Rondak's Oracle

News and fun things about the games we play

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GM’s Tip of the Week

Ever asked yourself how well you know your players?
Can you predict – accurately – what they will like and dislike? People who play around a table have an advantage here over play-by-post games, simply because … well, it’s harder with play by post, both because the pace is slower and you don’t have that immediate interaction with body language and vocal tones and all those little things we humans usually use to read each other.
Assuming that you are communicating, in and out of game, you should have some idea though, and it should go past ‘this player enjoys this type of character’.
If you are playing live, via some kind of virtual tabletop system, be it Roll20 or D20Pro or some other variant I haven’t heard of, you will at least have vocal cues, and if you are coordinating voice with Hangouts or Discord, you probably have webcams for the rest. So you will be able to tell if someone isn’t engaged. Notice that. Make an effort to get them engaged, and take notes on what works. If you have to build little character sheets for your players to keep track of what motivates them, do it.
Got a player who finds a particular aspect of the game frustrating? Narrow that down, and see what you can do to make it easier and more fun for them.
Down the line, that will make your life easier, and keep the game fun for everyone.
While you’re at it, make one for yourself. Be honest! Identifying your own triggers helps you figure out how to manage them.

GM’s Tip of the Week

Going to keep this one pretty simple, I think.
Problem players aren’t really the guys who have to rules-lawyer everything, or collect all the shinies, or min-max their characters into tiny gods of combat. Those people can be worked with. They can be folded in, included and made welcome, you can even use those tendencies to keep the game on track and fun for everybody. Those kinds of players are not the problem.

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Kickstarters of Note

Hey, guys. I managed to find you all some interesting Kickstarters to look at and think on, for this cycle. We’ve got some maps, some potential gamer-gifts and at least one art book, and a whole lot of temptation.
I’d also like to remind everyone that the Portal will be experiencing a little scheduled downtime tomorrow; just a little maintenance, nothing to worry about.

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Kickstarters of Note

Hello, fellow Portalites! Welcome to another round of Kickstarters of Note! It’s been a little slow of late, which is both good and bad – good for the budget, bad for my ability to wave cool Kickstarters around. But, I did find a couple of very interesting looking offerings, one that I think the Portal’s GMs may find very useful!
As always, if any of you see something you think should be featured here, let us know! Either by posting the link yourself in the comments, or sending me or any of the Circle a PM.

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Kickstarters of Note!

Hello, fellow Portalites!
Christmas has passed, and I hope you have all come out of it with your sanity more or less intact. As always, I have a whole bunch of new Kickstarters in progress for you to look at!
Mostly things I hope would be of use to those of you only running games on Rondak’s Portal, or elsewhere, but I did find some interesting things!

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GM’s Tip of the Week

Yup, we’re still looking at classes, and we’re up to the Cleric. A more accurate name for the class would probably be ‘Priest’ – cleric and clerk have some very similar roots, after all – but either way, this class is the first one most fantasy gamers will think of when someone says ‘we need a healer!’. That does the class – and the hapless player – few favors, however, as the cleric is capable of far more than just simple healing.

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GM’s Tip of the Week

I’mma be honest, these are getting increasingly hard to write; my own experience is not so broad I can easily mine it for helpful tidbits for everyone else. However, I’m not up to kitty memes yet!
Player-driven campaigning for fun and giggles. Working on the assumption that you have a group that is into character backgrounds and giving the GM a bunch of useful hooks, of course.
Because when all else fails, your players will, almost always, get their characters in more and hotter water than you ever will, actually read those histories. Talk to your players. Get them talking about their characters, and take notes. Take a lot of notes. If you’re working in a specific setting, take more notes, because you might have to tweak something to make something else work.
You’ll probably be working on this for months ahead of start date, so be sure to have something else going on at the same time. But keep them talking. Get them involved. Because they will tell you what they want, you just have to listen.

GM’s Tip of the Week

So, we’ve been quiet on this front; if anyone has any suggestions or requests for new GM Tips, please, speak up!

This week I’m going to talk about building a dungeon; not so much the nitty-gritty of designing and balancing an encounter, although we’ll cover that eventually when I find someone who can do that better than I can. Designing and balancing encounters isn’t as easy as it looks, but actually doing the layout and figuring out what’s going on and why.

This is more for people who’ve never built a dungeon before, and are going around going ‘ahhh! what do I dooooo!’ – well, first, don’t panic. Grab a pencil and some graph paper, or your photo-manipulation program of choice, and take a deep breath.
You may want something to take notes on; if I’m building a dungeon from scratch, I usually have paper for the mapping portion, and several PDFs and a Notepad file open at the same time. You can use whatever combination that works.

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GM’s Tip of the Week

Hey guys.

We’ve talked a bit about consistency and pacing, but haven’t really covered what a GM should do in that between moment of losing a player and finding a new one.

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GM Tip of the Week

Minatures. Very few words strike fear into the hearts of GMs like that one can.

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