Thoughts


Campaign Planning, Reusability, and Separation of Concern

Some important concepts from my work in computer software can definitely be applied to campaign planning. Let's talk about two of them.Image (cc) Tim ProbertSeparation of ConcernThink of any dungeon* you've seen - or have written - with a map of the layout, lists of encounters for each room, key items and notes on where they are hidden.  How many times have you, as GM, had to skip, rearrange, shuffle or rebuild parts in response to the party's actions? Exactly.Separating the elements means more flexibility.  Generally, the dungeon map doesn't care what monsters lie within and the monsters don't care what important treasures they guard. So if we plan loosely we can make it easier to change or add things on the fly.Let's say instead we have:a handful of dungeon* maps, with or without notes about key featuresa page of magical or plot related items and a list of - or means to generate - treasurea page for each faction/threat with a few common monsters, and some sketches of common encounters at various l

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Starting Infinity with Haqqislam, or What I Should Have Done

Infinity is an awesome game. I love how dynamic it is and the minis are brilliant. I hate how overwhelming it is for new players, which stems from:Having many, many, special rules and equipment choices despite the elegance of the core rules.There are no bad unit choices, so it's hard to narrow things down.Starter boxes contain a good mix of units but these are not necessarily beginner friendly - Haqq box I am looking at you!When I started I bought as much Haqq as I could, mainly through bulk sales on FaceBook, and a few new pieces that I wanted because they were cool or because people on the internet recommended them.  Looking at my 7-800 points of unpainted Haqq and still having things I want, I can't help thinking that - especially as a casual player - I should have taken a different approach...Coming to Infinity - as any faction - I would recommend prioritising a usable and easy-to-learn 150pt force for playing Recon or Recon+ games.  Recon is a great format requiring minimal startup investment,

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Campaign Planning and Management - 2019 Project

Image (cc) paganjesus on DeviantArtI'm the kind of person who likes to have a project, so I'm setting myself one right here.For years I've been looking for a way to weave the player characters into engaging plots while still keeping prep low and flexibility high, and it finally feels like things are falling into place. My hobby project for the rest of this year is going to be formalising my ideas and getting them down on paper. Electrons. Like so:On DMing, or How I Learned to Let Go and Embrace the Chaos (May)Railroad / Sandbox / Other (June)Reusability and Separation of Concern (July)Using a Grid for Plot Components (August)Populating the Grid (September)Using the Grid for Planning (October)Reshuffling Items in the Grid (November)Example Campaign (December)Sounds manageable, and by the end I'll know if it works or not. Hope you'll follow along. I'll be using this post as an index as I go and post a retrospective at the end, wish me luck!

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5 ways to support the Blogosphere (and Why You Should)

Image (cc) Ivy Dawned, on FlickrWay back when, round about 2010, there was something called the RPG blogosphere.  It was awesome. It was like some kind of interconnected network of blogs, a web that went worldwide. Then with the increasing uptake of "social media" the blogosphere dwindled - but now it's back I think it's important that we keep it running.CommentWe like comments, that's why we have them enabled.  These blogs are public spaces to share thoughts, ideas, and resources and feedback is always welcome; nobody likes to think they're just shouting into The Void.  As a bonus, comments on blogs add links back to the author's blog and links mean a) more curious traffic shuttles between them and b) better SEO because it counts as a word of mouth recommendation as far as search engine spiders are concerned. It was part of the original design philosophy and it's why spammers spam and why some blogs have limitations on who can comment, or require moderation.This is a social medium, so let

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On DMing, or How I Learned to Let Go and Embrace the Chaos

Image (cc) Kridily on DeviantArtDungeons & Dragons is a bad game.*  Bad naughty.  It's irresponsible in that it doesn't show us how to be Dungeon Masters - my favourite term for which is Apocalypse World's "MC" as we are, after all, Master of Ceremonies above all else.D&D teaches us to build encounters, but not how to build stories and worlds.  It teaches us to think in terms of probabilities and not stakes.  I learnt to DM on 4e and I've spent maybe a decade unlearning how it was presented to me then.  It took Stars Without Number and Dungeon World to open my eyes to how a game could be run.Embracing the ChaosThe adage "No plan survives contact with the players" is particularly true at our table it seems, but it's usually expressed as a negative.  Dungeon World says Play To Find Out What Happens and I decided to embrace the chaos and go with that in my homebrew Stars Without Number campaign. Let the players drive the story and I'll try to steer, or just sit back and watc

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