Critical Success

Critical Success is a resource for new GMs and players as well as experienced role-players who want to spend time thinking about game theory.

James will be applying concepts from improv, writing and story telling to explain how you can sharpen your GM skills and make your game more fun for everyone. Critical Success will use clips from the ONE SHOT podcast so everyone can see these concepts in action.

Strong, Unreasonable Villains

This week James takes on a new listener question: When my players come up with what seems like a reasonable bargain or deal, my antagonists accept, as long as they’re not giving up more than they originally intended to. The greatest play experiences I’ve had came from GMs who created hardline antagonists who would accept nothing less than total acceptance of their demands. Overcoming them gave me a thrill that I want to give my players, but whenever I try to run these guys, my senses of fairness and logic kick in and I accept a reasonable solution.

18. Metatopia 2014

James discusses the outstanding Metatopia and talks game design with fellow rookie designers Jason Pitre and Mark Richardson

17. Alignment Part 1 with Ben Dutter

Plenty of OD&D concepts have fallen out of favor. Most of them died out because they put limitations on play. These days swords and sorcery systems are way less restrictive and f20 games are focused on customization. However, 5th edition D&D opted to keep alignment- which has some gamers scratching their heads.

Rapid Fire 1

James answers three listener questions in one episode! Gain insights on stronger performance and portraying ambivalence, co-GMing, and intrigue based role play systems.

15. John Harper

John Harper is responsible for some of the most fun and influential micro systems on the internet. With games like Lasers and Feelings, Lady Blackbird, and Ghost Echo in his portfolio Harper is the king of micro games. In this discussion James and John discuss Johns approach to gaming, his design philosophy, loosen the definition of “game designer,” and fix everything.

14. When Things Go Wrong

What do you do when your party doesn’t follow your plot?

13. Voicing Characters

James discusses the art of voicing characters. This episode has improv techniques for developing character voices, advice on how to fudge certain voices you can’t do, and the secret to good voice work.

8. Giving Players the Right Amount of Information

James answers a listener’s question – “Over the past year I have gotten back into DMing for a group of players, after an almost 10 year hiatus from tabletop rpgs I have come to realize that I am not as skilled as I once thought. I have found that I tend to not give the players quite enough information. How should I go about giving the players enough information to act on but not so much that it either overwhelms them or removes the goal? Where do I draw that line?”

Rules Heavy vs Rules light

This week James continues his thoughts on how to approach picking a system to run your game. Lots of players have preferences for rules heavy systems or abstract rules light systems. What sort of effect does this have on the game? And why do we have rules to begin with?

Picking the Right System

This week, James discusses how one should go about picking a roleplaying system that works best for your story, players, and schedule.