Here in the USA, we’re smack in the middle of one of the two most difficult times for gaming: Christmas/New Years and summer. In both cases, holidays and/or vacations make scheduling an actual game session a monumental feat. Even if we might not be able to play, though, we can at least read about gaming!
New Year, New Game Update
Over at Gnome Stew, Martin posted an update on his progress of running new games in 2012. This is in the context of their previous New Year, New Game contest, in which you pitch the new game you want to run this year. Though 2012′s contest is over, 2013 isn’t that far away.
In my own case, this year I’ve run new games in both Houses of the Blooded and Dresden Files RPG (sort of). More on the latter tomorrow.
In which I totally don’t talk about GNS Theory yet again…
It’s long been accepted wisdom that GMs should rotate the focus of the game among the player characters. Each of the players should get their turn in the spotlight. However, it’s easy to forget that what people want from that spotlight can be wildly different.
I’ve often referenced the Gamist, Narrativist, Simulationst (Ok, so the subtitle lied) grouping, and even proposed a model of my own. It may seem like something of a useless (and potentially dehumanizing) effort to figure out ways of classifying gamers, but each of these systems has a valuable intent. They’re trying to help you figure out what each of your players wants out of the game.
The Chatty DM over at Critical Hits reminds us of exactly this in his four part article “Mind your Players’ Styles”. He goes over several broad categories, and describes what they’re looking for. He also gives a few “DOs and DON’Ts” for each type of player. Definitely a series worth checking out!
The Real Deal
I’ve long been interested in what things were “really like” in the eras we portray in medieval fantasy. Over the years, I’ve watched documentaries, and read books and articles on the subject. Here’s an interesting one, via Steve Winter over at Howling Tower, on how a “typical” kingdom worked. It’s interesting stuff, and yet another blog to add to my RSS reader.
Details, Details Everywhere, and Never a Game to Play
Sometimes, it’s easy to get lost in the details. Being a guy who has (more than once) lost hours researching plate tectonics, erosion, politics, and migration while trying to draw campaign world maps, I can definitely attest to the allure. In this post, Patrick Benson over at Gnome Stew talks about how details can bog down a GM’s preparation, and gives advice on how to avoid it. It’s definitely something I’ll try to keep in mind next time I bring up Wikipedia.
Demons Ain’t What They Used to Be?
Male American black bears average between 130 and 550 lbs in weight, and four to seven feet in length. However, reading those numbers gives you none of the feeling of seeing one, and realizing, “holy $#!T, this thing could rip my head off!” That’s because it’s hard to really respect something when you’ve taken away all the mystery, and reduced it to a series of rules and numbers.
This is Steve Winter’s point in his recent post, “Plight of Demons”. RPGs have included demons, angels, and gods since very early days. Somehow, putting them in the Monster Manual alongside goblins and the common house cat would seem to diminish their grandeur.