Dressing Up, the Suspension of Disbelief and More Awesome Games

On Monday, Raging Swan Press releases a book of which I’m rather proud: GM’s Miscellany: 20 Things III.

It’s amazing to think we’ve been releasing free 20 Things articles for three whole years. (Check out our extensive archive here). In many ways, the 20 Things line is one of my favourites here at Raging Swan Press. True, it’s not particularly flashy. The various instalments are never going to set the gaming world aflame with excitement but, then again, that isn’t their purpose. Rather, they exist to make a GM’s life easier and to help him (or her) bring to life the adventure setting.

In many ways, the 20 Things line is one of my favourites at Raging Swan Press. True, it’s not particularly flashy. The various instalments are never going to set the gaming world aflame with excitement but, then again, that isn’t their purpose. Rather, they exist to make a GM’s life easier and help bring to life the adventure setting.

Suspension of disbelief is a powerful thing. Anything that helps the GM help the players suspend their disbelief is a jolly handy thing to have in one’s armoury. Given our hobby is a game of imagination I view this kind of supplements as just as important as crunch. After all, who cares what special (or new) skills and powers the orc has if the PCs fight him in a featureless, characterless—and boring—dungeon?

I would even go so far to say that books like this can be the foundation of a GM’s game. Any halfway competent GM can take the lists and details therein and breathe life into their adventure or campaign. I’m not saying this is all you need to run a successful game—that’s evidently madness—but detail and verisimilitude are often the first things sacrificed on the altar of ever-more complicated stat blocks and the inclusion of the latest new shiny mechanic. After all, we all have only a limited time to prepare for the session.

I guess the big secret is that you don’t need the newest spells, skills, magic items, monsters and classes to create an engaging, exciting game. Are the players going to remember—or even notice—how the orc used that new feat (or whatever) from that new book?  No. What is likely to stick in their mind—however—if done right is the setting.

With that in mind, I hope you check out GM’s Miscellany: 20 Things III and consider adding it to your game. I hope it helps you run memorable, engaging and—above all—fun games.

 

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Creighton is the publisher at Raging Swan Press and the designer of the award winning adventure Madness at Gardmore Abbey. He has designed many critically acclaimed modules such as Retribution and Shadowed Keep on the Borderlands and worked with Wizards of the Coast, Paizo, Expeditious Retreat Press, Rite Publishing and Kobold Press.

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