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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...
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
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...
Nov
8

How to Integrate Character Backstories into RPG Campaigns

How to Integrate Character Backstories into RPG Campaigns Your players have sent you their character info for your next campaign and, as their game master, you want to incorporate their backstory elements, but you’re not sure where to start. Here’s how to break down their histories into managable pieces and utilize them throughout your campaign in a way that resonates with players. Create Obstacles Between the Characters and Their Goals One of the ways to make an RPG campaign that truly engages players is to craft a story that features their goals as subplots, sidequests, or even the central story arc. First, however, you...

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