[Toolbox] GMing Links

In the continuing effort to close browser tabs and outsource cranial retention services, I've compiled another set of links. These mostly focus on GMing and Worldbuilding. So without further ado...

On Economics
Building Your World: Economics Overview for Fantasy Writers (non-technical) explores world economics in terms of World of Warcraft's quest rewards, monster loot, crafting, and auction house mechanics. It's a great way to simplify thinking about the economies in your tabletop game.

Interested in how modern economics theory can create awesome situations in fantasy RPGs? Do yourself a favor and read EVERYTHING on +Emily Dresner-Thornber's blog /project/multiplexer right now. A few of my favorites in the "Evil Economist GM" series filed under the dungeonomics tag include: How the Identify Spell Destroys the WorldOzmo's Magic Hospitality Company and Reality's End, and Murder Hobos and the Supply Curve of Evil. Holy crap, so many campaign ideas flowing from economic theory, and they're all SO GOOD.

BREAKING UPDATE: Dungeonomics is moving to Critical Hits! They've imported all the existing articles, and the first new article is up: And Now, a Commercial Break from Big Fantasy God, Inc.

On Campaign Ideas
If you're looking for a campaign with a different feel, start with +Chris Chinn's idea of Monster Defined Settings over at his blog Deeper in the Game. Take a big scary monster or race of monsters, assume they're the scourge of humanity, then figure out what safeguards would be developed to prevent attacks, safeguard the populace, or use that monster as the basis for the area's economy. Just that one idea can transform a "vanilla" fantasy world into something memorable.

+Ryan Macklin posted a freebie for his latest Kickstarter project, Backstory Cards (I'm waiting for the cards to ship) over on his blog. It's called The Extra Secret Service!, and it's a modern political/espionage setting usable out of the box. It can be easily used for Fate games, but you can steal elements of the setting for any modern setting.

On Worldbuilding
+Berin Kinsman posted The Fantastic Origin of Species over at Asparagus Jumpsuit. It hearkens back to the Ecology Of... series of articles from Dragon Magazine, looks at creation myths as a way to tie those odd magical ecologies together, and asks us to prioritize the Ecology of the Player Characters when considering how creation stories and the fantasy races that believe in them impact the game world.

In Magic and Physics are Still Happily Married, Thank You, we start with Clarke's famous maxim turned on its head: "Any sufficiently-advanced form of magic is indistinguishable from science." What if the laws of nature more closely spoke the language of magic and ritual than the theories of science and math? What if science were the laughably outdated theory of reality simply because we could more easily tap into energy sources with force of will than machines? What would the stories in that reality look like?

+Bannister Nicholas runs a blog called Dungeon World Dev, which collects one GM's work with worldbuilding. World Rules vs Known Rules talks about something I've done with many of my campaigns: The way the world actually works isn't necessarily the way the world's inhabitants think it works. Also take a look at Laylines, Gallifreyan Circles and Magic so you can steal the idea of using Gallifreyan script as patterns of power instead of boring old straight lines.

On Running Games
Day of the Mook looks at what causes underpowered and outclassed cannon fodder. No creature is genetically predisposed to be a placeholder on the front line of a conflict, so why do so many mooks exist as speed bumps along the road toward the main plot? And better yet, how can we suddenly upgrade mooks into a real and unexpected threat, possibly as part of a "misfits win the war" campaign? Written with Classic Traveller in mind, but applicable to all campaigns.

Writing: Action Scenes is an older article by John Rogers (head writer of TV series such as Leverage and The Librarians) on his blog Kung Fu Monkey. He repeats the point of the article in case you miss it the first time: "Don't write action sequences. Write suspense sequences which require action to resolve." The same holds true for adventure design. Don't force the PCs into combat unless it moves the story forward. Creatively avoiding combat to save resources for a more meaningful fight is an idea begging for encouragement.

On the Business of RPGs
OK, I couldn't resist adding a link that I found out about after the business link post went live. +Anna Kreider wrote an article encouraging women to start looking at themselves as game designers and to start self-publishing RPG materials. Advice for Women Looking to Get Into Game Design, Part 1 is targeted at women, but I got a lot out of it, and I'm a middle aged white male. Part 2 [LONG] focuses on the current self-publishing landscape, so take a look at that one as well.

Thanks for reading!

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