Maslow’s Hammer, or “How to encourage non-combat gameplay”

Abraham Maslow said in 1966 “I suppose it is tempting, if the only tool you have is a hammer, to treat everything as if it were a nail”. This applies quite nicely to a commonly asked RPG question – namely, “How do I get my players to stop killing everything as the default response?”

Read More »


Changeling: The Lost – Ill-Conceived Oaths (Part 1)

This is the first part of a short (2-3 sessions) pre-written starter adventure for Changeling: The Lost, a World of Darkness game about fairy-folklore that’s currently one of my favourite settings. Whilst I’m going to be using various Changeling-specific terminologies here, this can (with a little tweaking) be adapted for other systems that include congruent story elements such as literally binding promises.

This adventure would be best used, in my opinion, as an opening to a long-term game, a short “Taster” adventure with a group trying systems out, or a short side-story to an existing chronicle.

As this is aimed at newer players, I will be explaining terminology in brief the first time it comes up.

Abstract: The characters are tricked into making a seemingly innocuous pledge – a literal binding promise – to make sure another Changeling’s acquaintance isn’t late for a scheduled appointment. The task becomes infinitely more difficult, however, when they discover that the man in question hasn’t been seen for a while, and they may have been conned into participating in a rescue mission against their will – or perhaps even a suicide mission!

Read More »

Saving your players subtly

We’ve all done it. We’ve given the players a fight we thought they could take, and then watched in horror as we realise we’ve vastly overestimated their abilities and now they’re going to get stepped on by an Iron Golem that they can’t even damage. So, what can you do to pull them out of a bad situation you created, whilst still maintaining challenge?

Read More »

Bag ‘Em and Tag ‘Em (Or: When to kill your players)

There seem to be two extremes of thought on the role of the GM in role-playing games. The first, which I shall refer to as the Gygaxian school of thought after D&D creator and Tomb of Horrors writer Gary Gygax, is that the GM’s role is to serve as an antagonist to the players – To set deadly traps, play the monsters as efficiently (but also as fairly) as possible, and generally try to kill them at every opportunity.

Read More »

So, you want to be a GM? (Part 1) – The Crunch

I felt the best way to start hurling my opinions at you through your router would be to cover the basics for aspiring tellers of fantastical stories, enablers of fun and creators of content. This will be a three-part series detailing the process of starting a game, and why you should be very excited to! It will be split into “The Crunch” – the more mechanical aspects, including game choice, tone and preparation – “The Fluff” – The more story-focused aspects including starting a larger plot arc, how to handle errors, and general story advice – and finally “The Sublime” – Tips on how to tie everything together into one big, impressive whole and look like you totally meant to do it all along.

Read More »

Hello, I’m a GM!

Greetings Internet, and thank you for coming to read this blog on which I’ll be writing about role-playing games (RPGs) from the perspective of the poor schmuck who signed up to run the show – your GM!

For those wondering or curious at this point, an RPG is a game in which a group of players take on the role of characters in a story created by the GM (also known as a Game Master, Dungeon Master, Storyteller, Maim Master if you’re into that sort of thing…). These characters skills are represented numerically, actions are generally resolved using dice, and the players actions, successes and failures take the story in new directions. The tabletop RPG has a distinct advantage on computer-based RPGs – Namely, the person sitting in the chair, the GM, who is capable of reacting to entirely unforeseen choices. In theory, this afford the players a tremendous amount of agency.

So, ever wondered what’s behind the curtain? Or maybe you’re looking to start a group yourself, and are looking for tips to give your players a good experience? You could certainly do worse than reading this here blog, wherein I will be publishing my thoughts, opinions and techniques on how I run my games, and perhaps even a pre-written adventure or two!