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Go to the How to Participate page and get information on how to take the survey and to contact me for an interview!

Roleplaying in the RAW–Part Deux: Off-Label Gaming

Tips & Tricks

Tips & Tricks

A while back, I wrote about roleplaying in the RAW (Rules As Written). Essentially, I said that I generally like to play in the RAW unless I really feel comfortable in the rules set because of all the ramifications that changing the rules can bring–especially in a rules-heavy game like Pathfinder (which I’m running right now).

Now, of course, the folks over at Gnome Stew have published a piece that has gone over the topic much better than I have. Phil Vecchione calls it “Off-Label Gaming” when you go away from rules as written and excellently goes over all of the things you have to take into consideration when you decide to go off the beaten path. I sincerely hope you check it out because it says what I wanted to say in a much more organized way.

LifeHacker Spotlights RPGs



In this interesting and fairly comprehensive piece on, RPGs get their time in the spotlight for being exercises in problem solving, social skills, and creativity. The author always has some good tips on getting started in the hobby. Check it out!

Game of Thrones with Dice?



Here is an interesting story from an Australian news station highlighting the resurgence in popularity of D&D. I’m not really getting the Game of Thrones correlation but it is an overall good story with a nice emphasis on some female gamers.




2014 Stats, State of the Project, Moving Forward


News and Announcements


WordPress provides a handy-dandy report for the end of year stats for your blog that gives you a snapshot of how you’re doing. I thought I’d give you a taste of some of those stats, a report of how this project is going, and some thoughts on how I’m moving forward with this blog in the next year.

Master of the Game was viewed 760 times in the past year. The busiest day was February 27, 2014 with 17 views. The most popular post that day was Taking Note: Adventure Logs, Session Notes, and Staying in the Moment.

The top five viewed blog posts of the year were:

  1. The Haunting of Cranston Place: Call of Cthulhu ala Cortex (posted October 2012) : 40 views
  2. 30 Days of Gamemastering: Part Sixteen (posted October 2013): 32 views
  3. DnDnG: Dungeons and Dragons and Girls (posted August 2014): 24 views
  4. My First Fiasco (posted August 2012): 14 views
  5. Uncompelled (posted February 2014): 12 views

WordPress thinks that the fact that my most popular posts are older posts means my posts have staying power. I think it means I need to be writing more relevant posts more often.

Stats-wise, this isn’t too bad. I would like more views, obviously, but I need to produce more content to get those views. That falls squarely on me. This leads in to the state of the project itself.

State of the Project

The current state of the project is: Dead in the Water.

I haven’t posted an interview in months and we haven’t had any new postings to the online survey in over a year. I’ve reached out to game masters via social medal, forums, and the like. I even spent real money and tried advertising at a local convention with zero results. I just haven’t received the responses that I would have liked.

Game masters are busy people. They have worlds to build and campaigns to run. Plus, I may not have been as aggressive in my pursuits as I could have been. Still, it is disappointing.

As a result, the blog has turned into less than its mission statement, more of a personal blog of my experiences as an experienced-but-still-learning game master. Which is okay.

Moving Forward

Moving forward into 2015 I’ll keep plugging along with the project. I’ll try to post more. If I get some interview requests, that’ll be great! If I get more stats on the online survey–enough to have something worth sharing–even better! In the meantime, I’ll keep trying to share what I’ve learned, or keep learning, as a frazzled game master. Hopefully you’ll keep coming back and have something to share. Maybe we’ll have more of a dialog. Maybe, together, we can build this project into something bigger than it has been. Even if it is just a shiny little light in some back corner of the internets, that just fine with me.

Your Players Are Smarter Than You



This should be rule number one of being a GM.

Your players are smarter than you.

Always remember this. It’s sometimes easy to forget. You, as GM, have fantastic cosmic powers, after all. You’re the creator of worlds, destroyer of parties, lord of all you survey.

But your players are still smarter than you.

They will find that plot point you haven’t reasoned out all the way. They’ll find that loophole in the NPC’s deal that lets them have an all-expenses paid trip. They’ll reason their way out of having to fight your big bad and reap the XPs without having to shed a single a hp.

Because, in the end, your players are smarter than you.

And this is a good thing.

Smart players keep you on top of your game, for one thing. If you’re constantly striving to keep ahead of that hive mind of good ideas then you’ll hone your own mind in the best way possible. It will only make you a better GM. Of course, it comes at a cost. Temporary sanity. Your pride. But, in the end, you can probably live without these things and be a better GM.

For another thing, good role-playing is like improvisation. The right answer should always be “Yes, and…” Everyone should be having a good time. Good ideas should be rewarded, not punished. This is where GM pride can be crushed. In the end, it’s not the GM’s game, but the players’. And that can hurt. But in the end, the game is generally better for it.

A recent game session recently was, shall I say, interesting. I had a scenario that I thought was pretty interesting. As I started putting the PCs through it, they started throwing out some other ideas–ideas I hadn’t considered–ideas better than mine. At first it stung–I was afraid I had put out a sub-par product for them, something I try not to do. I never want to put out a lame adventure for my friends. But as I started to go roll more with what they were doing, I think (I hope) they were still having a good time–and that is the bottom line of the game.

Letting your players be smarter than you can save a lame scenario that may not be as well thought out as it could have been. It can elevate your campaign. Even if it stings the pride more than an elven-forged blade sometimes.


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