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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...
Dec
2

The 3-Act Formula as a Mini RPG Campaign Template

The 3-Act Formula as a Mini RPG Campaign Template Type in “novel structure” to the nearest search engine and you’ll find a smorgasbord of templates and spreadsheets to help you plot your novel, and the three-act structure is one of the most popular there is. With a couple of tweaks (and borrowing slightly from the Universal Hero Cycle), you can adapt the three-act formula into a mini RPG campaign template. The end result is nine sessions with one for character creation and prep, two for the first act, four sessions for the middle/rising action, and two for the finale/climax. This template works...
Oct
13

Day 8: How do you prep for each session?

Day 8: How do you prep for each session? Almost two years ago I wrote the first post for Day 8 of the 30 Days of Gamemastering Challenge. With two more campaigns under my belt, my prep style has evolved (perhaps matured?) into a method that works for me. Well, two methods really: one I call “scene-based” session prep, and the other one more resembling a “sandbox” full of toys and other plot hooks. Which one I choose depends on the needs of the session as well as the campaign. For a linear campaign or adventure, the scene-based prep session works just fine, but for matrix-style...
May
31

Day 27: Sharing the World with a Co-GM

Day 27: Sharing the World with a Co-GM Lately I’ve been gearing up to run my Knights of Dragoneia campaign (not that Dragonia), which is essentially a Legend of the Five Rings homebrew game heavily inspired by such animes as Magic Knight Rayearth, Escaflowne, Fushigi Yuugi, Twelve Kingdoms, and even Madoka Magica (to an extent). The story centers around the twelve Dragoneian Knights of legend, one for each of the twelve “zodiac signs” in the setting. Originally I had intended to run an episodic-style game with a large cast rotating in and out, but then my friend and coworker, Matt,...

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