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FFG Star Wars Edge of the Empire Session 1 – Lessons Learned

Tweet I just finished the first session of my Edge of the Empire campaign. It was a lot of fun (the actual play will be up on the happyjacks.org site in a couple weeks). Even though this was only the first session, I did learn a couple of valuable lessons. One: Character shared history. EotE doesn’t have any mechanical way to weave characters’ backstories together. With my group, this wasn’t a big deal, as they’ll all simply decide they’re a team and they work as such. But often, some players need a motivation to trust or work with other PCs. Having some sort of shared back story can help this along. Were I to do character gen again, I would ask the players for some shared experience with at least two other characters … Read entire article »

Filed under: Advice, General Gaming

A GMing Article I Wrote in 1997

Tweet I originally wrote in article for the old Happy Jacks RPG Resources. You can find it mixed in with homebrewing stuff on Archive.org if you want to find it. This article is almost 20 years old, but much of what I wrote here still rings true — to me at least. In the fall of 1978, as a seventh grader in junior high school, I was introduced to the world of Fantasy Role Playing when a friend bought the DnD Beginners Set. It came with a basic rule book and some cardboard chits in place of dice. We played through the sample adventure, and I was hooked. Within a week or two I was creating my own dungeons, and running players through them. From there I went on to Traveller, and … Read entire article »

Filed under: Advice

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 share our opinions, however there are no controls in place to vet websites, online authors, … Read entire article »

Filed under: Advice, Featured, General Gaming, Misc, Opinion

GenCon 2014: What I learned.

Tweet Here I am at home, recovering from another trip to the Best Four Days in Gaming. That’s right, I was able to attend my fourth GenCon in Indianapolis this year. It was an amazing experience to say the least, and probably my favorite con attendance ever to say the most. Let me tell you a little bit about why, and maybe I can make you even more jealous than you already are. First off, as I said, this is my fourth time attending this amazing gaming Mecca. My first year happened in 2010 when I was unemployed and had spent lots of my time helping a local game store owner open his first shop. As a thank you, he gave me a badge to the con … Read entire article »

Filed under: Advice, General Gaming, Misc

PC Back Story Example

Tweet A little more on PC backstories. I like them short, concise and packed with ideas. To illustrate, I’ll give you an example backstory for a cosmic horror PC. The son of a respected professor father from a prestigious university and a renown physician mother, Dr. Arthur Stillman lived a comfortable life, attending the best schools and universities. After finishing his post graduate work, he struggled finding employment until he received a position at Rhinefall University in west Pennsylvania as a professor of parapsychology. While respected by most of his colleagues, his unconventional theories have drawn criticism and ridicule from several prominent academicians in his field, most notably,  the coldly skeptical Dr. Henry Turn from Carrow College in upstate New York. Within these two paragraphs and three sentences, we have plenty of plot hooks … Read entire article »

Filed under: Adventure Design, Advice