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Four GMing Links: NPCs, Networking and More

Just lately, I’ve come across a bevy of good GMing links. I figured I’d share them all at once, rather than spreading them out:

Burning Spotlight [1]: This ars ludi [2] post kicks off with a great piece of GMing insight: “Players want play time. Forget about treasure, XP, or hero points: the only reward that really counts is getting to play.” Ben then delves into downsides of spotlight time, something I’ve never considered before.

RPGSpaces [3]: A new social networking site aimed at gamers, for online games, linking up with other players, campaign blogs and the like. And unlike Gleemax [4], it won’t make your eyes bleed. I suspect we’ll be seeing more RPG networking sites in the near future — this is an idea whose time has come.

Interrogate Your NPCs — NPCs Need to be Needy [5]: This My Play [6] post is a follow-up to Interrogate Your NPCs — Whys and Hows [7], and it’s excellent. It also dovetails will with The Conflict Rule of NPC Design [8] here on TT. Gerald opens with “The simplest way to ensure that an NPC has an effect is to ask, β€œWhat does this NPC want from the PCs?” which is a great starting point.

Zuzzy Miniatures [9]: These guys make textured, paintable battlemats — instead of just being flat, they’re molded with low-profile terrain features, and they look incredible. Apparently, you can still roll them up after they’re painted, making them easy to transport. For GMs who love minis, this is a pretty neat idea. (Via Gaming Report [10].)

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#1 Comment By Micah On July 12, 2007 @ 7:07 am

Yes, there are more RPG networking sites (*hint hint* click on my name…)

I just don’t want to see a bunch of MySpace clones that have no added value for gamers.

#2 Comment By Telas On July 12, 2007 @ 7:43 am

Good linkage, Martin! In no particular order:

It will be an interesting time while the RPG-SN sites battle it out… Gleemax currently sucks hind tit, but I’m not counting them out yet (the rumored custom skins are a good start). If anyone has the resources, WotC does. Any thoughts on how it’s going to go down?

I really want to see that gaming mat in person (maybe mid-August?). A friend GMs on an gridless mat, using retractable keychains, rulers, etc. He claims it takes out the element of “perfect tactical knowledge of the battlefield”. Does anyone else use gridless mats?

I think of NPCs this way: NPCs should have something to offer the party, and something the party can offer them. Even if it’s just “a good fight” and “justice at the tip of a blade”. πŸ˜‰

Finally, the ars ludi post was a good reminder to make sure everyone gets some time in the spotlight.

#3 Comment By Abulia On July 12, 2007 @ 8:41 am

Hey, what’s with all the pictures? Did someone get 2.2 working? πŸ˜‰

#4 Comment By Martin On July 12, 2007 @ 9:07 am

Micah: Thanks for reminding me about your site! I’ll post Obsidian Portal in my next link roundup. πŸ™‚

Telas: Honestly, I think it’s going to be tough for independent RPGSN sites to get a foothold. Gleemax will carve out a big segment of the potential market — mainly younger folks, I would guess.

The tricky thing is convincing gamers that they need a SN site dedicated to gaming, and convincing gamers of anything can be tough. πŸ˜‰

Right now, I’d say that the RPGSN site most likely to succeed would need to be started by a place like RPGnet, which has a huge, established base, and already has community projects and SN elements in place.

That’s not a knock on the independent sites at all, though! I’m not trying to talk down to anyone, I just think it’s a going to be an uphill battle for new, smaller sites.

Abulia: God no — the last thing I need to is to set the site on fire right before ENnies voting opens. πŸ˜‰

I’ve known the site needed more pictures for a long time, I just finally decided to bite the bullet and commit the upfront and ongoing time to make that happen.

Right now, all of the static pages (Archives, etc.) have graphics on them, as well as most of the top 25 posts. I’m shooting for at least five out of every week’s seven posts to include pictures, too.

#5 Comment By Abulia On July 12, 2007 @ 9:54 am

Just an FYI, the formatting on this article doesn’t work in Firefox; the text starts under the picture versus flowing down the right side. Same problem in IE. Worked in Safari at home, however.

#6 Comment By Telas On July 12, 2007 @ 9:57 am

FWIW: I’m running FF on WinXP, and it shows fine.

#7 Comment By Micah On July 12, 2007 @ 10:19 am

As someone who just started an RPG community site, Gleemax is pretty scary, due to the force of WoTC behind them.

However, everyone in the software world knows that it’s one thing to talk about a product, and an entirely different animal to actually deliver on the promises. Gleemax is shooting for a lot, and so far, most people have balked at the actual product (color-scheme being the #1 gripe, but lack of any real substance is a close #2).

Being a little guy in the game is like being a lesser known political candidate. Your chances of coming out on top are slim, but you stick it out on the chance the front-runner implodes.

#8 Comment By Telas On July 12, 2007 @ 10:28 am

Two words: Niche marketing. Let the big boys try to be everything to everyone. You just do what you do best.