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Introductions

Stephan Hornick

Community Goblin
Staff member
Platinum WoA
Wizard of Story
Wizard of Combat
Borderland Explorer
Welcome, Matthew! If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to ask.
 

OrcishKiwi

Member
Wizard of Story
Hello DMs!

My name is Dave. I am originally from New Zealand, but lived in China for 20 years where I make video games and moonlight as a Dungeon Master. Discovered TTRPGs in 1986 but didn't find a group playing D&D till the early 90s. Since then went back and played 1st Edition. Loved 3rd edition for ~5 years, skipped 4th edition, back into 5th edition for years again.

I have a very thorough style of prep, and I know Johnn's material fairly well. I joined here to try to train myself in a more efficient style of prep, so as to free up more time for dog walks, family, exercise, etc. I go to ridiculous lengths to streamline things and it takes up all my free time.

My style of DMing is story focused. All of my prep is designed to quicken other facets of the game like combat and tactics. Although my players like rolling dice, I don't feel the need anymore, use average damage and simplifications for everything, so my combats are really fast and furious.

I roll all dice out on the table and fudge nothing.

And lastly, wrt dice... I have all sorts of fancy dice, but in the end never use them. My favourites are a pair of plain black chessex ripoffs with white numbers cause they roll the best and are the easiest to read.
 

Stephan Hornick

Community Goblin
Staff member
Platinum WoA
Wizard of Story
Wizard of Combat
Borderland Explorer
Funny handle!
Where do you live in China? I've graduated in Chinese Studies and have been staying quite a while in Xian.
And what are "wrt dice"?
 

OrcishKiwi

Member
Wizard of Story
"with respect to" dice! :) English shorthand.
Good to know you! Yeah we're stuck in China now, haha!

I've been to Xi'an! Really liked it, but the weather was a bit rough. If you ever want to visit Xiamen, just let me know. I have a really cool table set up and several games running weekly :p Oh, but don't come right now. There was some cargo delivery pilot that brought covid back from LA, now we're all doing nucleic acid testing... No new cases though, just his immediate family.

Would say something witty in Chinese, but this computer doesn't have the language pack installed (facepalm)
 

Stephan Hornick

Community Goblin
Staff member
Platinum WoA
Wizard of Story
Wizard of Combat
Borderland Explorer
Hi everyone!

I'm Joe and I live in Ann Arbor, Michigan. I've been playing RPGs since the late 1970s (AD&D) and then branched out to Call of Cthulhu and HarnMaster. Now, in addition to CoC and Harn, I play Apocalypse World and other Powered by the Apocalypse games, like Blades in the Dark and MOTHERSHIP.

I like more narrative games, so d6 is my favorite.

Looking forward to class!
Happy Birthday, Joe!
I hope you are happy with the content so far. How many groups do you have right now?
 

Stephan Hornick

Community Goblin
Staff member
Platinum WoA
Wizard of Story
Wizard of Combat
Borderland Explorer
Howdy, I am Tamra, been out of the game for a while. The last session I DM'ed was Demonplague (so much fun!), which was 2.5 years ago. I want to start a fresh campaign so I am working on my world right now. Going to try the Savage Worlds way this time...we shall see. PS Props are life!

Where am I? Calgary, AB right near the middle
How long have I been a GM? I started as a player in 97, started DMing in 2015, Ended DMing in 2019
What have I played? started with 2e, then 3.5, straight to 5e. I DM'ed in 5e. Have also played Shadowrun, Star Wars, and lately getting into Savage Worlds.
My fav sided die? D12 as it gets so little love
Happy Birthday, Tamra!
Have you started your new campaign yet? I would love to read about it.
 

John72

Member
Hey people,

I am John. Been playing gaming and roleplaying since I was a teen. Started with Dungeons and Dragons boxed sets and then to D&D 2E. My first good gaming experience was when I was in the Army in the 1990s. Then got into a game group during the 2000 years till it disbanded around 2013. I haven't been playing in a while until this year. My current list of players just grew by one. So I have two. Did my first session last week.
I learned during my Army years to let people do what they want and I mostly improvise so that is coming back to me. I have a lot of resources I have gathered over the years from online so that is helping me a lot. I am a big fan of the K.I.S.S. method I learned in the Army, Keep It Simple Stupid or Sweet depending on your temperment. Anyways, I have been lurking online for ways to keep notes easier and how to better organized. I have been an off and on subscriber to Roleplaying Tips for years and remembered Johnn has a campaign organizer/logger. So I decided to invest in it and see how it goes. First thing I see is that it seems to be very flexible. Trying to figure what tags I need first. Looking in the forums and resources for tips on it. Thanks and excited to be here.
 

Stephan Hornick

Community Goblin
Staff member
Platinum WoA
Wizard of Story
Wizard of Combat
Borderland Explorer
Welcome, John!
We've got a big community discussing how to use Campaign Logger and what tags to use. You're probably already familiar with all these threads, so I skip the link. Your best candidate to ask though is @JochenL.
Would you like to share with us what you did with your two players and what system you used (I suggest a new thread for this)? I love to read about other GM's adventures and what decisions they made during prep and gaming.
 

John72

Member
Welcome, John!
We've got a big community discussing how to use Campaign Logger and what tags to use. You're probably already familiar with all these threads, so I skip the link. Your best candidate to ask though is @JochenL.
Would you like to share with us what you did with your two players and what system you used (I suggest a new thread for this)? I love to read about other GM's adventures and what decisions they made during prep and gaming.
Actually, I could use the links to tags. I just started inputting information I have already from Google Keep and 3x5 cards and I noticed after a bit that tags are going to be all over the place unless I have specifics, but I suppose that is ok as long as I can find the information I need.
 

Stephan Hornick

Community Goblin
Staff member
Platinum WoA
Wizard of Story
Wizard of Combat
Borderland Explorer
Actually, I could use the links to tags. I just started inputting information I have already from Google Keep and 3x5 cards and I noticed after a bit that tags are going to be all over the place unless I have specifics, but I suppose that is ok as long as I can find the information I need.
You've got a private message! :giggle:
 

Stephan Hornick

Community Goblin
Staff member
Platinum WoA
Wizard of Story
Wizard of Combat
Borderland Explorer
Happy Birthday, @Doctore Domani!
I'm actually also from Bochum! Nice to have you.

Happy Birthday, @Ronaldo Lima!
How is your campaign going? Did you use some of the anti-OP PC tactics? My offer for personalized GM stratagems is still valid by the way.
 

Smandamoire

Member
Hi folks!
My name is Stefan and I'm from Germany / Berlin.
I was pretty invested in RPG when I was in my teens back in the 80s.
Unfortunately we were convinced about the Rolemaster System, which was way too clunky... but we had fun nontheless.
After a pause of over 30 years now I'm diving back in with D&D 5th edition to play with my 3 kids.
We ran half of the Phandelver-Campaign and took a break from it by starting a homebrew-campaign on the island of Chult.

I thought, I could get them interested more than just playing but well... it's the media-generation...
So I end up doing everything by myself. Develloping the charakters with my kids, GM-Prep, reading and knowing the rules (I'm still the only one) Terrainbuilding, exploring the internet with it's endless possibilities, searching background sounds and so on.
I'm trying to figure out how to evenly distribute my time in the different fields of this hobby without getting distracted or overprepping in one direction.
And now I'm here seeing tons of information without knowing, if I fits my needs.
I'll figure it out.

Greets to all and keep rollin' (the dice)
Stefan
 

Stephan Hornick

Community Goblin
Staff member
Platinum WoA
Wizard of Story
Wizard of Combat
Borderland Explorer
Welcome, Stefan!
There are actually quite a lot of prep time reduction tip threads. Let‘s start with one area (NPCs, data, story hooks, campaign, music, …). In which topic are you most interested?
 

Stephan Hornick

Community Goblin
Staff member
Platinum WoA
Wizard of Story
Wizard of Combat
Borderland Explorer
Happy Birthday, @BahneGorkDK !
You're quite active in the campaign logger forum. Do you have any short tips for people just starting to work with CL? Or would you perhaps like to share a picture on how you organize your CL entries?
 

Smandamoire

Member
Welcome, Stefan!
There are actually quite a lot of prep time reduction tip threads. Let‘s start with one area (NPCs, data, story hooks, campaign, music, …). In which topic are you most interested?
Dear Stephan,

thanks for your reply. I'm not so sure about that. I think, quick NPC generation would fit best right now.
That's also the reason, why I got here in the first place.
I followed a recommendation by Johnn Four in his newsletter, where he mentioned the Generator UI.
I tried some files on github, some didn't work, some were just templates and "I still haven't found, what I'm looking for..." :)
and ran out of time.
Do you have any recommendations concerning these files. Which are the most useful for you?
I hoped to find a good data base for names in general. Medieval Sounding Name Generator is the best I found yet.

But all in all I'm in for good tips concerning ALL topics.
Like...
What are your favourite tools for game prep?

Apropos sharing.
I think Ambient Mixer is a great tool in the sound department (especially, that you are in control of the single sound elements):
https://rpg.ambient-mixer.com/campfire-in-the-forest
but I bet everyone here already knows about this tool...
As a whole scenery Swordcoast Soundscapes is nice, too.
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCUGy8GD5oY4EX9awX4FSqBw

Have a great day!

Stefan
 

BahneGorkDK

Member
Wizard of Story
Gamer Lifestyle
Happy Birthday, @BahneGorkDK !
You're quite active in the campaign logger forum. Do you have any short tips for people just starting to work with CL? Or would you perhaps like to share a picture on how you organize your CL entries?
Thanks mate! 44 can you believe it! Time flies fast.

short tips? hmm it takes alitte getting used how the tags works.
But i have recently looked into zettelkasten which feels very familiar to CL, the concept of atomic notes is prolly useful here.
I have noticed that i dont really look for my entry titles, i look for tags, which makes me think that if the entry title is important put it in the top of your entry as well or maybe even make it a tag as well.

One thing i think is important to get your head around is that a tag doesnt stand on its own as such, it needs to be in an entry and if you want an entry that sort of personifies this tag you have to create one. I know i had some issues with understanding this in the beginning, not in a litteral sense but in a workflow sense and my sense of organisation. The tag is not linking to a specific file/note/entry it shows you those that uses it instead and coming from file structures this was alittle difficult to grasp to begin with.

When you create a new tag, say a character @bob in an entry, this thing you create doesnt exist anywhere else, it is simply this one tag in this one entry right now. Clicking on the tag shows you this same entry and that's it. It is something i have not really truely grasped until much later and now that i have tried out a note taking app like obsidian i have a much better mental visualization of how this works.

One thing i find that i go back to alot in my current campaign is my timeline log.

the structure of CL is Campaigns/logs/entries
so first i have my campaigns, top of the structure
1629447298165.png
This is how my Arendur Rising campaign logs collection looks like
1629447349932.png
Notice that nifty tree structure view on the left hand, that remains when you go inside your log and fiddle with entries.
here is an RSS of my timeline log https://logger-stream.campaign-logger.com/?rss=ea2e4361a7d24c76804d386260489303&mode=next
and here is a screen
1629447455559.png
now i did have some trouble re-arranging entries in the timeline, but now we can adjust the sorting number, but creating these historic events chronologically will get you the best result fastest :D however i go back and create new ones as i need them for current things and re-arrange the entries as needed. I even use the RSS view myself sometimes. Now here is where Campaign entries are useful, when i tag someone in another log in the same campaign this tag are local to the current log, but if you create a campaign entry that contains the tag that entry is shared by all logs in the same campaign. So i can have local entries with @sunkiller in both logs that are completely different, but they share 1 or more campaign entries that has @sunkiller in them. So information that is needed across both or are universal to this tag is kept here.

Looking into something like Atomic Notes can be useful as well.

ok i was supposed to keep this short so i'll end it here :D

Cheers!
 

BahneGorkDK

Member
Wizard of Story
Gamer Lifestyle
Dear Stephan,

thanks for your reply. I'm not so sure about that. I think, quick NPC generation would fit best right now.
That's also the reason, why I got here in the first place.
I followed a recommendation by Johnn Four in his newsletter, where he mentioned the Generator UI.
I tried some files on github, some didn't work, some were just templates and "I still haven't found, what I'm looking for..." :)
and ran out of time.
Do you have any recommendations concerning these files. Which are the most useful for you?
I hoped to find a good data base for names in general. Medieval Sounding Name Generator is the best I found yet.

But all in all I'm in for good tips concerning ALL topics.
Like...
What are your favourite tools for game prep?

Apropos sharing.
I think Ambient Mixer is a great tool in the sound department (especially, that you are in control of the single sound elements):
https://rpg.ambient-mixer.com/campfire-in-the-forest
but I bet everyone here already knows about this tool...
As a whole scenery Swordcoast Soundscapes is nice, too.
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCUGy8GD5oY4EX9awX4FSqBw

Have a great day!

Stefan
My two cents

I have recently found a new article series by AngryGM i quite like, it's about running a campaign with as little prep as possible, about playing to find out and about being okay with whatever happens at the table (saying no to perfectionism essentially) it's okay to just be okay. Essentially it's about having a map, putting some regions and region names on the map. Then you start making lists of possiblities which you then used while running the game to find out whats gonna happen. Thats a VERY brief version of his 4 or 6 x 5000 words :D

One of the things that i already did myself which he sort of codifies is the "scripting" and it's not what it sounds like :)
Basically you take a list of todo's you know your players have set for themselves and that you guestiamte they will set for themselves during the next session, this todo task list is only focused on what you guess will be relevant next session. Then you simply try to guestimate what will happen during play and write it down and it should be guesses and estimates with words like "Brom might find the peddler curious and investigate her more closely" or "Maybe Halgrim will go see the smith to get his hammer fixed". The point of the script is to reveal to you what is most likely in need of being ready for next session, how deep you go into prepping these elements is ofc up to you. This is again a very simplified abbriviation.

Regions and lists
say you have a subregion on your map that is hills and you picked a name at random "The Click Claw Moors" and put it on the map, now you create some subregion lists.
Points of interrest: this list is stuff like monuments, dungeons, haunted house, ruins, local keep, watchtower etc. All you need is names and what they are.
Travellers: half-elf peddler, curious university backpacker, cartographer delicate flower, hagrid merchant.. who is travelling this subregion that could impose somekind of complications in the pc's travel through the region. "xcuse me kind sirs, i seem to have lost my backpack while taking a break could you help me find it?" this takes time and some effort, it's a decision point and potential npc creator.
Hazards: any kinds of hazards to encounter while travelling through this subregion?
Lairs: which lairs are in this subregion?

Then you populate a Random encounter list with the entries from your subregion lists
he uses 2d10 as it creates a bell curve and plots the things he wants to be common/uncommon on the bell (top) of that curve which.

so take your lairs, they are the spawning pools for wandering monsters on your random table, travellers spawns npc complications, hazards spawns enviromental complications, poi's spawns possible adventure sites, history sites, false flag complications (you spend time and resources travelling there and find it's just a pile of stones and nothing more) coz to convince players that going off looking for something is an actual choice and not just simply what you always do, you need the experience of "oh, hmm.. we wasted valuable time for .. nothing" so that when they do find "something" it is an actual reward for deciding to use time/resources.

Anyhuw, thats very abbriviated if you aren't put off by the stagename persona of AngryGM and can see through the theatrics of his "angry writing" style here are the first article that spawned all this: https://theangrygm.com/series/angrys-open-world-game/

Sly flourish also has some good advice on low prep https://slyflourish.com/ he recently collaborated with Johnn on some videos about 5RD
Also books of random stuff are useful like the "toolbox" & "Ultimate toolbox" from AEG during the d20 period: https://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/63106/Ultimate-Toolbox

I also got myself the first three roleplayingtips omnibus, mainly coz i didnt know Johnn had continued the omnibusses!! woot, now i need more: https://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/169084/Roleplaying-Tips-Omnibus-1?src=also_purchased

And the universal advice as usual: start small and build out.

My current campaign i am trying to utilize modules more than homebrew, put all those books and pdf's i have purchased to some use. These are my subregion poi's and then i sprinkle clues for them in loot or npcs or history. For instance i have decided that "Against the Chaos Cult" is located somewhere on my world map, i then copycatted a thing Matt colville did: to lure his pc to the town of the module he wrote up some letters from the pc's sister with escalating comments about strange behaviors and had someone dump them on the pc. Matt made a word file public with these letters, so i copied them and rewrote some bits and pieces and i dumped a stack of letters in some bandit loot, " a stack of letters adressed to Ramon" is now sitting on the pc's inventory and nobody has asked to read them. But when they do they get a little story of things being strange in a town on the other side of the great blackwood. Later, maybe next session, some 6 or 8 sessions later they might meet a caravan guard just coming from that town talking about bandits near the town raiding the merchants caravan and its escalating (2nd clue). I try to use the 3 clue rule, but these are basically just hooks and if they dont bit no harm no foul i put other modules in the world and throw out hooks for those. This does require me reading up on what the modules is about and who is involved so i can make rumours, leads and clues for them though.

But basically im stealing left and right for this campaign :D

If there are anything more specific you're tumbling with just shout out :)

Welcome aboard :)
 
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