Blog Archives


Thursday Feature – The Modern First-Timer GameMaster

Author: Kallak

Hmm, for the main villain…

“The End.” – with these words, the six-book Pathfinder Adventure Path that my gaming group has spent the last few months hammering through reached its conclusion, and our collective thoughts turned toward the next campaign (if you’re curious, we played Second Darkness, and our ending was uh… let’s just go with “less than a total win”).

And so, this week our group will attend the character making ‘session 0’ for the campaign of our good friend Fealoce, who despite having more than five years under his belt with the group, is still the new guy. I can’t help but assume that this campaign will be long remembered by our troupe, because it has something that no other campaign we have played together in the last decade or so has… a First-Timer GameMaster.


Obsidian Portal Campaign of the Month May 2016 – Mysteria

Shhh Shh Sh! Can you hear it? It’s very feint when you’re first listening for it – but it is ever present, lingering in the air – or perhaps the heart. Yes… that; now you hear it. Indeed, the music is stirring – as well it should be – for that is the sound of knowledge and adventure. They call it the Song of Midgard, but I like to think of it as the song of Mysteria – May’s Campaign of the Month! So settle in as we spend a little quality time with twiggyleaf, the GameMaster of this gem.


Thursday Feature – Let Your Players Surprise You

Author: Kallak

As the GameMaster, your approach to the campaign is obviously significantly different than that of the players. You fight to hold the middle ground between keeping the campaign “on track” while making sure you aren’t “railroading” the players through a linear and ultimately predictable plot. You strive to walk the tightrope of making truly awe-inspiringly bad ass memorable villains, while trying to not fall in love with them yourself so that you aren’t crushed when the players deliver the death blow – which more than likely comes in the most demeaning way imaginable after only a couple of rounds. There’s not much in the way of discovery or exploration for you like there is for the rest of the gaming group. You have the burden of advance knowledge.


Thursday Feature – Managing the Action Economy

Author: Kallak

If you’ve ever run a game where your ultimate villain got annihilated in two rounds because they were simply overwhelmed by the PCs before they could really do much of anything, then you’ve experienced being on the losing end of the Action Economy in, well… action. Simply put, more actions per round means you get more done, or you accomplish a goal in a shorter span of time. Whatever the objective, “more actions” tends to equate to more success – or at least more chances for success. And so, as the GM it falls to you to manage the Action Economy, as it can have large consequences on the game.


Site and Tech Updates (May 2016)

Greetings Obsidian Portal Community,

I’ll have to ask your forgiveness for this temporary interruption to our regularly scheduled lineup (and for the unexpected delay in getting it out to you), but it is my hope that you’ll indulge me a bit – and that you’ll find the following site and technical updates to be something that you’re also interested in reading about. It has been right about six months since our last technical update, so I think it’s fair to say we’re due.

Over the course of this week, I had the opportunity to find out what’s been going on behind the scenes, learn more about where things sit with the site right now, and get a sense of what’s coming down the proverbial pipe as time moves on.


Thursday Feature – Tracking Mass Combat: CCG Style

Author: Kallak

At some point in their career, every GM will inevitably run a mass combat. Maybe it’s all part of the campaign’s grand design – ‘the war to end all wars’; Maybe the battling hordes were supposed to be merely background description for the PCs’ mission and a few bad dice rolls put them in the middle of the jackpot; Maybe the Party kicked the proverbial hornet’s nest and was forced to “call the banners”. Whatever the case, refereeing both the Party’s combat, and the overall battle as a whole can be quite difficult to pull off smoothly.

Award Winning!

Gold ENnie for Best Website 09'-11'

Silver ENnie for Best Website, Best Podcast 2012-2013
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