Thursday, September 30, 2010

Review: Outlaws of the Marsh

A Quick Look

Shuihu Zhuan (Water Margin, often translated as Outlaws of the Marsh), is considered one of the four great classic works of Chinese literature, along with Journey to the West, Romance of the Three Kingdoms, and Dream of the Red Chamber.  It tells the intertwined stories of 108 men and women who became outlaws and formed a rebellion against the corrupt officials of the Song Dynasty.  In addition to being a great example of a classic plot, Outlaws is the novel that forms the foundation of the entire wuxia genre.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Art of DMing: Making Published Modules Your Own (Part IV)

When last we left them, our heros were hot on the trail of a stolen artifact…

(As always, previous parts can be found under the Art of DMing tag.)

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Art of DMing: Let your Players Surprise You

When you've played with someone for several years—as I have with the regular Wednesday night crowd at Game Masters—you get a pretty good idea of their tastes, how they play, that sort of thing.  You know what kind of games they like, what sort of stuff gives them trouble, and when they're going to chuck a die off your deck into the woods.

But sometimes, they surprise you.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

PDF Pricing

Over on twitter, @lumpleygames invited some discussion over PDF pricing, but I really needed a longer format to do the thought justice.  Now, I'm viewing this discussion from the consumer end - I have no stake in the business end of RPGing, so take this post with that in mind.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Sky Pirates of Castile, Part 1: Contesa Alejandra & Writing One-Shots

Since Talk Like a Pirate Day is fast approaching, and RPGNow/DTRPG is having a pirate sale (check the banner above), I guess I should also start talking about the other setting I promised to discuss.

Sky Pirates of Castile is a trilogy of adventures written for a mini-con.  The premise is simple: the adventures of the crew of a pirate skyship in a setting reminiscent of both Age-of-Sail Spain and Cromwell's England, as they seek revenge and treasure and get in over their heads politically.  It taught me some lessons about writing for one-shots and convention scenarios, and it was a lot of fun no matter how many times I ran it.

Indie games fans may note some similarities to the award-winning Lady Blackbird, which is complete coincidence - the first game of Sky Pirates ran back in '06.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Relic Hunters: Characters

One of the strongest tools for a GM in getting across the feel of a setting is the choice of character types available. Compare these lists of character archetypes and see what comes to mind about the settings they represent:
  • Fighter, Magic-user, Cleric, Thief
  • Barbarian, Sorcerer, Cultist, Assassin
  • Musketeer, Scholar, Priest, Spy
  • Street Samurai, Decker, Streetdoc, Fixer

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Relic Hunters: Stories from the Bazaar

Almost exactly a month ago, I had some big words about setting design and promised (or threatened, as appropriate) to show you how some of how I do things.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Wilderness Travel, or, What I Learned on My Vacation

M and I (and faithful hound Argos) have returned from our visit to Blackwater Falls State Park in West Virginia, a trip that provided some much-needed decompression and relaxation—and an enforced vacation from the internet.  On the other hand, it provided some spectacular vistas and some thoughts about wilderness adventures, too…

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Reviews: Remember Tomorrow & B/X Companion

It's the weekend, and that means I owe you guys some reviews.  I'll be taking a break from the free stuff provided via RPGNow to look at two books I actually shelled out my hard-earned cash for.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Art of DMing: Making Published Modules Your Own (Part III)

If you've been keeping up with this series, you know that I've been taking my players through some of the classic B series of modules. Unfortunately, I broke one of the cardinal rules of GMing published adventures when I started this campaign: I didn't read the whole adventure. Reading and familiarizing yourself with everything prevents a lot of embarrassment when it comes to your game - and not just from accidentally undermining yourself.