Friday, 27 June 2014

GM Tutorial: Balancing the game

GM Tutorial: Balancing the game

Time for another tutorial, and this is about balancing the game to provide a challange for the players. Just handing the players everything is not going to be very fun, it would just be like dynasty warriors with no officers, just millions of units that cause no damage unless you do something very stupid.

Balancing the Group

The very first thing a GM would encounter is the balance of the group, if all of them is going to play barbarians, you could be pretty sure that a lot of your campaign idea is not going to look attractive to the characters. So a GM should have a small hand in what can be made, like limiting the types of characters, how many people can play 1 class, maybe set a requirement for a few classes that must be covered (I do not reccomend making a campaign that focus on one spesific class, because players might not want to play that)

It is also an idea to look at what each character brings to the table. If everyone is some sort of scout, then the group is very focused on one aspect but at the cost of not being spread around enough to cover other aspects. Lets try an example; a shadowrun group with 4 street samurais might work, but all of them are physical combatants in some way and have a side-speciality that could be anything (except matrix and magic), this means that the group is well built to deal with a physical threat, but if they are up against something that they are not familiar with, they will have trouble.

So the GM should have a hand in the character creation to make sure that the group is diversed enough to cover most likely aspects that will come up during the campaign or inform them that they should think of a way to deal with something that they are not familiar with. He should also make sure that they do not spread around too much, leaving themselves open to someone better.

In my opinion, on a scale from 1 to 100, where 1 is where a character covers ALL the possible aspect he is capable of, and 100 is min-maxed to the extreme within one skill, I reccomend that the players pick around 66,6 and make sure that the rest of the group does the same to cover things that might not be directly related to their main job, but lets them have just enough skill to be able to do it. Because there is nothing worse than being the best fighting force in the game but a simple chat with anyone turns into a fight because they have a 0% chance of succeeding a "do-not-insult" check.

Balancing a Challange

Back to the challange and the dynasty warrior referance, when the players faces a problem, struggles and manage to overcome the challange, it gives a lot better feeling than just beating up a crippled beggar. The players might not enjoy a challange directly but they do enjoy winning, and making them work for it, increased the value of the win. The GMs on the other hand is working with creating the challange and making sure its perfect, if the players are happy, it means that the GM is successful and he is happy. If the challange is too easy, he needs to up the difficulty, if its too hard, he needs to decrease the difficulty, just to make sure that there is a balance, which is not easy when it comes to the random element of dice, so it needs to be accounted for with propability, worst case scenarios and best case scenarios. Anyway, it is not about players versus GM, it is about that golden middle road, because playing SALMON CoD with aimbot is only fun for a limited amount of people, and dead players does not progress the plot of the campaign... so its all about the Greater Good of the game.

Now, it might be an idea to look into how to balance the challange. If the group is very combat focused, lets say that they are equivalent of tanks, too damage reduction to be worried about 50% of the enemies causing any harm, and powerful enough weapons to oneshot 50% of them... then you pretty much removes 50% of the game's combat content, there is absolutely no reason to use it other than just say "you see a group of thugs in front of you", and a player say "KILL THEM!", then the GM can just skip ahead and continue from the aftermath of the fight, as it would just be a huge waste of time.
Now the very same thing could be compared to skill checks, like outdoors, having a group that is really focused on it, there is no point in making them roll for climbing, swimming, navigating the wilderness or equivalent.

The thing is, the GM can still find ways around it and balance the game with seemingly unthreatening resources but using them smartly, it does require more work but is easier if the goal is larger than the event itself. Stretch the challange out over longer periods of time. Example; if the players need to climb something and they are good at climbing, build up to the challange with loss of gear, fatigue, misstrust amongst the climbers and then see if that seemingly unthreatening challange is as unthreatening afterall.

The best way to balance the game in my opinion is to make sure that the group does not get to stage where they remove most of the challange and to try to use the challanges smartly. Straight up challanges are not interessting anyway, like climb the wall or shoot at the packed group of enemies in front of you. Change it up to things like; climb the wall without being seen by security or deal with the enemies that have you in a crossfire and is trying to make their way around to attack from behind.

Balancing the Individuals

I think I've covered most of it already, but in short, try to avoid min-maxing, munchkinning, spreading out too much, being a professional jack-of-all-trades or putting too much focus into something that will not be covered too often. 

Min-maxing means picking every single thing in the mechanics in order to become the very best pokemon trainer. This means equippment that allows for bonuses, max skill, max attributes linked to that skill, qualities that give bonuses and talents which makes it even better.
Quick example; I had a player in shadowrun who was afraid of being useless, so he put EVERYTHING he could into being the best gunslinger in the world, but he had nothing else, could not succeed anything else at all, so he was useless, beyond useless, he was just a robot that activated during combat. He also did not bother remembering his rules so he drained my energy as a GM and we stopped the game.

Munchkinning means the boardgame munchkin where you get the best weapons, armour and items to give you as many bonuses as possible, which is why min-maxing and munchkinning is pretty much the same. I however mean that munchkin is more related to gear while min-max is more related to natrual abilities and skills, but this is not a universal view.

Spreading out too much would be like the shadowrun example, but remove pistol skill, so he is left with nothing, a robot that does not activate at all. This is not prefered in any games at all, and several games give a bare minimum of skills and talents to prevent this.

Jack-of-all-Trades is very good in some games, but at the cost of a few things, picking everything ends up with the previous example, but discarding a few things that the others in the group will cover or the group want nothing to do with, then move these points to buff up the other skills, then you might have a useful character that can step in where its needed. But this is more of a support role than anything, if you dont have your speciality, you are not the go-to man (or woman) when it comes to a task that needs doing.

What I'm saying is to strike a balance, get your speciality,  but do not disregard a bit of "jacking" in order to deal with things that WILL come up and you do not want to solve with brute force or running/walking away. 

Thursday, 26 June 2014

GM Tutorial: meta-planning

GM Tutorial: Meta-planning

This should not take long to cover (edit: I was apparently wrong), this part is about managing games, campaigns and sessions from a Meta perspective.
lets cover things step by step based on things that should be covered. 

Number one - idea

You have a game that you want to run, so start with yourself, do you know enough to run it, do you have an idea of what kind of game you want to run, are you starting to put pieces togeather for a sketch of a campaign? if yes then move on to the next step, if no, then work a bit more on it.

Number two - players

Can you manage to bring in players for the game, is there enough people who want to play the game you want to run? if yes, move on, if no, consider putting out some adverts for the game, visit websites and ask if anyone would be interessted, if there is still no result, consider chancing the game to appeal to more people or phrase it in a way that is more "selling". I don't know how to do that for every crowd of people but try to figure out what they are interessted on and try to sell your idea based on their interesst.
example: a player of mine did not like Warhammer 40k, but when I told him that I'll run part of the game like Mass Effect 2, he was sold.

Number three - location

Do you have a location you can play in? online works but I'll not cover that in this post, at least not in any dept. a friend's house, your own, your parents, maybe a local gaming store is willing to let you use a room to play RPs in.
Places I've arranged games in: my parent's house, friend's houses, a local RP store where I signed a contract and were handed a key to use the store's upstairs room during evenings and weekends, various free rooms in pubs and cafes during daytime when there was the least traffic.
So just ask around local venues if they are willing to host your game, some might require you to pay, some might just require people to buy food or drinks from their store and some wont charge a thing, it all depends on who you deal with, just do not assume that anything is free or will stay that way.

Number four - lenght of session

Lenght of the game will come into play, 3-4 hours is the usual, people show up, eat and chat a bit (might consider starting 1 hour earlier to not loose gametime), if the games are too long, consider a small foodbreak or if there are smokers in group, have a "fresh air" / fresh air -break, chat or plan the next action while staying outside talking, some might use this break for various short errands like calls of nature, or just a quick trip to the local shop for a bite or a cup of coffee. Just keep in mind that the longer the game last, the more burned out the GM becomes so by the end of the session, the quality will drop a bit, and the end is important for players as that is what will stick with them the most, if it was boring, they might choose to sit out the next session, if it was really good, they might just delay their vecation trip to the week after :P

Number five - breaks or vecations

Breaks and vecations can damage a game as it will be too long between sessions and the interesst fades, there is little that can be done about that but there are options. The players which does not leave might play a different game like a oneshot or GM-less games like fiasco if the GM is gone. another thing that can be done, at least for the GM, is to plan new campaigns. On that note, it might be a good idea for the GM to take a break from a game if it progresses faster than he can manage to plan, and this is the only way for him to buy himself some time to prepare a proper campaign.
I'm considering doing that with my star wars game once the campaign is done, but I got so much left of the campaign that im not worried for the moment.
Even if the group does not want to play anything but the game that the GM is running, it might be an idea to have a break from it anyway and run a oneshot game, mainly because it is a very good source for the GM to get some new ideas and not get locked down to a small box that is the setting and the system. While other reasons can be to get more time so the GM can get a rest from the planning or have a good idea that he or the groups want to experience but without it being possible in the current game.

Number six - burnouts

Burnouts are common amongs GMs, some more than others. They run a game on regular basis, and when they are locked to one thing, they quickly run out of ideas and simply cannot come up with anything interessting. They can also have a different idea of fun from the players and the GM is just not having fun with it, there might even be RL problems that leaves the GM with little time to plan or just not in the mood. while little can be done with these things, trying to get things started again might be difficult. Given time, the GM is likely to come back with a game, but to speed things up, I can only suggest for the players to try to take over a few sessions or run some simple oneshots, doing something else will help speed up the recovery from burnouts.

I got more to cover about these subjects but do not feel like combing the desert for points so I've covered a few points and hopefully these should trigger more ideas by the reader so they can see more problems or how some of these might relate to themselves and what they want to do in relation to RPs.

GM Tutorial: Tools of the Trade

GM Tutorial: Tools of the Trade

Over the years that I've been GM, I have sometimes had to teach players in my group, how to become a GM, which most often happens when I have to leave the location im usually running physical games. Two quick examples is that I lived in a town in Norway for 2 years and when I left, one of my players wanted to take over, so I taught him how to GM a system, then I lived in Wales for a year, and when I left that place I was asked for suggestions in how to be a good GM. This made me think that I might collect the ideas I have about the subject and make a few posts about it here on my blog.

The first post is about tools of the trade, because when you are starting to prepare to be a GM, this is one of the very first things you encounter, if you have not already done so. But I'll cover various tools, why they are useful and what they can be used for.

Writing kit

You need pencils for RPs, there are things that needs to be written, sketches needed to be drawn and charactersheets to fill out. Pens will make things permanent and is not a good thing for character sheets, so having a good pencil, maybe more for players or as backup, is going to make things easier, it is also important to have an eraser to get rid of misstakes that is written or when trying to keep health or equivalent updated.

You also need some paper to write on, graph paper is good for drawing maps, lines are good for writing handouts, completely white papers are good for maps or printing things on (like character sheets). However, my favourite paper is thick stiff drawing paper, this is due to it is easier to transport whole, often is more relaxing to draw on for some reason and easier to search through when stored in a binder.

About binders, it is a good idea to have all papers and character sheets stored in binders for easier transport and knowing where everything is, if you have a binder with a clearly indicated colour, it is easier to be reminded of what it contains when you are using it often. I myself have colourcoded my binders in terms of work, RPs and videogames... I should consider changing icons on my digital storage folders too. 

Binders can easily be replaced by smaller folders if it takes up much space and if you only need a few sheets to transport rather than the whole binder.

Handouts & Dice

Handouts are just something you can give to the players to keep them occupied or pique their interesst. These handouts can be maps, a puzzle piece, a letter, maybe just a post-it note with some information that only 1 player can know. I do reccomend using secret information during physical games, because in my experience, there is nothing that makes the players more attentative than when someone gets something that the others do not know what is, and often, it might be too much to put on a post-it, so take the player aside and tell them in a different room or a secluded corner, when the player gets back, he then can choose what to do with the information, if he shares it, its fine... he is shearing his version of the story.

quick example: a player climbed a tree, saw mountains in all directions, he climbed back down and told the group this. Now, because the climber had not paid attention earlier that session, there was only 1 mountain in the area, the rest was flat or by the coast, 1 player remembered this and found it odd, so he pushed the climber for more information, but he had already forgotten the minor details I had told him, so it ended with a non-climber having to get up into the tree to figure out what was going on because something was not right.

so quick rundown on what handouts are: post-it, written letters, maps, pictures, information, knowledge (aka: character knows but not player). there are a few other things that could be handouts but I've covered most I think.

Now, dice, have 1 set for yourself so you can do your part of the rolling, but having backup sets for players is a good idea, or share the dice, so everyone gets to roll some dice when needed. Another suggestion is to have various sets, I will not cover superstition but having a dice set for enemies, one for friendles and one for neutral lets the player justify a gut-feeling their characters have relating to something or someone.


Newsletters on around 3-5 pages (include pictured to take up room so its not a lot of text) is a good way to keep the players updated on what happened, what is likely to happen, some meta-information and maybe a sidestory or information that the players will learn but was not able to during the course of the game. The information in these newsletters could be things like bounties, lore about a spesific place, news from ingame sources, information about next campaign, plans or promotions for other games, it could even contain the background story of a NPC or player character if they would be willing to make it public.
Two things that is important to remember with this, should be made between session and not take up much time, make a template and fill it out over a few days after the session, it is something that should last so don't get burned out by trying to keep it updated.


I can keep this very simple, look at this blog, this is what I mean, read the posts and try to see if you figure out why im doing this in relation to my games and being a GM.


Now we get to the first software, there are plenty of mindmaps out there but Xmind is my mindmap of choice. It is a good program to sort ideas and try to build concepts, I even used it to make this post and it helps me to keep my thoughts structured. Xmind has a lot of useful features also but start simple, then discover the features while using it. I believe that I do not plan any games without having a xmind map planned out, because the structure helps me spot contradictions, remember important things and can easily be added or altered.


This program is simply put just several text files that can be synced to an account and used on your phone, tablet or computer, images can also be synced so if you really need some notes but cannot bring them to a game, upload them to evernote and use your phone during the session. I myself used this a lot before, but not anymore due to reasons I will cover under dropbox, but I still reccomend Evernote if you think its good enough for what you need.


This is a program that takes a screenshot of a area or your screen and immediatly uploads it to the web for quick sharing with a link. It is not very useful for physical games, but extremly useful for web-based RPs. You can only have like 400 imaged on an account so remember to delete imaged once in awhile, storing the links you need in a account folder or equivalent.

Snipping tool

This is like puush but it does not upload it, it allows for pasting into image editors, some minor drawing abilities in the program itself and used in text files like word. It is a built-in program in windows so everyone with a windows PC already have this, so there is no reason to not to use it. combining snipping tool's limited drawing with puush might be useful when you encounter some of the limitations of both programs.


It is pretty much notepad, but much better, without going into technicalities, I can say that it's faster due to operating differently, have possible extentions and using the TAB button makes it easier to read sorted sections of a lot of text. If i cannot access my main program (covered later), I'll use notepad++.
Also, if you plan to do programming, this notepad is the best, simple program to use for that.


Syncing files lets you work on multiple computers without worrying about transfering files, this makes it useful to save files like Xmind, notepad++, imaged and equivalent. Because of this combination of uses, it easily replace Evernote. But dropbox's limit might be storage space for new users, I have used it awhile and have 75GB of storage space on dropbox, but I only use like 10 GB for my RP stuff. Dropbox can also share folders with other people, so having digital character sheets, you can share a folder with a player and you both can update that as you see fit, or you can link it to them so they can get a copy, a very useful feature to make sure noone forgets their character sheet.


I cannot talk about this a lot because I'm no expert, but I have used it to edit and refine maps and its good. My procedure with photoshop is to draw a map by hand, scan it, import into photoshop, draw new clear lines over what I've drawn, enlarge the map by a lot and redraw the lines. I keep increasing the size untill im happy and then starting to add details to everything. I ended up with having a 50 MB map at one point and printed it out on a A2 paper... or 4x A4 papers.

Flockdraw / Whiteboard

Like puush, Flockdraw (aka: imaginary penis drawing simulator) is a online program, where people can join a session without having to log in with more than a name and updated flash. It is a good online whiteboard for quickly representing something you have not prepared with images, so you can draw it there. The very same reason flockdraw is useful is why a whiteboard is useful. Whiteboards is the only one that cost money and should not be too hard to find a small enough one to easily transport around and use for physical sessions. I used whiteboards to draw maps on, sometimes we layed it flat and put figurines on it to represent combat and movement, but most times it was just to illustrate things for the players so they did not missunderstand.

Articy Draft

I should first start with saying that this program cost a LOT, it is very expensive. Then secondly I should say that the program is very very useful and I've gotten my worth out of it. To put it in comparison, I have 700 hours on skyrim and I paid a little under €50 for it when it first came out and i got all the expansions, so i got my moneys worth for that game, but that is NOTHING compared to articy draft.
However, if you consider getting this program, you need to have GMing as a hobby like I have instead of some casual fun, because the program cost too much to not be dedicated to the cause.

As you might have guessed, this is my main program of choice, it was originally made for videogame design, and even if it does have some limitations when it comes to planning RPs, nothing is perfect, and it does what i need it to do.

I could go on and on about this program but there are many youtube videos out there that can do it better than me, so check it out, if you have the money and the dedication, I strongly reccomend the program.

Roll20 / Fantasy Ground

I'm not the right person to talk about these but it seems like something you have to plan everything in these programs, if you don't, there will be a lot of double work by planning outside of it, and then typing everything into it. Many people do reccomend it nad im sure its good, but my program of choice is articy draft and I would like to stick to that because I love it. I also find that its easier to adapt the game when not using roll20 or fantasy ground, because it seems to encourage a static type of game.

So have a look at articy draft, fantasy ground and roll20, if they seem too complicated, use notes and dropbox, or use one of the programs.

No matter which ones of these you choose, none of them is designed for physical games anyway (except maybe articy draft).

That is all I had for tools of the trade, there are plenty of other options out there and they might be better than the ones I have shared, but at least what I covered is enough to get a GM started when it comes to tools.

Tuesday, 24 June 2014

Experience system

I've been trying to come up with a experience system to make it easier to hand out experience for each session of my games, and the system should be the same for all games. So I came up with a point system, I started to give 1-5 points in various categories, and had a conversion table. 1 point could be 1 karma in shadowrun, it could be 50 in dark heresy, and maybe 100 in rogue trader.

I used this system for awhile and have refined it a few times, but now, or rather, last week, I refined it again.
This time i made a checklist instead of 1-5 points in a category, so I ask various questions, a yes gives 1 point, a no gives -1 or 0 points, there are questions that give -1, 0 or 1 point depending on what have happened.

here is my current list:

so far, the list might give a bit too many points, but instead of balancing this, i'm thinking of reducing the amount of experience in the convertion table, lets say edge of the empire had a 1:5 conversion, it could be reduced to 1:4 or 1:3 depending on if I wanted to keep the group at a certain balance or not, I might even expand it to use a limit, below 350 total exp, they get a conversion of 1:5, then below 700, they get 1:4, all above that is 1:3 points.

then again, these are just ideas for expanding the system, but so far, what I got is pretty solid for most games.

Friday, 20 June 2014

Making premade campaigns

Making premade campaigns

I do have a lot of games that could be reused, and the more I use these campaign, the more I think it would be a good idea to create a premade campaign for it.

My most successfull proper game (i got one that was silly and was more successfull but not really what could fit as a premade), is a game for dark heresy where a group of acolytes investigate what seems to be a canibal cult but finds themselves against a threat that puts the very world at risk.

Another game is one i use too often to not make into a premade, its for rogue trader and its about the group tasked to deal with some pirates but find eldars have gotten there before them and in order to pull the mission off they would have to resort to a difficult spaceship battle or try to stop the eldars form accomplishing what they are doing inside the pirate vessel.

I've also gone over all the campaigns ive ran before and collected notes, with this I should be able to create a few games with more details than my usual games. The only problem is the dedication and motivation it takes to accomplish this.

Wednesday, 18 June 2014

[Meta] Priorities

[Meta] Priorities

Without going into details about it, games tends to fall apart after awhile unless participants are dedicated to the game. And to be dedicated, the priorities needs to be sorted out.

Every participant in every game should make a list over what they want to prioritise in order to figure out what they can make time for, if there is no time left for RPs, there is no point in joining a game as it will just cause more frustration for other players and GMs, but they might also be willing to help out in order to get the game to fit for as many people as possible because the more the better... to a limit.

To show an example, I thought I should list my priorities:

First priority: Work
If I'm working, I cannot make time for other things, but I don't work 24 hours a day.

Second priority: RPs
I'm a dedicated GM, even if I sometimes do have problems with the motivation module not loading, so I try to make the most of my downtime to plan for future campaigns and games. I have to admit that seeing players not being as dedicated as me is a slight irritation but that is my own fault not anyone else, however, I'm happy when I do encounter someone who is or at least show noticable dedication. I can run up to 3 games a week at max but juggling that amount takes some serious dedication, and so forth, I've not had any trouble with that.

Third priority: Rest
If this weren't here I would be spending all my free time on RPs, having 1 day break between RPs gives enough time to recover and do some basic planning for the next campaign. Longterm campaigns takes about a full week to plan properly, but does not have to be planned as often as these long term games lasts for several weeks at least.

Fourth Priority: Workout
I'm chubby and I need to do some anti-chubby activities about 2 times a week at least, the more the better, but this is the one im struggling the most with in terms of time management.

Fifth priority: Social activities
most of my RPs are social activites, but because of the preparation for it, and it might not fit for others, a fallback option is good to have, so sometimes I play boardgames with friends. Lately I've noticed that I need to be more social or else I feel like a Sims character who has everything exept someone to talk to. (online does not count)

last priority: Videogames & Books
I do get inspiration for various sources and I have ways of relaxing, videogames and books is how I do this, but it is not covered under rest because this priority is for playing games for that reason alone, like getting a new game i really want to play. I will make time for it, and the more I want to play it, the faster i get all the other priorities out of the way in order to make time.

So I hope that other people are capable of making this sort of priority list to see if the can make time for RPs or not, because lets face it, being busy and trying to casually play RPs... will not work.

Monday, 16 June 2014

Somewhat Light vs very Heavy RP rules Guidelines

Somewhat Light vs very Heavy RP rules Guidelines

I saw someone post a slider on reddit which looked like this:

I thought I should put a few of the games I can run on this slider and see what each could be considered as and what had happened on those game I've ran, now I should mention that none of them ended all the way to the left, but one ended up all the way to the right, so I'll start with the ones with the heaviest rules and work my way down.

The heaviest rulesystem goes to Shadowrun, and the games I've ran have been bogged down a lot to the point that I ran out of energy to run it because too much time was spent looking at the rules and players had to be told every single initiative pass what they could do, and then get angry because they do the same every pass and not be allowed to ignore recoil penalties. I will try to run it once more but this time around I have another person helping me with the rules so the pressure is not all on me this time.

Next up is Iron Kingdoms, the system is really heavy because its almost identical to the wargame Warmachine and Horde, however, it is a very simple dice system and easy to learn, there is just lots of features, talents and abilities that must be remembered in order to figure out the modifiers for the diceroll.

Warhammer 40k is the next ones on the list, this covers all the games in this setting, might as well throw warhammer fantasy 1st and 2nd edition in here too. I see that I might consider it easier than iron kingdoms because I know the system very well and would considered myself biased. Anyway, the dice system is a 1d100 and you need to roll under your stat which is clearly seen on the character sheet, then +/- modifiers. It is still considered to be on the heavy side of the slider.

Yggdrasil is the last system on the heavy side and the main reason it's system is difficult is because players and NPCs have different names for stats, NPCs merges a few and/or rename them so you would have to learn 2 different systems and merge them togeather, players must remember one and GM must remember the other but ofc the players needs help with their side if they have yet to play that game before. It also takes a few ideas from shadowrun which makes it more difficult.

Shadows of Esteren is the first game on the light side, the main difference between this and the previous ones is the movement, instead of meters moved, its just assumed that they can reach a certain point in their round or not depending on the ground and what the GM say. other than that it is similar to a few other games. However, it is a horror game where combat is less important and very very deadly, the best way to play the game is to avoid combat or fight your way out of it, you can focus on combat in this game if you really want to but if everyone in the group does that, it kinda ruins the point of the game.

the system with the lightest rulesystem I have is Star Wars: Edge of the empire. Because of narrative dice, each combat encounter is more like a roleplaying event, and turns can be swapped on the fly with other party members (the fastest player can go last if he wants to trade place with the slowest), there is digital character sheets easily accessible that shows the skill roll for players and the GM can easily just add difficulty, missfortune and... umm... red dice.. .somethingsomething..., and the player rolls the dicepool and look at the result to see what happened.

Character creation for each game is different so this was just a generic overview, iron kingdoms would maybe... MAYBE, end up as the easiest one while shadowrun will keep the highest one... or maybe Anima: Beyond fantasy will take that one?

Overall, it looks like I tend to stay away from rule light systems but my most successful games are Edge of the empire, the lightest one i have, and warhammer 40k, the second heaviest one i got... what to make of that?... i dont know, just felt like trying to sort things out and adding contents and the thoughts to the blog.

Thoughts on Privateer Press and their Iron Kingdoms RP

Thoughts on Privateer Press and their Iron Kingdoms RP

I'll put it short and bluntly about Privateer Press, they are juggling too many projects so it does not seem like they are progressing with the roleplaying game, however, this is really an illusion as they are releasing so much information about other products that their No Quarter magazine, which is released every 2 months, is overshadowed. These magazines contains between 3-6 pages of content for Iron Kingdoms, which is a lot more than other producers do with their RPs.

When it comes to Iron Kingdoms itself, I must say that it is one of the most balanced systems I've ever played and ran. It is a solid game because it is based on the wargames Warmachine and Horde, where balance is enforced to ensure that the game is fair. The rules for combat is the same for Iron Kingdoms and the wargames but the RP has more non-combat abilities and runs a lot of "lowscale" adventures which means it has some talents that changes the flow of the game to be somewhat different from the wargames, but there is still a lot of tactics involved. 

Quick example: 
A stone sorcerer can cast stone stance to gain immunity to knockdown, then he can cast earthquake to knock down everyone around him (including himself, which he is now immune against), then hit the enemy with a pickaxe, which automaticly crit against prone targets (is designed to damage toppled steamjacks and mine for ore).

The main problem with the game is why it is good, it got an insane amount of interessting careers, and at start, you pick 2 and make a combination, increasing the amount even further, and later, you can get even more, ending up with 5 careers on a single character. There is just so many interessting combination.... and then the players go for "ummm... solder + pirate sounds good", 2 core careers that is very basic, while they can still be good, it just does not show the flair from the getgo. There is also the problem with "too many choices"... so the game is robust, solid, easy to learn, plenty of choices, and too difficult for indecisive people.

I really want to run this game, but I struggle with getting players and comming up with a campaign, the only idea I have at the moment is to get the players involved in a plot in Llael (France equivalent) where a GMPC plays a major role in a book I'm considering writing, but because GMPCs is in general a bad thing, I want that NPC in the background or the PCs to take part in the shadowplay around the book.

Current Games:

Current Games: Rogue Trader, Shadowrun 5th & SW: Edge of the Empire.

I'm currently running or starting up a few games soon, and thought I should make a blog to write a little about them and maybe games I want to run.

Star Wars - Edge of the Empire:
This game is in its 3rd campaign, where the first started with escaping Teemo the Hutt as a part of the beginner's set, and the second campaign ended with the party being blown out into space with a series of failed tests on a optional horror adventure I had barely planned. This time, its starting fresh with the group finding a holocron containing some sort of star map, which seems to be sending them to 10 locations around the outer rim and beyond it.

Shadowrun 5th:
Starting up 19th of june, the group will parttake in a campaign I've named "Dragonfire". The group is a bunch of shadowrunners that have worked togeather before and done 3 missions togeather which is left vague to allow for their characters to tie into their background and going forth after these 3 is difficult, there are no jobs for them to do so they had better find a fixer, and depending on which one they find, they will impact where the story is headding.

Rogue Trader:
This is a local game I run for a few buddies in my home town, starting the 29th of june, the dynasty set out on an crusade into the halo stars, taking a lot of their resouces with them. When the Lord Captain did not return, the dynasty started to fall in on itself and few people were capable of taking over the role as the head of the dynasty, however, far out in the line of succession is one person who can take over the role (potentional player, if not, and NPC). There is one ship left and a few scattered operations belonging to the house, however, the ship is running with a skeleton crew and the group must find more crew and officers to supervise them.

Shadows of Esteren: Warlords - Session 3

In this session, a new player joined us, by new, i do mean Catalina , who made a character during the character creation session. In addit...