The Rivengeld is suggesting a few ideas to help take the gamemaster's position to another level. The goal is to create a campaign that is fluid for characters, to keep some game continuity as the campaign progresses, and provide a sense of character connectivity to the campaign and experience personal growth. The below listed suggestions should assist in making the gamemaster's position both challenging and rewarding while accomplishing these goals.
- Preparation: Know what possible avenues the players may take. Do not assume players will be directed into a module or have set plans that you spent a week cooking up. Prepare a few possible options if you are not quick with off-the-cuff gamemastering when the party is not on a current mission. This will keep game-play continuous rather than having too many slow moments.
- 'Free Form': The core idea for gamemastering in Ballidrous is to run a campaign by using a 'free form' style. This means that the gamemaster allows the players to follow their paths through a variety of events or situations presented to them. This does not mean let the players run amuck, but to give them character building moments by making choices.
- Modules: A module is a great way to have an adventure ready when you have only a short time to prepare. They
contain many details that assist in
bringing a more robust adventure. The
danger of some modules is the need to
follow certain steps or leaving out the
personal natures of the characters.
Whether using a module or a Q-Adventure
from the Rivengeld or from another source,
take the time to create personal
connections to one or more of the
characters in the party. Some suggestions
would be to incorporate character POI's or
to replace NPC's in the module, use the
campaign setting and maps to place the
events around, or start incorporating parts
of the module into the previous sessions so
that it has a smooth and logical transition.
- Reality vs. the Fantastic: As a rule of thumb, when adventuring in Ballidorus, reality is based on a normal day for any one person. This should be the standard for the world at large. The fantastic nature of creatures, magic, or magical items are present and should be held to the standards as suggested in the Guidelines for Magic and the Bestiary. The idea is to keep the main setting's feel mundane during any adventure and when characters happen upon something fantastic, they see it as fantastic. Example: Dragons are very rare and powerful, so to see a dragon would be so far from the norm at this stage in the campaign world's sense of reality that characters would probably (and should probably) run.
When using any gaming system for character creation, it is asked to keep characters to an average if not just above average skill and ability level. Although having great stats help a character survive almost any situation, the sense of uniqueness and having weaknesses is lost. Heroes are those that survive even though they had just as much of a chance of failure as success. It is also the flaws that help in role-playing. Example: The player knowing the character's stats are high and can always successfully do some particular action, they will have no sense of possible failure or fear of punishment for their actions. A cowardly thief is someone who knows what consequences could be when picking a pocket or conning a mark of whom they know nothing about. A brazen thief may be the one heading to the gallows.
When players create their characters, as the gamemaster, you will need to assist in the process. Use the Character Builder Sheet under the Gamemaster Extras. First understand and use the game system of your choice. Then implement the Character Building Steps to use those skills and options to run in this campaign setting.
Award experience for well-played situations.
Try to create connections with the characters to the adventures and non-player characters.
Use the character contacts and POIs (people of interest) for additional storylines and side adventures.
Make sure that all players participate.
**** This is NOT to replace the core game rules of character generation for the game system being used, only as a supplement to running a campaign in The Chronicles of Ballidrous ****
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All rights reserved.
Base Creation: Character creation should be completed by following the rules of the game system being used. The following steps are optional and only to be used as supplemental information.
Race: Have the players choose from the possible races in the chronicle being used. This is important for game-play. As the gamemaster, a race that is not seen in a particular town should be looked on with mistrust or fear.
Magic: Magic on Enolia is far from being understood at any level. Review the Guidelines for Magic for both a brief and an in-depth overview.
Languages: The languages of the region should be made available for players to select.
Background: Assist players in developing a background in the current setting. Use their POIs and the region to help create these roots within the campaign setting.
Contacts: Gamemasters need to assist players in choosing or creating their POI's (People of Interest). They should be people from the character's past. Some can be very helpful while others could become a possible burden. The choices are listed in the kingdom pages but can be:
- business associates
The importance of POI's are two fold: they assist players in their struggles to a small degree and can aid gamemasters make player-campaign connections. This will help to establish a greater interest between players and the adventure. Possible scenarios can be from the POI asking help from the character, adding twists to character involvement, tools to make sure situations are not impossible to resolve, or simply provide a piece of crucial information to advance the storyline. ** Note that a gamemaster should not add POIs who are too powerful or overshadow the player's abilities.
A player should always be aware of their character's mortality. They should never feel impervious or have no sense of putting their character in danger. It is this sense of danger that should help players make decisions their characters would make in a given situation. A player who can swim would not be fearful of boats or large bodies of water. If given the same scenario that this player's character must travel on choppy water in a small boat and does not know how to swim, the player should be aware that their character would be very cautious and very aware that they do not know how to swim.
Even though it is up to the players to put forth the effort, gamemasters can help promote role-playing. A good campaign has moments that define a character's personality. This can be through character choices, character nuances, selected adventures that center around a character's past, and the list can go on.
Here are some tips:
The gamemaster has a very important role in making sure everyone has fun. There will be times when characters experience runs of bad luck, may take a hit that sends their character to the floor, or just feel left out. Sometimes these could be chances for players to connect with their character in these struggles but it could also be a learning experience for the gamemaster to be aware of possible future problems. Just remember, it is only a game.