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  • Ask-a-GM

    by Published on 12-16-2010 04:30 PM
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    2. Ask-a-GM

    A recent conversation over on Candlekeep prompted me to post some suggestions for running a sandbox game. Definitionally speaking, this is a campaign in which the players—not the DM—determine the course of the campaign, through their decisions. The DM’s role becomes mostly reactionary or anticipatory: adjusting the game to suit player’s needs and sometimes unexpected decisions.

    Some of us already do this to some extent in our games—basing things on PC decisions, motivations, and goals. In a full-on sandbox game, you take things to the next level: let the PCs rule, and just run with it.

    Here are some thoughts to keep in mind ...
    by Published on 07-23-2010 05:00 AM
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    2. Ask-a-GM
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    This week's Ask-a-GM comes from our mailbag. Cody asks,


    I'm currently GMing a game for a group of friends, and I'm having a big problem getting them to make decisions. I had decided from the start that I would simply decide where the bad guys were at any given moment, and let the players decide how to defeat them, so I didn't railroad, and it would be their game. I started the game, ran the first session, and then *smack.* The players looked at me expectantly for a plot hook. They knew that there were three big bads out there with a stolen jet engine and nuclear bomb plans, but they wanted me to essentially tell them where they were. I tried dropping small hints at what they could do, but I basically had to say "go here" before they would do anything! So how do you nudge players in the right direction without railroading them?

    Thank you,

    Cody


    ...
    by Published on 07-16-2010 01:00 PM  Number of Views: 2380 
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    At some point, despite your best laid plans, your players are going to come up with an idea that you completely didn't anticipate or prepare for. At that moment, you are going to be confronted with a choice. Do you stifle the players' ingenuity, arbitrarily shutting down what are legitimately good ideas? Or, do you roll with it, toss your plans to the wind and dive headfirst into full improv mode? Running a game on the fly isn't something that comes easily to every GM, and some systems can make off-the-cuff gaming particularly difficult. The temptation might be to throw down roadblocks and stay firmly on the tracks, but this is generally far from satisfying from a player point of view ...
    by Published on 06-29-2010 05:00 PM  Number of Views: 3041 
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    2. Ask-a-GM,
    3. Loremaster
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    This, of course, relates to the skill found in various forms throughout the history of the Dungeons & Dragons game. Most of the time this skill is only chosen by players because of it's requirement for some other ability or feat. Many never truly expect to use this skill in game and when they do, it is often after things have abraded to a halt in the story. Many of us have vivid images of a player sighing wistfully while massaging their head, only to groan out loud "I would like to use my knowledge of History to figure this **** out."



    ...
    by Published on 06-04-2010 02:15 AM
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    2. Ask-a-GM
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    When Robert asked me to take part in this advice column I was excited, but wasn't sure where to begin or what he really wanted me to truly focus on. He asked me to discuss some insights for running online games and "impart my pearls of wisdom..." I am one of the founding members of MindGene, LLC, creators of the virtual table top, d20Pro. My first gaming memory is the AD&D Intellivision game from the early eighties, and I have been gaming in some capacity ever since. I continued to play D&D, Magic, Clix, and more throughout the years, and still do ...
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