Peeking over the screen.

The Communication Barrier a.k.a The Game Master’s Screen

If they are used properly, storyteller’s screens are a valuable tool in running and managing your game.  Used improperly, these paper walls can be an imposing barrier between the players and the storyteller, a physical manifestation of the subconscious castle that inexperienced (or just plain bad) game masters take shelter behind to avoid player conflict.  By reducing the height of this castle wall and placing it strategically on the table we can transform it from a castle wall to a stage curtain that empowers the game master in productive ways.

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Game Master Tip #4 – Give it a Name

We interrupt our scheduled discussion on the Golden Rule to bring you this quick tip instead:

It is a peaceful day in Townsville, the birds are chirping and the trees are green.  You wake and dress, kiss your wife/husband/Dead God goodbye and set out to work at THE SHOP.  After polishing the counter and arranging your merchandise the bell over the door chimes to let you know you have your first customers!  There are four of them and their armor and gear is impressive to behold (even if their swords are suspiciously blood-soaked and you’re pretty sure the one in the leather just stole your “OPEN” sign).

They approach, and their leader proclaims, “Merry met, shopkeep.  We are the Long Shots, on a sacred mission of impressiveness from the King himself.  What do you call yourself?”

A bit audacious, but you’re glad for the money.  So you reply, “Why thank you, sir!  I am…” but before you can answer, a voice interrupts, “Oh, crap.  I don’t have a name for him, man.  He’s not important.  He’s just a shop keep.  What do you want to buy?”

Wait… what?  Who said that?  Was that… was that God?  Are you there, God?  It’s me, the shopkeeper.  Please give me a name!

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Game Master Tip#3 – Death Options

Dying in the big boss battle is heroic – sacrificing your character to save the rest of the party from a worse fate is downright epic in its scope.  That is the type of death that the party will talk about for years (RIP Corporal Declan).  But nobody wants to die to the easy mobs leading up to the big battle – sacrifice a well-thought-out character to the random encounter or the inept gate guard (a combination we call “crunchies”).

But sometimes, the dice just are not in your favor – and the inept guard gets a lucky shot in.  Fear not, Intrepid Game Master, for killing off a player character here is not the only (or really the best) option you have!

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Trials of Everrun – Trials and Errors

Thursday night was a pretty slow night in the Trials of Everrun session.  As my previous posts mentioned, I have been ill so I did not put the requisite planning into the game.  I did not have props for my letters or really have much of anything fully “written” in terms of scripts and stats.  Complicating this further, there was a bad accident on the road outside the game shop that made just about everyone late – and Drip Dry did not arrive until nearly 7:30 – an hour late (and an hour and a half after he usually arrives).

Despite this, the players seemed to have a decent time entertaining themselves, so I’m classifying it under the accidental folder of the “win” category.

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