I have been through the adventure notes today adding post-it notes to scenes and locations with little added comments about sounds, smells and little visual ‘clips’ such as dust swirling in a vortex as a door slams shut.
These serve no purpose at all except to remind me to be more descriptive, not great long tracts of prose to be read out just little details to drop into the scene. I am hoping to bring scenes to life a little more, to make the sessions are little more atmospheric and engage more of the characters senses through the players’ imagination.
I have one player who loves maps and mapping any and all dungeons and buildings the party enter. There is nothing inherently wrong with the party mapping. In fact the character has bought copper plates and a stylus exactly for mapping their route.
My issue is that mapping the parties progress kills the atmosphere in the game. It can become almost mechanical, the party enters an area, everything stops while the player updates the map, play continues, rinse and repeat.
I am a bit of a minimalist in almost everything I do. Below is a picture of my gaming table.
At this end of the table you can see the adventure, one set of dice, a notepad, tablet PC for the PDF rules and shades. What else does the modern GM need? Tea, but you can see liberal cups of tea around the table so that is sorted as well. (Actually through the tea is in Brian’s honour as that is what he thinks British roleplayers only drink!)
I have packed up all my game notes and rules and I will soon be on the train to Faerün (so to speak).
The biggest difference in the game this time will be that I have adopted some advice I was given last week. For each major NPC I have given them a post-it note with a mini-flowchart of their tactics and or favoured spells. The idea is that as soon as I pick up a character sheet I can see at a glance what they are most likely to do in the first combat round without having to delve any deeper into the paperwork to look at skills or spell lists.
I was thinking about your typical party campsite the other day. We assume both as players and as GMs that a lot is happening during those hours camping that we do not normally play through. The fighters are practicing, repairing bits of armour, food is prepared and pots washed and so on.
It is easy for a typical PC to be ‘learning’ 15 to 20 skills each level and all of these will require a certain amount of practice time. I used to work in adult education and we would allocate about 20hrs for a student to grasp a basic skill. It is also generally bandied about that it takes 10,000 hours to master a skill.
Articles and discussion on Roleplaying in general and various settings including Shadow World, Forgotten Realms and Aioskoru. We talk about pen and paper roleplaying as well as play by post. We have a strong interest in Rolemaster but also play and love other games