The Ten Commandments of Gamemastering

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KatieHal:

An excellent list of advice from an excellent GM. Seriously, if you’re playing or running any RPG, read these and take it to heart.

Originally posted on Auston Habershaw:

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Yes, I am a giant geek. Deal.

I’ve been running role playing games for my friends for about 22 years or so at this point. I have created and run over a dozen campaigns and innumerable one-shot adventures. I’ve played RPGs with rank newbies and grizzled veterans and everybody in-between. I’ve lost count of the number of game-systems knocking around in my head (and, indeed, as any of my long-time players can attest, I sometimes get them all tangled up together.). What I lay out here are the strictures by which I try to run what I consider to be a good game. They may work for you or not; all I’m expressing is my experience. I might also add that I don’t always live up to these commandments myself, as much as I try. When they all work, though, something golden is bound to happen.

 

#1: Thou Shalt…

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Recently Read: Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor

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Well done, ma’am. Well done!

This book was fantastic. Rich and unique descriptions, complicated and unique characters, an intriguing and unique plot — noticing a pattern here?

The description on the backcover of this book is wonderfully vague. It only barely hints at what’s inside and it’s great, because I went through this book free of bookcover spoilers or expectations and with no idea what was coming, which made it all the better when it happened. In fact, I’m even going to hide the last sentence of it under a cut, and pretty much everything behind the cut will be, well:

So, if you haven’t read this book and you like YA fantasy, read it. Karou is a fantastic, complex, flawed character and the people in her life are fleshed-out and real. Also, it made me really want to visit Prague again and see it with new eyes! It’s such a gorgeous, old world city. Likewise, this book is just beautiful to read and enjoy, and I am eagerly awaiting the upcoming release of the sequel, Days of Blood of Starlight.

Around the world, black handprints are appearing on doorways, scorched there by winged strangers who have crept through a slit in the sky.

In a dark and dusty shop, a devil’s supply of human teeth grown dangerously low.

And in the tangled lanes of Prague, a young art student is about to be caught up in a brutal otherwordly war.

Meet Karou. She fills her sketchbooks with monsters that may or may not be real; she’s prone to disappearing on mysterious “errands”; she speaks many languages–not all of them human; and her bright blue hair actually grows out of her head that color. Who is she? That is the question that haunts her, and she’s about to find out. Read the rest of this entry

What’s Your Number Is a Pretty Good Movie

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What’s Your Number? suffers from a stupid title,  some awful trailers, and release timing that forced it to live in the shadow of a much worse movie that people keep saying is great. Here’s the twist, it’s actually a good movie with relatable characters, some adorable moments, better realism, and a plot that doesn’t require its character to become deplorable assholes or mind-numbing idiots in the process.

The title is bad, but I don’t think France’s substitute of “Sex List” was any better.

Now, it’s not changing the world of rom-coms or winning any awards. But it’s a lot better than the trailers and title imply. It has some good comedy, a decent plot progression and resolution, and Anna Faris is really great comedienne, which is one thing that even the reviews that pan this movie acknowledge. Chris Evans as her co-star is adorable and enjoyable as well. And while I think this movie stands up on its own, it’s impossible to not compare it to Bridesmaids for a few reasons: the aforementioned timing of its release, everyone else does, and they do legitimately have similar plotlines. So here’s my breakdown on why I think WYN is not only a good movie, but why it’s better than Bridesmaids by a long shot. Some spoilers may happen, but let’s be honest, you all know how this movie ends already. Read the rest of this entry

Recently Read: The Hex Hall Series by Rachel Hawkins

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It’s been a sparse summer for posting, but a decent one for reading! So here’s a shot at a new series of posts on books I’ve recently read and my thoughts on them. I’ll try to stay away from spoilers, but it’s possible a few small ones may slip in, so be forewarned! Doing these is somewhat inspired by a blog I recently found called Young Adult Fiction and Whiskey Sours. Being a fan of both of those things, it was no surprise that I found the blog enjoyable, too! Check it out if you’re also a fan.

The US covers have this nice reflection theme going on for all three novels.

Summer of 2012 has been a YA fantasy-heavy summer for me. I blew threw the three novels in the Hex Hall series by Rachel Hawkins. The first book, of the same title, starts us of meeting Sophie Mercer, a sixteen-year-old witch being shipped off to boarding school for supernaturals (or Prodigium, as they call it) who have trouble staying under the radar. On an island off the coast of Georgia, snarky Sophie’s journey starts off feeling very been there, done that. Young magically-inclined kid goes off to magic school and hijinx ensue, hmm, I’ve heard this one before… but, thankfully, it gets better. Read the rest of this entry

Kickstarter Sells Out

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I’ve blogged a lot about Kickstarter, from the Kickstarter we ran at Phoenix Online for Cognition, to my submission for a Kickstarter panel at PAX East, to the incredible ride that was the Double Fine Kickstarter, the one that changed everything. I’ve overall found Kickstarter to be a fantastic thing, a great way for independent, creative projects to get their start, to get support, to make things happen for people & groups who otherwise might not be able to pursue these projects.

Which is why the Penny Arcade Kickstart to remove ads from their site pisses me right the hell off. Read the rest of this entry

621 Followers?! Er, make that 140-something.

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As mentioned in my previous post, I’m going to have a very busy summer. Also, there are apparently 621 people following my blog — holy crap! I know some of you are friends of mine whom I know quite well, but I’m quite curious as to who else is following and reading my stuff.

I’d love to hear from anyone following the blog, so feel free to post a comment and say hi, let me know what you like about the blog, and what you would like to see more of!

UPDATE: I’ve been informed that WordPress is a little tricky about this, and folds all of your Facebook friends into your number of followers when you link the accounts. Still, that leaves about 140+ followers who came here of their own accord and hit follow, so I’d be happy to hear from you folks! (Or any of the Facebook friends as well…I’m nonetheless curious who’s actually coming by and reading.)

Thanks for reading! Enjoy this picture of a corgi!

A Busy Summer

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Despite my hopes & plans to post regularly with a DIY PR and Tropes post every week, I’ve gotten behind. I blame working on making games, and also working on making games! Yes, that’s right, for the summer I am working not only with Phoenix Online, but also with Jane Jensen’s new studio Pinkerton Road as an Assistant Designer! Which is SUPER EXCITING. While it means I’ll not have anything even close to a relaxing, beachy summer, that’s quite alright by me: I’m working on my dreams, loving it, and getting some fantastic experience. Plus, as my dad pointed out, I burn easily anyways.

I’ll endeavor to try and keep up some semi-regular posting, however, on DIY PR, Tropes, and my writing in general. I hope whoever’s reading enjoys!