Apr 13-25 – Blogroll
Okay so this is stretching beyond a single week in April and covering most of the third and fourth week. It is also three days behind when I first promised it. As I’m working to gain my legs in the blogging rhythm layoffs at work and other events in real life sometimes throw you for a loop. Well enough of that, on to the reviews. I think I’ll lay this out in a top ten format and aim for 10 articles to highlight in a week.
From villains to dungeons and on to campaigns, this week(ish) features a huge variety of DM advice columns from the RPG blogosphere.
Top Ten Blogroll
10. Modular Campaign Settings: Creating a Versatile, Reusable World ~ link
This article by Martin Ralya at Gnome Stew is about creating a versatile world that can be patched together for your next campaign. As someone who often gets bitten by the “Ooh New Pretty” bug often, its been tough to put together a campaign setting of my own in the past. The idea of building a small piece based off the latest new shiny then setting it up beside the next new that comes by is appealing to me.
9. How to Build an Interactive Timeline Using Google Docs ~ link
Jonathan Jacobs at The Core Mechanic shows us how to use Google Docs (an amazingly useful suite of office tools) to create something quite unique, an interactive timeline. Explore the history of your setting by creating a timeline that your players can edit and add to.
8. Emerging Complexity for GMs: It Rocks for NPCs ~ link
Martin Ralya at Gnome Stew presents another great article this week (and not the last). This one is a follow up to his great article on PCs. The idea is simple, start off with a basic sketch of your NPC and add to them only when needed. Did your PCs practically ignore the Duke’s chamberlain, but latch on to the gambling drunk at the tavern, then spend the time to flesh that NPC out.
7. Hi I’m Magesto. Let’s Go Kill Some Kobolds ~ link
Gnome Stew continues to hit it out of the park this week with this article by Scott Martin. Scott looks at many different methods to bring a group of adventurers together at the beginning of a campaign. From GM led initiatives like in media res or a group geas to Player let parties like interlinked backgrounds to group character creation.
6. New Grand Contest: The One Page Dungeon ~ link
While I was a little unsure about adding a contest to the best posts of the week, this one is huge and you should definitely take a look and submit something I know I will. Chatty DM, Chgowitz, Mike, and Sham put together an amazing array of prizes with one simple goal create an entire dungeon in one page using the template created by the later three.
5. A Basic Goal of DMing? ~ link
Mike Mearls posted earlier in the week that the goal of DMing is an unrelenting attempt to utterly defeat the PCs. Chatty (amongst others) took issue with Mike’s rather confrontational view of DMing and answered with a much more realistic goal ~ challenge and push the players to work together to creatively overcome encounters.
4. 10 Reasons Why Roleplaying Games are a Positive Force for Kids and Adults Alike ~ link
This post, by Martin Ralya of Gnome Stew is not directed at the RPG blogsphere but rather at educating parents or guardians about the positive effects of RPGs for kids and adults. He looks at 10 reasons from creativity, problem-solving, and teamwork to building lasting friendships and a social network.
3. Well Meaning, Nihilistic, Civilized-yet-Deranged: Three Villains ~ link
Gamefiend at the At Will 4E blog gives us three motivations for some interesting and unique villain archetypes. I’ve been thinking a lot on this subject lately (probably because of the number of great articles on the net lately) and having three interesting villains is a great addition.
2. Dynamic Domains: Caves ~ link
Asmor at Encounter a Day (and also asmor.com) reviews 10 different ways to make spelunking interesting in your adventure design. Might have to appropriate some of these ideas for my contest entry. From water to unique flora to unsteady footing, Asmor covers a number of great quick ideas.
1. Five Ways to Spice up your Encounters ~ link
Following on the fabulous 4E grind post from last week, Gamefiend at At Will gives us 5 techniques on how to make 4E combats flow better. His techniques include Difficult terrain is good, add objectives beyond combat, change the landscape of the battlefield during combat, concentrate on one unique tactic, and include interesting weaknesses to your NPCs.
And thus we arrive at the end of a week’s posts. I enjoyed splitting them up in this fashion as I was able to delve more deeply in all 4 categories that I want to review. Once I get the rhythm going on this format I’ll look to add some of the other columns I’ve got planned. Till next week (which is only a day away…)