Jun 042012
 

Image courtesy of Deviantart member Superdiddy.

A Xanatos Gambit, according to TV Tropes, is a two-tiered plan designed to assure victory, even in the face of apparent defeat. It’s named after a character from a certain animated series who was a master at this particular tactic, and would often use it to manipulate the story’s protagonists into fulfilling his own goals in spite of their supposed foiling of his presented plot.

Today, we’re going to be examining the Xanatos Gambit and its potential usage for your campaign, as well as taking a few cautionary measures to ensure your players don’t start busting out the torches and pitchforks after their own actions come back to haunt them.

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About Vanhavoc

I write the Game Mechanic, a weekly article on fixing broken rules, improving the efficiency of your games, or throwing in some new content to help make your game run just a little bit better.

May 142012
 

Plotting out a decent campaign can be difficult, especially for us older hands who are used to keeping everything about our created worlds safely tucked away in a few spiral-bound notebooks. Luckily, things have progressed quite a bit since those golden days, and the vast wonders of the interwebs can make life a lot easier for us Storytellers. Let’s look at a few online resources that could come in handy for planning and running a campaign.

 

 

 

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About Vanhavoc

I write the Game Mechanic, a weekly article on fixing broken rules, improving the efficiency of your games, or throwing in some new content to help make your game run just a little bit better.

Mar 192012
 
Image Courtesy of Corbis Images

This plan is flawless, I tell you! Flawless! (Courtesy of Corbis Images)

Regulating the flow of information can be one of the most difficult parts of running a game. Give the party too much information, and you’ll spoil the ending for the clever players or risk entire portions of your plot being bypassed altogether. Conversely, if you are too vague, stingy or incomprehensible with your clues, you’ll wind up with a group of bored, frustrated players who are probably going to find the next available suspect and cram them into a industrial mixer full of borscht until they start coughing up some information.

Contrary to the title, this article is really for the benefit of your players. Treating them with fairness and delivering information with clarity are two very important steps to running a successful game, and after the jump we’ll look at a couple of common pitfalls in this neck of the woods and get a better idea of how to avoid them.

 

 

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About Vanhavoc

I write the Game Mechanic, a weekly article on fixing broken rules, improving the efficiency of your games, or throwing in some new content to help make your game run just a little bit better.

Jan 302012
 

RF image courtesy of Klaus Tiedge and Corbis Images.

Do you have a piece of equipment you’ve been wanting to add to your game? Well, grab your corebook of choice and we’ll cover four basic considerations for implementing new tech into your game. I’ll be using the Savage Worlds system for this particular exercise, but the methods we’re going to go over can be applied to pretty much any RPG. I’ll go through the process of creation with you by statting out the XM25, a brand new grenade launcher well suited to a near-future game or a modern campaign based around special forces operatives . This is a pretty long article, so if you just want the stats for the XM25 for your game, scroll on down to the bottom of the piece and I’ve got it typed out there for your Control+C convenience. There’s a quick summary of the two custom tags I’ve made for the weapon just above the statistics.

About Vanhavoc

I write the Game Mechanic, a weekly article on fixing broken rules, improving the efficiency of your games, or throwing in some new content to help make your game run just a little bit better.

Jan 232012
 

 

 

A Sample Flowchart

Short campaigns are a fairly common occurrence  in my group. We have a lot of players, so it’s a good way to run part games, try new systems, let the regular GM’s have a crack at playing, and take a break from an ongoing campaign before the person running it decides it to murder the player characters in a barrage of fatigue-induced meteorites.

After the jump we’ll discuss some of the basic components of running a short campaign, anywhere from around one to six sessions.    Most of these tips are fairly basic, but I’ve found them to be incredibly important fundamentals in running everything from party games to quick, bloody campaigns where the players dramatically shape and shatter the world around them.

 

 

 

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About Vanhavoc

I write the Game Mechanic, a weekly article on fixing broken rules, improving the efficiency of your games, or throwing in some new content to help make your game run just a little bit better.