The Heavy Metal GM

Stories, regardless of genre, always need some sort of conflict to be entertaining. Nobody likes reading text books about how to do stuff, don’t lie to me. Considering that RPG sessions are just fragments of a story, the rule still applies. Considering that conflict is the bedrock of everything, sometimes it can feel a little stale and over trodden. Keeping conflict interesting is somewhat of a balancing act throughout the course of a session or campaign. With it being the central piece of it all, it goes without saying that conflict is also incredibly important to the story you want to tell.

It doesn’t take a genius to discover the three types of conflict: physical, social and internal. Physical conflict is probably the most straight forward; it can be with a person or animal, and in some cases even just forces of nature or the environment itself. Sometimes just fighting…

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Stay on Target: Keeping Distracted Table-Top Gamers Engaged

If you ever played a table-top role-playing game you understand about distractions. Endless diversions hampering plot, game play and flow. Sometimes you get together and it seems as if you might as well meet at a bar and get it over with. The game master and several players might enjoy a few straying conversations. But often too much conversation not related to game will dampen everyone’s fun. Lighthearted conversations and off topic jokes CAN kill game sessions, ruining the fun for everyone.I have a few suggestions on how to keep everyone on target and working towards a fun night of gaming.1. Set a time limit for players and game masters This can be controversial in some groups. Combat and non combat encounters are different beasts. The game master (dungeon master) must be flexible and know what type of players he has. My suggestion for combat is to set a 2-4 minute timer for each player IN COMBAT. Game masters must interact with each player in a ten minute period in a combat setting. Non combat portions of the game heavy in role-play should have limits as well. Set a max time limit of ten minutes per player. The game master should speak with every player first before going back to player 1. This time should be agreed on by everyone. Stress the emphasis of flow and getting in fun for everyone. No one wants to sit around and diddle their thumbs in boredom.2. Make sure everyone has something to do!!!! Sometimes you will run a game sessions and a character dies. No backups are available and now you have a good friend stuck out of the game. What the heck are you gonna do? Give them something PRONTO! Often I would pull in some extra NPCs and let the player run them. This way the player has something new to do and can be a boon in most cases. Make sure you run with extra characters to compensate for any deaths in the party. If you are running a dangerous situation as a game master, make sure you have back up plans and ideas for a party wipe or a few deaths. The worst thing you can do as a game master,leave someone out of the party. After all it is a party and we all want to have fun.3. Keep your party’s goal in mind as a game master This does not mean railroad the party. It means to read your players and see what their goals are. Your goals should be their goals. It is not a competition. When you create or use a dungeon, make sure the final treasure is something the player has in mind. Know the characters and make sure you understand how the player is interpreting their role in the party. Your goal as game master is to see their efforts come to fruition. If the part sets a goal, make sure they stick with it. When the party wanders aimlessly, this can lead to a joyless, soul sucking session. Talk with your players, directly or indirectly through NPCs (non-playing characters).4. Ensure everyone gets involved, directly or indirectly in non combat encounters The dreaded shopping session can suck the joy out of any group. Players will get super bored waiting for that one friend out to get the best armor and equipment. It can drive people batty. This is a difficult task but one the game master must ensure does not bore people. If one player is shopping for new armor, give the other players something else to do. Let them participate in the gladiator pits. Wizards should go off to a local college and engage others of his profession. Clerics should have small encounters at a local temple. Thieves should be trying to rob local marketers. It is hard but not impossible to keep track of everyone. But the game master must balance time between each character. Do not allow more than 10 minutes max to go by without engaging every player.Staying on target, keeping players involved in a game session becomes crucial to running memorable games. Running a table-top RPG as a game master can challenge the most intelligent person. But the great thing is, learning and using time management skills can make the difference in dungeon mastering. Learn to pay attention to each player. Sum up their goals as a character and make sure you can get everyone to agree on a destination. Never let a player fall behind. If a player dies, give him something else to do, even if you reincarnate them as a ghost! The main mission is to have fun and play together as a group, creating memories. Join hundreds of others as they rise up against the threat of the Leviathans and Elder Gods. Live

Source: Stay on Target: Keeping Distracted Table-Top Gamers Engaged

Dragon Gods Rising Chapter 4

A spirit entered Celundynn’s watery heaven of Ansyllar, making its way with a message. This entity verified her previous outbound message was received. Another meeting, this time for the sake of her people’s lives. The messenger, made of swirling stones with two eyes shining like magma, stopped a good distance away from her as she sat on her throne of creation. She sat for a while in contemplation of its presence. Time became very flexible within the Celestial Spheres. Ansyllar, home of all Undine spirits, was no exception.During this time, Celundynn thought about what she knew.Her husband’s blasphemous creations, humanity, caused mayhem and strife for the Salamander species and their Dragon gods. It would only be a matter of time before it all came apart. Whispers of the Dragon gods rising up and uniting tickled her ears. An emissary living in the Crater of Lugos cried out to her in prayer, telling her about the plans Draax has. The waters and Draax’s fleet have stayed quiet for a long time after their strike on Ar-Indurr. It would only be a matter of time. Time she did not have in the real world. The Goddess of Shimmering Light and Shallow Waters knew her symbiotic relationship with her followers. Nothing would stand in the way of her keeping them safe. Including her own husband.Celundynn held court in her Palace of Eternal Light, a construction of miraculous will, carved out of dreams and hopes. Bright walls made of luminous bubbling water flowing up and down divided the underwater palace. The floor looked much like any other floor you would find in the ocean, filled with sand, small creatures, and rocks. Arching over the strange walls of dividing water, fibrous coral made of strange glowing filament filled the ceiling, a living plant stretching over the whole palace. Celundynn herself formed it from the dying wishes of a coral reef, destroyed long ago by rising methane gas from the ocean floor.The small elemental creature knew it stood out as a dark, rocky shape, swirling in the otherwise calm palace. So it delivered the message quickly.“The Gnome gods will gather for you, Celundynn, to hear your plea. Meet us in the Orchard of Knowledge, Reason, and Madness when the next lunar moon is full over the city of Jaash. The exact point will be detailed in another message. Our hearts are made of stone, so make sure to bring passion and logic with you — else your requests will fall on deaf ears.”“Insolent spirit, I should crush you where you stand. But I will come at the appointed time. And I will bring both passion and reason!”The rock spirit left her palace rumbling with swirling crushed stones. The Goddess of the Shallow Waters watched the messenger disappear out of her realm. One of her many priestess advisors approached her throne. She stopped and bowed low, waiting for permission to speak. Celundynn decided long ago that every spirit in her realm would stay in the form of mermaid, with the upper half very humanoid, and the lower half a fish, to show her commitment and love for all water and land creatures. Her priestess advisors were no exception, wearing elaborate jewelry on their Human parts and allowing their tails to swim freely with no constraints. The priestess who bowed before her waiting for permission was once the finest negotiator in the seas. Norhenna’s advice came from the heart and reached through the fog of information, doubt, and fear. “Speak Norhenna, I wish your council.”“Goddess of the Light and Shallow Waters teeming with life, I understand Gnomes. After spending several of my living years as your ambassador living in the city of Pothma, nestled deep in Rhok-Kanmor mountain range where the most stubborn of Gnomes, the Stoneborn, call home; I believe you must appeal to Methussa. She will listen, and the other Gnome gods will follow. But to convince her you must state our case. The Dragon gods are uniting and will come to destroy us.”“Are we sure about this? Even now it sounds ludicrous. Their very nature is chaos and fire. They spread out their will and extinguish themselves before even thinking of a full assault on us. I only hear rumors and information inferred from my priests. Nothing solid. How can I make a case?”“Here.” Priestess Advisor Norhenna handed the goddess a crystal, deep blue in color, swirling patterns within. “The spirit of Cargo Ship Captain Farthreen Wavecrasher from the city of Nesh is inside this crystal. Let him speak before the Gnomes. They were overrun and destroyed. Even their spirits were enslaved into crystals like the one you have. One of our scouts managed to sneak aboard a Salamander vessel leaving the scene and steal several crystals back so they may find peace in your heaven.”“This is horrible. Free him at once! Why did you keep his soul trapped in the crystal after it was recovered?”“We, uh, we wanted to make sure to show you what the Salamanders did. What their gods practice and make our case.”“FREE HIM NOW.”The crystal parted. A long haired greenish bl

Source: Dragon Gods Rising Chapter 4