DCR Gamer Forge Listener Email:
Name: Dagmar the Evil Dwarf
Comments: So what are your guys thoughts on ancient sentient artifacts? What is good enough and what is overkill? What type of personalities should they have?
Gamer Forge Response:
Not as much of a headache as it sounds, DCR says;
1. If you absolutely must have a sentient weapon, make it entertaining. If this thing is boring, nobody will want to keep it. Have it wisecrack at appropriate times. Cause a little bit of mischief. Maybe it knows a little bit about the future. Give it a funny name. But to address the overkill issue, it applies here. Remember that this is another NPC and if nobody cares about it, the kiss your game bye-bye.
2. Open lines of communication. If it communicates telepathically, make sure to use an affected voice to make a distinction when the weapon talks versus when someone else does. If its verbal, the same thing goes, but be sure to clarify that everyone can hear it.
3. Hook, line, and sinker. This weapon has a goal. It wants to used. That's how it gets around and sees things and meets new people. So think about the long term when someone starts using your talking tennis racket (or whatever the weapon might be). Throw a couple of tidbits about treasures or locations to explore. That's why you want to make it entertaining and useful. Speaking of which, try throwing some new powers to the weapon the more the character uses it. Give the adventurer every reason to keep it. By the time he/she realizes that he/she is doing the weapon's bidding, its too late. Now you have a whole new adventure to build centering on breaking the mental grip of this weapon.
Gamer Forge Listener Email:
Comments: Okay so I want to play a character that is not your average character but everyone in my group is teasing me about and pretty much refusing to let me play.
I want to play a character that is honestly just a bumbling fool. He is weak and pathetic but has a heart of gold! Kind of like Steve Rodgers before the Super solider serum. Where he would get his but kicked day after day and would be lucky to ever win a fight but be willing to jump in frount of a dragon for his comrades.
However the rest of the group doesn't want to be having to continually watch out of this character and spend their time and energy looking after him.
Can you guys help give me some suggestions about how to win them over let alone what your thoughts are on the character?
Gamer Forge Response:
A weak character is a good idea! DCR says;
1. Look for, and define intangibles. This flimsy hero should scream "Pay attention to me!" at all times. Contribute to the success of the quest in any way you possibly can. Good at talking? Go talk! Good at sneaking? Sneak away! Broker deals and haggle with everyone and anyone. You may not be good in a fight, but you should always be doing something. Which brings us to...
2. Opportunities. Pay attention to everything going on and exploit any openings as soon as you can. Look for points to sneak in a good verbal rebuke and diminish the morale of the opposition. Your wit will serve you far greater than any pointy thing. This is where you will shine.
3. Buddy system! Make a friend. Preferably another player character. Someone who will have your back. This way, only one person has to worry about you, and not bog down the rest of the group. "How do I convince them?", you may ask. Remember that you only have to convince one of them. That should ease the pressure. Also, money buys a lot of friends, and mercenaries are doubly susceptible to the charms of bling. Lastly, try genuinely befriending one the others. A good friendship goes a long way.
*To go the extra mile, watch Peter Dinklage's performance in Game of Thrones. A sterling example of the buddy system!
Gamer Forge Listener Email:
Comments: I am having trouble coming up with a game session that involves the undead. I have been watching movies like Resident Evil, Shaun of the Dead, Zompieland, and a few others to get some ideas. But every time I write it seems to fall flat.
Can you guys help me out here?
Setup: Group has been commissioned by local church leaders to eradicate the infestation of undead that have suddenly appeared in a cathedral that is located in a small vale up in the mountains and most of the inhabitance there have been wiped out.
How do I Make this game fun without constantly throwing zombies and skeletons at them??
Gamer Forge & Terron James Response:
A good thing to remember when writing an undead campaign is how you want to pace it. Do you want a survival to the last running at top speed to get to safety game, an atmospheric scary crawl where the characters are wondering what’s behind every corner, or do you want one where they can feel true power plowing through wave after wave of thoughtless beasties. Here’s some thing’s that came to mind during my mindless rants on the show:
1. Make the story unique and avoid cliché’s. We’ve all played /seen the, “Necromancer spell gone wrong” campaign to death; as well as “opened a gate way to (blank).” Make it fun like that commercial about weeklong blackout causing some milk to go bad and the guy drank it anyway causing him to become “patient zero” and starting the zombie outbreak. Or better yet don’t have a fully fleshed out reason why the dead are raising sometimes these things happen without reason. Leave subtle bread crumbs hinting as to what could have caused it.
2. Pacing will be the key to making this campaign work. You want to set an atmosphere where the players are going to scare themselves. Take your time don’t just drop them in a town with a horde of undead in the middle of town square. Start off with the town being empty make them thing that it is abandoned get them sucked into exploring all the houses trying to figure out where everyone is then when they least expect it BAM! Hit them with a crawling, legless zombie or ghoul catching their healer by surprise.
3. The unknown is your friend. The less you give your players the more intrigued they will become. The element that is going to scare your players more is their own imagination’s filling in the blanks.
4. Show the danger’s in dealing with the undead. Have a NPC come along with them who will die soon into the story and have s/he turn right in front of their eyes. Show them that if you go down or die here you’re going to become one of them.
Other sources to get more ideas:
The “Paranormal Activity” movies are a great example in pacing. (PA2 and 3 don’t watch 1 that one sucked.) Play Silent Hill 2, Amnesia: The Dark Prophecy, Half-life 2 “We don’t go to Ravenholm” chapter, the “Evil Dead” movies are a good way to do a poltergeist, and a good on line vid that talks about horror in video games but is still relevant is Extra Credits “Where did horror go” (http://penny-arcade.com/patv/episode/where-did-horror-go)
Gamer Forge Listener Email:
Comments: Okay this is my first time submitting a question. I have heard you talk about other emails listeners have submitted so I figured why not try. I am putting together a new game and wanted to get your opinion.
What are your thoughts on putting in a God as the antagonist of your game?
Gamer Forge & Tracy Hickman Response:
Oh, God! When it comes to making the deity a little crazy and villainous, Tracy Hickman and DCR say:
2. Focus on other elements, like fun. Good storytelling will replace a powerful villain, anytime. Before the heroes are ready to take on the big challenges, they need to grow internally. Make 'em lose a few times so they can lick their wounds. Give them a romantic foil. Throw in a sprinkle of political intrigue. Maybe a rival adventuring group. All of these can add the necessary excitement to your game. Also, its important in building context.
3. No need to up the ante. To constantly raise the ante of your battles is to miss the point of conflict. The best of the best bad guys, as stated previously, are the ones that are right. Create a villain that the heroes will want to defeat. If you throw up a mountain of battle, it will be seen as only a mountain to climb to the next challenge. The mountain itself presents all the obstacles of the story, while reaching the top is part of the objective of the story. Brass ring, baby. In the words of Scrooge McDuck, "Work smarter, not harder."
*To go the extra mile, Tracy recommends watching The Fifth Element, or Air Force One. Gary Oldman's performances in those movies are what a good bad guy is all about.
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