October 2014 Blog Carnival: Things that go bump in the night



From goulies and ghosties and long-leggedy beasties
And things that go bump in the night
Good Lord, deliver us! – The Cornish and West Country Litany, 1926

Once again into the darkness of the All Hallows Eve the RPGA Carnival descends to find not the Spooky Spots of last year but instead those things that go bump in the night.

Nearly every person has a story of something that caused the hairs on the back of their necks to stand up, some sound that came from under the bed or a noise just outside the window. It was real to them at the time and who knows, maybe it is.

For this month’s entry into the carnival peer into the inky blackness and share what you find there, is it ghost, ghoul, or some creature with long razor sharp nails that leave it’s mark on the wall for us to find in the morning?

Or maybe you’d rather share how a tale like this can be woven into a story line in a campaign. Did you use the story to scare the characters (or maybe even the players)? Was it a plot device? Do tell!

rpgblogcarnivallogoAs always, if you decide to partake of the Carnivals delights this month leave a comment below with a link to where we’ll be able to find it so that the stories can be shared an a few more can scream in the night.

Did I hear something or was it my imagination?

I hope my dice roll well!

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April 2014 Blog Carnival: The Game Master’s Binder – That’s a Wrap

rpgblogcarnivallogoIt may have taken a while for the posts to come but thanks to those that contributed to this month’s blog carnival The Game Master’s Binder.

After my initial offering which covered my use of Evernote as my GM Binder we were privileged to hear from another half dozen bloggers on the topic.

Over at The Warehouse of Trinkets an interesting take on the topic, using a catalog instead of a binder. The thought is that carrying a folder with a number of RPG related items in it serves as a great resource for the GM when pressed into service. I like the idea as it’s similar to my ‘ideas’ notebook but it takes it a step further by including free RPG rules as well.

We next get a distinctively different feel from The Gaming Blog of General Tangent who, being British, lends an international point of view and gives us an interesting post that shares his binder evolution. Here’s another example of someone that has moved through paper into digital and shares some of the challenges that having your campaign material tied up in desktop software brings to the table.

Phil over at Tales of a GM shares his journey as well. He’s settled on a ‘mix and match’ setup that combines both the digital and analog worlds. What makes this article is that Phil takes some time to explain his issues with using technology – things like power and space for the laptop. I can definitely sympathize with his issues as I encountered a number of them when I used a laptop as a player and had a tendency to actually need more space than most of the other players (often needing more space than the GM!), go figure.

Over at World Builder Blog James starts us on his journey, from the composition notebook. I remember using these for school but not as a place to keep my GM notes. James then goes on to share some of his Google Drive setup and how he uses email and a wiki to keep his players informed. He also takes some time to share the other tools he uses to store items relating to his campaign and what tool he’s looking forward to using in the future (assuming it does make it to the Mac).

So, please raise your hand if you ever programmed your own GM binder/screen system. I know I made a feeble attempt at one many, many, moons ago but that’s exactly the idea behind the binder that Elthos RPG shares with us. We start with the humble beginnings of a self made screen and then move through the creation of his current tool.

We close out the month with the evolution of the binder of RPGames.be. This post, like many of the ones before it, chronicles the move from paper, to digital, to something of a mix. What makes this binder’s final form interesting is that it is not just a combination of paper and software, but also the GM’s gaming blog as well (something I’ve tried in the past myself and may do again).

So there you have it, the wrap up for the April Blog Carnival be sure to check out all Blog Carnival’s Home Page for a full listing of all the carnivals that have been run.

May your dice roll well.

Update: We have one more entry that I missed when I wrote the wrap-up: A GM Notebook’s Evolution where we see the move once again from paper to electronic. This time the move is into a wiki and Google Docs and there’s also a cautionary tale about tossing out your old notes.

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My GM binder? Evernote of course!

rpgblogcarnivallogoSo for this month’s blog carnival we’re taking a look at one of a Game Master’s most prized possessions, the GM Binder.

I know many still use a three-ring binder for this and in fact for my last multi-year campaign I did the same. It had dividers in it, graph paper, campaign notes, world notes, and all sorts of other items that were collected during the course of the campaign. Now, finding something in all of that was easy when we played three times a month, go to once every three months and it gets a bit harder. Trying to locate a specific detail about a town, or an NPC, became difficult the longer the campaign ran (I stopped publishing the named NPC list when it crossed the 100 mark).

In a past post I mentioned that I was moving to Evernote for my next campaign and it’s to combat the items above – sheer volume of material and being able to find what I need at that moment at the table.

For those that read Johnn Four’s Roleplaying Tips Newsletter you may have caught my recent article containing a few tips on using Evernote as a GM, please bear with me as this will look familiar.

I should also state up front that this is a work in progress and the manner in which I’m storing things may change over time – I’ll be sure to pass along updates in the future.

Also, I’m going to make a small assumption that you know something about Evernote – sorry about that, if I include all the background I’m not sure I’ll ever finish this post. (I am planning a number of future posts where I’ll go into a bit more detail on what follows.)

In order to make things easier to find in my “binder” I’m going to use an abbreviation or code to mark all my notes. This code needs to be specific to the campaign but since I haven’t named the campaign yet (it may sound strange to some but the campaign name is something I trust to the gods – it will reveal itself in time) I’m using the code “cpgn” which is short for campaign, for now. A simple edit of the tags later will change everywhere I’ve used it.

rpg-notebook-setupSo now that tagging is out of the way, I’ve created a notebook stack so that I can keep some semblance of order to my notes. As I’m still in the creation stage the stack is fluid but as you can see I’ve got a section for the NPCs, PCs, Plot Ideas, and Setting. Once the campaign gets rolling I’ll likely add sections for Session Notes and possibly a public notebook which the players will be able to access.

As I work through the creation of the campaign (and eventually running it) each time I want to add something to my ‘GM Notebook’ I simply create a new note, tag it accordingly (so it doesn’t get lost), and file it in the appropriate section.

The nice thing about using Evernote as my binder is that it is always with me. I have it installed on my phone, tablet and all my computers. If by chance I need to use it anywhere else I can pull it up on the web.

Now, I should mention that only the PC and Mac versions will have all your notes right there handy for you unless you’re a Premium user. The phone and tablet versions can create an ‘offline notebook’ which will store everything in that notebook locally (as well as sync it to the cloud) so you never have to worry about whether you’ll have access or not.

What about your binder? Why not write something up and link to the carnival this month I know I’d like to know what others are using.

May your dice roll well.

Don’t have Evernote? Sign up through my Evernote referral link and get a free month of Premium Service.

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April 2014 Blog Carnival: The Game Master’s Binder

rpgblogcarnivallogoFor some, creating it was a rite of passage.

For others, it was a project that was never completed.

For all, it was something we poured our lifeblood into creating and held it as a prized possession.

The Game Master’s Binder

Many of us started our GM career simply using a few sheets of paper or index cards stuffed inside the front cover of our gaming book. The progression continued through paper clipped pages, note cards with binder clips, folders and then finally to a binder where pages were punched and inserted between dividers to keep it all nice and tidy.

Then, the computer age hit and it all changed.

For this month’s RPG’s Bloggers’ Carnival we’re taking a look at this prized possession and asking you to share what yours is. As usual to participate you simply need to write a post on your blog about your GM binder – it can be your current one, a past one you remember all to well, or what you’re planning to use in the future. Once you written it up be sure to link to this post and drop a note in the comments so I can be sure to collect them all up for a final roundup on the posts.

So the question I put to you now is what does does your GM Binder look like? Is it still a three-ring binder? Is it a tablet? A laptop? Your smartphone?

What does it look like on the inside? What do you keep in it? How do you organize it?

If you don’t have a blog feel free to share in the comments about your binder, or jump over to the of Dice and Dragons facebook or Google+ page and share your thoughts on the entry there.

Now, go on and post something, this isn’t an April Fool’s Joke (seriously, it isn’t).

May your dice roll well.

The Carnival has moved on but be sure to check out this carnival’s wrap-up post.

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Planned Server Maintenance

Server MaintenanceI’ve been notified by my hosting company that they are doing server maintenance tomorrow night, January 22, between the hours of 8-10 PM MST.

During that time period it is expected that this site will not be accessible for about 15-30 minutes along with my email.

Hopefully all goes well and the outage will be minimal. My apologies for any issues this may cause.


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