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Apr
13

Gamemaster like a Pirate: Wisdom from Teach Like a Pirate by Dave Brugess

Gamemaster like a Pirate: Wisdom from Teach Like a Pirate by Dave Brugess The game master wears a lot of hats—that of group leader to storyteller to rules adjudicator, and so on—but it surprised even me how much overlap there was running a game and teaching a class. When I was prepping to run my “Agency and Narrative in Games” workshop with Bree Kaiser-Powers for the Glitch Immersion Program, I wanted to learn more about being a teacher and connecting with students. Though I’m no certified educator, I found the recommendations in Dave Brugess’s Teach Like a Pirate book to be invaluable, not only for teaching workshops, but also for...
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...
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...
Oct
26

Why Novelists Make Great (and Terrible) Game Masters

Why Novelists Make Great (and Terrible) Game Masters Last weekend, NerdCon: Stories came to Minneapolis to celebrate storytelling in all its forms. As a featured guest, I got to give a talk about narrative structure in my favorite medium for telling stories: tabletop roleplaying games. Ever since I discovered tabletop RPGs, I knew I wanted to be a game master. I wanted to be the person on the other side of the screen, the one who devises the adventures and portrays the world to the players. Coming as I did from a fiction-writing background, I thought it would be a pretty easy switch: I could use everything I’d learned...

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