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lundi 9 avril 2018

Strategic gamemastering, part 5 : Converting THACO links into scenes

Having performed the prescribed steps of the strategic gamemastering methodology, the strategist GM now has obtained the requisite THACO.

Accordingly, this THACO provides the GM with :

  • an overview of all objects (Themes, Locations, NPCs & Items) which are common to your players' respective creative agendas ;
  • a list of all the links that the GM has created in order to increase the number and interdependencies of objects across the player-characters.

A question remains : how to switch from a strategic level of gamemastering to a tactical level ? Which concepts should be converted into scenes ? How to create these scenes ?

This post aims at answering these questions.

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jeudi 14 décembre 2017

Strategic Gamemastering, part 4: Matrix campaigns

You've read all three installments of the Strategic Gamemastering posts, and you're telling yourself that while the method certainly could work for one-shot scenarios with strongly divergent characters, you are still in doubt that the THACO tool could manage the several pre-written adventures, modules or 50-scenario campaign that you have bought for your favorite game.

Your main issue is that if, in accordance to the process described in Part 3 of Strategic Gamemastering, you decompose a single scenario into its base components and enter them into the THACO for subsequent exploitation, the player-characters will enter the scenario in a manner certainly consistent with their own objectives or background, but probably not in the manner envisioned by the scenario author but by each following their own creative agendas.

Since player-characters will be entering the narrative threads of the scenario in an uncontrollable and unpredictable manner, there is also a definite possibility that the scenario will unfold in a manner wildly different from the author-driven narrative direction. This, of course, implies a massive uncertainty as to whether the ending of the scenario will match the beginning of the next campaign scenario as envisioned by the campaign designers !

These reservations are quite legitimate. However, the Strategic Gamemastering method also provides for long-winded campaigns and even follow-up campaigns. This post will show you how.

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lundi 31 août 2015

Strategic Gamemastering, part 2: Data organization and exploitation through the THACO

This is the second installment of our series of articles on optimizing gamemaster effort through systematic gamemastering strategies. In the first article of this series, we have seen together how a clever gamemaster could infer player expectations for a given game by thoroughly mining all available data sources.

This post is focused on the practical organization and exploitation of all data gathered following a practical methodology, which, in homage to Gary Gygax, our godfather of tabletop RPG gaming, I have named the "THACO".

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mardi 9 décembre 2014

[OtE] [NPC] Alberto Drusano

Uptight butler & household mastermind

A new NPC for Over the Edge

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mercredi 25 juin 2014

Strategic Gamemastering, Part 1: RPG theory, Premises and Data gathering

GNS and Big Model theories have limits. They describe the players, the relationships between player stances, and the social contract between the players. They help expose the incoherences and/or game design flaws of role-playing games. They help understand the psychological mechanics & dynamics of a RPG gaming table. They help understand that differing expectations will end up with incoherence, zilch play, or even agenda clash. In that, they are useful awareness-raising tools for the GM and the players alike.

However, they also show their limits in that they are theoretical tools, from which GM & player best practices have to be deducted, and depend on the effort of the GM, on his understanding, and on the willingness and/or ability of each player to understand her own creative agenda, her own needs and expectations, know her own stance and the nature of the game, and fulfill her part of the gaming table "social contract".

But what of the time-deprived gamemaster? What of the player who is unwilling or unable to clearly state or even understand his own expectations?

Moreover, what of the case of an impromptu gaming table, or a gaming convention demo? How can a GM apply his understanding of the Big Model or the GNS model to the gaming session at hand without engaging in interviews on the preferred creative agendas and expectations of the players?

I believe that these limits can be broken through by any GM, by adopting a common, game-independant, player-independant, creative-agenda-independant methodical gamemastering approach.

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vendredi 13 juin 2014

[OtE] [NPC] Candero "Asdrubal" Terceius

Current official Asdrubal Terceius and presumably immortal wizard.

A new NPC for Over the Edge.

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mercredi 28 mai 2014

[OtE] The Terceius conspiracy

An Immortal at the Al Amarjan Senate & a new conspiracy for Over the Edge.

Some of this has already been shared through the Over the Edge mailing-list, but this is an expanded version of the Asdrubal Terceius character and his legacy of conspirators. Description of the NPC belonging to the Terceius conspiracy will follow.

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mardi 27 mai 2014

[OtE] [NPC] Noel "Neville Valoy de Sienne" Frassin

Socioposh Designer

A new NPC for Over the Edge.

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dimanche 16 mars 2014

BugHunters : Extended character sheet

The BugHunters RPG (powered with TSR's Amazing Engine system) provided a quite simple character sheet, and quite a detailed skill tree. For the needs of my own 6-year long campaign, I had to insert the BugHunters skill tree into a character sheet. I also seized this opportunity to add a goodly number of skills, enhancements, and specializations, as well as a few useful details (stamina and body penalties, automatic dodge chance, etc.).

Inspired by Starship Troopers, I also added psychic skills on the bottom left of the sheet. However, in order to play "vanilla" BugHunters, this part can be safely ignored.

dimanche 9 février 2014

[OtE] [NPC] Lava Lamp Globule

Chrysalis of influence

New NPC for Over the Edge.

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