Balcony

Game Master Tip #8 – What’s in a name?

What’s in a name?  As said by Shakespeare’s Juliet “A rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” And while our star-crossed lovers may still have quaffed their apothecary’s brew, I doubt audiences would be as eager to attend “Garth and Janet” as they are “Romeo and Juliet”.   But what can we do to improve our characters’ names?

Whether creating the next big villain or simply adding some good back-story flair to that goblin the party just decided to interrogate, creating a name for your non-player characters (NPCs) can set the scene as well as any physical description.

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Two

Crafting Series – Custom Dice Tower

Last week, we examined some guidelines to using dice towers.   In that article, we made the recommendation that users make their own towers rather than springing for the available store bought.  While there are quite a few great plans out on a simple web search for making these simple gadgets, once again we will put our money (all $2.00 of it) where our mouths are and show how to create a custom dice tower. This step-by-step tutorial shows how to lay them out and glue them up, and offers suggestions for improving our simple design!

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Dice Tower

Dice Towers – Useful Tool or Gaming Gadget?

A big part of the Thirdwalling gaming philosophy is breaking down the game into its component pieces, enhancing the key elements of play and discarding the frivolous components.  Some upcoming entries will detail the contents of our pack, highlighting how this philosophy has led to a streamlining of the game experience without a lot of extraneous clutter.  But for now, our philosophy has had very little need for something as bulky and single-purposed as a dice tower.  Now we’ll decide if we were right in casting off this gaming gadget, or is it an indispensable piece of tabletop technology?

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Crafting Series – Custom Screens

In a previous entry, the Thirdwalling crew examined the role of the Game Master Screen and the barrier it can pose to effective communication at the game table.  This week, we’ll take a look at the basic construction methods of building a custom screen for use in your game.  This screen is fairly basic, but we will discuss some options that the Thirdwalling staff has explored on other custom screens that could benefit you at the table as well!  Fair warning:  This is a picture-heavy article as it contains a picture-tutorial of construction.

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Player Tip #5 – On Absentia

The past few weeks have been a hectic time for the Thirdwalling staff.  The turmoil has reminded us of one unequivocal fact:  Life happens.  Whether it’s schoolwork piling up, vacations, family obligations or stress from the day job; players will occasionally miss a game session.  The way you handle that absence as a player can mean the difference between a seamless night of play without you or a polite invitation for you never to come back!  This week’s player tip explores the steps you should take as a player to minimize the impact of a missed session for a long-running game.

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Map Example

Map software!

In a recent GM Quick Tip we talked about websites for gaming maps.  We got a lot of great feedback on the Tip as well as some good comments from a lot of map makers.  However, one cannot build a gaming empire on randomly generated maps and Google Image searches! So what software do you use when you want to make your own maps?

Below are a few of the resources that I employ at the Thirdwalling table when I’m building maps for my current Trials of Everrun game for map and dungeon building!

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Game Master Tip #7 – Keeping Players’ Attention

Our lives are full of distractions and the game table is no exception.  Whether the group meets in a game shop or the game master’s living room, they’re constantly bombarded with everything from cell phones to children, significant others and work emails.  A big challenge to the modern game master is keeping their players’ attention over the din of this constant bombardment to the senses.  By applying some of the same principals used in public speaking in business, game masters can capture the table’s attention and keep it despite the worst distractions their players can dream up.

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