Improvising As a GM

I recently was talking with my wife, Dr. James, about how one gets to be a “Reactive GM.” That prompted me to pull out a webpage that I’d saved a while ago entitled The Ultimate Guide to Improv. I don’t know about ultimate but it does include 101 excellent tips for being a good improver. I think about this list a lot and there are some tips in particular that really speak to being a GM.

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Five Old Books That Still Have Something to Offer

I was thinking back the other day to some of the awesome D&D supplements I’ve used in the past and how they are just collecting dust now (in my hard drive or on my shelf). Usually this is because I’m not really playing the games they were written for anymore (old editions, settings I haven’t been back to, etc) but there are some really awesome ones that I think I should have back in my repertoire anyways! Today I want to talk about five older books that you might not have heard of that you should check out anyways.

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Holodecks in Star Trek Adventures

I was watching Star Trek with Dr. James the other day, and the episode happened to be one of those centering on the holodeck technology. Specifically, it was the Voyager episode “Heroes and Demons” which involves holonovel characters, a photonic alien, and the ship’s EMH venturing out of sickbay for the first time. It’s not the most dramatic episode but it led me to explain to Dr. James (she’s just getting into the series) all about holodecks and how they’ve been explored in Star Trek in the past. After the conversation my mind naturally drifted to holodecks in Star Trek Adventures where there’s a lot of awesome potential.

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Hot Take: Star Trek Discovery is an RPG

The first season of Star Trek: Discovery has been over for a while, but I’m only just getting caught up. This series has caused more consternation than any Star Trek series has, and I’m including the intense wailing about Star Trek: Enterprise back in the day. For the purposes of this post, however, I’m asking you to put aside any negative feelings you have about Discovery to appreciate one interesting aspect: it’s pretty much an RPG campaign.

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Six Campaign Seeds for Space Stations

Star Trek Adventures is designed for starships warping around the galaxy, chasing down adventure on strange new worlds and contacting new life and new civilizations. One of the challenges in creating a campaign centered on a space station is a feeling of being stuck. What do your players do when you can’t head off into the final frontier? Well, here are a few ideas to consider.

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Going Beyond “Yes, and…”

There is a tried and true improv method called “Yes, and…” that can make it really easy to make a roleplaying situation more dynamic and fun. The Mythcreants have a good article about it’s use in RPGs and Geek & Sundry has a good article about games that make it really easy to use this option. Chris Perkins uses this all the time in the Acquisitions Incorporated series and it’s one of the reasons those are so much fun to watch. This is just the tip of the iceberg, so read on to up your GM game.

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Bright

I watched Netflix’s new movie Bright with a mixed bag of expectations. On the one hand it kinda looks like a generic brand Shadowrun and that could be awesome or unwatchable. On the other hand, it could be something else entirely and then it’s a big question mark that might be awesome or unwatchable? Well, other people have written film reviews (some calling it good, some bad) and you should check out the professionals to see their takes. For the record, I thought it was great. What I want to write about instead is using the ideas in Bright for your RPGs.

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Gamer Resolutions

Happy 2018! Hopefully this year is a little better than last year and at the moment it is full of possibility… Full disclosure, I’m writing this in 2017 so I’m a little nervous that something is going to happen between now and then but in the mean time I’m focusing on ways that we can all improve our gaming experience in the new year.

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Evolving Pantheons

Thinking through the various stories of gods in the modern world for my Godlings Fiasco scenario, I started to wonder why all these tales seem to be snapshots of the past. If the gods are real and they’ve been around since the beginning of civilization then what have they been up to for two thousand years?

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Active Session Zero for Red Markets

I love starting off campaigns with things already in motion but sometimes you’re starting something new and you need to take it slow. My preferred compromise is the Active Session Zero, a “pre-campaign” session where your gaming group can build characters together but also actually play the game. Today, we look at an Active Session Zero for Red Markets, the game of roaming zombies and cutthroat capitalism.

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