Blog Archives

20
Jul

I Fail to Follow: Making Followers Easier for the GM

A guest article by: Jynx001

I’m terrible at GMing followers when I’m running a game. One of the players in my last game acquired one around game nine, rolled up stats, described her, and figured out what role she would play in the party. The player did all the work for me. I ignored it. Completely forgot she existed and didn’t even write down her name. I had plenty of opportunities to incorporate the NPC into the story in some semi-meaningful way and I simply didn’t. My bad on that one, whatever-your-name-was.

This isn’t the first time I’ve failed at giving followers a fair shot – I’m guilty of many counts of allowing backpack familiars and henchmen that seem to phase in and out of existence as they are remembered. The sin is especially egregious, considering that in many game systems the player is spending some of their hard-earned XP or other resources to simply be allowed to have a friend! (Just like real life!) It bugs me that I’m so bad at NPC allies. So, I started examining why it was happening to search for solutions.

14
Jul

Obsidian Portal Campaign of the Month July 2018 – Morwindl Rising Tide

‘Tis a strange and awful thing to try and forget. To go about your life and hope that memories fade. The quiet, emptiness of night is the worst. When the chores of the day have gone, and you lie in bed with nothing but your thoughts. It’s difficult not to have Vecna come to mind, and what nearly was. Such is our hardship here, in the kingdom of Morwindl | Rising Tide – July’s Campaign of the Month! Though the darkness has fallen, other dangers loom. Gather your courage now friends, for we travel forth in search of Bortas, the GameMaster of this epic campaign!

But first a quick announcement!

Obsidian Portal is proud to announce that our Campaign of the Month program is now sponsored by Modiphius Entertainment, publisher of such fine products as Star Trek Adventures, Robert E. Howard’s Conan – Adventures In An Age Undreamed Of, Achtung! Cthulhu, Corvus Belli’s Infinity – and much more! Their generous monthly contribution adds a whole new level of excitement to the featured campaign process, and we couldn’t be more pleased with this partnership!

22
Jun

Tabletop Tidbits: The Write-up Imbalance that is Brunkel’s Room

When running a campaign, there’s a sort of inner checklist of things I’m looking to achieve. I want everyone to have fun, of course. I want a story that’s great and for the player characters to progress. I want the campaign world to feel real and alive, with companions and NPCs that are more than just backdrop. I want to screw up as seldom as possible, and for things to run smoothly. And finally (if I can), I want to add to my group’s list of “isms“. Some of these things are harder than others. Some are probably going to happen no matter what I do behind the screen. And some rely on a bit of a balancing act to do at the same time as others.

12
Jun

Obsidian Portal Campaign of the Month June 2018 – Shaintar Legends Awaken: Rangers of the Greenway Road

The King’s peace is not an easy thing to maintain. It takes bravery, dedication, and sometimes sacrifice. On this particular highway, that responsibility rests on the shoulders of the Rangers. From the city of Harken to the great Elven forest of Landra’Feya, their patrols hold back the darkness that would otherwise overrun these lands. Truly, Olara is fortunate to have such protectors, some of the best in Shaintar Legends Awaken: Rangers of the Greenway Road – June’s Campaign of the Month! Muster your courage and come with me to Echer’Naught, where GM howardrbrandon and his Rangers reside.

7
Jun

Practical Effects: Creating Props for Star Wars and other Sci-Fi Games

A guest article by: Jynx001

My gamer friends and I have a kind of competition going, wherein we try to out-nerd each other with various gimmicks.  It started with a pirate’s map burnt onto a piece of leather and eventually escalated to manila folder evidence bags containing NPC dossiers and a custom made USB drive full of world lore and digital game books!  When it once again became my turn to run a game, I had to try to reaffirm my place in the game-geek hierarchy by creating some interesting props – and for bonus points: at least one per game session.

The challenge was threefold.  First off, we meet weekly – only a handful of hours could be allocated to the creation of props.  Secondly, I’m broke – I would have to rely on dollar store finds and my limited collection of office supplies.  Thirdly, we were playing Star Wars Saga edition.  Any time I could hand over a code cylinder or a vial of alien toxins rather than just describing them, I would try to do so.

25
May

Tabletop Tidbits: Gaunt Brad Pitt and the Slippery Slope

One of the primary elements that influences how something is perceived is the tone in which it is presented. Even the most serious of content will be taken more lightly if it’s delivered between giggles. As the GameMaster, the responsibility of maintaining the campaign’s intended tone falls to you. Players, being in a largely reactionary role, take their cues from you, and respond based on the manner in which you run the game. Unfortunately however, they also grease the slippery slope towards a campaign that can be far different from what you’ve envisioned.

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