Roleplaying In A

Posts Tagged ‘Technology’

Session 2: Using Technology

In General, Props on April 16, 2010 at 12:53 pm

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We got a late start because people weren’t quite finished with character creation. After about 45 minutes, I told them to finish up during the game, we needed to get started. Otherwise, the real theme was introducing and using the new technology of mapping on the tv.

1. I started the game off with combat. I don’t do much railroading but the first game of a brand new campaign does need a little set-up. To that end, I just outright told them they’d been hired and were on the job when they were suddenly jumped by gangers.

After this, they can do what they want, even ditching this job. It beats having them just sit around in a bar waiting. They went with the set-up and didn’t even discuss ditching the job.

2. I’d spent 12-15 hours making sure I knew the tech so it was pretty easy to teach. I kept things simple, not using many options available in the software, so things were easy to learn and remember. I think I’d want at least one more combat before I add anything at all.

3. Combat was slower than I’d have liked. I rolled initiative for each enemy individually and that was a mistake. Next time, I’m just going back to grouping them. It speeds things up quite a bit.

4. My players outright LOVED the mapping software and I was asked for the web address so they can check it out on their own during the week.

5. The group decided to go to once a week games, instead of bi-weekly. No one present was really happy with skipping a week although I did warn them I would sometimes call games due to lack of time to prep. They were fine with that and our next game is next week.

6. If you’re considering using technology to enhance your games, pay attention here – I’m going to post more on the subject this week. But if I have one tip you need now, it’s this: LEARN THE SOFTWARE.

Things are ever so much easier if you know what you’re doing.

7. One character, Raven, is establishing his personality very fast. The first NPC he saw, he started schmoozing with about drug deals. This is going to be a guy to watch out for.

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How to Gamemaster With a Laptop

In General on April 4, 2010 at 8:00 am

IBM ThinkPad R51
Image via Wikipedia

Now that we’ve got a party, it’s time to prep for the game and since I plan to use my laptop during this, my next step is to make sure I’m using it well and it’s actually beneficial to my game.

Of late, I’ve read a great many thing about how annoyed some people are with how much technology has invaded the gaming table. It makes sense that if I want to avoid this, I make sure I know what I’m doing well before the gaming session.

To that end, I found and bookmarked “How to Gamemaster With a Laptop” from It has some excellent advice and I’m going through it step by step. Steps 1-6 are all about making sure you’ve collected all the data you’re going to need during the game so it’s easy to find.

The author suggests getting together several programs but I’m going to put it all in Microsoft OneNote, which I’m lucky to have. If you don’t or can’t afford it, which is likely, Evernote is a very popular alternative. This gives me almost all my data in one easy-to-find place.

This way, since I’ll also have a mapping program open as well as a random table program, I’m not switching back and forth between programs all night, looking for the information I need. Instead, I’ll be using just 3.

Steps 7-11 are about enhancing the adventure. Some of these steps are going to work well for me, #8 is already trashed in my mind. I won’t be editing sound files.

At the end, there are several good tips for people who haven’t done this before. The most essential is make back-ups.

It’s an excellent read for anyone considering the use of a laptop, or any computer, at the gaming table and I think even those who have experience with them could benefit from scanning the article.

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Science Fiction Sandbox Recipe (Repost)

In General, Generators, Setting on March 22, 2010 at 8:00 am

A 3D model of a :en:C60 molecule, also called ...

Originally posted at Bard of Valiant

Unless you’re running a Traveller game, a scifi sandbox can be a little difficult to pull off since many of these games end up in very familiar settings. So try this for a different kind of campaign:

  1. Watch this video at BoingBoing about destroying the world through nanotech.
  2. Introduce nanotech into your game. Nanotech is like the modern equivalent of magic, it can do almost anything in a game.
  3. Give the players access to the nanotech instructions somehow. Allow them to input some ideas into the computers for it. You might want to limit this to 3-4 things so you don’t end up with a world you can’t run!
  4. Let it loose and see what happens!

This is a game I’ve always wanted to run but haven’t had the chance at yet. If you give your players access to a scientist NPC who helps them modify the tech, you even get a little control over what they do. He might balk at making them rich with the technology but love the idea of fire-breathing dragons!

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Some Basic Concepts Explained

In General on February 27, 2010 at 6:00 am

A great many of my friends here and on Twitter are fantasy gamers who aren’t very familiar with this genre or with that of modern games in general. To answer some questions, here are some basic concepts explained for @deadorcs and others.

Follow me on Twitter.


There isn’t any. Well, there is but you don’t have any of it. Neither does the government, you know – that group of people who’re supposed to be your voice? None of you have any money. If you do have money, you sure don’t care about anyone else, except for worrying about how they might take your money away.

Dark Future games are very much the idea of “dirt farming” games. Game Masters should take money away from the players at every opportunity and not give much of it back. If you’re players can afford what they want, something went wrong.


Corporations do have money. Most of it actually. And what little law enforcement is left, they have that, too. And if you think corps can’t have money in an economic downturn, take a look at the bonuses still being paid to banking executives in the United States this year.

Corps sure do have money. But they’re not giving it to anyone else – like the little guy who works for them or the government. Tax laws often give corps so many loopholes that they may actually make more money during an economic recession. Dark Futures are greed completely unchecked by law.

Technological Advance

The Dark Future is very much the future and more and better tech is a big part of that flavor. Corps war with each other, and sometimes with countries, and continue to develop technology both for defensive reasons and to make more profits. Read the rest of this entry »