Gamemastering: Collaborative Scene Building

One of the practices my current Star Wars GM implemented in our first game was to occasionally stop when describing a scene and having we the players add details to the scene. Unfortunately there were only a few opportunities during the last session to put this technique into practice, but when we did it proved an excellent tool for getting everyone involved into the scene.

As the gamemaster, I typically can envision every scene in the games I run, from surroundings to mood to weather to supporting cast. However in my experience can be easy to fail to fully communicate this to my players. Maybe I skip over something that for me is a given based on my other descriptions but isn’t for my players, or maybe I just get so wrapped up into detailing one aspect of the scene that I forget to describe another. It’s never intentional, but sometimes it happens. Regardless, I can already see how I will be able to leverage this collaborative scene building technique in the future to help improve my own game.

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Star Wars: Now with Pulp!

In order to help facilitate more descriptive and “cool” role-playing in our current Star Wars campaign we decided to institute an in-game reward system to encourage this style. The philosophy behind the system is pretty straight forward – to encourage active participation in the game as well as dramatic contribution to the story. Since the d20 Star Wars game already had Force Points we had to fit in a system that wouldn’t overshadow or conflict with the existing system. In the end we decided to implement a version of the Conviction system from Green Ronin’s True 20 system.

The original T20 version of the Conviction rules allowed Conviction to be accumulated and built up from day to day. In our game in an effort to encourage players to do things to earn Conviction instead of hording it each character’s Conviction pool resets to 1 at the beginning of each Standard day. In addition, Conviction are awarded for the following:

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Have wargames made me a better roleplayer?

Perhaps it seems counterintuitive, but can miniature wargames make a person a better roleplayer? I can already hear the objections. “What? Are you crazy? A game that is nothing more than a glorified hack and slash encounter can’t possibly help your roleplaying! That’s just inane!”

I quite possibly could be crazy, but if so it’s for reasons other than my above claim. I’m not trying to convince all you role-players out there to go buy some pewter and put the smack down on your friends. And I’m certainly not saying that people who play wargames are inherently better at roleplaying than those that don’t. What I am saying is that I’ve noticed an improvement in my own role-playing since I started playing Warmachine a year ago, and here’s why.

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Star Wars: The Twilight Path begins

Star Wars: The Twilight PathLast Saturday my gaming group began our latest campaign – Star Wars: The Twilight Path using the SWd20 system. The gamemaster has set up a wiki for the campaign on his personal web site. We players were given less information about this campaign than we did the previous one. The game is set in the old republic, centered around a Jedi training facility, or Praxeum, on the planet Terol where we were all to be students. Before the first session we were told that the game would begin with us playing youngling versions of our characters and we’d later pick up with our actual characters as adults and go from there.

With any luck I’ll be able to follow each session with a blargpost discussing an aspect of the game – either setting, system, or meta – that came up in that session. At some point I’d like to take some time to discuss the d20 system and it’s fit for the game as a whole, but for my first topic I’ve chosen to talk about the variation of the flashback technique with which we started the campaign.

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Welcome to Dankelblog, my rantspace on the web. I’m a software analyst living and working in the shadow of the world’s largest croquette wicket, also known as the St. Louis metro area. For those of you looking for profound exposition on the nature of life or witty political commentary, this isn’t the blog you’re looking … Read more