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  • Behind the Screen: Drop-Ins – A Cautionary Tale… | StupidRanger.com
    my example above if we would ve kept the abilities of our party in mind we would ve remembered that they had the ability to restore life Important details like that can make or break your drop in so run a quick sanity check against major known abilities to prevent the oh crap moments Let Your Players Succeed If you do miss something and your players capitalize on something that you didn t consider make every effort to let them succeed Nothing sucks worse than railroading so learn to think on your feet and let them have their victories There s my road map to a successful drop in Go forth and run with all those fun ideas that you ve always dreamt about Caution Actually running campaign ideas that spring forth from your dreams may result in physical mental or social damage Please consult a psychiatrist if you experience blurry vision loss of appetite or night sweats StupidRanger com is not liable for any damage caused from using dreams in your game from behind the screen co DM Dante rpgbloggers 4 Responses leave one ChattyDM permalink February 11 2008 You know that you can have fluff block rules in certain aspects Gold Dragon might refuse to be raised even with true ressurect because 1 A divine power blocks it 2 Dragon has a good reason to refuse coming back 3 Dragon mind has shattered and while it comes back it s a vegetable or worse a psychopathic rampaging monstruosity As long as you can weavge a plausible enough reason that doesn t feel like a plot barrier your players will be cool with it and please let them keep the 25 000 gp gem they used spell failed moving on Dave The Game permalink February 11 2008 Yep in

    Original URL path: http://www.stupidranger.com/2008/02/behind-the-screen-drop-ins-a-cautionary-tale.php (2016-04-27)
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  • Behind the Screen: Storyboarding… | StupidRanger.com
    plays To account for this you must constantly put yourself through the crash scenario with any of your plot points How can the players circumvent this scene What could they possibly dream up to derail this Should I engineer something in to guide them to the proper goal All of these questions should be considered before finalizing your plot elements Another important point to consider what actually goes on without your players should they decide to just not follow a plot point If a major battle is taking place that you wanted the players to be a part to aid the Forces of Good what happens if they decide not to help or go some other direction How should that affect the broader plot I like storyboarding and then crashing the storyboard as a means of planning a night s session Unfortunately for us this takes a bit of time to have all of the logic settled and talked out if you are operating in a co DM fashion as we are Thankfully Guitar Hero 3 and Rock Band exist as a great contingency plan from behind the screen co DM gm tips rpgbloggers 2 Responses leave one thanuir permalink January 28 2008 Personally I prepare potential events that are there for the PCs to crash Build a few of these so that they are fairly neutral about the location and thrown them on the player characters when things are going slow What if is a good question to ask What if PCs found a faerie child all alone on the road behind their door in the wilds What if they happened upon a skirmish between the local orcs and ogres Each what if can usually take a fair deal of time especially when player characters don t agree which

    Original URL path: http://www.stupidranger.com/2008/01/behind-the-screen-storyboarding.php (2016-04-27)
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  • Zen and the Art of Giving… | StupidRanger.com
    then you should plan some sort of a side quest to track the item down again or plan what path that item takes once it is out of the players hands It can be a great opportunity for deep roleplaying be it haggling with the merchant to get the item back or tracking it across country in order to divine its resting place Desire based gifting If you intend to give your player that item of affection that they have always wanted to get hold of you must be very careful both in and out of game to balance this gift against the rest of the party s possessions If you don t provide either roleplaying opportunities or some other method of engagement for the rest of the party this gift can appear like overt favoritism which is never a blessing for an adventuring party I have found that if you give the entire party a gift they are quick to ignore the fact that Ceril the Barbarian got a nicer greataxe compared to what they got they will likely just be happy with their present This is generally a good opportunity to address level based inequity between different classes and generally even up your party so everyone can effectively participate in roleplaying or direct conflict Narrative Elements Much to the chagrin of a few of my more traditionalist co DMs I have often assumed the guise of an in game Santa Claus or Easter Bunny in order to dispense with the merriment Sometimes this has taken the form of a more realistic altruist merchant but I prefer the little dash of whimsy that more familiar icons of gift giving can bring In the end it is really up to what you want my regular players have taken to expect

    Original URL path: http://www.stupidranger.com/2007/12/zen-and-the-art-of-giving.php (2016-04-27)
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  • Behind the Screen: The Interactive Narrative… | StupidRanger.com
    the ante works but only when you utilize the skill set of your bad guys completely I ve found it is increasingly difficult to just snag a baddie from one of the Monster Manuals and go because most of the elements that make a creature viable at higher challenge ratings are their specialized attacks skills feats or spell capabilities Something with complicated methods of attack or a complicated skills requires some planning which makes shooting off the hip somewhat more difficult for me anyway The Interactive Narrative Lately Kanati my co DM and I have been taking the approach of having our party deal with the pantheon of gods in a somewhat direct way This allows us the ability to take the easy path of freezing time or suspending reality as the gods interact to outline thematic elements to the party It takes some care to do this in a way that isn t insanely frustrating for your characters every time you take their skill checks or abilities out of the equation they get irritated rightfully so In the last session they were transported to an audience with one of their patron deities as some flavor the encounter was supposed to start in a fog of mist that became a grey void around them Vanir in all his wisdom decided to use some weather controlling abilities that a magic item gave him to clear the mist away as he saw it starting to gather After a few OMG moments in my head I decided to let him do this but they could see in full their trip through the starry cosmos as the planes were folded beneath them Allowing your characters to interact with your narrative scene in a non destructive way can help them remain engaged but still allow

    Original URL path: http://www.stupidranger.com/2007/11/behind-the-screen-the-interactive-narrative.php (2016-04-27)
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  • Friends know when to say when… | StupidRanger.com
    Blues One of the perils of running a co DM campaign is that it is fraught with dependencies Recently my co DM Kanati sustained an injury while casting levitate on an automobile and had to undergo some surgery As a result his involvement in our sessions has become digital only and we do our prep and in game discussion via chat Our arrangement is that he writes the plot and I run the incidentals of the gaming sessions We had done some pre prep during the week and we had an excellent set piece for our plot all worked out We even had a convenient hook however in this case I was going to thrust heavily into wing it mode after this plot piece resolved and I knew that it would resolve early in the night Normally Kanati would feed me some additional plot as the session went on however this time he was away from the computer for the night convalescing and unavailable to steer the plot Instead of subject my group to a potential big bang but end with a whimper session I explained this problem to the group and we all elected to forgo gaming for another week and enjoy pleasant conversation instead of playing Net results Opting to electively forgo a session once in a blue moon can work out well our entire group had a good time just getting to hang out and catch up without the roleplaying involved I m a major proponent of shooting off the hip however the co DM situation where one person writes and the other runs can hinder shooting off the hip for fear of fouling up the prepared plot Kanati and I are working through our skills in this space still I imagine we ve got some room to improve Has anyone else out there electively canceled a gaming session and did it positively impact your future gaming I found that I got some out of game feedback that was helpful in aiding me to prepare the next session so for me it was worth it for that alone from co DM Dante gm tips rpgbloggers you tell us 6 Responses leave one Yax permalink November 12 2007 I ve cancelled games at the last minute because I didn t feel good about running a fun session It s worth it sometimes ChattyDM permalink November 12 2007 That s why we keep our Magic the Gathering decks and our box of Munckins and Chez Geek close mlund permalink November 12 2007 I had a disturbingly similar situation on Saturday night Dinner cooked and eaten plates cleared followed by a somewhat slow paced game that didn t turn out the way I d hoped that I ultimately cut short Part of it was caused by having a bad cut off point during the previous session and needing to mop up things before leveling Though players were supposed to bring leveled versions of their characters there was just too much

    Original URL path: http://www.stupidranger.com/2007/11/friends-know-when-to-say-when.php (2016-04-27)
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  • co-DM | StupidRanger.com
    07 Behind the Screen Staying fresh 1 9 24 07 Co DMing Surviving the Game 0 9 19 07 Behind the Screen Note Taking my perspective 4 9 18 07 Co DMing Heed Your Dungeon Mentor 1 9 17 07 Behind the Screen The First Co DM session 2 9 12 07 Behind the Screen The Perils of Improper Prep 0 9 9 07 Behind the Screen Are Two DM

    Original URL path: http://www.stupidranger.com/category/co-dm/page/2 (2016-04-27)
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  • In Memory of Gary Gygax | StupidRanger.com
    created one of my favorite characters ever Lillian Then I was included in the big game with about seven other players and Chuck as our fearless DM Those were grand days of learning and exploring the realm of RPGs And I began to really appreciate the larger community beyond our group that there were people out there who enjoyed the creativity involved in good roleplaying and the escapism inherent in the experience That s really when I began to appreciate those who created and shaped the RPG experience especially Gary Gygax Here was one of the guys who understood our need for the game experience and provided to us a framework I was thrilled to meet him at Gencon a few years ago It s not every day you get to walk up to one of your heroes and shake his hand He was kind and funny and we had a great few minutes talking to him I remember sitting in my cubicle a year ago devestated at the news of his passing I had always been a bit of a social outcast in the office there was only one other person in the office had any exposure to RPGs He understood my grief and it was enough to not feel alone that day At Gencon last year Dante I participated in the Grand Gygaxian Dice Collection both of us donating our first set of dice We both thought it was fitting to give back the first set in memory of all the beginnings I remember buying that set of dice purple white swirls from the only game shop in our college town Lillian had some great moments and some great failures defined by those dice and I could think of no better offering My life is better for roleplaying

    Original URL path: http://www.stupidranger.com/2009/03/in-memory-of-gary-gygax.php (2016-04-27)
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  • The Tale of the Empty Fire Safe | StupidRanger.com
    across the fire safe we received as a wedding present Dante looked at me and asked if there was anything in there I told him that since it was locked the more important question was where is the key Fortunately I rolled really high on my Remember Where Random Item Is Located roll and found the key in a basket on top of the kitchen shelves Upon opening the safe it was in fact empty Dante got a gleam in his eye and headed over to the hutch in which we keep Important Documents I briefly wondered what he decided was important enough to go in the safe that has been empty for four years but my contemplations were short lived as he quickly returned in plopped something right in the safe I asked what he put in there and he lifted from the safe one of the D D books signed by Gary Gygax Because of course what document could be more important to save during a fire from books gygax rpgbloggers Stupid Advice One Response leave one David permalink June 6 2008 That Dante is always thinking Good choice Click here to cancel reply Leave a Reply Name

    Original URL path: http://www.stupidranger.com/2008/06/the-tale-of-the-empty-fire-safe.php (2016-04-27)
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