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Planning for Shenanigans: Improvised Sessions & Narrative Weaving

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Hi, there, Marsie here, ready with another piping hot article right out of the bad idea oven.

There are a great many types of preparation for your games, and we could talk about the concept of what is good prep vs bad prep for days.

And the true answer is:

It depends on your group. Players have varying needs to accommodate, and so do their characters. So does your game. So does your style. So do the individual themes you want to hit. It's all different. We all do different things to run the best game we can at the time. We mess up, we learn. We take the good things with us, and (hopefully) chuck the bad ideas out the window.

The most preparation I've ever done for games revolved around centerpieces for large scale fights. Whether that be preparing ice cube miniatures for an adventure regarding the Lich Queen of Snow, or preparing a Jenga pyre to contain a volatile artifact that needed to be extracted before the whole thing burned to the ground, or Kingsmanning my party in a du…

How I Learned to Stop Worrying And Love My &%$!ing Minmaxers

Minmaxers, munchkins, metagamers--easy replacements for swearwords in the GM's Dictionary.


If you're familiar with my worldbuilding, Game Mastering, and narrative work on The Owl of Lysia, you might be aware that I've run that setting in three other systems. Each system has its own crunch and way to optimize (or unoptimize) characters. And In my early days of GMing I would do a lot to unhorse the antics of my statistics-loving, crunchy, multi-classing &%$!ing minmaxers--some of which I've outlined in detail below. If you're familiar with my GMing now, you can see I've completely embraced this kind of chaos.

But something's wrong...

Specifically, this article is mislabeled. What this is actually about is the use of standardized measures of skill checks. But I think no one dragged me kicking and screaming into it better than my &%$!ing Minmaxers.


On the use of Standardized Skill Checks, this is what they taught me:


Mechanical Consistency Lends Itself …

Cypher System: Making a World

@MarsieVellan question for you. What is the best way that you've found to build a world using the Cypher System. I have an idea for a campaign but I don't know where to start. — Nerdly Asthmatic (@thtrnerd221) December 30, 2018

Thank you for the question!
Also, welcome to my first blog post on the Phantom Rollbooth's blog!
I think this also might be my first blog post ... ever? I decided that instead of doing a long thread on Twitter, this way would be cleaner and easier to process. Please enjoy:
While I have a B.S. in Geography(a nifty and absurdly expensive tool that I’ve only really used to pick apart and create fantasy maps), the best way I’ve found to build a world using the Cypher System involves a simultaneous top-down (large scale environment and country mapping) and bottom-up (small environmental features of the world, inventions, customs, and people and how they affect the culture around them) approach. Additionally, working with a number of people who do not share…