Tag Archives: GMing

So You Want To Write An Alternate History

A few years ago, I played in my first (and currently only) GURPS game. It was set in the early Age of Sail, using GURPS rules for tech levels where we had to find a new heir to the crown in Tudor-era England after an explosion kills Henry VIII. The game was, in predictable fashion for my group and the system, a little wacky: the leader of the sailing expedition had neglected to put points in either sailing, swimming or leadership. The doctor was a manic depressive pyromaniac (aboard a wooden ship). Our priest was actively planning to betray the party, and the rest of us learned it, leading to each trying to out-scheme each other. The game never finished, but for all the craziness, I still have fond memories of it.

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“It’s What My Character Would Do!”

The party has made it to the throne room of the dark lord, stumbling from wounds and shepherding the last of their spells and strength. As they enter the lord stands up and boasts of how outmatched they are, and it’s hard to argue with him as minions lurk in the shadows. Still, the cleric steps forth to rebuke the dark one – only to gurgle as the tip of a short sword emerges from his chest. As the body falls and party members turn to face the culprit the party rogue holds up his bloody blade and swears fealty to the dark lord. Around the table players turn themselves to face the rogue’s player, voices starting to rise, as he shrugs and says “It’s what my character would do!”

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Level One Wonk: There Can Be Only One (GM)

Welcome back to Level One Wonk, where together we will wonk out on various and sundry gaming topics! Now that you’ve finished gorging yourself on turkey (and maybe checking out some Burning Wheel characters), it’s time to look down that home stretch of the year, get ready for the holiday season, and maybe even make some New Year’s Resolutions. Instead of thinking about the game today, let’s think about the gaming group. While playstyle, system, and campaign all play into a gaming group having fun, there are even more basic structural elements that are key, and it all comes down to who’s doing what.

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Adventure Log: Living on Borrowed Time Pt. 16

As the small task force led by the Borrowed Time and now going by the name of the Rabblerousers hurtled through hyperspace to put some distance between itself and Sullust, the various leaders were meeting aboard the CEC L-2783 Rabblerouser One. Definitively out of touch with High Command the mixed group of Special Operations agents, Sullustan Resistance recruits, and Bolthole Station refugees were facing down the prospect of carrying on the Rebellion by themselves. It was a daunting proposition. While they were relatively well-stocked and had essentially been growing the task force ever since leaving Dahvil, they were operating on their own initiative and with no supply line. Thankfully the Intelligence agents assigned to report to Patience had a few leads . . .

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Level One Wonk: Two Person Games

Are you a Butt-Kicker, a Specialist, or a Story-Teller? There is a huge world of games out there to satisfy every player’s and group’s style. And while there are academic discussions in every corner of the internet, sometimes it’s best to start at level one. Join the Level One Wonk in exploring the possibilities that RPGs have to offer, from Aberrant to Zorcerer of Zo. Today we look at a variation of typical gaming that takes a bit more thought: two-player gaming, with just one player and one GM! Ready to stare into someone’s eyes and tell them to roll initiative? Read on.

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Playing in Another’s Sandbox

When it comes to playing any tabletop RPG, it’s all about the story. Maybe that story is simple, with a certain amount of murderhobo-ing, minimal ‘story’ in the traditional sense, and lots of loot spent on getting better at being a murderhobo. Maybe that story is quite complex, with character development, multiple arcs, themes and motifs and the like. No matter what, it’s a story of sorts, and everyone around the table is telling it. But what about when parts of that story have been told by someone else? Not just things you’ve used to inspire your game, no. I mean, how does playing in a pre-established setting change things and challenge your group?

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Adventure Log: Living on Borrowed Time Part 15

Despite some mishaps and a few crashed airspeeders the Borrowed Time crew had managed to make it on and off the Smuggler’s Moon of Nar Shaddaa, recruiting the Force Sensitive Captain Pontay and his Sleight of Hand in the process. They were still ‘out in the cold’, however, so once they were safely back in hyperspace the rebels weighed their options for their next objective. Leaving Hutt Space would bring them by the Kwenn Space Station, where they believed another Force Sensitive to be, but the crew came to the conclusion that its proximity to Nar Shaddaa made it too hot at the moment. With Patience leading the charge because of the likelihood of getting back in touch with High Command, the destination was chosen: Sullust.

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Level One Wonk: Adventure Structures

Are you a Butt-Kicker, a Specialist, or a Story-Teller? There is a huge world of games out there to satisfy every player’s and group’s style. And while there are academic discussions in every corner of the internet, sometimes it’s best to start at level one. Join the Level One Wonk in exploring the possibilities that RPGs have to offer, from Aberrant to Zorcerer of Zo. This week, instead of diving into any system in particular, we take a look at structuring adventures within broader games. Want to leave the dungeon? Shadowrunners getting bored with stealing data caches? Check this out.

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Adventure Log: D&D for Beginners

In the small trading town of Devonshire, a small group of adventurers just getting their start had a simple job: go to the town, find the adventurer-turned-bandit calling himself Baron Dunbar, and bring him to justice alive or dead. Rumors had it that the Baron and his bandits were actually in the town itself, spending their nights at the Pachyderm & Palace tavern. The adventurers would have to get into the town, gain access to the tavern, and deal with Dunbar and his bandits.

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Adventure Log: Living on Borrowed Time Part 14

The Borrowed Time, the CR-90 corvette called the Last Ditch, and a mixed group of starfighters cruised through the darkness of space, several hyperjumps away from the planet Dahvil and the now-destroyed Rebel base there. While the rebels had made good their escape and savaged the Imperials in the process they were faced with an immediate problem: the Time‘s communication codes with Alliance High Command had expired days ago, and new ones were supposed to be delivered to them via the now-destroyed base. With no way to immediately get back in touch with the Alliance, the small task force was going to have to rely on old intelligence and their own judgment; they’d be picking their own objectives for a while.

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