Category Archives: RPG tools

More Prep–More Props

I am a terribly lazy GM. If possible I try not to do any prep at all and usually rely on my improvisational skills to run my games. But this had led to a certain problem. I am not sure if my players have noticed yet, but I definitely feel it: the game is often not as exciting as it could be. Back in the day, I created cool props (like newspaper clippings, maps, etc.), prepared complex plots, and came up with memorable NPCs. I still do this, but on a much reduced level. Especially my weekly game could need some more “flair”, if you get my drift.

Recently my friend Marcus posted about his upcoming Fallout-themed Savage Worlds game. Wow! Check out the photo below and tell me that’s not totally awesome!

savagefallout

The character sheets look like the Pipboys from Fallout, he created Nuka Cola bottlecap (for use as bennies) and if I am not mistaken he even aged the deck of cards to look like they were from a post-nuclear-war era. This level of dedication and preparation immediately lifts the game to a different level. I am pretty sure most players honor such dedication to the game and it also should help to establish immersion into the setting.

If I am looking at my game sessions, this is what they are most lacking. Yes, my players are enjoying themselves, I usually do so, too, but I am sure things could be so much more awesome. There are a lot of reasons why I haven’t done that much prep work (or created props for that matter) anymore: work, family, the house, my mental health, computer games … But I think some more prep work and perhaps a few more props will help to improve my GMing and make our games much more memorable.

Of course not every game needs custom bennies and aged playing cards, but sometimes a simple handout prepared before the game can make a huge difference.

RPG a Day 2016: A Matter of Character – Day 25

Back to our regular schedule! We’re on the home stretch. As August draws to a close, #RPG a Day 2016 is near its end for this year, and I’m in the midst of getting ready for something important. I hinted at it yesterday, but today’s not the day I’m telling you about it. Instead today the topic is all about characters, specifically…

August 25: What makes for a good character?

This question can be answered from three different perspectives, as a game master, as player a, and as a fellow player. Allow me to get a little philosophical and tackle the subject in that order.

Character Concept

The answer as a GM may be a little trite, as it’s usually this, a good backstory! To a certain degree that’s true, as GMs we weave stories together from the character’s backgrounds, motivations, goals and the campaign elements such as the history, the NPCs, conflicts, etc.). An uninteresting, or worse nonexistent, character background really limits the tools you have in your toolbox. Not all GMs integrate a character’s backstory into the game, but for me that’s an integral part of what makes a campaign significant for the players and interesting for me. Of course, there can be such a thing as too much story! Continue reading RPG a Day 2016: A Matter of Character – Day 25

RPG a Day 2016: Favorite Inspiration for your Game Part 2 – Day 15

Another week begins, and a new set of posts for #RPGaDay 2016 challenge. Here’s hoping everyone had a great weekend. Let’s get going with today’s topic…

August 15: What types or source of inspiration do you turn to most often for RPGs?

Inspiration

Sources of inspiration were the topic of Day 26 of RPG a Day last year. I won’t repeat what I said there; let me just tell you that I talked about comics, Babylon 5 and telenovelas. Yeah you read that right.  Click on the link at the beginning of this paragraph to go and read that post. I’ll wait right here for you…

Welcome back!  What did you think about it? Continue reading RPG a Day 2016: Favorite Inspiration for your Game Part 2 — Day 15