Author: Scott Martin

About The Author

Scott is an engineer turned gnome and game store owner. He lies awake at night building intriguing worlds and plotting your character’s demise.

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Hauling treasure can be stressful

Even Good Stress is Stress A source of stress that’s common to every day life, but that rarely gets shown at the table in roleplaying, is eustress (good stress). Think about it: you’ve been studying for years, but only now you’ve gained the power to throw balls of force....

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Prepping for an Undetermined Game

Preparing for the undefined is tough! If a GM plans on beginning a game in a few weeks, they’re normally rushing about to refresh themselves on the rules, work on the overall plot, build a great initial session, create a few recurring (hopefully) enemies, build a few stock NPCs,...

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Mom? Dad? Is that you?

Family Backgrounds An odd thought struck a spark. As GMs we often complain about players’ tendencies to make characters without family. You’ve heard the joke about orphans and how often that’s only the first warning sign: “loner character here!” It’s amazing how exaggeratedly useful a warning sign this is… because, really, how often do Mom and Dad show in your games? Save Me Sam! It’s not that family and...

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Time is Emphasis

A familiar act—a completely known act—can be very different when time is introduced. I am away from my wife many weeknights, which is made far more bearable with the panoply of modern communication. We catch each other by cell phone in the evening, and often text or message via...

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80s Dystopia: A Setting Ready to Steal

I often plan campaigns pretty thoroughly, but I’m in the middle of planning another quick-draw game. I’m really enjoying the idea of an evening’s game being something casual to prepare—even when it’s a whole new system, or a whole new world. My game is neither, though it’s not out...

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Prepping Dot-Dash-Dash-Dot, Brainstorming Scenes

Thanks to Airk for his question in comments to the creating characters article. His question was about brainstorming scenes, particularly how I brainstormed and tricks for inspiration. Mostly how you structured your brainstorming and any tricks you might have for inspiration; When I’m designing scenes, I have a tendency...

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The Hidden World: Supernatural Dials

I first came across the concept of the “supernatural dial” in Dogs in the Vineyard, but I’d encountered it in casual form long before. Sometimes the supernatural dial is expressed as “How gritty do you like your fantasy?” or “It’s a low magic setting”, while similar analogues exist for...

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The Hidden World: Part Two

In the last article, we sketched out the boundaries of a hidden world. (Quick recap: A hidden world is (usually) a world that seems much like our own, but that’s just an illusion. However, the “modern world” isn’t what it seems… for some reason. Compelling reasons include conspiracies secretly...

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