#gamemastery

The Far Side of the Table: Death at the Table—How Do We Prepare for It?

Rummaging through the worn backpack, Strass pulled out and counted each potion of mind-shielding—three remained. Sharing a knowing glance with his friends, Strass passed out the potions: first to Kara, next Azreal, and then he motioned for Val to take one, but the rogue waved it away. Quaffing their remaining potions, the heroes prepared to …

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Your Whispering Homunculus: The Undiscovered Bestiary—Purple Worms, Part One

“I’m back from the Monster Mart, sluglet. Quickly! Get me the largest jar from the oozery!”    “Did you say Monster Mart, master? I thought you said Monster Mart, and that would be just silly. Eurgh, what’s that bag got in it? They look like tiny, slithering violet worms. Hundreds of them.”    “Purple worm …

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The Far Side of the Table: Adding New Characters to Your Game

Val clumsily brought his eighth glass of whiskey to his lips, wondering if, finally, this would be the shot that would do him in. The shouts of combat and explosions rang in his ears, and through his swimming vision and equally muddled thoughts, the image of Tyrash, his grim smile and the explosive barrel at …

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The Far Side of the Table: Analyzing GM Mistakes, Part 1

Welcome to the table. Every GM makes mistakes. Sometimes the mistake goes unnoticed, or the GM quickly remedies the situation without the players ever being aware that there was a problem in the first place. Other times, GMs make mistakes that bring the game to a halt, forcing both the players and the GM to …

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Your Whispering Homunculus: 100 Notable Kobolds, Part Two

“Here he is master. Young Nadger at your service.” “M’nar, Great Master. How may a humble kobold of the bloodline of dragon turtles, so clearly shown by my attire, mighty voice, and bearing, be of assistance to you, my lord?” “Well now, Nadger. I’m having trouble with this squid necromancer…” Continuing our look at peculiarly …

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The Far Side of the Table: Giving Players Metanarrative Information

Strass was lost. Surrounded on three sides by towering stone walls, he groaned in frustration and looked to his two companions. Val and Azreal stood nearby, arguing over a crudely drawn map. Taking out his axe, Strass felt the comforting weight in his hands. He smiled as he imagined using it on Faldren the deceiver. …

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The Far Side of the Table: In with the New and Out with the Old

Tyrash’s arms ached, and a sharp pain in his spine reminded him of his recent scrape with a group of thugs. A clawing fear slithered down his spine, causing the sharp pain to flare up again—he was getting old. Standing at the base of a winding mountainous path, Tyrash watched his companions nimbly climb the …

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The Far Side of the Table: Conflict and Villainy

The adventurers were in trouble, and Val knew it was his fault. Standing before a group of guards, Val, Tyrash, Azreal, and Strass watched as a portly shop owner squinted at each of them. As the merchant’s eyes fell on Val, the stolen bread in his sleeve seemed easily noticeable. Val closed his eyes as …

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The Far Side of the Table: Non-Traditional Currency

Hoping to avoid Countess Farsight’s rage for having killed a duke during a party in her estate, the adventurers made their way north. Looking out across an icy, wind-swept tundra, the adventurers trudged wearily toward a solitary fortress on the horizon. The adventurers wondered about what kind of life would await them in this new …

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The Far Side of the Table: Player-Controlled NPCs

Welcome to the table. Weeks of investigation led the adventurers to the Farsight Estate, where a gathering of nobles provides a perfect opportunity to identify who wants them dead. During this session, the players experienced a new design for social encounters—one that required them to roleplay as the nobles from whom they wanted information. Let’s …

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The Far Side of the Table: Who’s Telling the Story Here?

Welcome to the table. Tonight, my players split up across the town, and unfortunately, each wound up involved in deadly assassination plots. For a GM, a session like this may sound like a nightmare—multiple simultaneous fights across a split party. Yet as the night developed, I discovered an effective way to get the players to …

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The Far Side of the Table: What’s on the Horizon

Welcome to the table. This is the final part of a three-part installment of The Far Side of the Table about “teching” your game. In earlier parts, we discussed how you can use projectors to digitize the table and how GMs can turn tablets and cellphones into roleplaying opportunities. In this article, I focus on …

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