Tuesday, September 12, 2017

DM David posts I liked

I stumbled across these posts this weekend by DM David and I enjoyed them:

Four Essential Qualities of a 4-Hour Dungeons & Dragons Adventure - this could probably be the four essential qualities of a game session, too. If you've got all four, you've probably got a good game session going on. 2-3, okay. 0-1, eh. I don't always get a fast start to my games, but I try to ensure the other three are available in my megadungeon. They certainly are in our Gamma Terra campaign, too.

I especially like #4. I remember this article about GMing Top Secret, where the writer said that if you set an adventure in Hawaii and then stick the entire session inside of an office building, you're wasting the setting. In a world with magic (and in our post-apoc game, radiation and mutants) there should be something magical in the encounters. Not all of them, but at least some.

How to Use Scenes and Summaries to Focus on the Best Parts of a Role-Playing Adventure - I don't consciously think of "scenes" and "summaries" but perhaps I should. I use both - we focus tightly in on combat, obstacles, challenges, and puzzles, and pull back to "we go down this long corridor, turn left at the T, and then go straight" or "you all get back to town" summaries the other times. I just wasn't explicitly categorizing them in this way. It seems like a useful tool for thinking about when to slow things down and when to speed things up as your write and prepare adventures, especially more narrowly focused ones (ones with a developing story, plot, or sequences of events to deal with.)

And I like this post about Backstory. I do a lot of that - backstory found in a lost tome is something the players read. Backstory read to the PCs at the beginning is ignored and no one remembers it. "Whose castle?" "The Dark Mage's castle, weren't you listening?" No, they weren't. You need to find a better way - if the players are ignoring your backstory, it's not a "them" problem.

I haven't read a huge amount of DM David's posts, but those I found and I liked. I'll probably dig around more and see what else might help my gaming.

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