GM Gaming Aides, tips and tricks.

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GM Gaming Aides, tips and tricks.

Post by Gwydo on Tue Mar 25, 2014 10:32 am

Just wondering if anyone else uses anything to assist them when they GM a game, and if so what? I'm going to start using Short Order Heroes (made by my friend Jesse) and The Quiet Year next time I run a game.
Been using Dungeon Tiles for my in house games for a while, but I found that the Chessex (Megamat) works much better.
And because I'm a cheapskate, chess pieces for the enemies. (Use the same wet erase marker for the mat to number the chess pieces for tracking.)
For initiative tracking, I put clothespins (with player/character's name) at the top of my GM screen. Easily rearranged and can be seen by both me and the players. (One of my pet peeves is when a player doesn't know their turn is coming up and they then take forever to decide what they do on their turn.
By the way, a great interview with Jesse and descriptions of how to use SOH: http://jankcast.com/archives/2650
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Re: GM Gaming Aides, tips and tricks.

Post by Snarg of Wildpaw on Tue Mar 25, 2014 1:13 pm

It's kind of hard in our local group since we have 1/3 of the group playing online, so we can't really use physical gaming aides. The few times that we've actually had everyone in person then we use the same thing as you; a Megamat. No fancy tokens or anything though, everyone usually just gets a specific colored marker and a wipe.

For our half-online games we use this for our mapping tool: http://gametableproj.sourceforge.net/. I'm not going to lie, it's a bit shaky as far as sharing pogs and it's tedious putting together a map with any larger amount of anything on it, but it works at least.

We do have one GM in the group who loves his premade tiles, but he doesn't get to break those out very often. I personally don't own any map tiles because I've never done anything that wasn't partially online.

The clothespin idea is actually a very interesting one, since initiatives are always something that "no one wants to do." Our local group are lovers of holding actions, so the initiative order has a high chance of not being the same from round-to-round. I might bring some to our next session and try that out. Heck, I run the map anyway, so why not that. If it means people don't get skipped then all the better.

I personally don't actually mind people taking forever on their turns, although that may be because I'm used to it. It's really not uncommon for one particular player to take a long time. I think one of his turns was around 45 minutes last game; just normally chat with whoever is next to me while that's happening.

If there's one aide that I've used a lot it's this: http://www.cartographersguild.com
I use a lot of their stuff for mapping/layouts. They've got a bundle of people who just post their ideas and map elements. You can find just about anything there.
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Re: GM Gaming Aides, tips and tricks.

Post by Gwydo on Tue Mar 25, 2014 2:40 pm

I love Cartographers' Guild. I had totally forgotten about them. Thanks for the reminder.
Speaking of which, I was lucky enough back in 2005 to get ahold of a bunch of Craig Zipse's maps from the old KODT forums when he was publishing in their magazine. Someday, I'll run a game and incorporate a bunch of his work and build a the campaign around it.
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Re: GM Gaming Aides, tips and tricks.

Post by Archengeia on Tue Mar 25, 2014 5:07 pm

Honestly I've kind of shown you all the tools I use so I don't really have anything else to share.  Loved using colored pipe cleaners for effects and the like though (like 2 bucks at a craft store).  Oh and don't forget you can get dragon's tears at a craft store for roughly a tenth the price.

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Re: GM Gaming Aides, tips and tricks.

Post by Gwydo on Wed Mar 26, 2014 8:24 am

Haha, I wasn't actually expecting a response from you Arch, seeing as how you basically did a whole video on it before. This was more directed to the Other GMs in the group.
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Re: GM Gaming Aides, tips and tricks.

Post by Snarg of Wildpaw on Fri Mar 28, 2014 3:05 pm

we're going to be integrating a Jenga tower in our next session. Here's how it works: any time you want to do anything, you take a piece from the tower. If you pull it successfully, you succeed. If you knock the tower over then you die. If you purposefully knock the tower over, you die, but your action succeeds (have to declare this before doing anything.) If you pull a specially marked tile, you succeed, but something bad happens. Obviously you can't really pull this off with online folks, but I thought it was an interesting concept.

I also thought it might have a place as a replacement for a critical hit/fumble chart/deck/whatever. If you roll one of those, you have a chance to mitigate it or auto-confirm it using the Tower of Death. May not be something you'd do in a longer campaign, but maybe for a few session campaign or one shot.
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Re: GM Gaming Aides, tips and tricks.

Post by Kolson on Fri Mar 28, 2014 10:39 pm

@Third Dread uses the Jenga tower in that way. Did you guys get the idea from D20 Monkey or did you learn about it some other way?

I'm a lazy GM. I push as much of the work as I can onto the players.

If I'm going to have a lot of players and enemies I recruit an initiative tracker from among the players first thing. I usually choose the person who pays attention the most but sometimes I choose a person who needs something to do in between turns so they don't get distracted.

If the party splits up I'll do each character in turn with the other nonactive players taking on the roles of minor NPCs with minimal motivations provided by me. It keeps everyone engaged and makes for an interesting and wholly improvised scene/vignette. Note: This works best with experienced players who enjoy improv.

If a player dies, I'll often let them control the bad guys during battle. That way they have something to do.

That's all I got off the top of my head.
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Re: GM Gaming Aides, tips and tricks.

Post by Snarg of Wildpaw on Sat Mar 29, 2014 12:49 am

@Kolson: dunno, one of the other GMs suggested it, so I'm not sure where he got it in the first place.
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Re: GM Gaming Aides, tips and tricks.

Post by Gwydo on Wed Apr 23, 2014 2:15 pm

Saw this, thought it was funny:

a-matter-of-alignment
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Re: GM Gaming Aides, tips and tricks.

Post by Rory on Wed Apr 23, 2014 4:20 pm

HAHAHA that was really funny. So guys, you got any peanut butter?
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Re: GM Gaming Aides, tips and tricks.

Post by Gwydo on Wed Apr 23, 2014 4:21 pm

It'll go great with the kitten... Smile
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Re: GM Gaming Aides, tips and tricks.

Post by Kolson on Thu Apr 24, 2014 2:42 am

That was a great strip. I love D20 Monkey.
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Re: GM Gaming Aides, tips and tricks.

Post by Zeiss on Fri May 09, 2014 8:25 pm

Here, I found this : http://www.fantasygrounds.com/

I have no idea if it's better than roll20. Just sharing the link in case one of you haven't heard of it and would like to use it in the future.

*waves at everyone and then slides down a mountain of butterflies*
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Re: GM Gaming Aides, tips and tricks.

Post by Snarg of Wildpaw on Fri May 09, 2014 8:52 pm

I have personally used it before. It's ... okay, but it has bugs and requires payment if you really want to use it effectively. I would personally use Roll20 over it if I had to choose between them because it's free and more accessible.
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Re: GM Gaming Aides, tips and tricks.

Post by Gwydo on Thu May 29, 2014 3:40 pm

Just saw on Humble Bundle they have RPG Maker with a bunch of DLCs
https://www.humblebundle.com/weekly
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