Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Make It Stronger

Recently, my Saturday group ended up in a rather interesting scenario: our GM humored me in designing an encounter for him to run. I gave him the bare-bones concept and some points of interest and he filled in the blanks and turned it into a really good session. Being an artist who is his own worst critic, I've already started looking at how I could have improved it. I'm not saying that our GM did a bad job. In fact he did incredibly well. On the other hand, I'm more looking at how he or I might improve our skills for the next time.

I can't emphasize this enough here, this is not for bragging rights or to belittle anything. This is entirely for analytical purposes. I want to turn a good scenario into a great scenario, not to reduce what was done. In picking this thing apart, you might find something you may use for your own game.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Good Question

Saturday's campaign, using the HERO System, our GM asked a very interesting question: How do I make it scary when you can hit everything?

Let's add some context. We have the latest chapter of an ongoing campaign with a major horror theme attached to it. Basically, anime-themed supernatural cops versus eldritch abominations. Admittedly, I went a little overboard conceptually, and made a character that was a tad on the broken side in combat. It's ridiculously hard for her to miss a shot. I've been doing my best to try to balance things out, going so far as to create opportunities for the GM to mess with her and not using everything she has at her disposal. Barring that little oversight, though, it is a good question to ask. 

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Feeling Adventurous?

You know what time it is. Come on and grab your friends! One of the things that drew me to tabletop gaming was the idea of building a character and having them go on wild and crazy adventures. In order to do that, I guess it might be a good idea to figure out what and adventure really is. That may seem like a duh-thing at the outset, but keep in mind that not everyone's idea of a good time is the same. To emphasize the point, when I was a kid I thought that running around the back yard with an old broom handle, 'slaying' dragonflies and defending a pillow fort was an adventure. Not that I wouldn't do that now (or haven't), but my definition of adventure has expanded over time.

Back then, adventure was a thing of going on quests, slaying dragons and rescuing distressed (distressing?) damsels. It still is in some regards, but sometimes it also includes car chases. Sometimes it's purely political and dialogue driven. Other times it's purely about retrieving fat lutes from Windex-drinking mages, or silver monkey statues from hidden temples. So what really goes into adventure? I don't know, but I'm about to speculate. Or regulate? I don't know that one either...

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

What's In A Name?

Sunday's Fantasy Craft game has reached it's first mile marker, and concluded it's first arc. Our group has decided to take a break so the GM can pen up the next one, and so we move on to a bout of Shadowrun. I'm probably the least savvy in sci-fi, and my experience with Shadowrun 4e is minimal at best. Needless to say, coming up with a character concept is going to take me a bit longer than usual. As I begin to pour over options and story ideas, one element that sticks in my mind is a very important one. One that many people, myself included, often have trouble with. The name. 

Considering that this is Shadowrun, we're also talking about an alias. A nom de geurre to protect the actual identity of the criminal I happen to be designing. As much trouble as some people have coming up with a decent name, this particular case calls for two. As much as this is going to cause me no end to headaches, I do consider this an opportunity. As much as a rose by any other name stills smells like flowery plant matter, names do have power. The idea is to tap into that power.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Art Imitating Life: Party Time!

Last weekend, I had the honor and privilege of being one of the groomsmen in my cousin's wedding. What a grand event it was, too! Plenty of new faces to get acquainted with. Myriad handshakes. Great food. Good booze. Loud music. A general party atmosphere, and at the end of it all I have a much larger family! 

I also got a little behind the scenes view of the planning and pitfalls leading up to the event. Coordination. Timing. Scheduling. Human error. It all played out like a train wreck all the way up until 'go' time. While I was meandering about the location for this joyous event, the nerd in me decided to do what I do best; take an innocuous event and turn it into an exercise in absurdity. To all you GMs out there, I started thinking about how I could turn this into event at a game table.