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-   -   Welcome to Game Mastery (http://forum.shrapnelgames.com/showthread.php?t=47795)

S.R. Krol September 21st, 2011 01:24 PM

Welcome to Game Mastery
 
This sub-forum is for discussion of gamemaster related activities, from advice on gameplay elements to how best to screw over the PCs. ;) Consider this the Hawgwaller's of the forum.

Darkfather September 24th, 2011 05:19 PM

Re: Welcome to Game Mastery
 
The key to game mastering Total Eclipse is to remember the rules are guides for the story. Most rpgs in the past ten years have moved to rules that explain all and define all. Total Eclipse has a qualitative task system that is designed to allow the game master to apply five common sense rules to each attempt by players to do something before getting to the Skill attempt, and the skill attempt has a way of measuring "how well I did" based on how wall the player rolled, rather than simply breaking the skill attempt into a binary "success or failure" followed by a "damage roll."

What this all means is that logic is more important that the letter of the law for any game master, and the rules support this.

coffeyfiend September 27th, 2011 09:45 PM

Re: Welcome to Game Mastery
 
Will there be examples of the typical difficulty of some common actions so that Game Masters have an idea of how easy or difficult a certain action is, or are GMs left to make these distinctions as they see fit?

Darkfather September 27th, 2011 11:38 PM

Re: Welcome to Game Mastery
 
There are some examples, but a lot of it rests with the game master.

coffeyfiend February 18th, 2012 04:18 PM

Re: Welcome to Game Mastery
 
Could you please explain a bit about the words in parentheses in Table 2.1 of the Adventurer's Forge? Do these affect game play?

Darkfather February 18th, 2012 05:05 PM

Re: Welcome to Game Mastery
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by coffeyfiend (Post 795996)
Could you please explain a bit about the words in parentheses in Table 2.1 of the Adventurer's Forge? Do these affect game play?

They can. Table 2.1 is the birth language table for adventurers whose race does not have an automatic racial tongue. When a language is mentioned with some sort of parenthetical note, it means that the language is spoken in one of its dialect forms. For example, Brazilian Portuguese and Continental Portuguese have some significant differences in slang, while some phrases that make sense to a British person do not to an American. When the dialect is mentioned at all it means that the languages have different enough versions that there is at least some chance of miscommunication (for example in the heat of battle) but careful and considered communication by two individuals will likely be ok.

In practical terms Southern Celestial is the high version of the tongue, as is Great Nevari the main version of that tongue. The Nevari from the Grabbian lands is different enough to cause confusion, but close enough that traders do not need translators. A speaker of Celestial from the Inland Sea speaks a corrupted form of the language (Lake) with many Dagorian and Sedusi loan words, but the core grammar mutually intelligible.

Gandalf Parker February 18th, 2012 05:20 PM

Re: Welcome to Game Mastery
 
My biggest explanation to new players was that they played their character, and I played the environment. I told the what they saw, tasted, smelled, heard, and maybe some vague feelings or impressions. An occassional "from living in this realm you would probably" know or recognize.

And their job was to say what they did. Simple as that.

-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-

My best hint to new game masters is that the simplest way to personalize RPCs is to give them a recognizable personality. But instead of getting too carried away, just give them a name you know. Does the shopkeeper or sheriff or bandit chief have the personality of John Wayne or Woody Allen, is he Shrek or Donkey? Or maybe he is that dickhead at the store you shop at. Dont bother sounding like them. Just a short note that makes it much easier to have each one react different to threats or bribes or bad jokes. It also helps in your life because every strange person, idiot, or dick that you meet will make you smile thinking how great they will be in your games.

-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-

Screw over PCs? Let them screw over themselves. Take notes when they do something to wreck your game. Write them on cards and make them into randomly selected events. It is SO much fun. When they pull something and argue "Aww come on! That could definitely happen!". Then when you throw it back at them they say "Thats not realistic" you can say "but you said it was perfectly logical when you did it". Its another way to turn crap into a smile. When they pull it, you can smile thinking what a fun random card that will make.

Darkfather February 18th, 2012 05:48 PM

Re: Welcome to Game Mastery
 
The history of Virdea was developed like a board game. I was trying in 1983 to make sense of a group of notes from some short stories I had written, and to develop some sort of back story for the game, when I hit upon the idea of making it into a game of its own. In this game each race started at one or more locations, and had a set of characteristics like tendency to expand, birth rate, change of cultural factors, conservatism, favored environment, and the like. Each race could occupy a hex in various ways from creating a nation to simply gathering resources from it.

Often races would penetrate the same places but not go to war - so the Celestials, a minor human tribe who drifted down the coast from the east of Virdea, got shoved into a swamp then had a tribe of a race (the Haguni) making a large ocean move, and a hybrid language would destroy the old language and even the cultural template, and a new one would arise (and the races would remain stable partners, rare because I did not build that in as a high probability, but it worked out a few times).

When cultures lightly occupy the same hexes, there would be drift in cultural factors like language. So the new hybrid language of Celestial (formed when Haguni and Human settlers spend several generations relatively evenly sharing the same space) eventually makes its two roots go extinct. The new culture group of humans and haguni leave their swamps, and their culture moves through the nearby regions even when their people do not. Eventually the culture was nearly detached from the race that spawned it, another outcome I did not count on. In some places though the culture in the form of the language would bump up against another stable and larger language group and a stable boundary would form where the language would hybridize rather than be replaced or form a polyglot conglomeration.

That long story is the reason I eventually started referring to the hybrids as simply being dialects. A mix language of 80% Celestial, 12% Dagorian, and 8% Sedusi is still in my mind Celestial, just with borrowed words. (In other cases the languages do not mix, they remain separate, and instead get used by different populations - a polyglot assembly).

Darkfather February 18th, 2012 05:57 PM

Re: Welcome to Game Mastery
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Gandalf Parker (Post 796003)
My biggest explanation to new players was that they played their character, and I played the environment. I told the what they saw, tasted, smelled, heard, and maybe some vague feelings or impressions. An occassional "from living in this realm you would probably" know or recognize.

And their job was to say what they did. Simple as that.

-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-

My best hint to new game masters is that the simplest way to personalize RPCs is to give them a recognizable personality. But instead of getting too carried away, just give them a name you know. Does the shopkeeper or sheriff or bandit chief have the personality of John Wayne or Woody Allen, is he Shrek or Donkey? Or maybe he is that dickhead at the store you shop at. Dont bother sounding like them. Just a short note that makes it much easier to have each one react different to threats or bribes or bad jokes. It also helps in your life because every strange person, idiot, or dick that you meet will make you smile thinking how great they will be in your games.

-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-

Screw over PCs? Let them screw over themselves. Take notes when they do something to wreck your game. Write them on cards and make them into randomly selected events. It is SO much fun. When they pull something and argue "Aww come on! That could definitely happen!". Then when you throw it back at them they say "Thats not realistic" you can say "but you said it was perfectly logical when you did it". Its another way to turn crap into a smile. When they pull it, you can smile thinking what a fun random card that will make.


One of the goals of Total Eclipse is to both create a game master's game, where the game master is king, and a players game, where a player's adventurer is more than a wooden cutout. The average character creation game takes several hours per character and is fun - during play test most play testers turned character creation into a fun event where everyone learned each others characters and the game master formed an idea of who the team would end up being.

The game is a game masters dream because there is no attempt to answer every rule lawyer's question. Even an issue like skills is an open topic. Forestry for example is not just about cutting down a tree. A player used it once to give them benefits when climbing trees (using the athletics and acrobatics skill) and another used to to identify what wood would be easiest to find near where they were building a house. Each use presented the game master with a new task of figuring out how to put this into numbers.

coffeyfiend February 20th, 2012 05:19 PM

Re: Welcome to Game Mastery
 
What sort of stipulations does the advantage "Cast Iron Stomach" come with? I assume characters are not protected against poison, but what about a poisonous berry which would have a food value, I presume?


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