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Jun
6

Ego Check with The Id DM – Episode 16 – Katrina Ostrander

Ego Check with The Id DM – Episode 16 – Katrina Ostrander The Id DM recently invited me on his podcast, Ego Check, an interview podcast series hosted by a licensed psychologist, Michael Mallen, Ph.D. The podcast delves into a variety of game types (e.g., tabletop roleplaying games, boardgames, videogames) from a psychological perspective. Dr. Mallen has been interviewing members of the gaming community for articles on his blog, The Id DM, since 2011 and is now posting these interviews for others to enjoy. Check it out as well as the other fantastic episodes with other guests from the gaming industry and beyond! I’m joined...
May
30

How to Become a Better Game Master According to Science

How to Become a Better Game Master According to Science So you’ve got a collection of guides for game masters, a playlist’s worth of GM tips from Geek & Sundry, and a group of players who are happy to be your test subjects. In order to become a great GM, all you have to do is clock in ten thousand hours* of practicing those techniques in order to become great at gamemastering, right? Not so fast. According to the research, simply reading a book, watching a video, or listening to a podcast and giving those concepts a try isn’t going to make you better. Peak: Secrets from the New Science of Expertise by Anders Ericsson...
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...
Dec
19

Split the Party without Dividing Interest

Split the Party without Dividing Interest Tucked away on the copyright page of the fifth edition Player’s Handbook for Dungeons & Dragons, the publisher writes, “Disclaimer: Wizards of the Coast is not responsible for the consequences of splitting up the party, […] or saying yes when the DM asks, ‘Are you really sure?’” In dark dungeons that are designed for full-strength parties of adventurers, splitting the party almost always leaves the groups too weak or ill-equipped to combat any monsters and hazards. Splitting the party can be dangerous to the player characters, but it represents another deadly...

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