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Roleplaying Tips Weekly #267
By: Charles Rector | Newsletter | 8:59pm, October 7, 2005
Roleplaying Tips Weekly #267

Game World Organisations, Part IV

From: Johnn Four, http://www.roleplayingtips.com
johnn@roleplayingtips.com

CONTENTS:
--> A Brief Word From Johnn

--> This Week's Tips:
1. The Nimrod Society
2. The Order of the Closed Fist
3. The Dark Summoning
4. The Industry
5. The Secret Commonwealth of Free Peoples
6. Guild of Kites
7. The Ghostmen
8. Wilderness Funfinders
9. The Stonemason's Guild

--> Readers' Tips Of The Week:
1. The Starring Role: Give PCs A Chance To Shine
From: Kendall Bein
2. Gaming With Teenagers
From: Debbie J.
3. Encouraging The Players To Make Maps
From: Derek McKay


_______________________________________________________
*******************************************************

Looking for Something a Little Different?

Check out Expeditious Retreat Press, an RPG company of two
publishing useful and affordable products for gamemasters.
Producing aids and supplements in PDF and print, take a look
at our lines. Magical Society- Build Your World. Better.
Monster Geographica- Thought it was safe to adventure?
Party of One- Roll the bones when you're all alone.
NPC Files- NPCs with backstories statted from levels 1-20.
1 on 1 Adventure- Adventures designed for 1 GM and 1 player.

http://www.exp.citymax.com

_______________________________________________________
*******************************************************

A BRIEF WORD FROM JOHNN

Monster Contest Ideas
---------------------
I have some prizes arranged for an upcoming contest and
would like to hear your ideas for what the contest could be.
It will be a monster-themed contest, and entries would
ideally become interesting content I can share with you all
so that everyone wins.

If you have a beastie-themed contest idea, I'd love to hear
it. Thanks!


Playing In A Shadowrun Game
---------------------------
I've recently joined a bi-weekly Shadowrun group. We've had
two sessions to date and no combat. I've been told this is
highly unusual. While we have been trying to think our way
past guards and barriers, I think our GM is just being nice
to a bunch of newbies. I'm expecting a smackdown any time
now. :)

So far, the campaign has been great fun. I'm scouring local
bookstores for Shadowrun novels to help me learn more about
the universe to get into character better. I'm currently
playing a "Face" - a smooth-talking elf who packs a pair of
nasty pistols.

The game is a nice switch from fantasy and D&D and I can't
wait for session three.

Hopefully, you can get some gaming in this week as well. If
you're having trouble finding a game group, you might want
to check out Fantasy Grounds - an advertiser in this issue.
They have some sweet software I've been fooling around with
that facilitates online chat-based gameplay.


Cheers,

Johnn Four
johnn@roleplayingtips.com

_______________________________________________________
*******************************************************

FANTASY GROUNDS
Real dice, real sheets -- real RPGs online

There is the original pen & paper RPG you like. It has a
distinct look, feel, and maybe even smell. So far, you've
perhaps taken it for granted that no software could improve
or come even close to that gaming experience you enjoy while
playing it with your friends. Well we've brought all of that
online, save the smell.

Fantasy Grounds is a virtual tabletop for pen & paper role-
playing games. Visit the website and get your copy!
(Free demo available.)

http://www.fantasygrounds.com

_______________________________________________________
*******************************************************

GAME WORLD ORGANISATIONS, PART IV

Below are a few more game world organizations that will
hopefully inspire you or be directly applicable to your
current campaign. These organizations are based on entries
submitted in last year's Game World Organizations contest.

Related links:

Part I: http://www.roleplayingtips.com/readissue.php?number=210
Part II: http://www.roleplayingtips.com/readissue.php?number=218
Part III: http://www.roleplayingtips.com/readissue.php?number=239

Types Of Game World Organizations:
http://www.roleplayingtips.com/readissue.php?number=209



1. The Nimrod Society
============================================================
From: Michael Brown

Group Purpose: A group of wealthy and decadent hunting
enthusiasts who take contracts to hunt the most dangerous
game of all: man.

Membership Details: Led by multi-millionaire industrialist
and hunting fanatic Terrance Hunter-Smythe, the Society's
membership requirements are strict: prospective members must
have a net worth of at least $50 million, have acceptable
character (that is, have displayed behavior in the past fit
for the scandal sheets), and have a fair degree of hunting
skill (a test is given at the time of application).
Contracts typically take the form of a big game hunt.
Hunter-Smythe even gets into the great white hunter persona,
complete with pith helmet and monocle.

Roleplaying Ideas: The Society can fit in any campaign; just
make the members highly skilled with ranged weapon and
hunting skills, and have no compunction about committing
murder. The King would like to get his hands on them, as
they killed one of his most loyal nobles, but their secrecy
is air-tight. However, the PCs may be able to infiltrate the
society and break it up for good.


2. The Order of the Closed Fist
============================================================
From: Steve Kozak

Group Purpose: A conservative human organization that can
easily be related to the KKK. The Order of the Closed Fist
runs meetings and missions of hate, and its members get
special privileges (beyond an outlet for their racism).

Membership Details: The Order of the Closed Fist is
comprised of assassins, wizards, and many everyday commoners
dedicated to hatred of other races, especially elves.

Roleplaying Ideas: An elf PC is targeted by the Order, a
human PC is recruited and (if good) may join in the hopes of
disrupting them.


3. The Dark Summoning
============================================================
From: John Smith

Group Purpose: The Dark Summoning is a group dedicated to
the destruction of good. It's composed of anything willing
to serve the darker powers and is lead by a few somewhat
crazy powerful mages. Membership includes drow, demons,
vampires, evil humanoids, and anything else that wants to
make trouble for the good folk of the land are welcome.

Goals: Goals are, in order of importance, stay alive, grow
in power, destroy forces of good.

Roleplaying Ideas: A number of lone clerics and paladins
have vanished. Villagers have reported strangers who don't
eat or drink visiting taverns and asking questions. A
mentally broken terrified guard who survived an attack
mutters about glowing red eyes and keeps repeating the word
"Vendui."


4. The Industry
============================================================
From: Michael Brown

Group Purpose: A group of supervillains who use
entertainment concepts as a motif for committing crimes.

Membership Details: The group is composed of:

1) Their leader, the Emcee, with the psionic power of
suggestion and hypnosis.
2) Songbird, Emcee's girlfriend, possessing sonic powers.
3) Beefcake, with super-strength and resistance to injury.
4) Understudy, able to copy others' skills and powers.
5) Stuntman, a highly-skilled normal with an arsenal of hand
weapons and hand-to-hand combat moves.

Roleplaying Ideas: A favorite theme of theirs is an ersatz
late-night talk show, using a roomful of robbery victims as
their audience. The police chief is at his wits' end trying
to find these people; he wants the heroes to do so,
preferably before Oscar Night, when the assemblage of
celebrities and valuables will be just too tempting.


5. The Secret Commonwealth of Free Peoples
============================================================
From: Graham D. Darling

Group Purpose: In the (presently "cold") war that has been
going on for tens of thousands of years, the Agents of the
Secret Commonwealth are pledged to fight on the side of the
world against the one who means to consume it, and for the
freedom of the peoples against that which seeks to
(re)enslave them.

Membership Details: Mission agents of the Secret
Commonwealth can be of any race and class (particularly,
budding divine or arcane spellcasters normally prone to
kidnapping or assassination by the "other side"), and are
recruited after long covert observation by Station Agents,
and a severe (though unfortunately necessary) test of
character.

Background: Elves (and their fallen brothers, the orcs and
drow) are the only people native to the world; the other
peoples were originally brought in as slaves to help fight
those elves still faithful to The Way, but many eventually
became liberated instead. The world, now devoid of fossil
fuels and many other natural resources (but in which magic
works, though magnetism does not), has recently emerged from
yet another global holocaust into a medieval-level society
that little suspects its true history. Both sides maneuver
for control of political power and magical places and
technologies.


6. Guild of Kites
============================================================
From: Bill Pinola

Group Purpose: In the mannish coastal cities one can barely
hear oneself think over the constant hounding of the criers.
For those of elvish (or other demi-human) blood who live in
the ghettos, the Guild of Kites serves a similar purpose.
The Guild of Kites is a parade guild with exclusively elvish
(or possibly half-elvish) membership. Most members have some
knowledge of magic, though that isn't required.

Membership Details: On average days, guild members are the
same as any crier, but on festivals they display their
unique talent for flying. The lighter members deck
themselves out in loose, brightly colored clothing topped
off by a wide, stiff cape. They anchor themselves with a
long, light rope held by their handler. Often it is the
handler who wields the magic, tossing the flier to the sky
and keeping them aloft. From above the fliers cry out to
those below, attracting crowds, performing stunts, and often
acting as airborne cheerleaders for festival events.

Roleplaying Ideas:

* The guildmembers would make excellent scouts and spies,
and likely would be an ideal front for smugglers.

* If inter-racial tension is desired, there could be
tensions between landbound mannish criers and the high-
flying elves of the guild.


7. The Ghostmen
============================================================
From: Bill Pinola

Group Purpose: In a future age when illegal cloning has led
to renegade groups operating in secret, the Ghostmen act as
humanity's protectors from science's most heinous mistakes.
Originally, the Ghostmen were political, aligned against the
horrors of human cloning, but these days they are little
more than street gangs. The only requirement is that one be
a natural human, willing to do what it takes to save the
race from renegades.

Since those who have been cloned and have transferred their
memories to the cloned body are legally dead, there are no
repercussions in killing clones. The Ghostmen tend to group
themselves in small cliques - six to a dozen at most. When
they find an enclave of clones they lay siege, picking off
any who dare poke their heads out. When they feel they have
their quarry cornered the Ghostmen move in, clean out the
offending clones, and help themselves to whatever is left
behind.

Roleplaying Ideas:

* The Ghostmen tend to live feast-or-famine, and if pickings
are slim they are not above fabricating an excuse to pick on
strangers. Their victims have often lived decades beyond a
normal life span, and may have important information
unavailable anywhere else.

* The original Ghostmen may still pull the strings,
preferring to let the rabble get their hands dirty. Perhaps
these original members have discovered their own fear of
mortality, but wish to keep the secrets for themselves.


8. Wilderness Funfinders
============================================================
From: Tom

Group Purpose: Seen as a group of thrill-seekers, their
outward appearance is an excellent cover for reconnaissance.
Sending their "players" out into different types and areas
of wilderness, they are able to gather information about the
movement and numbers of enemies/monsters. Once they gather
the needed information, they report to a authority with
their findings.

Membership Details: Anyone with an affinity for wilderness
survival may join the group on a trial basis. Once a
"player" has come back with two completed cards, they are
moved up into the ranks as recruiters. For every card
completed after that, they move up a rank until they reach
the honorary title of Baron. Once the current "Lord" retires
or is killed, the highest-level Baron takes his place. At
any given time, the Lord is either a high-level ranger or
druid.

Roleplaying Ideas: PCs are asked to try their luck at a
simple week-long excursion, which will take them into the
wilderness to test their mettle. Each PC must spend 10gp for
the entry fee, and are guaranteed to win 200gp just for
coming back with a completed card. The PCs must bring back
proof of each encounter. Coming back with a full card, they
will be asked if they want to participate again, with a
reduced entry fee of 5gp, and access to special equipment.
These new assignments will be specific targets that they
must accomplish, such as "Find out how many orcs are in the
Trembling Woods."


9. The Stonemason's Guild
============================================================
From: Michael J. Schmidt

Group Purpose: The Stonemasons Guild is an association of
professionals that arose in the capital city of Xansis 73
years ago. It was started by two men, Nevard Bachmann and
Toranis Everbeard, who were schooled in the art of stone
cutting and masonry. Bachmann and Everbeard felt that
members of their profession were given little respect in the
capital by the authorities and the other professional
unions. At first, the Stonemasons worked towards
equalization of their trade, but it grew more sinister after
Bachmann died under mysterious circumstances and Everbeard
took over.

Membership Details: Membership was increased, and people
from different professions and fields were admitted. Under
Everbeard's leadership, the Guild began exercising quiet
influence over politics in their area of the city.
Eventually, a few members of the City Fathers (the
Bundestag) became involved with the guild, and certain
members received various privileges, like first choice on
locations for stores and mills, or a break on taxes. An
agreement was also reached with the Xansisander, the city's
underground thieving guild. Members of the Stonemasons would
not be the targets of thefts, and in return the Stonemasons
would pass along information, equipment, and would help the
thieves to fence or move stolen property.

This became very profitable for both groups, and Everbeard
saw a great opportunity. He began chapters of the guild in
various cities and towns across the country. No one knows
for sure just how many there are. In some cities they are
completely secret, and in others they exist in the open,
known to all as a "gentlemen's club" with access only to
members. The main guild hall in Xansis controls all guild
policies and collects dues. Decisions are made by the
Vechtenstein, or Shadow Stone, a select group of members
headed by Everbeard. Each of the other town guilds across
the kingdom has its own version of the Vechtenstein with a
leader who reports to the guild in Xansis once a month
(either in person, or by messenger).

Roleplaying Ideas:

* The Stonemasons of Swallows Glade operate a guildhall in
the open on Kings Road. It is a large building fashioned out
of wood (like most of the buildings in the town) but with
ornately carved stone statues and filigrees. It is known as
a sort of "club" for certain men in town. Usually, only the
most influential and wealthiest are allowed to join, but
exceptions are made if the Vechtenstein believes granting
membership to someone will help in the long run.

* The guild is under the leadership of Martanius Elderwood,
who is also the unofficial town mayor. Most decisions about
the town are in fact made by the guild's inner circle. He
has two deputies, his brother Vantasus, and Keevis Banok,
the owner of Avriandor Import & Export. There are about 53
current members of the guild, most of whom own businesses in
the town. The inner circle is comprised of 11 men, but their
identities are known only to the other inner members.

* The guild has recently inducted a number of younger
members to add strength to their group. Their goal is to
teach the younger members, and perhaps send them to start
chapters in the towns of Cadaeveron and Croft. The ultimate
goal is to control trade and politics in the entire region
of Bakkis, since they find the current lord too weak for
their tastes.

* Presently, the guild is undertaking a mission to force out
the small temple of Heironeous through intimidation. The
official church of the nation is Pelor's and the guild
supports it secretly without even the church knowing.
Younger members of the guild have been sent on numerous
nights to paint graffitti on the temple walls, and most
recently they struck with horse dung. Martanius does not
think that these childish pranks alone will do the job, but
it has always been his intention to slowly escalate things.

* Members of the guild know each other by crossing their
index and middle finger of the left hand and holding the
hand up at about shoulder height. This can be helpful when
traveling to other cities, but is mostly unnecessary in a
town with only 53 members.

* Guild members can expect the following privileges:
- A job, if needed, or help with a difficult employer who is
not a member
- A loan of money in difficult times without the interest
normally charged non-members
- Healing from the church of Pelor that it usually not made
available to non-members
- Discounts on goods in stores owned by members
- Food and lodging while traveling
- Help in legal matters before the Lord's court
- Unspecified "favours" for a price

_______________________________________________________
*******************************************************

SAGA OF THE DROW 1 THE COMING OF THE STORM

This is the first in a linked series of three 256-page
books. Each one contains a single epic story broken into ten
parts, thus making thirty discrete adventures in total, all
tied in to one overarching saga.

The adventures are structured to take the characters
concerned from first level to thirtieth level. Each book
covers a span of ten levels, meaning that every adventure
will (if completed successfully) advance the characters by
approximately one level of experience.

The Saga of the Drow begins with a mysterious summoning to a
stone circle in the north of the island of Chillhame, close
to a fishing village that is about the most unremarkable
place on earth. As the Players explore their surroundings
and learn more about why they have been brought here,
helping the local villagers and finding out about ancient
legends, they are...

http://roleplayingtips.rpgshop.com/product_info.php?products_id=36923

_______________________________________________________
*******************************************************

READERS' TIPS OF THE WEEK

1. The Starring Role: Give PCs A Chance To Shine
From: Kendall Bein
============================================================
1) A fun campaign is about the interplay within the party,
and the interactions outside the party.

2) Everyone wants their own chance to shine.

These two goals aren't always so compatible. When one
character shines, the others are left out of the action for
a while. For the most part this is tolerable, as the players
realize that their colleague is having their time in the
spotlight, and it'll be repaid later.

There are some difficulties with this, or at least places
where it could be improved upon.

Examples:

* When the dedicated fighter shines, he usually shares the
spotlight. The fight goes on around him, and the other
characters steal some of his thunder

* When the diplomat shines, the others grow tired of all this
talk. What's more, if the player of the diplomat isn't
really much of a speaker, then it comes down to unsatisfying
dice rolls - not much of an opportunity in the limelight

* When the mage (or other "Big Gun") shines, it tends to be a
spell effect that everyone knows well. A clever application
of the spell may earn him a brief round of applause, but
it's rarely worth a curtain call.

* When the explorer or seer shines, it's a case of "make a
roll--yes you know this." Even worse, if the piece of
information needs to be fed to the group to progress or
guide the plot, then some of the magic of the knowledge
skill is taken away if, when the seer can't recall an
obscure detail, the outlander "recalls a legend of his
people."

* When the sneak shines, it's either a case of a roll
against traps skill (not very exciting) or an exploration on
his own, leaving the rest of the party behind and bored.
This approach works great in movies, books, and comics where
the audience is passive, but when there is an audience that
wants to be active but is forced into a passive role while
one player goes on an extended jaunt, boredom turns to
dissatisfaction. In the best instances, this turns to humor
as the rest of the gang make jokes around what is going on.
It won't always work out this well.


General rules:

The fish out of water - anyone can shine anywhere. Give
people their chance in another's arena. Make the brawler try
to cover for the rogue sneaking around the palace grounds
(better yet, have him justify it to his old friend the
palace guard), or have the mage engage in a fist fight.

Challenge people with their weaknesses. When a person is
physically great, give them emotional challenges. If they
are the big gun, give them a consequence to using it. When
they are the talker, make them mute. A creative player will
find new and novel solutions, and this is a true chance to
shine.

The Brawler
-----------
The duel. Within a combat or on his own, a duel with a
matched opponent makes a great scene. The others can be
involved in keeping back the horde who try to swarm to their
master's aid while the great fighters battle in single
combat. The Brawler holds back the indefatigable foe while
his comrades run for their lives (or for help, or to
surround the enemy).

The battle of wit and words. A variant of the duel is the
prelude - to provoke the enemy, confident in your own skill
with steel. The game of chicken (or fast draw) where
bravery, honor, or raw guts will put you at a disadvantage,
but earn you glory and a place in song. Alternately, provoke
him as the battle continues to either delude the foe, or
force him into a rash maneuver.

The heroic sacrifice. It is a noble thing to win glory in
combat. It is nobler still to suffer the slings and arrows
of outrageous fortune fighting a sea of woe and saving all
you hold dear. Usually, the brawler is in the enviable
position of being able to take those slings and arrows for
his comrades. Let him, and then let him milk it for all it's
worth. (In one game, I play a priest who isn't great in
combat but can soak the hits better than the fighters, so
he draws the attacks to put the fighters at an advantage.)

The Big Gun
-----------
Novelty. The big gun will have their tired and true paths.
The Dungeons and Dragons mage has his fireball. The tomb
raider has his dynamite. Make sure you litter the encounters
with opportunities for novelty. Let the mage play with those
cantrips to good effect. (A patch of light or sound makes a
great diversion.) Dynamiting a bridge may be more effective
than dynamiting a group in hot pursuit. The problem is you
require the player to come up with these novel ideas - but
then again, if they don't, they don't deserve a chance to
shine anyway.

Bluff. Blowing up a following crowd with heavy artillery is
never as satisfying as holding them off with the threat of
heavy artillery, especially if you're out of ammo (or the
mage is unconscious, and the rest of the party is doing the
bluffing).

What did I do with my staff? Having the mage engage in
combat with mundane weapons is always amusing. A friend of
mine plays a mage who has charged into combat more often
than one of our fighters. It not only gives him an amusing
time, but allows the fighters to shine by trying to save
him.

Plot hooks. Using the things the Big Gun wants or needs
(spell components, better equipment power) can make great
plot hooks. This, of course, goes for all the party, but Big
Gun opportunities arise more often.

The Diplomat
------------
A novel situation. Sure, you can use your diplomatic skills
to justify your recent failure to your lord, but now talk
your way out of a bar-room brawl... while it's going on. This
can lead to great role playing and humor. Let the character
get away with stuff, like politely asking a thug to hit
someone else while he finishes his pint. As long as it's
role played well, and he isn't getting involved, having him
unperturbed by the disaster around him can be truly
rewarding.

The bluff. A new variant on the bluff is needed for the
diplomat. In his case, it works best if he bluffs and is
disbelieved - and then give him a chance to prove his worth.
Give him a big bonus or a streak of luck to do what he said
he could, then the respect of those he's impressed. (Yes,
well maybe you did shoot through the hole in that washer,
but maybe you didn't. I don't suppose you'd like to try
again with this masking tape over it... [insert rest of
scene]. I hope you didn't take no offence sir.)

The Seer
--------
Know people. The seer or explorer traditionally knows
things. But where did they get that knowledge? They must
have learned it from other wise men, so they can also know
people in the same field. This can amount to a wealth of
plot hooks, and hence a chance to shine just by role playing
the encounter with their peers and mentors as they explain
why they now travel with a motley crowd of knowlessmen, the
things that have happened to them in the meantime, and
"what's this rumor I heard about you robbing graves all of a
sudden?" They may also provide new adventure seeds.

Choice of targets. When the lich is killed and his soul
searches for a new host, sure he might choose the mage, but
maybe the sage is the target of choice. He may be the
obvious choice for the villains to kidnap to use his rare
and hard to find talent.

Blackmail. Seers often make the ideal person in a party to
blackmail or cajole into doing someone else's dirty work.
They have connections to people, places, and information,
more so than any of the other character types, and so may be
willing to sell their soul for a chance to save it, or at
least be willing to buy time while the rest of the group
comes to the rescue.

The Sneak
---------
Prepare an ambush. The problem with being the party sneak
is, while you can get around the problem, the rest of those
lunks aren't as quiet, agile, or surreptitious as you. You
can, however, get behind the problem and allow an approach
from the other side (the mad dash towards the door to unbar
it so the rest of the party can enter the fray), or set up
an ambush (lob a grenade from the other side of the street).

Scout ahead. The problem with this is that if you go too
far, the rest of the players are getting bored while you
play on your own. A variants that may work includes having
some communication with the rest of the group so they can
participate in the operation. There are also the inherent
dangers of being caught away from the fire power when the
smack comes down.

Secondary talents. Most sneaks have a variety of skills.
They bought that merchant skill so they could fence stolen
goods,so how about putting it to a legitimate purpose? Dead
languages learnt to help them rob graves are a good way to
infiltrate an exclusive gentleman's club as an expert on the
esoteric.

There are of course more character types, and other
opportunities to shine. Maybe other GMs could send in their
ideas for inclusion in the newsletter.


2. Gaming With Teenagers
From: Debbie J.
============================================================
Sometimes you love 'em, sometimes you hate 'em, but they are
the future of roleplaying games, so we need to nurture them
to keep the games (and the gaming companies) alive and
growing.

I'm an adult female whose training is in secondary education
(though I'm not teaching now), and I enjoy working with this
age-group. I've been GMing a Shadowrun game with teenagers
for almost 3 years now, and I'd like to share with you some
of what I have learned.

One thing that's nice from a GM standpoint about working
with teenagers, especially if you are their first GM, is
that they accept the rules as you've presented them. At
least at first, and this continues for most of them. They
come to the game to use their imaginations, and do things in
a game that they can't do in real life. I've only had one
rules lawyer develop out of eleven. For the most part, they
are happy to leave the rules to me.

New players of any age tend toward being munchkins, and
teenagers are no exception. Very quickly therefore, they
will begin to question you about exploring odd character
concepts. This is where you have to be careful.

I have indulged them, and sometimes it hasn't worked out.
Their imagination and humor are the most enjoyable things
about having them in the game, so don't immediately dismiss
what they say, but do take some time to think about and
modify as necessary their crazy ideas. There is always
something you can use.

Another method I use is to alternate between printed
adventures and what I call free-time. Reasons for using
printed adventures are obvious, and if they're not, that's a
subject for another article. Free-time is when the players
get to choose things that their characters want to do.
Sometimes, it's to simply spend what they've earned, as well
as other character-improving activities.

What makes my free-time sessions so memorable are the
encounters. I write the encounters myself with one or more
specific characters in mind. I always have them write a
background after they've played the character for a couple
of months, and they are usually ready, willing, and able to
do so by then. I use the backgrounds and other things they
have said IC to develop a story about their character that
they are unaware of, related to what is happening in the
world around them and the NPCs they have generated with
their background. For example, a long-lost relative is still
alive, two of the characters are really twin brothers, and a
character who previously would not allow anyone close to him
develops a relationship with a female NPC.

At the request of my players, I have created a nemesis team.
This has led to excitement, and sometimes frustration, on
the part of the players. It's like any cartoon nemesis: they
keep coming back. This situation makes for very dramatic
moments as they try to figure out why the nemesis is doing
this, and they try once again to defeat them when they
appear. I'll never forget the looks on their faces when
their beloved NPC was shot because of being with them when
they were attacked. From a GM standpoint, having a recurring
opponent makes for an easy on-the-fly combat when the game
does not go as planned.

I have added a couple of house rules because I have a table
full of teenagers, so this may not be appropriate if you
only have one or two playing with adults. The first is that
their characters cannot physically fight in-game. The second
is that they cannot insult each other OOC. This has
prevented many problems over the years in my game.
Additionally, I give them plenty of NPCs to insult and
fight.

So, the next time you have the opportunity to role-play with
a teenager, relax and enjoy the enthusiasm. It just may
renew your own.


3. Encouraging The Players To Make Maps
From: Derek McKay
============================================================
Some players just like to be given maps of dungeons,
landscapes, cities, and so on, and some GMs would like to
make the PCs work for them. One way of accomplishing the
latter is to have an NPC pass on the information that the
best maps are to be had from the city's Cartography
Department. Delighted, the characters race off to this
survey office and ask for a map of their next adventuring
location. The reply is an exorbitant price. For example,
"Oooh...the map of the Hinterlands? Well, that'd be worth
50,000 gold coins!"

Outraged, the characters ask to either see this map (before
they part with their money, even if they have that much) or
at least demand to have such an extortional fee justified.

At that point, the surveyor reveals that this is not the
cost that the characters need pay to buy a map, but the
price that the survey office will pay for someone else to
make the map - which to date is completely blank. (Blank
handouts are really easy to make!)

Not only is there then a lovely opportunity for role-playing
(based on the misunderstanding between the survey office and
the characters), but also a great plot-hook (why doesn't a
map exist yet? what happened to the last survey party?) and
a substantial monetary reward for the characters to pursue.

_______________________________________________________
*******************************************************

Call of Cthulhu: Spawn of Azathoth

Astronomers theorize that our sun is not alone in its
journey around the galaxy, but is accompanied by a
heretofore unknown second star of dim radiance. This second
star, while perhaps invisible from Earth even with the
finest optics, periodically passes close enough to our solar
system to have far-reaching effects upon the evolution of
our planet - in the past causing mass extinctions, climactic
changes, and similar catastrophes. Spawn Of Azathoth is a
campaign for the Call of Cthulhu horror role-playing game.
Through the appearance of ghostly apparitions, the
exploration of sunken treasure, and journeys to unimaginably
far-off lands, the investigators find themselves entwined in
cosmic events....

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