Becoming God: An RPG noob now GM

If I was to recall one regret in life, one of them would be not getting involved in RPGs earlier. I’ve played RPG video games like Skyrim, and The Witcher, to name a couple, but the RPG style of pen and paper, or even with miniatures was an unexplored realm to me; even when I started playing tabletop wargaming, it was still something other people did – not me. I think I was worried, that would inevitably be playing with a group that always included “that guy” – the person who would literally believe they are a wizard and criticise me because I wasn’t embracing my character properly or because I was making an action that wasn’t optimal to the meta…or some shit. This was until a couple of years ago, when my best mate said that he, his partner and a couple of their friends had played a game of Dungeons and Dragons, and asked if I’d like to join too. I said yes, simply because I thought if my mate is enjoying it (who has never been much of a role-player himself), then, at the lest, I’ll have a laugh with him anyway. His partner has organised a house party, but which had turned into an evening long DnD session… and you know what – I love it! I was playing a socially awkward Dwarve with poor social etiquette (suited me perfectly), who happened to fart every time things got awkward or stressful. I was also a healer for the party. It was brilliant fun, very laid back, and far easier for me to imagine my Dwarve and engage with him as a character than I ever thought it would.

Skip ahead to now, and I have been involved in a nice little range of DnD games now; currently, I’m nearing the end of a The Lord of the Rings RPG campaign as a Rider of Rohan (mostly me riding around shouting DEATH!), will soon be starting a Warhammer 40,000 campaign as a Dark Angel (the best chapter), and the GM for a fortnightly session within the Witcher universe.

Continue reading “Becoming God: An RPG noob now GM”

Manaburnt Podcast – Episode 15: RPG Character Death

Time for another podcast episode! This one is with James Campbell-Prager again, and our regular guest Mike Jarvis to talk about the death of the player character in RPGs! How cheerful!
You can listen through Spotify below, or find links for all other places to listen at anchor.fm/manaburnt

 

“Wouldn’t That Song Just Make a Great RPG?” Part 2

Hello everyone and welcome once again to ManaBurnt. Firstly I would like to apologise for our sudden quietness in the last week or so. With the snow hitting England “unexpectedly” apparently our internet connections are not prepared for the freezing cold – And I am still waiting for my WiFi to work as there was some serious damage done to the green box outside of our flat where the connection comes to?! In any case, I managed to steal someone else’s connection to bring you this: my part two on “Wouldn’t that song just make a great RPG?”. You can find part one here: https://manaburnt.wordpress.com/2017/10/22/wouldnt-that-song-just-make-a-great-rpg-tunes-lyrics-to-get-your-creative-juices-going/

 

I was trying this time to make it something other than metal. So then I started looking for other things, and even used them on RPGs we have had recently to test the effects of them. However, I am afraid that the metal component will still be strong with this one, but here are some other things 🙂 Continue reading ““Wouldn’t That Song Just Make a Great RPG?” Part 2″

My Name is NPC#4 – Or Why You Should Give NPCs Actual Names

Just yesterday night, I returned to DMing the RPG Alex and I are working on, and that most of you would probably be aware of due to Alex’s magic with cartography and making pretty maps. Well, my post today will not have to do anything with this topic, but something I find that in RPGs is often taken for granted: NPCs. What would you actually do without your good friend Joe the Tavernier telling you that there are monsters attacking the caravans coming in and out of the settlement? Pretty much nothing. Although player interacting is – in my opinion – crucial for a good game, without the NPCs the DM would be 100% bored and the players most certainly lost. So today I am gonna dedicate the post to the many Joes and Daves you’ve encountered in many tales.

One thing that always fascinated me when I was little of the RPGs my parents played, was that my dad always had a quirky character waiting for something to happen in the story and mess up the party – I would love to say help out, but I probably don’t remember that well to confirm such thing….And the thing was that, although this was always my dad, these characters were never the same. Not one merchant was equal to another, nor where the Innkeepers always jolly or informative, neither were his villains always monsters. These were fully fleshed people with thoughts, emotions and agendas – the latter being perhaps the most important one. I believe this is how NPCs should be. The world your roam for your own personal reasons is full of other people, just because Jack didn’t turn up to play, it doesn’t mean that Kronk the Barbarian that you just helped out doesn’t get his 5 minutes of glory. Nevertheless, I find that a lot of people struggle making meaningful NPCs, and even worse, useful NPCs that help the story move forward and add to the narrative. Continue reading “My Name is NPC#4 – Or Why You Should Give NPCs Actual Names”

“Wouldn’t That Song Just Make a Great RPG?” Tunes & Lyrics to Get your Creative Juices Going

 

Have you ever been listening to some tunes and thought to yourself, “OME, this would make a great RPG plot/story line/character concept”? If you have then you know what this is going to be about – and if you haven’t, dudes, you need to get your musical mojo on because music is a great source of inspiration for all sorts of things! These are things I have been thinking about for some time, so, forgive me, but some of these ideas are a bit more developed than others. In any case, I hope you can see how they could work.

Oh, and prior warning, this includes, a fair amount of METAL! :8

Rhapsody of Fire – The Emerald Sword & Dawn of Victory

If you are in for some high-fantasy stuff, this is perfect. Both songs are really fast paced and they scream epicness. Starting with Dawn of Victory, I think it is pretty obvious but here is a lot of stuff for a very cool battle/fight.

Continue reading ““Wouldn’t That Song Just Make a Great RPG?” Tunes & Lyrics to Get your Creative Juices Going”

Lilly’s Player Guide to Being a Good RPG Player

Continuing with our RPG run of blog posts here is something based on personal experience from the point of view as a DM and as a player. I guess you can call this the player’s guide to be a good RPG player, According to Lilly, of course. I have been involved in RPGs since I was a kid. I started DMing by the age of 11, so I have already nearly 15 years of different game experiences at several levels and from a unsual point of be: I be them rare species of female gamers. I have noticed with time that usually people fall in certain stereotypes of players and/or characters – which I guess is inevitable, it is just human nature. But I am sure this is not unheard of and you all have come across the destroyer (all he/she does is kill…team-mates included), the tank (he just can’t roleplay or doesn’t want to so he is just there to attack things – not the same than the destroyer, destroyers usually roleplay with the purpose of…well…destroying), the-guy-who-no-one-knows-why-he/she-plays-rpgs-cause-they-never-do/say-anything (a lot of the time a mate or someones gf who has been dragged into this…not really sure how), the smart ass (the guy who thinks that knows best than everyone, including the DM)…This is obviously just a sample, but they are a very common tendency. And, unfortunately, if you fall into any of those categories, you will not do well in my games. That is like noob status in an MMO. If you truly want to enjoy and get RPGs you need to pass that stage and actually engage with what is it that roleplaying is about. And it usually comes down to challenging oneself, experimenting, and pushing the boundaries. (Note: Destroying, as a pathological M.O is NOT any of the above!!)

So, what makes in my opinion a good player for a demanding DM? Continue reading “Lilly’s Player Guide to Being a Good RPG Player”

Music as a Roleplaying Tool – Do’s and Do Not’s

Following our RPG month theme today I bring you something that has often been source of discussion among the people in my circle with regards to roleplaying, which is how to create ambiance with the use of music. This is something that I guess to a degree depends on taste, but there are also some does and don’ts that I personally stick to simply because I have had too many bad experiences with this subject, sadly. I love incorporating music or anything else that makes RPGs be cool, something to get you in the zone, but some people just destroy games by the misuse of these tools. And here are some examples…

Continue reading “Music as a Roleplaying Tool – Do’s and Do Not’s”

GURPS: Pa’ Que Molestarse.

He aquí mi dilema con el sistema de rol conocido como GURPS, que es producido por Steve Jackson, el del Munchkin y estas cosas. Durante años me he mantenido lo más alejada posible de GURPS, sobre todo como Master. He medio jugado alguna partida u otra, he intentado hacer personajes en más de alguna ocasión, pero me puede completa y rotundamente. Lo cual me revienta porque por un cumpleaños creo que fue me regalaron el libro para jugar a Discworld, que por desgracia funciona vía GURPS. El problema es que me parece terriblemente complicado para lo que realmente se consigue lograr. Así que aquí os dejo los motivos por los que GURPS no es mi sistema a elegir:

Continue reading “GURPS: Pa’ Que Molestarse.”

GURPS…But Why?

Yesterday I broke rule number 1: never go near GURPS. Liam is running a very interesting game and I shall be playing it. But the truth is, I’ve avoided GURPS for years like the plague, as a player and particularly as a DM/ GM.

I’ve tried many times to get into it. I have the Discworld RPG which runs on GURPS. I remember getting the book for a birthday and being really excited. To this day I can sadly say I have not played it properly. I remember start reading the rule book, already as an experienced DM/GM, and thinking to myself ….”why is this so unnecessarily complicated?!”. For a system to run pretty much whatever you like on the fly, GURPS is too elaborate, at least in my opinion. As a player, I have tried to go through character creation for many games which didn’t actually run or fell flat through the first game. Just not a very good first impression.

So here are my main issues:

Character creation takes forever and a day. I am one of those people who likes having options, so in that regards the fact that GURPS allows you to choose amongst different settings and create a character which could potentially be anything is great. The thing is though, I find that if I want the flexibility to explore/come up with whatever, I want to keep that freedom. I don’t care about the system or the rolls, I just want to play. And GURPS has one too many elaborate rules, rolls, parameters and tables to enjoy the freedom (in my very personal opinion). With regards to the character creation process, my real problem is that in order to make a character which is remotely interesting and flavoursome from the first instance, you have to accept you’re going to have to shot yourself in the foot and acquire a fair amount of disadvantages and then make up the points. But please be aware that your character also requires, basic stats, skills, potentially advantages unless you want to be just flaws. However, the effort that goes into this process may seem somewhat worthless. I have been told GURPS games end up being proper deadly because of the way damage resolution happens. Also, combat is also just as elaborate. So, from my perspective it becomes a waste of time, as I don’t enjoy playing blank slates.

Regarding rolls and system issues: the law of averages of 3d6 its something that does my head in. It is not like in WhiteWolf games where you roll as many dice depending on the level you have on something, or because each die refers to a specific aspect of your roll, like in say In Nomine Satanis/Magna Veritas (the 80s french RPG) where you roll 3 dice on a 100s system where you have a system of sucess/failure and a grading scale. The statistics are just incredibly elaborate for what something that should be relatively simple. Of course, GURPS originated years ago, and it was a proper pioneer in its field, and the several editions have allowed the game to catch up with current rpgs trends, but even so, still feels over the top. This is not a DMing/ GMing prospect I’d happily buy into.

Now one advantage that GURPS has is that there is a lot of free material and support through the Steve Jackson website, alongside hundreds of supplements to keep the game interesting. Now that is something I appreciate, and perhaps wished more roleplaying systems did. So, no, it’s not all criticism for GURPS…

In any case, our game shall be starting in the next few weeks, and hopefully we will have some interesting material to show you. Who knows, maybe I’ll learn to appreciate some unknown aspect of the game that I may have been oblivious to 😉

Mythic Iceland Campaign: A.D 997 – Western Fjords – ‘Arnarfjörður’

Today I am sharing the following campaign concept for Mythic Iceland – the Chaosium Ink game, based on Basic RPG, using a d100 system. I have been DMing/GMing Mythic Iceland since 2013. As a Viking Age scholar, I am quite particular on how my games go: everything is about keeping it real, but with a otherworldly touch to it. If it is not worthy of the sagas or the Eddas if you want to go super epic, then it is not welcomed in my game. So I created this campaign scenario in the Western Fjords – the hardest place to live in due to the topography and resources available. The time frame is set in this particular place to see how the players would experience living in the deepest most pagan part of Iceland while Christianity is taking over. The country goes through several changes in the way the society behaves and how this affects the ordinary man, so I thought both from a historian and a DM/GM point of view, seeing this struggle come to life would be quite interesting. So here are the materials:

Premise:

Arnarfjörður is one of the large fjords in Western Iceland. It is an area enclosed by mountains, where birch woods used to be abundant. However, for several decades now the woods run thinner and trees are becoming scarce. The land goes further into the sea and diverts in two further fjords forming a fork. The northern one features the waterfall Thunderer (Dynjandi), and the community of Seilerdal, a settlement where Christianity is flourishing. The entire land is well-known as an area where hidden folk (elves) are more often seen than elsewhere in the country. In fact, the Western Fjords – and Arnarfjörður specifically – are lands were magic and pagan folk have deep roots.

Continue reading “Mythic Iceland Campaign: A.D 997 – Western Fjords – ‘Arnarfjörður’”