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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...
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...
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...
Oct
17

Craft Sizzling Social Intrigue Encounters with these Five Tips

Craft Sizzling Social Intrigue Encounters with these Five Tips If you’re like most game masters, you probably got your start running dungeon crawls. But after a dozen or so sessions, when the player characters are ready to emerge from the darkness and step into the limelight of society, the skills you’ve used to run dungeons don’t quite translate to court scenes. Crafting a compelling social encounter is a different challenge, but with a little bit of practice and preparation, you can add Game of Thrones–style intrigue to your tabletop RPG sessions. Tip #1: Start with Objectives, Add Side Quests for Flavor Like all RPG...
Oct
9

Find Your Ideal RPG Campaign Organization Method

Find Your Ideal RPG Campaign Organization Method Are you gearing up to run a new RPG campaign this fall? Do you need to get a better handle on your long-running game? Let us help you choose the campaign management option that best suits your group’s needs and your personal prep style. A Three-Ring Binder and Notebook Put the “pen and paper” back in pen and paper RPGs. It’s for You If: ✔ You’re on a budget. ✔ You’re a crafty, DIY, or “by hand” type of person. ✔ You want flexibility: you can fill the binder with handwritten and printed notes, and you can be as vague or detailed as you please....

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