Sunday, April 3, 2011

C is for Choices, too many of them...

Today, I had a hard time thinning things down to one topic.  There were simply too many choices for a blog entry that started with the letter "C", so I wanted to actually talk about 3!  WOW!! So, here we go.

Cartography
I would be amiss to forget the fact that this month, Dyson Logos, of A Character for Every Game, is hosting the RPG Blog Carnival.  This month's topic is, as you guest it, about Circuses... jk.  It's about Cartography, i.e. Map Making.  I'm way amateur at it, but Dyson is a pro! If you haven't used/seen his geomorphs yet, you're doing the internet wrong!!!

I really like his blog, and he's always kind of enough to drop me a comment once in a while.  I had promised to do an adventure, or an encounter, or something with some of his Geomorphs and I think that this month, I am finally going to get around to it, given that Cartography is our Topic of choice this month.

If you are looking for some cool maps for your game, or some tips on how to make maps, I definitely recommend you checking out the Cartographer's Guild.  I'm a member on their forums and they have some great tips for improving your mapping skills, especially the digital ones.  I troll that forum more than I post there, but it is definitely a great resource for GM's.


Common Sense
Considering my goal for this month of providing information relevant to improving your adventures, I think one of the most important things to always consider, when playing any RPG is the idea of "Common Sense" and what that actually entails.

I particularly like this motivational poster.  There are so many people that complain about how their campaigns get ruined by stupid people that act in ridiculous ways just because they are playing a RPG.  I think a lot of GM's maybe approach this the wrong way; sure, some players might be persistent, but in every game that I have every played, whenever a player comes up and spits out some line about how he is going to stab NPC X and take all of his stuff, I, as a GM, quickly use my "Common Sense" assume this fool is simply screwing about, and then /ignore him in real life.  Said players actions in the game are quickly ignored and passed over as he/she is quickly considered to be disrespectful and daft git in the real world.  Nobody likes playing with that guy.  What is also pretty nice is that if you use your common sense as a GM when dealing with these jerks, they will quickly tire of being ignored (since all they were trying to do in the first place is get attention) and then use their common sense in the game.  They will cease to be disruptive and you can move on with the bloody adventure.  OK.  Rant over.  Common sense rules people.  Use it.

Can and Cannot
This ties, to some extent, in with the above, Common Sense, advice.  There are some things that you can do in the game and there are some things that you cannot do in the game.   As a DM, running an adventure, really become familiar with what your personal guidelines for Can and Cannot is.

If you aren't interested in reading the following i.e. TLDR - If it's fun = Can ; If it's not fun = Cannot.

Ok.  Explanation.

If something adds fun to the game for everyone at the table, including you as the GM, that to me is an automatic can.  You should go and give your players everything they want, in game one, of course, but for example, if all the players came to me and said that they wanted to start with one additional feet at level 1, when we were playing D&D 4e, I would have no problem with that.  Everyone is on the same playing field and I can up the difficulty level of the opponents accordingly.  Everyone has a right old fun time.

Another example.  If someone says that they want to re-skin (change the thematic elements) X of a race/class/power/etc. in order to make their character into Y, but aren't really interested in changing anything mechanical, I will almost always say "YES!" to that.  This kind of thematic change shows that a player is taking special interest in the story and flavor of his character and is dedicated to making the game lost lasting.  These are the kind of players you really want to have.

However, on the flip side of the last example, if a different player said he or she wanted to change Rule Z so that he was an ever-living bad mother $%&$%&#R than I would almost definitely tell that person that he or she cannot do that because it would spoil everybody's sense of fairness and fun.  Thematically, virtually anything can be explained through the use of good story telling, but you can't explain away the feeling a group of players get when they have just had their adventure ruined by some jerk who insisted on playing a Beholder, got the permission of the GM, and then death rayed all the enemies without the rest of the group getting to have any fun.

I hope that my 3 C's today have proved interesting.  Go, Game and Prosper!!

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