A Resurgence of Gods

So it is time,

The 10th anniversary of my table top RPG New Gods of Mankind is around the corner. To celebrate, we will be working a kickstarter next ear along with a 2nd edition of New Gods of Mankind!

A new website is up now for your viewing pleasure.

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Some noteworthy things.

2nd Edition will streamline the rules with only 13 primary domains and several secondary domains (including the primary ones)

Miracles will be easier to cast.

Levels for Gods will be introduced.

You can play as god or hero.

A new campaign, Lions in the storm will come forth. This will be also titled the Great War of Naalrinnon.

The timeline will be sped up to 500 years in the future. Humanity has advanced and uses Natural gas along with steam engines. (Steampunk setting).

Overall it will be an exciting time. More details will be released in the monthly newsletters coming out. Sign up now at the website above.

I will be personally posting more here and on Niume. I just need to find a good subject to write about.

Take care,

Your Nerd,

Richard

 

 

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Writing History Books for Kids

So besides the novel still in edit hell, I have a couple of other projects I am working on. One is a bestiary for the New Gods of Mankind/ Anointed Table-top RPG. Something a friend recommended. I plan to see what I can do about the outlines. I have someone leading the project but I plan to insert my ideas and put a proper outline to it.

I am in contact with publishers overseas on a series of books for kids. The idea is to take world history and role-playing game mechanics to create a new way for kids to learn. The books and complexity would vary on the audience. But it would be an incredible endeavor and one I would happily take on. Turning ancient rome into something fun for kids to learn about is one of my many dreams.

With that said, I hope all of you will bear with me as this blog has been rather sparse in postings as of late.

More things will come around the corner as it becomes available. I will get back to posting here on a weekly basis soon.

Be well my fellow readers and geeks.

 

Richard

What Cha Working On Boss?

Hey everyone,

I wanted to let you know that yes, I am busy. Things are pretty hectic and I wanted to give you a brief update.

Currently still working on Salamanders of House Draax sourcebook for Anointed: Mantle of the Gods and New Gods of Mankind. This will bring one House and society of the Salamanders to life. Since Draax is the Dragon God of the Boiling Seas, expect to see the salamander version of marines to fight. Here is some stats for you to chew on.

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I am testing out these marines and the whole house with a great group of gamers including Sean over at https://heavymetalgm.wordpress.com/ I appreciate them putting up with all the new content while I work it out for publication.

Also a second book with detailed career paths, domains and powers filled out will be coming too. Currently working on a Witch Anointed Character and adding in some cool, low level Cantrips as a single power to work within the system.

Speaking of new stuff.

Currently working on a card game called Giants of Klundynn. It is a 2-4 player game where each player takes turns as a Giant with an army of elite smashing another player’s village and followers. Four types of decks will be in the game: Ogres and Humans, Trolls and Orcs, Minotaurs and Beastmen, Behemoths and undead. The whole game is meant to feel like you are wrecking total devastation like in a Godzilla movie.

Playtesting happening soon.

Still waiting for edits and proofreading on the novel, Dragon Gods Rising. I plan to release the novel in June.

I will be running lots of Demos on @roll20 or live in San Antonio at your local game shop.

Going to find a few things to write about this weekend for sure. Expect a couple of nice blog posts.

Catch you guys later.

 

 

Barbarians at the Table: Exploring Hack and Slash Gaming

Gaming is a form of escapism. A way to leave the dull confines of our day jobs, school and life in general. Even though we humans have conquered disease, viruses, mass genocide (in a significant portion of the world) and our own madness, we still desire to leave behind our boring lives and explore. It is our unbridled lust for exploration of new places and desires to act out our inhibitions that powers the gaming movement.Gaming has swept the modern world, even putting other forms of entertainment to shame. We humans desire to hack and slash. We want control over our world and to rule ourselves by the sword.

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It is when we escape through gaming that we often “do” things we normally would not even consider in our modern society. Acts of power and violence are tossed around as we delve deep into the game we want to explore. We do not hold back from pickpocketing the town guard. Our trigger finger is ready to blow apart Stormtroopers, Nazis and the nearest obstacle in our way. In Table-Top fantasy games we often slaughter wholesale orcs and trolls without a care for consequences. It is this, shoot first and ask questions later many game masters have a problem with. The barbarians are at the table and ready to play. Can you game master with people whose primal instincts are in full swing?

We will explore in this article several reasons why we should entertain these barbarous gamers. Also we will look at the dark side of humanity, shunned, but still there in all of us. In our last few paragraphs we will explore ideas on how to incorporate consequences and alternatives for our barbarian gamer friends.

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Artwork by Frank Frazetta

Noted psychiatrist Carl Jung spoke about “the shadow” in each and every person. This is something we deny exists in ourselves and we project on others. It can take on a life of its own called “The Other”. Anthropologist have found in every culture we humans portray some very dark elements. This list includes

 

  • Aggression and Proscribed Violence
  • Jealousy
  • Lies and Manipulation
  • Shame

 

The Greeks had a term for outsiders and people who acted primarily on the dark side of their nature, barbaros “barbarian” which is an antonym of the word polites or citizen. Often Greeks would hurl insults at each other with this term. We can see the barbaric nature of man is in all of us. Yet we strive to be good citizens, not giving in to our dark nature. But early man could not survive without these traits.

It is therefore good for humans to explore the dark side of their nature. You cannot know what to resist if you have no idea what you are resisting. Our highly civilized society has no room for random acts of aggression that lie within all of us. But growing up we find no outlet for our dark selves. Gone are the days of playing cops and robbers in the neighborhood. Gaming, can and should be used as a healthy, modern outlet to explore the dark nature of man and ourselves.

Game Masters should entertain tabletop barbarians for several reasons.

 

  1. It is a healthy outlet and exploration of the dark part of our nature.
  2. Our better selves can know what these acts feel like without actually performing them in real society.
  3. Healthy role-play of different personalities leads to empathy.

 

The last part must be emphasized. In order for us to be great citizens of the country we belong to, we must learn to practice empathy. What is empathy?

Noun: The ability to understand and share the feelings of others.

It comes from two Greek words, em- in and pathos –feeling.

Why do we need more empathy?

So we can understand each other and live in a civilized society. You can find a great article about empathy here.

While it is good to understand our dark nature, it is not good to have players run around without any consequence of their actions for many sessions. We are creatures of habit and game masters who constantly allow for players to do what they please without consequence miss a great opportunity for exploring our inner selves.

Just as in real life, if we rob a liquor store, we should expect jail time. In our table-top role-playing games we should allow consequences to happen. Players who go into a dungeon, kill all the orcs and leave with the loot should know there will be reprisal. The orcs should have relatives and clans with kin. They will be looking for blood. Also if the orcs robbed the dungeon from someone else, like a necromancer, this necromancer will come back to get his gold. This can be played off as cursed gold, marked by the necromancer and it allows the party to be tracked. The entire point is, make sure actions have consequences. This way you can show all sides of a player’s actions. Too often we get into a kill zone and just play out a slaughter-fest. If this is what you intend, then by all means go for it. But if you want your games to impact a player’s life, bring consequences into the game.

Another area to explore while delving into our dark selves is our ability to care about others. Motivating new players to care about their actions goes with consequences. Often we think still in family terms and keep our ideas about who counts as family at a tribal level. Give players a tribe to belong to. Even if it is a society of misfit adventurers it gives a sense of belonging. Often the dwarf berserker will not care about the elf minstrel. If the dwarf berserker joined a league with the elf whose uncle is a necromancer, that will give some reason for the dwarf to care about his elf friend. Bringing family and friend groups into a game raises the whole role-playing session to another level. It helps us practice empathy and find reasons to practice caring.

We all have a barbarian lurking inside of us. Denying this will not vanquish the dark part of our nature. It is healthy to explore this aspect of us through table-top games. The theater of the mind is a great simulator of life. With the right game master and players, a collaborative environment of storytelling and exploration can commence in a simulated place. Do not worry about new players smashing through everything. Encourage them to feel comfortable in their role and allow for them to explore who they are role-playing. Without this discovery within table-top games we cannot grow as mature, empathetic beings. Role-playing games can be a great way to create bright, empathetic citizens of our world.

 

 

International Table-Top Day April 30th!

Ladies, Gentlemen, Gamers of All Ages,

April 30th is a special day set aside for Table-Top games. Come and get your game on at one of many marked and unmarked locations. Everything from Board Games, Card Games to Table-Top RPG games will be covered. Just about every game store will be doing something for that day. If you are looking for an international location participating with Geek and Sundry’s Table-Top Day you can click on this link here.

Geek and Sundry will be live broadcasting on their website. You can hit their Twitch Feed here. For more information on Geek and Sundry, go here.

Why do we need such a day?

So we can celebrate a hobby that unites the world in game. For one day millions of gamers will rise up and role dice, drop cards, move tokens, place miniatures and flip through rules. It is a day to wave your geek flag high. If you love games, it is nice to have a special day set aside for Table-Top RPGs.

This blog and the writer has his own personal reasons to love this day.

New Gods of Mankind

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Check out the full line of PDFs for your next table-top game on RPGnow and find our new sets on Roll 20. We have a free sample PDF you can download now here.

If you have no friends nearby to game with, just log into Roll 20 or Fantasy Grounds and find a group.

Tips on Creating Inns and Taverns

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Original Artist here

Adventurers, in any genre, game or story need food and shelter. A good portion of your beginning and ending to a table-top game will take place in an establishment where drinks, food and shelter can be found. Some stories revolve around a saloon or bar. From a mining colony close to the Kuiper belt  to a historical inn set in Oxford, England, characters will come into these establishments made for travelers and wayward souls. One can find a plethora of information about inns and taverns from the past here . Inns, bars and taverns serve as the cornerstone to any gaming or story universe and should be crafted with care. Some game masters or writers will simply grab established material such as The Three Feathers for Warhammer or bring to life the Friendly Arms Inn found in Forgotten Realms . But most writers want to create their own ideas. Every place characters go should be stocked with interesting personalities, descriptive drinks and food, paid services and a small stock of goods to purchase and plenty of quests, game ideas for many nights of gaming. Maps of the place may, or may not be needed so keep in mind what type of game you are playing. Seedy bars with lots of fights will often need to be mapped out.

Below I will give you some great tips on making your own establishment for your next story or game.

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Cool mixer and music for image found here.

Inns and taverns get their personalities, backstory and looks from their owners. Creating the barkeep, servants and owner is essential and need to be top priority. When you describe the building you will be describing a part of this character as well. Approach this task from a perspective of character creation with a twist. Usually tavern owners are much older and have tons of life experiences behind them. Craft your establishment owner using a history of adventure. Tie them into specific events occurring in a timeline within your world. Older, experienced adventurers usually make up two thirds of inn keeps. Give them at least two different classes (or jobs) with a few legends. Tie at least one story to the founding of the bar. Once you create the owner, create her family as well. Most inns are family ran. Some inns do have an owner not in attendance with a small, poor family running the show. Make sure your barkeep, waitress, and stable-hands/ servants can answer the following questions:

  • What do you have to drink?
  • What kind of food do you serve?
  • Do you have any room to sleep?
  • Can you stable our mounts/ Room to park our vehicles?
  • Is there anyone hiring?
  • Are there any rumors going around? (Quest Related questions)
  • Do you have any goods/services to sell?

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Artist here

Food and Drinks further define the reputation of the tavern that might stand on its own or be a part of the inn. I highly recommend watching a few shows on foods especially for a fantasy game such as Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmerman and Booze Traveler If you have multiple non playing characters staying at your inn, tell your players what they are eating/ drinking. A lot of information about what type of person they are can be gleamed from their food choices. Fantasy species such as dwarves and elves have their own types of particular foods. If an establishment carries delicacies for a particular species it might give the players more information to enrich the gaming experience.

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Creating the inn itself should be the next item in your mind. A short paragraph describing the establishment always comes in handy. Take into account where the staff and owner sleeps. Also determine if the place is near a city or serves as a small in-between location. When you figure out where the exact location of the inn is, you can determine what type of trade agreements have been made to keep the place stocked with food, drink and goods. Think about the logistics of this establishment as it could come into play later on. Helping the bar owner with a problem involving her shipment of hops and barley would benefit players in many ways.

The tavern/ bar/ inn should be a place chocked full of ideas and one shot games for your players. Understanding the local economy, trade, wildlife and weather will give you much to go on. Local big personalities should flock to the place in order to recruit for dangerous missions. In a sci-fi campaign big time smugglers and crime lords could recruit here as well. It is important to throw down many seeds for adventures. By exploring the area around the Inn you can ensure the nearby graveyard might pose of interest to the adventurers.

By now your head should be brimming with ideas. This place of rest should be your number one area of generating ideas for adventures within the campaign setting. Creating a city is nice, but can be extremely cumbersome for people pressed for time. Try and localize the action and realize less is truly more. The typical bar and inn might be a well-worn troupe but it is quite effective in creating one shot or campaign games. Use it to the fullest and reap the rewards of happy gamers and game masters for a focused, small effort.

 

Recruiting Fresh Blood For Your Next Table Top RPG

As game masters we get a burning desire to tell stories, run games. Often it hits us like inspiration hits writers. We could be browsing through the latest at Drive Thru RPG. Or we might have finished a great book we bought off Amazon. Sometimes a simple article might set us off. Whatever the case when we get the urge, we want to game. The first and foremost problem game masters have is recruitment. How the heck do you find someone willing to play a table-top game with you? First you need to decide where you want to run the game. If you want to run it live, then below I have several suggestions for you. If you want to do it online, I can give you some tips on where to go and how to run your game.

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Recruiting live players can be difficult. A bit of extroverted charm along with a likeable smile can go a long way. But to find fresh blood for your next game requires the proper location, timing and social skills. Your current job, transportation and living location will determine who you can recruit. Availability for gaming is crucial and often it can be difficult to coordinate a schedule with like-minded players. You can learn social skills. Several techniques exists you can use to become more extroverted. and get the players you desire for your next game.

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Being in the right location for gaming is critical to ensure success in finding a group of live Table-Top gamers. Sometimes you can find someone nearby using a website like Nearby Gamers. If this first stipulation cannot be met, consider looking online for a game. Living in a great location for gamers helps a whole lot. Seattle, Washington is a mecca for people who love table-top game in the United States.  Las Vegas, Portland, Atlanta, Sacramento, Minnesota, Boston and Miami are great cities filled with geeks. If you live outside of the US, Germany has a TON of board gamers who are eager to play table-top RPGS. You can attend Spiel and check out all of the games for yourself. London has many shops catering to table-top gaming as well. Brazil has many table-top gamers if you find yourself in South America. If you work in the military, you have the best chances of finding a group of players within your company. Personally, I ran some of my best games within the ranks of my unit. Local comic shops and hobby stores are great places to find other players if you do not live in one of the geek cities. Classmates and colleges have many players just itching to get their game on. Living close to a local library, you might want to check out what transpires on the weekend. Another great place to recruit players is local comic conventions. Sometimes the small ones with a few hundred people will have those few gamers looking for a game master.

Timing is everything and this must be factored in for live player recruitment. In today’s society we work longer, odd hours which factor in to our gaming experience. Some people might not be able to game during the weekend. If you have such odd schedules, you should wait to set up a gaming event until you can clear a weekend. The best time to game is the weekend and this has not changed. Thursday night to Sunday afternoon remains the prime time to run a table-top game in North America. Only on holidays or during the summer months will you find games being ran at odd hours. This timing schedule applies for online and some international gamers. If you need help scheduling games I would recommend using Warhorn or better yet just set up a google calendar invite. Facebook groups also serve as an excellent way to schedule games for multiple players.

Gaining and using socials skills is critical to finding and recruiting live players. Here you will find an excellent article pertaining to training your social skills.In my humble opinion, you need to be a social animal in order to be an effective game master. The wonderful thing about table-top games is it gives you chances to practice skills you normally would not try. Game masters should have a good grasp of several skills: empathy, non-verbal communication skills, spoken communication and assertiveness. As a player you get to work on all these skills while playing the game. If you do not feel ready for the mantel of game master, you probably are not. That is OK. But take time to study what everyone else is doing at your next session. Take time to study your current game master. If you need some online examples, there are plenty of group sessions found on You-Tube.

Running an online game is similar to a live session with several pros and a few cons connected with the activity. The fastest growing and most popular online table-top gaming platform is Roll 20 and Fantasy Grounds  I recommend both. Fantasy Grounds has more content for paying users. Roll 20 is free to play and you can create a game quickly. It is super easy to get a roll 20 game going for just about any type of table-top game out there. The pros for running a game online is the flexibility of hours so you can find odd hour games and location is not a factor. The biggest con is not being there live. Players and game masters miss out on lots of non-verbal communication cues. Cheaper alternatives for people with established groups consists of Google Hangouts and Skype.

Finding a great group to belong to and game with is essential to a proper gaming life. Creating a great social network with many friends enriches our lives and enhances who we are. Take care on who you invite into your social circle. Make sure if you are a narrative styled GM, you keep pure mechanical gamers away from your table. If you enjoy simulations or pure gaming, make sure to recruit to your style of game.

Tips on Adding Weather to Your Story or Game

It was a dark and stormy night,

One of the best writing websites uses this line, stated to bring about a profound mood effect. A storyteller knows weather is one of their greatest tools and can wield it to vanquish reader apathy. Weather should be an important character added to your storytelling. I say should be; as often weather gets neglected and misused. Combined with environment it will anchor your story in reality. Weathers can be your main antagonist. It can also be an ally to your protagonist. The condition of your characters environments including weather creates different reader moods. Below are a few tips you can use to wield this great weapon of story.

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Filling in as Story Antagonist Countless stories take place with humans taking on nature in all its brutal strength. Stories of survival against nature’s odds gives people hope and strength. The brilliant part of using the weather as a villain is the cross genre applications for creating memorable stories. Imagine writing a historical love story set in The Great Blizzard of 1888.  Or a Sci-Fi Horror about a great chain of volcanic eruptions on a distant planet. Several movies exist for inspiration such as The Day After Tomorrow or Twister. Make sure you read up on the type of weather event you want to portray as it will be a driving character in your plot.

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Helping/ Hindering your Protagonists Often in conjunction with the environment, weather plays a role of aid or hindrance to the story protagonists. Adventure stories use weather elements constantly to create weather events leading to the next scene of the story. Weather can also help your characters as a tropical storm can mean a break from a famine ravaging the land. When the sun shines after a torrent of rain, this signals a transition to a new part of the story. Subtle uses of weather, such as fog or sleet can challenge your story players in unique ways. Be sure to read up on the different elements of weather. Here is an excellent link for additional resources to help you write about weather elements.

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Creating Story Mood In addition to helping out your characters, the weather can and should help set the mood. In correlation to the environment it can give readers many different feelings. If you are looking for dark and brooding, throw down some drizzle on a late Sunday night in a major city. Need to liven up a reunion of two characters? Part the clouds and send down some sunshine in a countryside setting at a critical point. Looking to create the feeling of isolation and loneliness? The aftermath of a snowstorm and over four feet of snow in the wild parts of North America can bring this feeling on, even in a large suburban area. Figure out the types of emotions you want your readers/ players to experience. Then let the weather do the talking for you.

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Accenting Environment Setting Often a storyteller will send the characters off to another place with new challenges in mind. Harness weather to emphasize the new location. A humid summer with temperatures over 90 degrees Fahrenheit reinforces reader’s thoughts on a swamp scene in New Orleans. Cold sleet and foggy streets help to bring the reader to Seattle, Washington in the fall. When you think of a new setting, make sure to include what type of weather happens during that time of year. Do your research if this is a historical fiction story.

Creating New Story Elements Weather effects in your story can lead to new elements for your heroes. If you introduce a blizzard into the beginning or middle of the plot, it should lead to other events. Think about hungry wildlife looking for food, possible dead minor characters and other new elements. Suppose a rainstorm happened along a major road in the beginning of your story. Is there a possibility of a mudslide hitting the highway? Think about what types of consequences the weather, severe or mild will have on your story. What kind of effects can happen with your plot? Always try and read on what types of effects weather may have on your plot and characters. Natural new story elements from the weather can flow into your work, giving gravitas to an otherwise unnatural situation.

Weather happens and should have a deep impact in your story. As a part of the setting it can turn into a character or be an accent to an already packed situation. Use it as a great tool to bring your stories to life.

Dragon Gods Rising: World of Naalrinnon Book 1

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Artwork by Pay Loboyko

So, I have my second novel done in first draft. Currently beta readers/ proof readers are looking over the work making sure I do not contradict myself. Or horribly break the rules of the English language.

Dragon Gods Rising is the final name I am sticking with. It will be the book following Mad God’s Gambit (a short story you can find here). It is one heck of an adventure and this book is something I have worked on internally for many years.

Writing this novel took courage. I did not feel I could do it. Heck, I had to write another novel first. But it will be on Amazon as a KDP select book.

What is this new book about? Dragon Gods. The beginning and struggles of Humanity on Naalrinnon. The conflict of Elder Gods and elemental species. A look at hope and despair. Dealing with power given to a reluctant ruler. That sums it up for now.

On the front cover is a brash and bold Dragon God, Xenthi. He fights within the city of Jaash during the Battle of Dragons, a major event at the end of the book.

A full teaser write up coming soon.

5 Tips on Improvisation

The art of improvisation. An act of instantaneous creation straight from your mind. Swirling thoughts cohering into a pattern of comprehensible story. Ever wonder if you could sling out a game right out of your posterior?  Craft a great story right onto your document? With no outline or formulated script?

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Improvisation is something everyone can do. I firmly believe humans can craft wonderful things with little time. Everything goes into preparation for improvisation. Below I will give you some pointers on how to make things on the fly and be a true improve master.

Have the urge. First you need the fire to create. It has to be a 24 hour machine, never turning off. Never let it go out. People will try and put you down. Many people hate seeing others succeed. Friends and family may dislike or even shun what you do. Never let someone else dictate what you want to do. We all have a role to play in society and our parents and family should be encouraging us to be the best we can be. Too often a creative soul will die in childhood because their parents want them to be a doctor or lawyer. Nothing wrong with either profession, but if your talents lie in the field of creativity, you need to stoke the fires and keep them burning. Often when the urge to create dies out, we decay and die, from the inside. Get that urge to create and keep it going.

This point is crucial. You cannot be a top chef without quality ingredients. For storytelling in novels or TTRPG games you need to read great material. This point is subjective of course. But usually you can find a consensus on what material is good and what sucks. Find great works of literature and read, read and READ. William Shakespeare’s plays contain an excellent source of material for all types of storytelling. More modern examples such as Neil Gaiman, Clive Barker and Anne Rice can show you a whole new world. It is OK to take a little from here and some from there. There is nothing “new” under the sun. But there are endless combination.

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For role-playing games even improvisation needs preparation. You should know the book and have many references on hand. Read the game master’s guide several times. Have tons of NPC stats on hand and random events. Know your world. This is obvious, but picking up an adventure at the hobby shop and playing that night takes a lot of skill and practice. This thought leads me to…

Lots of practice and failure. Do not fear failure. A majority of people who succeed in life do so out of blind luck or a crap-load of failures. Improvisation is a talent and a mindset. You must develop it. Start off by working with understanding friends. Or get your pet to be your audience. Most importantly get the urge out. This goes back to number one, stoking the fires of creation. You need to let out the flames and feed it more wood. So what if your cat complains about you storytelling. Figure out why and try again. The beauty of life is there is a tomorrow. You can try again.

Be fearless. This is not the same as being reckless. Or lacking the knowledge of fear. It is seeing the cliff, but knowing you have a glider. To be fearless you must know fear, consume it and then expel the feelings. Leave the feeling behind and bring forth your true self. When you tell the story, share your thoughts, do so in a way that is fearless. Get past the butterflies and swallow them. Once you start the first line, say the first lyric, sing the verse the noise of fear will dissipate. Never let it consume you. To be fearless it means action. Plan on taking the first step. Concentrate on it.

Learn how to flow with events and actions. Every writer and story teller should be a student of life. Watching events unfold should be one of your many pastimes. Absorb great prose and watch how great writers unfold events. See actions as artwork. The dancer and the illustrator both make rhythmic movements. Learn to see the patterns in all. Know that  notes made on a guitar form patterns like that of a great novel. Our thoughts make more sense in coherent patterns. In fact people get great satisfaction in identifying reoccurring themes. We are the worlds best pattern-recognition machines and we gain pleasure from seeing the rhythm around us. When you create a game or story there is a pattern you need to see and grok. Be able to see several endings for your characters. Know sometimes life can be random. But there is a way to tie characters into the action of your devised plots without railroading the idea. Create backgrounds, tribes and stories for your characters. Play on them. Incorporate their lives into the story you want to tell. When the Tome of Horrors becomes a resting place for a character’s dead uncle, the group will go there and not ignore all that hard work. Find a pattern in your story. Work it and harmonize it with the other elements.

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The final key to creating a wonderful improvisation story is vision. Being able to understand your players and the goals you have will enable you to incorporate all sorts of plot elements and events. Allow for random individuality. But hold on to your final goal. If your characters are drifting from the story you set down find out why. Usually the goals you have are not tied directly to the players. Bring emotion to your game. Give the players a reason to care about your dungeon holding a dragon within. Tie your characters to the end goal and ensure the knots you create will not come apart.