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People, Places (and later, Plans)

Tweet I’m currently running two games and have a convention coming up (where I’m also running two one-shots), so it’s no surprise that game prep has been at the forefront of my mind. The way I see it, my game preparation has three areas of concentration: people, places and plans. I’ll talk about about the first two this time around and the last one later. People (NPCs) This should be the primary concern of every GM. Your players have created characters with (hopefully) interesting backstories, motives, hopes and dreams. They deserve interesting people to interact with. I always try to start with motivations when it comes to NPCs. If I know what they want out of life (both short-term and long-term) I know how they’ll react in most situations. I also try to get an … Read entire article »


Notes on Upcoming AP – The Mote of Sin – Vampire V20

Tweet   After I read through V20, I realized that the characters can be wildly diverse. Even though I’m only allowing the seven Camarilla clans, where they are in the socio-economic spectrum, how much influence they wield can vary widely. To summarize, here’s the party makeup: A Toreador who inherited a fashion design house from her sire; a Ventrue investment banker who was set up with a subsidiary corporation by her sire; and a Gangrel janitor (who owns a good amount of income property) and a Nosferatu who doubles as a stand-up comic. The opening scenario, which I’d come up with prior to character generation) was about a vampire poaching on their territory . Having never run Vampire before … Read entire article »

Swords & Wizardry Encounter Contest Extended!

Tweet We’ve decided to extend the deadline for Happy Jacks S&W Encounter Contest to May 24th, 2015.  This gives you more time to get your entries spiffed up and us more time to judge all the entries.  The rules for the contest are as follows: Come up with your best 1-2 page encounter for Swords & Wizardry.  It needs to be something which any S&W DM can drop into their game when a quick encounter is needed, for any version of S&W. So there should be a little bit of a story, maybe a twist, a small map, etc., not just “here’s three orcs in a cave”. It should be something similar to a 1 page dungeon … Read entire article »

Why the DnD5E DM Screen is Almost Perfect (perfect is impossible, BTW)

Tweet I just opened my DnD5E Dungneon Master’s Screen, and I am delighted. This is by far the closest a preprinted GM screen can come to perfect. The perfect GM screen would include information about the PCs, like weaknesses or disadvantages, but that’s impossible for a preprinted screen, of course. Why is it so good? Here’s why: Random NPC Tables The left-most panel of the DM side of the screen contains about the most useful information a GM can have at-a-glance. It features five random tables for fleshing out NPCs. Your players meet a shopkeeper and they start up conversation with a poor bloke who doesn’t even have a name. No problem. These five table will give you a fleshed out PC … Read entire article »

What Can We Learn from #GamerGate?

Tweet Since August, the internet has been in an uproar about the #gamergate controversy. It seems that everyone has a different opinion about the point of the movement and its impact on the industry. Regardless of what the parties involved intend, and the horrible behavior of jerks abusing the anonymity provided by the internet, there are two main issues that should be pulled from this clusterfuck and more closely examined. 1. Ethics in Journalism Regardless of your feelings about the #gamergate movement, this is an important issue that shouldn’t be ignored. When I was a teacher, I always warned my students about the information available on the internet. The internet gives us incredible freedom to express ourselves and … Read entire article »