A multifaceted blog on RPGs

Posts Tagged ‘Gamemastering’

Science Fiction For Fantasy GMs II – Waiter, There’s A Magic Sword In My Space Soup

In Generic on July 2, 2009 at 12:34 pm

To say that the posting on this blog has been infrequent lately is akin to saying that Palin for vice president wasn’t a particularly good idea. In both cases, those responsible would prefer to just move on with their lives and forget the whole thing. With that said, posting frequency will continue to be low for a while, due to real life stuff.

In my first post on this subject, I looked at the staying power of fantasy campaigns in order to find the reasons why my D&D games can run on low fuel for months without people losing interest, while my SF ventures need a constant flow of fresh ideas to stay alive. I identified some areas where a fantasy campaign stands out from its SF counterpart and I got some more tips in the comments. In this post, I will look at some ideas on how to incorporate common fantasy themes in SF campaigns while keeping the SF flavor an not delving too much into midichlorians and light sabres.  Read on for more tips on how to make your SF campaign successful by taking a page from the fantasy book.

Read the rest of this entry »

Science Fiction for Fantasy GMs I, aka Orcs in Spaaaaaace!!!

In D&D 4E, Generic on March 18, 2009 at 10:20 pm

I’m not very much into fantasy literature. The little non-work-related reading I manage tend to be more in the Science Fiction genre. When it comes to roleplaying however, it’s all orcs and elves. It wasn’t always like this, of course, I’ve done my share (and still do) of non-fantasy gaming: steampunk, cyberpunk, espionage, cold war supers, pulp and so on. But when it comes to campaign staying power and player satisfaction, nothing compares to run-of-the-mill, vanilla fantasy. For me as a GM, this is highly unsatisfying, I want to run Science Fiction dang nabbit! However I try though, my epic SF campaigns rarely last more than 4-5 sessions. So a while back, I asked a couple of friends of mine: what’s so hard about science fiction gaming? I then realized that the question should be: what’s so easy about fantasy?

To that end, I start this series of posts about Space Fantasy, the hows, the whys, the dos and the don’ts. Read on for the first post in the series, What’s the deal with fantasy anyway?

Read the rest of this entry »

The Dwarven Gate Puzzle

In D&D 4E, Generic on January 24, 2009 at 6:47 pm

Edit: There’s a follow-up to this post here.

The other day, my group of players were encountering a dwarven kingdom, closed to the world for 1,500 years. I wanted the gate to the kingdom to be something special and also wanted a shift in pace from all the combat, so I made it a puzzle. Now puzzles are hard to design. Too difficult and they easily become frustratingly impossible, too easy and they don’t leave an impression. This one ended up pretty well, keep reading if you want an instant Dwarven Gate puzzle you could add to your adventure.

Read the rest of this entry »

Thoughts on Skill Challenges

In D&D 4E on January 24, 2009 at 12:30 am

With Skill Challenges, Wizards made perhaps the most experimental change in D&D 4E. For a high-profile game that focuses nearly all of it’s “crunch” on hitting things with other things, the Skill Challenge is a surprisingly ambitious and avant-garde non-combat resolution system. It is flexible, dynamic, engaging and fun. At least in theory. As many before me have noted, the Skill Challenge rules are perhaps the least stable of the sub-systems in D&D 4E. This is of course not surprising, as 90%¬†of the text in the three core books deals with combat¬† and the 10% that make out skill descriptions, skill challenges and parts of the DM’s guide is supposed to cover everything else. Read on for some thoughts on how to design good Skill Challenges. Read the rest of this entry »