For today, two GMing links and a smidgen of commentary on GMing blogs:
Co-DMing: Heed Your Dungeon Mentor: This recent Stupid Ranger post offers a behind-the-scenes look at one GM’s experience with co-GMing. The author, Vanir, backed up Dante, who was the main GM for the adventure, and he learned some good lessons in the process.
D&D Instant Campaign Builder – Official Release: Over at Dungeon Mastering, Yax’s Instant Campaign Builder PDF is full of good advice for starting up a campaign. From hype to props to planting, this free PDF collects all 10 posts in the series, and it’s not just for D&D.
When I started TT just over two years ago, it was partly because I couldn’t find any regularly-updated sites for GMs that worked quite the way I wanted them to. There were (and are!) plenty of good sites for GMs, but no one really seemed to be taking advantage of what blogging in particular had to offer.
Dungeon Mastering and Stupid Ranger are firing on all cylinders. With four authors producing quality content, Stupid Ranger delivers more good stuff than any single-author blog (ahem) can hope to keep up with. I’m consistently impressed with the quality of Yax’s work on Dungeon Mastering, and with how often he posts — and his layout makes me think it might be time for another TT redesign.
The GMing community is richer for your contributions. Keep it up!
(I’ll be in Michigan from Thursday, September 20th through Monday, September 24th. As always, I’ve cued up a post for every day that I’ll be gone, but I probably won’t be able to respond to comments or emails. Have fun, and I’ll see you on Tuesday! — Martin)
Martin, please do not look to DungeonMastering for your inspiration in a new design. I’ve followed several links to that site and each time I arrive, I find it hard to read. Haven’t finished an article yet. The layout does not flow well at all… there’s text everywhere, so what do I read first? There are ads everywhere, and since they are the only color, that’s where my eyes go. No wait, those aren’t ads, those are links to other sites!! There is no division between the sections, and again, my eye is wandering all over the place to find the place to start. Your design here blows that site away, hands down!
Yeah they’ve got good stuff. And Yax is the master of craming so much info in so little text. Well worth learning to navigate his site.
It seems that our three GM-themed Blogs have popped up nearly at the same time about 2 months ago. What’s surprising is that we all garnered a significant volume of page-views and unique visitors in so short a time. We’re surfing this trend and we seem to all be having a blast.
Look out, the new kids ARE on the block!
DungeonMastering does have some design issues, but the information there is good and solid. There is a lot of it too. For a web junkie, multi-tasker, working, writing, and surfing the net at the same time person li,e me, that is a good thing. I’m always looking for a little chunk of content to digest while waiting for other things to update. The only major design issue that I see there is having two columns of links on the right hand side. Advertisements and then links underneath that might be a better way to go. Better on smaller screens too.
And here I was thinking today was going to suck.
Thanks for the kind works, Martin!
Thanks for the kind words, Martin.
Although it looks like it’s time for me to do a little usability testing on my site! 8[
If you don’t want to deal with online ads you can get the e-mail or RSS subscription. It’s free and you get the complete articles with no advertisement. That’s how I read Treasure Tables and Stupid Ranger every morning.
Thanks much for the praise, Martin! We are thrilled to be mentioned in such good company!
Thanks for pointing out these cool sites Martin– I’m enjoying your discoveries.
John: In terms of a redesign, what I like about Yax’s setup is the three-column layout and how much his site pops — it’s very vibrant. It’s also clear that he has a plan, and knows how he wants to accomplish his goals for the site.
What I was getting at was more that seeing a design that does things mine doesn’t gets me in the mood to retool TT. The main thing I want to do is implement one of the suggestions TT readers have made: unify the blog, forums and wiki. TT has grown organically, and because that growth wasn’t planned from the start the current layout hasn’t adapted all that well.
Switching over to Google Analytics has also opened my eyes to some interesting trends. For instance, only a small percentage of TT readers have resolutions under 1024×768 — and my hunch is that most of those folks are drop-ins, not regulars. When I redesign, it’ll probably be for that res or higher.
Phil: I dig Musings, too — I’ll be making you part of my next link roundup. 🙂
Vanir, Stupidranger, Dante and Yax, you’re most welcome. You deserve the praise.
The main thing I want to do is implement one of the suggestions TT readers have made: unify the blog, forums and wiki
There have been many times when I’ve wanted to follow a discussion from the blog further, but the comments don’t lend themselves to conversations lasting for much longer than the post is on the front page. I’d personally love if the comments from each blog entry started a forum topic in a “discuss blog entries” forum or somesuch.