Rolling with the Punches


For me, as somebody who GMs far more than he plays, roleplaying is all about rolling with the punches. You obviously can’t predict 100% what your players will do, and you can’t predict die rolls, or whatever random element is important in your system. Basically, shit happens, and you’ll have to deal with it. Here are a few tips I’ve found to make that easier:

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Opportunities vs. Obstacles

What’s the difference between an obstacle and an opportunity in an RPG?  I’ve played in plenty of games where the GM laid down what they thought was an opportunity and what I thought was an insurmountable obstacle.  And I’ve run games where the obstacles I created were instead interpreted as opportunities by my players.  Is there any distinction at all?

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An Argument for Camera Tricks

You watch the heroes as they step up to the front door of the old and abandoned house, lit only by the faint glow of the streetlights down the block.  There’s a rustle, and the heroes look around them anxiously before one of them pushes open the door while the other stands watch.  A few leaves obscure your vision as the camera shifts, hiding in a bush.  The heroes both turn to look inside, and your view rushes forward, surging up the steps towards the heroes as they turn in shock and you…

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Lessons I’ve Learned about Naming NPCs

Names are hard.  You want to make sure that the people and places you’re creating sound believable, and you don’t want to keep repeating the same things over and over (unless there’s a name like Michael in your game world, in which case you should probably just name everyone that since that’s how it works in real life).  I’ve made and seen some pretty funny mistakes with naming things, so here are a few of the things I’ve learned…

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How I Run a Game

Much like with Jason’s article, this is not meant to be an exhaustive discussion of how to run a game.  It also isn’t meant to be prescriptive.  Like it says on the tin, I want to share with you how I go about running games these days.  Curious about success through brainstorming and improvisation?  Keep reading.

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