Tuesday, September 30, 2014

The Evil GM - Kids around the table, Let them play or No way?


When I was doing the Roll For Initiative Podcast this past Sunday, we had a question from a listener asking about what is the right age to bring your kids to a convention to join in on the fun.

Monday, September 29, 2014

The Evil GM - Details... details...is it in the Details?


How important are details in your campaigns or adventures? It's easy to miss a detail or two for certain things while running a game.

Friday, September 26, 2014

The Evil GM - Minis or Tokens?

 

When we game we always tend to have some type of visual on the gaming table, because not everyone is able to picture the scene in their mind. This mostly applies when it comes to combat, we all like to see where we are, compared to the baddies and figure out how we can plan our attack on them.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

The Evil GM - How detailed are your Towns?


The other day on the Brain Storm Podcast - The Think Tank, we recorded an episode (yet to be released) that myself, +Glen Hallstrom and +Erik Tenkar had brainstormed out our own towns for the listeners. 

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

The Evil GM - Kick Starter "Gamer's Notebook"


Saw this post yesterday Oubliette Magazine's blog and I thought it is an interesting idea for a kickstarter. I've seen note books where it was graph paper, and just plain notebook paper, but this combines both and its on wire-frame bind, which makes it excellent for working with on the fly.

Quoted as:
"The sheets in the notebooks will be litho-printed in grey on both sides. One side will have a 6mm grid, and the other side will have lines for notes. This will make them an ideal tool for writing game notes and ideas wherever you may be. The notebooks would also make perfect campaign diaries, in which players can collate maps and other essential notes as a game progresses.
The front covers of the notebooks will be left blank allowing you to write your name, campaign title, etc. The back cover will have a Squarehex.co.uk logo printed on it at the bottom."
Best of luck to +Peter Regan and I hope its funded.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

The Evil GM - Where Do the Walls End?


This is on the topic of railroading having to say, "no". Well its more about when to put up the wall and say, "No" and how it can become disruptive when players get out of control. I personally never like to say "no" to a player when they attempt to do something, instead I'd rather say, "Okay let's try it..".

Monday, September 22, 2014

The Evil GM - Handing Out Favor Points.


Giving out favor by the GM/DM, has been a common thing since gaming was invented. It started as just a thing around the table, where the DM would award a player a special "favor" in the game for their character. 

Friday, September 19, 2014

The Evil GM - "I'm the DM, My Campaign, My Rules."


DM Fiat, we've all experienced a game where the person running it changes the rules to fit the situation at hand. Maybe you don't care much about it as long as the game is fun or maybe it drives you up the wall to the fact you've moved on from playing with that DM.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

The Evil GM - DM Style, On the fly vs Prepped


Some people claim that on the fly DM'ing is a natural skill, improving things left and right to entertain their players. While other DMs will prep every little detail, making sure there is no unanswered questions that come up for the most common things, there is no lull, there is no lack of consistency at all in his games.

I mostly fall under the DM'ing on the fly, and will jot down only key points that happen when I am "making things up". 

Most people enjoy either style, while most people dislike on the fly DM'ing, because things are not constant and things happen to change too much for their taste.

I did an entire Actual Play podcast, called the Book of Sorrows, where all I did for prep was jot things down on a yellow sticky note at work before the game. Could the players tell? Yes. Did they have a great time, Yes.

What style do you enjoy or use?

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

The Evil GM - Actual Play Podcasts, Thoughts?


Do you listen to actual play podcasts that float around on the web? Do you find listening to other game masters weave a story and see how the players react? Maybe you steal ideas from the GM for your games, maybe you don't. 

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

The Evil GM - Gaming and Drink, Bad idea?


So you sit down to gaming, after the entire week of working and in comes a buddy or two with a bottle of his or her favorite drink. The person brings enough to share with the entire group, regardless of the fact if anyone wanted it.

Monday, September 15, 2014

The Evil GM - Gaming Props - Coins



Great little site I've stumbled into, and it maybe worth looking into to get a few of these for your campaign or adventures. There is nothing like putting a prop in your players hand to show what you are describing. 

Check out the coins..


I like to give out props or use visuals when I can in my game, I think it helps players get in the mood of the game. It also does show your players that you have taken the time to prep, and put great care into the game you are running.

While some GMs could careless, run a great game, and the players will enjoy it. But could that extra step make it go from a great to awesome?

Do you use props? How do you feel about them?

Friday, September 12, 2014

The Evil GM - Encumbrance, do you keep track?


In all editions of all games there is always a rule about encumbrance, defining how much a character can carry on himself before it slows him down or puts a strain on things they would normally be able to do with no issues.

Players will (if the DM allows it) turn their character into little hoarders, pocketing anything and everything they can get their hands on. Hey, you never know when you will need something, right?

Normally I am not a hard-ass when it comes to keeping track or enforcing it. I will within reason say things like.."Well, I will let you carry.. X and Y, but you will be a little bogged down."

I also am upfront to my players, telling them I am very laid back and will always make sure fun ensues over a rule, and will make judgement calls on the fly to keep the action going.

With that said, when it comes to encumbrance, I tell my players there is a reasonable amount and I will let them know if its too much, which they are fine with. I also tell them, if this is not acceptable then we need to find a new method or please jot down how much weight things are, keeping track of everything so it remains true to the rules. I haven't had one player want to do that.

Face it we are in the game to have a good time and if people don't enjoy sitting around being the accounts the game wants, its always fun to have a DM just kind of waive a hand.

Now with that said, there are some people that love to play with numbers, keeping track and playing it as real as possible, which is cool too. To each their own I say.

What method do you fall towards and how do you handle it in your games?

Thursday, September 11, 2014

The Evil GM - 9/11 Never forget.


Today is 9/11.

We all remember what happened. 

We all remember what we were doing that very day.

You can never forget.

I will never forget how I lost a family member that day. I lost my Aunt.

She was a wonderful and kind person, who taught me a lot when it came to computers. She was tech savvy, and had a keen eye for things.

What hurts me the most, was the reason she was in that situation was because of me. 

I was offered a job to do desk-side technical support for Goldman Sachs, which was located in the towers.

I declined that job for some odd reason, but referred them to my Aunt who had just recently ended a contractor job. She took this job.

So I wasn't going to post this or anything about it, but +Erik Tenkar 's posting about 9/11 inspired me to get on here and dedicate a post to her.

The Evil GM - TPK, OH NO! It happens!


You've been in a great adventure, things are looking up, your character has made it past level 1, level 2 and finally made it into level 3, where he is a bit more stable. Suddenly the DM is throwing different monsters at you, the rewards are getting bigger and you decide that its time to take a few more risks.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

The Evil GM - Oh no, that magic item... SIGH.


Sometimes in a game we as the DM will design these awesome looking magical items and they look great on paper, but when we give them out during game play we often regret giving them out. Sometimes these items are just killers for a campaign or maybe that one adventure you designed up for the night. 

You also know the player will make sure his character holds on to it like its gold, knowing that he has an "edge" on things. 

I've seen plenty of DMs who will try to take it back from the character by throwing all these monsters or even find a way for someone to steal it with a "no chance you will catch him" scenario. I had a person like that, he would give us these awesome weapons one week, and then see what havoc it caused to his game and suddenly took them away the next week. It came down to the point we just started writing things on a sheet of scratch paper to toss in the trash because we knew it was going away. Did we talk to him? Yes, did he stop? Nope.

I've also seen some DMs who will just go with it and watch the wonderful campaign he has created crumble and fall apart due to this mistake. I've seen this mostly at convention plays and some local gaming store groups. The DM just goes with the mistake and tries to ignore it, hoping the player will come to his senses. 

In this situation I would talk to the player on the side and let him know of the mistake, and ask him  to kindly give it up, and maybe offer him up something a bit different in exchange. Most players will take the offer knowing that it will help the game play and the story for the DM as well as keep the fun rolling for the group. Face it, we've all been in at least one game where one character get this super awesome thing and destroys all. Its kind boring for everyone else.

As the DM, do you have the right to "clean up your mess" or "let the cards fall where they may?"


Tuesday, September 9, 2014

The Evil GM - No Show, NO XP! But I'm falling behind!


Now we all know life happens. We all love the game, but sometimes real life prevents us from gaming, and it just can't be helped. You want to play, you really do, but you seem to miss every third game or maybe you miss 2 games in a row as the rest of your friends are able to make it each game with little to no issues. You hate to keep doing it, but crap happens. 

Monday, September 8, 2014

The Evil GM - The no show player, what to do?


I am sure all of you have had this happen to you at one point or another as a DM or as a part of a group you play in. Most groups play once a week, some play more depending on how much time everyone has to get together. Some groups get together even less, maybe twice in a month or once a month might be the amount of time they can spare for gaming. Hey whatever it is, its sure to be the night you are most looking forward to doing. Who goes to gaming night saying, "Oh damn, its time to game.. I hate this.."

Friday, September 5, 2014

The Evil GM - The Disinterested player, what to do?


We've all seen it as a DM, sitting there at the table, one player not paying attention. You might not think anything of it and keep things going thinking maybe the person is just distracted today. But as the game goes on, you see that you really have to draw this person's attention and they are not willingly contributing to anything.

The Evil GM - Sexy COSPLAY Friday

The best Lady Death I've EVER Seen. Man I love that Comic.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

The Evil GM - What to do with players, who make dumb moves..


Most people say that Advanced Dungeons and Dragons first edition is all about paranoia and a DM getting the upper hand on his players, punishing them. Well I believe it all depends on the person running the game, a good DM will drive a story first before pounding his players into the ground.

The real question here is, what do you do with players (experienced ones, not newbies) who decide to make that stupid move, not once, not twice, but three times? Do you just wave the hand (and roll your eyes), allowing him/her to move along or do you just let the dice do the job?

For example, we have a party going into a underground temple, where it's been abandoned for years. The party has been exploring it for better part of the day, finding weird traps, and deadly monsters left and right. The party decides they found a nice safe room to bed down for the night and each person decides to take a watch to guard the door of this safe room they found. During one character's watch, he decides his Magic User will get up and explore down the hall from the room where the party is sleeping. He does not notify the group at all.

Now as the DM, I rolled to see if any of the other party members heard him open and close the door only to be fair to the group. They did not and the character was able to slip down the hall and meet up a random patrol of 6 orcs and his death. The player found this unfair and yelled. The group sided with me saying that was pretty stupid to do that, and he deserved whatever happened to him.

My question to everyone is what would you do? Should you as a the DM allow a character to run off like that and screw around or stick to the rules and roll random encounters following the guidelines set forth by the module or your adventure standards?

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

The Evil GM - Getting back into that game you used to play..


Back when we were kids in the '80s, gaming was a big mystery, and picking up a new game that peaked your interest was happening almost every time you went into a gaming store. Which resulted in playing a new games for weeks upon weeks, until we got bored and someone found a new game to play. Then we would always cycle back into other games and the whole thing moved on again. It was easy. Some people continued playing games the rest of their life, while others stopped during/after high school and then at some point later in their life, watched a movie, read a book or just start chatting with someone about playing games, and the itch to play returns. Before the internet, this was not that easy to just jump back into the games you loved as a kid. The only thing you had to go on, was the local gaming store, and hope you found some people nice enough to help you (which people did).

These days, its very easy to get back into that old game you used to love with the internet and social media. Basically, now if you are even interested in a game, you can do a quick Google search on the game, and then start reading away. After you are done reading, you can join a forum where like minded people play the game still and chat about it. From there you can expand out, listening to podcasts of how people play or handle the game you are interested in. The only thing stopping you from getting back into your love of the game, is you.

My suggestions to getting back into a game you used to love is that first things first, buy and read the main book(s). Jot down things that do not make sense to your mind, and then Google those things, you might come up with answers to those questions. Next you could take those questions to the forums or podcasts you've found. From there you can start jotting down more notes, even start your own blog to explore your learning process as you progress. Gamers love to help new gamers learn their game. Why? because it keeps the games alive!

What are you thoughts about helping someone or getting back into a game you haven't played in a while?

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

The Evil GM - How much gold is too much gold in your games?


A lot of people complain they don't get enough gold from their adventure, but what is not enough gold to one person maybe too much gold for another. From the standpoint of someone running the game, you might not really care, and just throw gold at the party, while another DM might just hold off on gold, giving it out sparingly.

Of those two methods, I tend to lean towards sparingly because I feel that if you flood players with gold here and there, that it will not feel "great" or "special" as a reward when they kill a big bad. Who really wants to find tons of gold everywhere, only to finish a long cave adventure only to find the same amount of gold you've been finding all along?

Characters finding gold should be something big, or major. Sure a few pieces of gold on the leader of say a bandit patrol that attacked the party would be acceptable, but to find gold on every bandit, and their entire coin bag filled with it? No I don't think so.

You want your players eyes opening up as you describe what their character sees when it comes to massive amounts of gold they found. 

I was in a group a while back, where the DM gave gold out like it was candy, everywhere and every monster had gold, nothing but gold. After a while, it became like finding copper for the party. When we finally reached the end of the quest, and returned the item we quested for, we were rewarded with... Gold.

It was like, "Yawn, just throw the gold on the pile and we will worry about what to do with it later" attitude with the party.

One of the players in the group actually decided to bring his laptop and design some type of accounting software to deal with the gold, and who had what.

What do you do in your games, or how do you feel about giving out gold?

Monday, September 1, 2014

The Evil GM - 5th Edition Rules: 1st Edition Feel! Necromancer Games Kickstarter!


Only a few days left to get in on this Kickstarter by Necromancer Games. They are a great company and if anyone remembers, they did quite a lot of stuff for D&D 3e and it did have that 1E feel to the product.