The Patriot pre-gen was my first character idea for TPA; I fell in love with him at first thought. Daisy had always been designed to choose the agents that were best suited for the task. Agents couldn’t volunteer, train, or even will themselves into the TPA. They had to be chosen. The concept that this strong jawed, ex-government type not only wanted to volunteer but was actively throwing himself into danger was bit of a wet dream; he was perfect. The Patriot unlocked a number of writing bits for us, we began to understand the greater mythos of the world, and we had a great deal of fun deciding how he’d likely react to things. We began weaving these ideas into our adventures, planning bits for all of our character types (PUSH LITTLE CART!). Backstory can be mind blowing when used correctly and can be developed using a couple of simple rules.
Names and stories have been on my mind recently. With Jeff’s wedding last week it was a chance to catch up with some friends retell some old stories and be called by a couple of nicknames I haven’t heard in a while. Also as my wife is with child we get to dream up new stories for the names of a child that has yet to experience them. It’s a wonderful point in time where names are holding more meaning and the use of a different name changes the tone of the experience. Last Friday, at Jeff’s wedding, I couldn’t help but notice the officiant referring to him as Jeffery and butchering his bride’s maiden name (“it rhymes with maverick, damn it!”); fortunately not during the ceremony. It’s as if the man I was standing next to was no longer the person I’ve known for 10+ years but a new married man that I would need to be reintroduced to. The use of a particular name implies a history with that person, to use a nick name implies shared experiences; a first name a familiarity; a last name a degree of respect. Each with name has a new story to go with it.
Let’s have a little thought experiment today. If you were suddenly graced with a magical power, what would it be and how would you use it? Would you use your powers for good, or for awesome? As a roleplayer you would probably think of trying to use your powers for “the greater good,” be it for fighting crime, saving babies, or being the unrecognized hero of your area. As roleplayers we’re built towards being the heroes, many GMs I know shy away from the darker side of roleplaying, preferring to keep things light and happy, but I’ve used some of my games as vehicles to explore aspects of my psyche.
We all have our guilty pleasures: those things that we know our friends will tease us about but can’t help loving. For me, it’s being a Gleek. For those who haven’t heard about the show that forced the American Idol juggernaut to bow out of its time slot, Glee is a show about a group of plucky high school students trying to win a national singing competition as well as the respect of their peers. Think of it as every show released on The Disney Channel with some adult themes thrown in (this is broadcast on Fox after all). While I’ll be the first to admit the show can be a bit trashy, predictable, and really lame at times, it pulls me back week after week. In an attempt to bottle the siren call and unleash it on my players, I’ve distilled out three lessons we can all learn from Glee.
So it’s been a couple of months since you’ve run a game, you’re a bit rusty but willing. You just need an adventure, an act two if you will to your ongoing saga. You just need the adventure to spark the new arc of a campaign; something that will hit the ground running. Where do you start? How do you get everyone excited to roll some dice again? How do you get the band back together?
Horror is a gaming concept I’ve never understood; I’m not a person that is easily frightened. So it’s been hard for me to wrap my mind around why one would want to play a game in the “horror” genre. Most horror games to me fail into the same vein. You are an uber-powerful human/non-human that is a trained killing machine set out to survive/rid of the world of vampires/zombies/werewolves/cthulhu/humans. Most of the genre is fueled by anything released by White Wolf and about Zombies (War of the Dead being a prime example). So how does someone, like me, craft a more sinister, freighting game that leaves the players with a sense of dread and fear to do?
The most useful tool you can create for yourself is a name list. You’ll regularly have to name things, either on the fly, or during game preparation. As such, having a detailed list of names for all the various cultures in your game is a must have tool.
I don’t know what it is but I’m rather excited for the holiday. Maybe it’s the fact that my wife and I are likely go cut down our own Christmas tree this year or the newest episode of Glee. Either way I’m ready for all the holiday festivities, but as I’ve gotten older and more years pass I see less and less people celebrating the holidays in big ways. Gone are the days of entire blocks hanging up lights, people singing carols and general good cheer. I’ll be honest, I can’t even remember the last time I enjoyed a Christmas carol, last year’s Christmas post an exception. So how do I infect my holiday cheer on my players, and keep this good mood up?
If you read yesterday’s post and took my idea to heart you are probably wondering what to get from the store. In this day and age most people have had a very limited exposure to the wide world of alcohol, typically ordering the same thing over and over or confining themselves to the easily available [...]