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Too Much Information

The Tyranny of Exposition

There is a  disturbing trend in mass media (eg movies and RPGs, whether tabletop or digital) to give too much background information, too much explanation about plots and characters.  Some background information is nice and gives the plot depth, but the primary storyline should not suffer because of it. In short, plots these days simply […]

The Campaign Begins With All The PCs in a Tavern…

and it is a terrible way to start a role-playing campaign. Of course, all of the players want to quickly form a party and get to adventuring, but tavern meet-ups are trite. The point of a campaign is to create and share an interesting story. Just dropping in a group of PCs in a room […]

Prophecies Suck: When the Messiah Is A Moron

Chosen one, foretold hero, messiah or prophecy fulfiller. Whatever the name many fantasy plots revolve around an ancient prophecy predicting the arrival of a “special” being capable of defeating a great evil. There are literally hundreds of examples in fantasy literature, but names like Aragorn, Arthur, Richard Cypher, Neo (yes, “The Matix” is high fantasy) […]

AK-47s vs. Wands–Using Anachronisms in Your RPG Campaign

Role-playing campaigns are genre affairs. Most fall into a few categories like “sci-fi,” “high fantasy” and “horror.” Regardless of the theme, players learn the rules of the setting. When a magic user throws a “fireball” in a “Dungeons and Dragons” campaign, no one is truly surprised. Magic is just another “fact” of this fantasy world. […]

Crime Episode 5: Kidnapping

Let me get this out of the way first; no rescue missions! Kidnapped princesses are such a genre cliche that I can barely write this sentence without waves of nausea.  There will be no rescue missions in this post, I want the PCs out there grabbing up innocent children in the name of a greater […]

Crime Episode 4: Crazed Sport's Fans

Historically, when large groups of people gather revolution and chaos are always hovering nearby. My European readers need no reminder of the dangerous football hooligans that  regularly turn a match into gladiatorial combat. Now imagine this on a larger scale, where the angry fans can literally bring down a government or destroy an empire. Before […]

Crime Episode 3: Blackmail

Blackmail appears in many gaming scenarios, most often in the following form: A wealthy politician, Sir John Edward receives an anonymous note. “Pay me 10,000 gp or your wife finds out about you  and the comely portrait painter. We have evidence!” Note in hand, the politician hires the PCs to kick in doors and retrieve […]

Crime Episode 2: The Con

The art of the “con” or confidence game has a long and storied history.  Con artists or “grifters” employed  many techniques to steal money from their victims or “marks.” Simple cons like marked cards, loaded dice or other rigged games of chance are common place. They can be fun for a quick encounter, but they […]

Theme Week: Crime Episode 1: The Heist

Taking a  page from the Chattydm , I felt the urge to have a “theme week” for my blog posts.  The theme for this week is the tragically overlooked criminal element of RPG campaigns. PCs spend far too much time kicking in doors and slaying monsters. That gets old quickly, so this week I offer […]

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