We’re back, and we’re nicking stuff again. Following on from episode 42’s discussion of neat GM techniques we’ve stolen, this time we’re thieving from players. There are plenty of discussions about how to be a good GM out there in the Internet, but much fewer about player techniques. Also, there are far more players out there, so that makes for richer pickings!


“Let’s see… A D20, a copy of the Investigator Handbook and a lifetime’s resentment of terrible GMs. Good haul!”

If there are any techniques you’ve seen in use that you’d like to share, please let us know on social media (over in that sidebar thingy to your right. No, up a bit. Yes, there) or via comments here. I broke our comments temporarily, but they should be working again. If they’re not, just let me know via a… Ohhh… That’s not good.


Wetware divide-by-zero errors are rarely pretty.

We actually have a new feedback form on the site to cover such eventualities, which goes through to Scott’s email account. He is unlikely to respond favourably to offers of discount Rolexes or business opportunities from Nigerian princes, and he will publicly disclaim any interest in male enhancement pharmaceuticals.

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4 comments on “Player Techniques

  1. Great podcast and to continue the theme of intimidating Matt: you were wrong about Brave New World giving XP for flashback scenes, that was just me. 😉

  2. I shall look at Matt sternly on your behalf next time we record. There may be tutting.

  3. Neil Smith Jan 30, 2015

    Gosh, I’m famous! Thanks for the mentions.

    To expand on the MLWM game I left, and answering Scott’s comments about not walking out of bad games. The MLWM game _wasn’t_ a bad game. About half way through the session, I realised I wasn’t enjoying it so I started really paying attention to everyone else at the table. It was obvious that everyone else _was_ enjoying the game and the tone. The problem was entirely at my end. That’s why the best thing was for me to leave.

    If I’d asked people to change the tone to something I was more comfortable with, everyone else would have done it and we’d have had a reasonable game. But it wouldn’t have been as fun for the other participants as it could be, so that request would have been quite selfish.

    And another anecdote about being a good player, this time from Scott Dorward. It’s about being proactive and diving into the fiction.

    I was running an Exalted game a few years ago where the Solar Exalted PCs were trying to overthrow the occupying Dragonblooded forces in their home city. I’d statted up a few of the enemy NPCs and had them going around the place being nasty and horrible to the occupied citizens. The players in the game seemed rather hesitant to really engage with the situation and make a difference and the game wasn’t going anywhere. I think it was because they didn’t want to break my “GMPCs.”

    One week, for various reasons, Scott took over the combat-bunny PC, who hated the Dragonblooded. He ended up alone in a room with the nasty and sadistic Dragonblooded son of the occupying general. Scott looked at the character sheet, realised that the character hated the NPC, realised that his PC was much more of a bad-ass than the NPC, so kicked off one of those epic Exalted fights. Great fun was had by all, the nasty NPC ended up dead, and I was really happy because something had happened! The other players looked shocked for a moment, then realised I was happy that one of the major NPCs had been messily murdered, worked out that they could, and should, kick over some more anthills, and the game kicked off.

    It ended up lots of fun.

  4. darren t. Jan 31, 2015

    Great show guys. On the way of extending the backstory of the characters, one of the ways I really enjoyed was with the Fate Core engine, roughly paraphrased below. Haven’t looked much at the Cthulhu setting book for Fate Core but imagine it might be in there too.

    ‘Create a high concept idea of the character then figure out what kind of trouble is part of the character’s life & story. Then describe your character’s first adventure & briefly describe how you’ve crossed paths with two other characters. Next is to come up with how the 2nd character is in a supporting role with the character’s adventure.’

    Easy to put into Call of Cthulhu, Trail of Cthulhu or just about any other game, figure up as a group how your character at least relates to another with some past history either as a friend, a co-worker, a relative then tweak it by have it working out good or not. Don’t spend too much time with it but by linking everyone together with a chain of knowing each other will make things a little more dynamic where some players might have improvised inside jokes between each other or some bitter memories but working together out of some mutual respect.

    After finally getting the 7th edition of Call of Cthulhu rpg, it has some good stuff in there too about coming up with enough keystone things about a backstory to be able to fill in the rest a bit easier & with a little work you can take a single core profession/class of a game with a character then mold it in about a dozen different ways to make quite unique (great for one shot convention games with pregenerated characters).

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