Posts Tagged ‘ adventure design ’

Binary Decisions and the Sweet Promise of Permutations

Mar 5th, 2011 | By | Category: The Razorwise Report

Reality is a lie. Choice is a myth. Or is it? In roleplaying games, we deal with constructed fictions where choices should have consequences so we avoid railroading the characters. Conceptually, this idea is all well and good, but in reality, crafting something to take into account all variations and possible outcomes is an impossibility, even if it’s attempted in broad strokes, so what’s a designer of adventures to do? Answers vary radically, but I’ll present my proposition, and it’s a simple one. Present the two most likely outcomes and then provide suggestions and insights as necessary if things go [...]



Music and Lyrics

Jan 6th, 2011 | By | Category: The Razorwise Report

Maybe we should’ve talked about this when we discussed influences back in November, but here we are at the beginning of a New Year, and I thought how much music insidiously seeps into my own works. Not overtly mind you. You did note the¬†assiduous use of the word insidious, didn’t you? Music is more like the Agency covertly sneaking in and saturating the subconscious with sublime, sonorous melodies meant to evoke emotion and expand the consciousness. Music is like oxygen. We all need it whether we know it or not. It improves our mood and, before you thinking I’m going [...]



Adjusting the Contrast: 4 Tips for Grittier Gameplay

Dec 16th, 2010 | By | Category: The Razorwise Report

A lot of games deal with black and light, good and bad, and even holy and evil in clear, crisp contrasts. The white hats are there. The black hats are over there. The orcs are evil. The dwarves are good. The elves are, well, elves. Heroic gaming is entertaining. It’s fun. When it comes to my works, however, there typically are one or more shades of grey in them. I like to have worlds with a bit of moral ambiguity, where the choices are difficult, where the lines between good and bad sometimes blur, where good people do bad things [...]



Creating Friction from Fiction: Taking a Page from Books

Dec 12th, 2010 | By | Category: The Razorwise Report

Today is Sunday, and I’m persisting with continuing the Razorwise Report non-stop. You may or may not know how I like to take a break on Sundays, but I do, in case you were wondering, so today’s report is going to be short and sweet. The Scenario: You are going to kick off a new campaign or are going to run a one shot, or short series, and you’re coming up blank on ideas. What do you do? You’re not trying to create high art. You’re wanting to create a fun experience for you and your friends. The Solution: Grab [...]



Turning Your Adventures Up to Eleven

Dec 3rd, 2010 | By | Category: The Razorwise Report

Today, I’m better. Thanks for asking, but not quite hundred percent. My body wants more sleep, but I want to keep things going here, so I’m offering up one solid tip from my private arsenal of GMing experience. Enjoy! A lot of folks run good games. Of that, there is no question. Whether it’s home material or purchased product, in every set of hands it comes across a little different. What is the one element which keeps players coming back to the same game and same GM over and over? Oh, I’m sure you can list a lot more things [...]



Time Passages or I’ll Stop the World and Rest with You

Nov 29th, 2010 | By | Category: The Razorwise Report

We’ve talked about a number of considerations for the GM in running his game, but there is one thing, surprisingly which we’ve not covered yet, and that is how the intangible element of time can greatly impact play. Whether you’re running a campaign or an adventure, the manner in which time is handled can certainly impact your game. In any system where there is the recovery of assets, be they fatigue, power points, or health, it is natural and expected for the players to want to rest somewhere until their characters are back at full health. Some game systems have [...]



Elements of Exposition in RPGs

Nov 28th, 2010 | By | Category: The Razorwise Report

Commonly referred to as an¬†info dump, exposition is an important part of all roleplaying sessions. It is how we, in our roles as gamemasters and designers, contextualize the adventure, and give it meaning to the players and, thus, the characters. Exposition provides some backgrounds for the group and can be very detailed or tantalizing shadowy tidbits about the plot, theme, setting or important characters. While it really helps to get everyone’s heads into the game, if overused or abused, exposition can kill an adventure’s momentum dead in its tracks. Knowing this, however, can also be used in the design process [...]



15 Minute Adventure Prep!

Nov 15th, 2010 | By | Category: The Razorwise Report

Monday has come in like molasses on a cold winter’s morn and is leaving in a maelstrom of madness as I continue work on Echo of Dead Leaves, and wrangle with the logic branches which naturally arise in the plot points. Things are moving apace, and I’ve got excitement and confusions, and equivocations aplenty. It’s still rough in patches, but that’s what the next pass is for. I’m moving currently at a pretty good clip. Let me pause, take a deep breath, and make a proper effort to center the conversation. Tonight, I’m coming in just under the wire. Believe [...]