Building compelling NPCs is a tricky, tricky business. And it’s made even trickier by the fact that people don’t even REALLY understand what NPCs are. That’s a shame, because good NPCs are literally the key to emotional investment in games.
GMs suck at giving recaps. They give too much information or too little information or the wrong information or they make it boring or they let the dumba&$ players do it or they do it by e-mail. Recaps are a very powerful that no GM understands, let alone uses well. Except me. Because I’m a genius.
Tabletop RPG sessions are a lot like TV shows. The problem is the one very important way in which they are not at all like TV shows. If you always want to leave your players hungry for more, you have to learn how to structure your SESSIONS like episodes, NOT your adventures.
The problem with players is that they always want to run around and do things in your game. Things you weren’t ready for. Or ask questions you don’t have answers for. And sometimes, even your own brain will turn against you and demand you add a crazy idea to your game. So how do you change the story of your game on the fly?
What do you do when the rules fail? Well, you’re the GM, so you’d better do something! The game is waiting! You need to make a call! Hurry up and make something up.
Improvisation is the single most important thing that can utterly ruin your game if you f$&% it up. It’s also widely considered to be unteachable by f$&%ing sissies who are afraid of working at things. Not me. Let’s embark on a series to teach you how to improvise, why it’s important, and why you shouldn’t.
Pacing: it’s one of those words that everyone thinks they know. And they don’t. Let’s talk about Pacing, Flow, and how to build a good pace into your adventure.
Lots of things piss me off. But one thing pisses me off more than any other for the purposes of this article: when people ask me how to punish PC death. Isn’t death punishment enough? Why do GMs have such a hard time dealing with death?