August 19th, 2005


Handy GM Tip #138

So it's late, and I can't sleep, and I'm plotting out the next game of Rippers, and I figure I could take this moment to share some GM wisdom. So here is Handy GM Tip #138, a sub-rule of GM Tip #1, which is "Just Make Shit Up".

Handy GM Tip #138: The Two Part Mystery.

Here's how it works. Come up with a mysterious mystery, but don't bother with making up the truth behind the mystery yet. Give yourself a vague idea of some clues or locations or personages involved, and leave the rest to GM Tip #1. Spend one session letting the PCs investigate, and let them go where they want to, and make up any clues or red herrings or possible clues that might be red herrings, and interesting NPCs and obstacles you can think of. If you're the sort that can keep everything in your head, cool. Otherwise jot down notes of events and NPCs as the session goes on.

Don't worry too much if they don't make direct sense, this is the early stages of an investigation, the detectives are merely trying to figure out all the pieces of the puzzle, and if they get an idea of where they go, the better.

The beauty of this is they don't go together anywhere. Yet.

So after one session of investigating and whatnot, end the game at a suitably dramatic point, and over the course of the week or two before the next session, look over all of your notes, and figure out what the hell is actually going on. This is a good point to use Handy GM Tip #92: Stealing The Player's Ideas. Let's say the players latched on to one particular NPC. An easy and fun way to make your players feel all smart and accomplished is if you decide that that guy did in fact do it, and then they can go "Aha! I knew the King's adviser was evil and working with the rival kingdom!" When, in fact, he wasn't. At least not until your players said "Man, I bet the King's adviser is evil and working with the rival kingdom..."

An example of this in action:

Collapse )
So there you go, that's how one does the Two Part Mystery.

If you do it right, to the players it looked seamless, like the pieces fit exactly where they pointed to all along. And you save the trouble of figuring out a bunch of clues and leading the players on a proper mystery trail, which they may very well miss your one all important clue or spend half the session following leads that go nowhere, or other typical player/mystery pitfalls.
  • Current Music
    nin "the perfect drug" (remix)
Zagato - inspiration sought

Tracking XP in online games

Does anyone here have any advice for tracking XP rewards and expenditures in an online game? I will be starting an LJ Werewolf game in the fall, and I'm wondering how to keep track of XP (and Renown, for that matter) as the game progresses.

I used a spreadsheet to track the XP in my last LJ game (though adding in new fields in that particular program was a b*tch); does anyone have any other recommendations? I'm not terribly tech-savvy, unfortunately, so automating it may not be an option I could use. :/
  • Current Mood
    curious curious


Polaris is everything Werewolf: the Apocalypse should have been.

Now, you might think: "Modern Werewolves and Ancient Knights of Ice, that's totally different."

But at the core, it's about tragedy and loss, about love and corruption, about facing overpowering evil with courage and rage, about the romantic horror of the strong heroes who know that everything is doomed in the end, and most of all, about intense Storytelling.

W:tA promised all these things, but the system didn't deliver. (Yeah, I'm a disillusioned Werewolf GM.)

Polaris is all that, and much more.

I'm already thinking about conversion possibilities...
  • Current Mood
    ecstatic ecstatic

(call for advice)

Okay, so i normally don't like any kind of "rules" governing role-play. I think players should have free-range to role-play their characters how they want. And by that I don't mean rules like AD&D Alignment system or VTM's clans or something like that... I mean rules that actually dictate how you should speak, act, or behave when in the act of role-playing your character...

but now, I'm seriously thinking about incorporating just that into my game (2nd Ed. AD&D btw). Three rules that directly affect how role-play is done...

the three rules I'm thinking about is:
Rule #1: It is forbidden to say "I attack"
Rule #2: It is forbidden to say "I tell him that (fill in the blank)"
Rule #3: It is forbidden to say "I follow"

If you haven't figured out, then luck you, you haven't been plagued by players who constantly only say those three exact lines. In other words, saying something like "summoning up a burst of rage from the pit of my stomach, I let out a huge battle cry and swing my weapon as hard as I can at the nearest enemy" is fine. But just "I attack" is not.