I’m a winner (and in debt)!

It has been a really busy month for me and my wife.  As some of you know, we’ve been looking to move out of our apartment and into a house for a little while now.  For over a little over a month, we’ve been out looking at houses with a Realtor – and about two weeks ago, we found a place we quite liked.  We moved through all the details of putting an offer in and negotiating and all that jazz and as of last week, the house has been officially sold.  We’re very excited about it.  But of course, this is also coupled with the mortgage debt that inevitably shows up with a home purchase.

It always amuses me that people get so excited about being in debt for 20+ years.

I also received some very exciting news recently – I have been selected as a winner of a MacBook Air from CMA Alberta.  The contest was for going to one of their events.  I’m very excited about it, especially since I’ve always wanted to have a laptop to assist with my GMing.  I can use it to track damage, quick reference my preparation documents, powers and all that other stuff – and, I can potentially make the game a bit more cool by the addition of music/sound effects.  I’m excited about the potential that a laptop brings to the gaming experience.

Just before Halloween, I was able to participate in a Trail of Cthulhu game, run by a friend of mine.  It was my first real horror game (while Dark Heresy has some horror elements, I wouldn’t really call it a horror game) and I really enjoyed it, even though my character was devoured first.  It was a great time and I would really like to be able to participate in another game like that in the future.

Trail of Cthulhu is an interesting system and from the single game, I found it fairly ideal for the type of story being told.  I haven’t read the rules cover to cover, so I can’t really give a holistic view on things, but the experience with the ruleset was extremely positive.

Finally, Fallout 3 was released this week.  My copy is on the way from Amazon.  I’m really excited about the game.  It looks amazing, the reviews have been very positive, and the game appears to have no shortage of ‘holy crap that’s fraking awesome’ moments.  I’m very exited.

Brief Game Master Pointers

[Cross-posted, originally posted on Canadian Geek]

I’ve got a few administrative items to pass along this month that I’ll pass along before we get to the meat and potatoes. Firstly, I’m going to add something to the end of my columns – a few game recommendations. These titles are likely going to be games I’ve never played and have barely read through, but something about them caught my eye. I hope some of these turn out to be gems in your collection. The second item is to blatantly self promote – if you’ve never RPed before, or if you just haven’t been able to find a group, be sure to check out the Edmonton Gamers’ Association. You can check them out on Meetup, which will tell you about all the events they have planned (There’s one this weekend, March 8th!).

With that taken care of…here’s a few pointers for new Game Masters.

Game Master Tips

The first two pieces of advice I’d give to new GMs are:

  • Plan out your session beforehand. Know where you plan on taking the adventure.
  • Don’t plan out your session beforehand.

Of course, I’m sure you realize these points contradict each other. Let me explain what I mean in a bit more detail. For most GMs, just making stuff up as they go just does not work, you’ll end up forgetting something and your players will call you on it. You need to have an idea of what the goal of the adventure is. Know some of the details of how the characters go from point A to point B. But…don’t put all your eggs in one basket. Players hate ‘box canyons’ with one direction of travel. They will find a way to break your intended path. So, don’t plan everything. Make multiple-plan ideas. Think of one or two alternate paths that can be chosen to get to the end goal. Sometimes, they’ll think of something you never thought of. You’ll have to make that up – but take personal notes of what you’re telling players. It will help you later on.

Continue reading