A lot of Portal staff … roughly half of us, really, are gearing up to go rampaging off to a convention, so you’re getting a short one this week. And possibly no Kickstarter post; sorry ’bout that in advance.
In the meantime! Your GM’s Tip of the Week:
Don’t be afraid to toss it all and start over, especially if it’s an old pre-written module.
Maps don’t make sense – probably very common in some of the old 2e stuff – or have wonky layouts you can’t get to scan to a grid? Grab a mapping program or some graph paper and re-map that dungeon/city/village/wizard’s tower/border keep. A keep might not always be built to a high standard of defense, but if it was built to defend a border and house a standing army, it better be able to do that and not make me or the GM tear their hair trying to figure out why dwarves were that damn stupid…
… excuse me. I had to re-build Pax Tharkas a while back, and I am still irked about it.
Module does things that give you a raging headache? Figure out what you need, toss the rest, write some player-driven shenanigans in. Everybody wins. If the module includes some sort of McGuffin or other item the group is going to need, remember to retain it; you might have to do some fun mental gymnastics figuring out how to retain it, but it will probably be worth it in the end.
If you have a group with applicable skills and good character/player separation, get them in on it; not everything absolutely has to be a mystery, and being involved? Gets people interested, as often as not. Definitely a win-scenario for everybody.
NPC – villain or support – carries the Idiot Ball a little too often for your liking, or has all the depth of a sheet of paper? Look them over, and figure out how to build them a little character. Feel free to rebuild their sheet; if they’re supposed to have a GTFO setting for further torment for your particular brand of Heroes, build that in; for wizards, Contingency is your friend. For others …. well, sometimes the players are just going to get them anyway; keep track of the bodies; sometimes the plot is layered. Try not to utilize plot-armor too much, though; players get tetchy about that.