can be daunting, but with the right tools you can learn the mechanics more quickly and easily, making for a smoother first session when you finally have a chance to play! Here are my five tips for teaching yourself a new RPG system. Tip #1: Equip Yourself with a Beginner Game, Starter Set, or Quickstart Product Publishers have tried to make it easier than ever to pick up and start playing their games. Rather than starting out by reading the whole core...
Jan
13

Choose Your Way to Better RPG Session Prep

Choose Your Way to Better RPG Session Prep The Dragon Age, Mass Effect, and The Witcher video game series have all made names for themselves by forcing players to make important choices throughout the game. Although decision points in tabletop roleplaying games aren’t bound by a studio’s limitations the way video games are, many game masters (myself included) don’t capitalize on our medium because we don’t consciously consider giving players meaningful choices while we plan a campaign. Instead of preparing an adventure by assembling a series of encounters, game masters can design their narratives around...
Jan
8

Mini RPG Campaign Template: Session 3

Mini RPG Campaign Template: Session 3 Welcome to Session 3 of the Mini RPG Campaign Template, our own Empire Strikes Back of the universal hero cycle. You’ve introduced the PCs to a supernatural/powerful mentor or ally in the previous session, and after the PCs traveled to the first new location they tackled the first of three subplots (or side quests). Having been introduced the world, the conflict, the actors, and the stakes, we’re headed into Act 2 territory. A word of caution as we proceed: the second act is notoriously difficult to plan and prep. You might have experience with the slog that is the...

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