Tips? "Don't eat yellow snow." Role-playing tips? "Don't be the last player to leave because you'll get stuck cleaning up the DM's house." No, not those kinds of tips. Roleplaying Tips.com is an e-mail list which sends out an e-zine full of tips for Game Masters each week.
Tips? "Don't eat yellow snow." Role-playing tips? "Don't be the last player to leave because you'll get stuck cleaning up the DM's house." No, not those kinds of tips.
Roleplaying Tips.com is an e-mail list which sends out an e-zine full of tips for Game Masters each week. It has been running since November 1999 (according to the web site) and I've been subscribed for about 3 months. Johnn Four, the publisher, lives in Canada and looks to be a regular guy who likes AD&D and wants to publish tips for running games.
Each week, I receive a lengthy but very readable e-mail message with 5-10 tips. The e-mail message is formatted like any e-zine: a table of contents at the top lists the title of each tip and, later on, each tip is expanded upon with a paragraph or two of text. The most recent issue is entitled "7 Tips For Fast & Effective Note-Taking While Game Mastering" and is Issue #46. The specific tips are:
- Review Your Notes Within 2 Days After Each Session
- Group Your Notes By Drawing In The Margins
- Use Standardized Index Cards
- Underline Names
- Focus On Actions
- Clearly Label Your Pages
- Record What Is Important To Your Players
This issue is fairly typical. The tips are very practical and are oriented towards GM mechanics and bookkeeping. From my own experience and from the archives, this orientation has been consistent. The tips do not provide new character classes, monsters or magic items for your game; they provide ideas about how to organize information and the physical things that you can do to build suspense and create atmosphere. For example, a previous tip suggested special lighting in your gaming area to create moods.
Frankly, printed gaming magazines never touch these kinds of subjects. They seem boring and mundane. However, this e-zine seems to be a labor of love for the publisher: he provides real and useful information to GMs which will definitely improve their games without being concerned about the sexiness of the topics. If you want a bunch of flashy ideas, go somewhere else. But, if you want your games to run smoother and you want to be more in control of your own game, subscribe to this e-mail list at the top of the main page at http://www.roleplayingtips.com/ .
The web site itself is lightweight and is dedicated solely to supporting the e-mail list. There is an archives section that has all the past tips. There is another small section with a biography about the publisher. Finally, there are a few stand alone articles on various topics, which I have listed below:
- Running Adventures With Little Preparation
- How To Maintain Game Consistency, While Winging-It
- Big Secrets and Big Plots in Roleplaying Games
- How To Fix Botched Encounters In Mid-Game
- Preparation of Material for a Roleplaying Adventure
- Writing The Effective Villain
Roleplaying Tips.com fills a definite need in the role-playing community. Since he has published 46 issues so far, I expect that Mr. Four will continue publishing it indefinitely. Most e-zines poop out at the third or fourth issue but Mr. Four's focus and discipline have made Roleplaying Tips.com into a valuable service that can be counted on.