Character Backstory Guide for Other Genres

Since getting a copy of The Ultimate RPG Character Backstory Guide for my birthday, I’ve turned to it again and again for experience deepening my games. Its exercises are fun, diverse, and well-written so it’s a joy to do even if you feel your character is pretty deep already. I think it’s universally useful but it is written with a fantasy setting (particularly a D&D game) as the default so here are my thoughts on using it with some other genres.

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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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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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