Exercise for the Mind’s Eye – Interview with Patrick Kelly

Join me as I talk with martial artist Patrick Kelly about his love of roleplaying games, combat resolution in them and a deeper dive into narrative.  There are also just some fun stories along the way.  As he says, “Movement forward is narrative.”

Patrick Kelly’s Bio at Indiana University

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If you have any comments, questions or would like to be interviewed on the show, please email me at naturalgeekery@gmail.com

Natural Geekery on Patreon
Join the Patreon for bonus episodes and more on the Natural Geekery Community.

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Natural Geekery
PO Box #7651
Bloomington In. 47401

Natural Geekery Webpage

You can also find us  on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook:
Twitter –  @NaturalGeekery
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Intro and Outro Music – Nomadic Sunset by Alexander Nakarada
Thank you, Alexander, for providing some awesome free music!

Off and Running – Wild is Plus #2

After a ton of worldbuilding, we’re finally ready to unveil our characters and get started on playing this wacky GM-Less experiment!  Come join us as we take our first steps into the lands of Drachenfeld!

Game Resources:
Mythic GM-less Gaming from Word Mill Games
Mythic GM Emulator
Mythic Variations I
Mythic Variations II

Fate Resources
Fate Accelerated from Evil Hat
Fate SRD – A great resource for all things involving the Fate RPG!
Dungeons of Fate by Mike Shea
Auto Compelling Dice by Rob Donoghue

UNE NPC Generator by Zach Best at Conjecture Games

The link to the Trello board is coming and will hopefully be here by the end of the week!

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Why yes, I did start a Patreon!  If you would like to learn more about the different support tiers and possibly support the show please visit – https://www.patreon.com/naturalgeekery

Natural Geekery Home and Blog – https://naturalgeekery.com/
If you have any comments, questions or would like to be interviewed on the show, please email me at naturalgeekery@gmail.com

You can also find me on Twitter – @NaturalGeekery and @Coyoteguy

We also just launched a Facebook page as well so you can find us there if Facebook is more your style.

Intro and Outro Music – Nomadic Sunset by Alexander Nakarada
Thank you, Alexander, for providing some awesome free music!

Season 2 of Natural Geekery!

I’m very happy to announce the first episode for Natural Geekery, Season 2 will be dropping this Wednesday morning, July 22rd. New episodes will continue to release every Wednesday for your geeky listening pleasure!

It’s been rough holding on to this secret for what has turned into a very long six months. I made the decision to relaunch things back in January of this year and since then have been very busy creating, recording and editing new episodes. I had hoped to kick this off a little earlier but, as you may have guessed, 2020 had other plans. (I think 2020 has had alternate plans for just about everyone at this point.) Regardless, I am finally ready to share it with all of you.

This podcast has always been about the community surrounding the hobby of tabletop roleplaying games and the joy we get from creating characters and playing through stories. (And, yes, I did just say, “We.” More on that in the upcoming episode!) To that end, we’ve decided to create our own story as well as looking more to that focus on interaction and community. We are going to be doing this with a special twist that I don’t think you will find in other podcasts.

I don’t want to spoil it early but let’s just say we’ve built an entire new game world for you to enjoy and explore with us. In addition, a new feature for listeners to email in gaming stories has been added. We will also be adding surveys and questions and all manner of things available to you to have a hand in shaping the progress of the show. In addition, there are plans still being worked on that will take us well into next year and beyond with stories, interviews, and more.

As we move through the later half of what has been a very tough year for most of us, it’s our hope the upcoming Season 2 will give you a chance to take a break from the nuttiness of the world, have a laugh, enjoy a tale and to share in our enjoyment of roleplaying, storytelling and creativity.

The podcast will be available here of course and is available on all major podcast hosts, Apple, Spotify, Stitcher, TuneIn and others. If you’d like to follow the official Twitter account then hop over to @NaturalGeekery and click follow. If you’re a bit more visual you can follow my daily wanderings on my @naturalgeekery Instagram. If you have any questions, comments or would like to be on the show then feel free to comment here or email me at naturalgeekery@gmail.com!

I look forward to kicking off Season 2 with you this Wednesday. See you then!

Keep Shining!

A Speculative Fictionero – Interview with Michael R. Underwood, Part Two

Part Two of my interview with Michael R. Underwood.  In this episode we take a deep walk into the woods regarding publishing and get into the deeper levels of roleplaying games and where they may be headed.

https://www.buzzsprout.com/414475/1801789-a-speculative-fictionero-interview-with-michael-r-underwood-part-two

Michael can be found out the following links.  Make sure to check out his Patreon for some great content on writing and publishing!

A very recent Scum and Villainy One-Shot Mike ran on Twitch
Hearts of Wulin RPG on Twitch – http://twitch.tv/arvaneleron.

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If you have any comments, questions or would like to be interviewed on the show, please email me at naturalgeekery@gmail.com

You can also find me on Twitter – @NaturalGeekery and @Coyoteguy

Intro and Outro Music – Nomadic Sunset by Alexander Nakarada
Thank you, Alexander, for providing some awesome free music!

Intentional Characters – Interview with Jill

Join me as I have a wonderful conversation with a fellow gamer about her experiences with gaming, making characters with intent to better yourself, pirate monkey goblins and the Library of Alexandria.

I would love to hear from you! If you have any comments, questions or would like to be interviewed on the show, please email me at naturalgeekery@gmail.com

You can also find me on Twitter – @NaturalGeekery and @Coyoteguy

Intro and Outro Music – Nomadic Sunset by Alexander Nakarada
Thank you, Alexander, for providing some awesome free music!

Trust at the Table

Let’s talk about trust around the RPG game table and working with your other players.  This is a subject that is very dear to me.  Join me as I go on a ramble about the process of gaming “flow.”

Blog post that I used as my trail markers for this episode – The Contracts on the Table.

If you have any comments, questions or would like to be interviewed on the show, please email me at naturalgeekery@gmail.com 

You can also find me on Twitter – @NaturalGeekery and @Coyoteguy

Intro and Outro Music – Nomadic Sunset by Alexander Nakarada
Thank you, Alexander, for providing some awesome free music!

The Agency of Choice – Interview with Daniel McDeavitt (Part 2)

Part Two of an interview where I talk with close friend Daniel McDeavitt.  We dive into his DM experience, expectations around the gaming table and events within our home game – Critical Role based – Tales of the Take!

Continue reading “The Agency of Choice – Interview with Daniel McDeavitt (Part 2)”

There and Back Again

It’s been a little quiet around here lately.  My apologies for that.  My time away was necessitated by a change in my employment.  The transition from old to new office space ended up taking many more “spoons” then I had planned.  Then, the following two months were pretty hectic and tiring in the new job as I had transitioned during the busiest and, some would say, worst time to do so.  However,  they say still waters run deep.  Although things were quiet here they were NOT quiet inside my head and with my thoughts about my goals for what I wanted to have happen here.

The time away gave me chance to think and re-assess a few things.  I managed to begin putting some creative pieces together and those pieces were part of a project which, at one point, had been planned for this space .  I just thought they would be further “down the road.”  Suddenly, I realized that “further down the road” was actually much more possible then I had, at first, realized.  The universe, always conspiring to prove me wrong in my hesitations, saw fit to gift me with some much needed equipment to confirm things.  This sealed the deal and made me more excited, adding fuel to my scheming.

Long story short?  Yes, I’ve been pretty busy over the last few months but I’ll be having an announcement next week.  The blog will be here and I have every intention in moving forward with the random map, the occasional advice/commentary post, etc.   If anything, this space will be getting a nice level up.

I’m excited to introduce the next phase on Tuesday evening, July 16th.  It will be here and on Twitter.  Thanks for coming along with me this far and I’m hoping that you will continue to join me in the next leg of the journey!

 

5 Easy Ways to Be a Better Gamemaster

For someone just testing out the waters of running their own role-playing game, I’ve boiled down the top 5 things (in my opinion) you can focus on in order to run a successful session.   I’ve skipped over the obvious ones like “know the rules” and “have dice handy for players.”  These focus on more non-obvious elements of the craft.  Keep them in mind and it will be very hard to go wrong.  The numbering of these means little.  None are more important than the other and each of them, individually, actually work hand-in-hand with the other 4.

As a side note, I actually don’t like the word “master” in these titles because I think it separates that player out from the other players at the table.  I prefer to use Gamehost and will use this interchangeably throughout the article.

Continue reading “5 Easy Ways to Be a Better Gamemaster”

What’s Your Character’s Front Story?

One of the best ways to get a handle on a character for a role-playing game is to fill out their back story.  Where did they grow up?  Who were their parents?  How did they do in school or their apprenticeship? Did they get in a lot of fights?  Did they keep to themselves and read?  Did they steal something?  Did their first love break their heart? What events led them to where they are now as the game starts?

Some games, and gamers, more focused on the hack and slash elements do not need this exercise.  You roll or pick your stats, grab your equipment and go.  I’m a wizard.  I have spells.  I’m taking my fighter buddy and we are walking into that hole in the ground to look for treasure.  My first game consisted of this level of play and it worked just fine!  Sometimes games will start this way and then later a player creates a back story to fill their character out more fully.

I’ve been guilty myself of writing up a 2, 3 or 5 page back story for a character to help me understand them and their choices in a game after I had played a session or two. Sometimes a character will stand out before the first session and the back story comes easily.  Other times, it takes a bit of work.  Regardless, it’s always a good idea to get a feel where the character is coming from in their past.  Even in real life we go back, review our life and look to see what made us who we are in the present.  It’s a tried and true method.

I would suggest, however, this is only a half of the creation process.  There is another layer that is often overlooked.  I would suggest it is just as important to look at a character’s front story, their future.   Take a bit more time and understand why your character wants to go forward.

This should not take long and should not require too much more time.  I feel it helps give your character momentum and drive when it’s time to get the game rolling.  I would even argue that you can run with a character’s front story a lot easier than you can with a back story.

How do you push a character into their future?  Like a back story, start with some questions.  Here are a few questions to get you started.

 

What do they want to accomplish immediately?

Maybe it’s just to go into a dark hole and get some treasure?  Cool.  Maybe they want to punch that merchant?  Fine.  Maybe it’s to get off the out-of-control train they’ve found themselves on?  As long as they have some idea of what they want to do NEXT then you’re good to go.

If your game is not starting out with immediate action, like a dungeon crawl or a train rushing to its doom, perhaps a character just wants to go into that tavern for a drink?   Even though this is simple enough and often used, it’s important to move on to the next question.

 

Why do they want to accomplish it?

We know what they want but now let’s answer why.  Why are they mad at the merchant?  Why are they so determined to get into that dark hole in the ground?  Why are they on the out-of-control train in the first place?

And if they are just going into that tavern for a drink then why?  Are they bored?  Thirsty? Looking for someone?  Any answer works.

 

What is it your character desires in the next month or so and why?  How do they hope to accomplish it?

What does your character plan to do with the next few weeks or months of their future.  Sure, they are going into a dungeon, going to kill a few monsters, grab some loot but is there something they are working towards in the short-term?

When you start to answer these questions it raises the stakes for the character and gives them some powerful momentum. Perhaps a character is going into that dark hole to find something valuable so they can help their aging parents who are about to be evicted?

What if a character, born into nobility with training as an excellent negotiator, is on that train to go to peace negotiations with an age-old enemy?  If they don’t arrive the peace talks will certainly fail and thousands of his countrymen will be killed in the fighting.  If so, well, it’s time to find a way off that train.

 

What are the character’s “big picture” goals? When will they feel like they “made it?”

Does your character have something they are striving towards which will take an extended period of time?  Something which will take years and a collection of experiences and quests to complete to reach the goal?  Look at your character and think, “What does this character want to be when they grow up?”  This is the character’s larger aspirations and hopes.  What is the legacy your character wants to create?  When you fill this part in you are tapping into the real energy of why the character will make the choices they make and what drives them forward.

Perhaps a fighter is going into several dungeons because they are trying to build up wealth to hold some political power, settle down with a small estate and raise a family? Perhaps a cleric wants to eventually form his own temple somewhere or build a charitable organization?

Even if the character, at game start, is going into that tavern to get a drink because they are bored and uncertain about what is coming next I would still inquire what the character’s deeper motivations and goals might be.  Everyone is powered by something internal.  Find it and use it.

As an example, I once ran a character who started as a pretty basic thief.  You know, a pickpocketing 2nd story guy with a dark cloak and a knife.  That was it.  However, one thing came up in the back story.  The current head of the thieves guild had been particularly cruel to my character.  So, for my long-term aspiration, I decided my character was going to eventually take over the thieves guild or build another one to dethrone the current leader.  It was going to take several game sessions.  The goal ended up being a nice lodestone for the character to come back to and work towards in every single game regardless of the plot going on with the overall party.

Once you answer these few questions I think you will find that your character will begin to take a life of their own.  These questions do not need to be completed in full nor are any of them permanent.    They can be quickly jotted down as notes or guidelines.  Some empty or vague answers are perfectly welcome and you should leave some room for when inspiration or events in the game work to help you fill in those blanks.

Finally, review the character’s front story every time they progress, finish a quest or level up.  In the real world, people change.  Events may take place during the course of the game, or games, which causes the character’s internal trajectory to change.

Keep some notes and allow your character to move forward on their new aspirations.  I think, when you look back, you’ll find it has added deeper levels to the character and made them even more enjoyable to play.