Monday, April 25, 2011

Of Novels and Game Settings

This past week, the North Coast Gamers submitted a poll on our Facebook Page asking people: "What fantasy/Sci-Fi/Other novel(s) influenced you in the creation of your most exciting RPG campaign settings?"  As of the writing of this blog post, over 500 people have responded and 100 novels have been submitted.  I guess I shouldn't be surprised at the responses since so many gamers are avid readers.  After another poll, the average number of books our members read every year is at least one every month!  That's absolutely fantastic!  The imagination raging through the veins of our members creates awesome game worlds, deep political intrigue, and all around fun and action within their gaming to keep the party excited and lively, returning week after week for more.

Our parent organization, Social Interactions, Inc, has started a division called 'Writer's Bloc' and I thought I would share a bit about it here.  The Writer's Bloc program provides activities and events for individuals ages 10 and older to improve their social interactions and provide additional opportunities for inclusion through the improvement of their writing and collaborating skills.  The premise is fairly simple... People submit a single chapter of a book and the next person builds upon it with their storyline.  It is a collaborative effort, so people will not be killing of the other author's main characters without talking through and getting agreement on it. Social Interactions has piloted this in area schools and libraries and it is building momentum.  If interested in the program and contributing or just getting involved, let us know!


Sunday, April 10, 2011

Roleplaying Source Books and Game Mastering: Inspiration

For the typical GM in D&D, Shadowrun, White Wolf games (Changeling, Vampire, and etc.), and etc. are always looking for a good plot that needs to be believable, develops the characters, challenges the characters, and drags them deeper into the storyline or campaign. Each system uses it own words for plot development, challenges, and etc. so I am going to try to use every day terms to discuss them. I refer you to your various gaming guides for your specific terminology. 

Ultimately, you are trying to run a play in which the characters write their own script. You create the world and challenges for them to interact with during the play. Typically your players are the protagonists regardless of their actual moral outlook or actions. As the GM or the Director, you need to make sure they bear the consequences and the world responses to their input. 

Many of the starting books come with everything you need to run many plays or "adventures" but eventually the players read the books from page 1 to page n or they can run a search utility on the reader to find the topic or concept being explored in the game. As a GM, this is a disaster because you need to challenge them and make them think. Its fun to sweat it out. 

How do you keep ahead with a limited amount of time? You buy source books. Source books have new plots, new places to play, new villains, and heros. For the measly low cost of <$50, you get a pregenerated bag of new plots and challenges. My time is valuable and sometimes I don't enjoy fully fleshing out an entire alternate universe. There are people out there working for very small commissions working full-time plus to save us slags days and days of work generating this stuff. If you got the cash or gold pieces, throw them down and save yourself some time. 

My questions to the group:
  1. What is your favorite source books? Please full cite your source so people can run out and buy it.  
  2. What source book would you like to be created? 
  3. Are there cute gamer chicks with red hair and freckles who are free and over 18?