I’ve played a lot of different games in my time. Some of them were good. Some sucked. Some were unremarkable except for a single new mechanic. A few were awesome.Probably the best Superhero game system I’ve ever encountered has to be White Wolf’s Aberrant. It’s a great dice system and the powers are list driven (as opposed to free-form or lego styles). Those of you who are familiar with White Wolf should have some idea of what their dice systems are like. All rolls are non-percentage based d10 rolls. Skills, stats and powers are on a 1-5 scale and most rolls combine a stat and a skill (and sometimes a power) to make a pool of dice you roll against a given difficulty and then count up successes. Finally you have the White Wolf patented power stat (every game has one) that is rated 1-10 and which rates your power level in the grand scheme of things and which you will never really get higher than 4 in any given game (not sure why, but this is the way White Wolf makes their games). This system is at the same time simple and very flexible and once you understand the basics, you can crank out a character in 10-15 minutes. Two things the Aberrant setting has going for it are the realism factor and the lack of comic book representation. Running a game in the DC or Marvel worlds can be interesting because of the shared understanding and love of those worlds, but it is also problematic. People who obsess about those worlds tend to be the ones who want to play in them and because of their obsession, they are also the ones who can’t take it when you modify the world. That’s a flaw in any system set in those worlds because most problems can be solved by one NPC or another in those other worlds far better and than they can be solved by the PCs. As a GM you now need to come up with some reason why these other beings are indisposed without (god forbid) killing them off. Makes for a very lame experience all around. I say the Aberrant setting has a good realism factor and what I mean by that is it really represents how I think our society would change with the introduction of super heroes. Super charismatic rock stars, super strong sports players with enormous product endorsement deals, scientists cutting up super heroes to find out what makes them super, secret government super hero groups, the old X-men stand by of “live with the humans or dominate them”, etc. There is still the problem of the world containing NPCs who are far more powerful than the PCs and so would probably be the ones to deal with the really serious problems. However, most Players won’t get nearly as bent out of shape if you decided to kill off Divis Mal as if you killed off Magnito for the sake of reducing the power level of the world in general. The lists of powers are even pretty comprehensive. I can only really think of one style of comic book hero that is difficult to make in Aberrant: Spiderman. Walking on walls, super strength, the webbing, even the “spider sense” are all doable. The problem is in the fact that Spiderman survives most things by not getting hit rather than being tough. I don’t know what to tell you, all of the White Wolf systems universally have that problem. It is always easier to build the character who can’t miss than it is to build the character who can’t be hit. Just a quirk of how the rules come together.
If you’ve never played in a one-shot game, then you are in the minority. A one-shot is where you have a willing group of players, but only a limited amount of time in which to hold a game and so need something that will only last one session. I’ve seen one-shots that were actually two or three shots, but the idea behind this kind of event is for it to start and end in short order. Perhaps you have a group of old gaming friends that can only get together once in a while. Perhaps you’ve bought a book for a new game system and you just want to give it a run around the block. Perhaps your group happens to be free all on the same night and you want to game, but don’t want to play any of the games you currently have going. For whatever reason, a one-shot is what you do when you want to role-play, but don’t have the luxury of being able to schedule a regularly occurring game.Now it seems to me that building a good one-shot involves considerations that are not normally an issue for your standard weekly game. The time constraint makes keeping things moving along far more important than usual. In your standard, one four hour session per week game, allowing a player to waste one hour being bored sucks, but is really no big deal in the grand scheme of things. Let’s say that your game lasts a year with a couple missed sessions for 50 four hour sessions total. That’s 200 hours. One wasted hour is only 0.5% of your time. If you’re running a 6 hour one shot though and one of your players spends an hour being bored, that’s 16.7% of their total time down the drain. That’s a large difference and it will be one of the memories they take away from the game; “I was bored for a good portion of it.” So we have to keep things moving and keep them interesting. How do we do that? First of all, a one-shot is a good reason for the GM to have a game plan well in advance of the event in question. Know the story you’re going to tell and restrict your players’ C-Gen so that everyone makes a PC that will have no trouble being integrated into the plot. Normally I’m completely against having a plot when going into a game, but in a one-shot this is essential. In my standard games the entire first session is usually dedicated to letting the PCs meet each other and letting me figure out who my main characters are and where they will be wanting this story to go. In a one-shot, if you spend the whole time just getting to know people, your game will end right when things become interesting. Not good. Now when picking a setting for a one-shot don’t be too extravagant. Keep the environment something that all of your players are equally comfortable in and make sure that this average level of comfort is high. If you’re running in a published setting keep it as close to the book as possible because that will allow your players to make assumptions based on what they already know/have read. Being constantly told this and that assumption was wrong because your GM had a picture in their head that differed from the one you had access to can be very frustrating especially if time is limited. If you feel the need to make changes to a given setting, be as open as possible, as early as possible, about those changes. Know how long your game is going to last (about) and have out-of-game mile stones. Game start at 4pm. At 5pm the host NPC is murdered. At 6pm the power goes out. That sort of thing. This way you can have an external control on how quickly your PCs move through the story. In a standard game I’d say this is a bad idea because you should really let your PCs have more influence on how the story progresses. In a one-shot though there should be a solid schedule or you’ll never get through your story in the time allotted. Tangents come up, distractions happen, the pizza guy will be late and he will bring you the wrong order and yet the clock ticks on. Your game has to tick on as well. Finally, your one-shot should have a definite ending and resolution. Personally, I think that all games should have a definite ending and resolution, but such a thing is far easier to engineer in a standard game than in a one-shot. In a standard game, you can take weeks to climax and to sort out every loose end. In a one-shot, you only have one shot (lol) at it. The story has to make sense and the ending has to not only fit, but it also has to seem fair. No one likes working through a complicated puzzle only to find that their solution was neither right nor wrong but was instead irrelevant. Misdirection is good in a game, but when time is a factor, the misdirection should be dispensed with early enough that your PCs can cut through to the real culprit before the end. There is a difference in realizing you’ve been fooled just in time to attempt a change in direction and finding out that you’ve been fooled and there’s nothing you can do about it now. I know you know that already, but think about which one you’d chose to experience if you had the choice. Now give your PCs that one.
This person doesn’t really show up to game to play. They show up primarily for the social interaction. Tangents tend to start with this person and they are only ever partially in-character if at all. This person may also spend an inordinate amount of time texting or hitting facebook on their laptop or even talking on the phone. When you talk to them, require their responses to be in-character and have your NPCs react oddly when you take this person’s out-of-character banter as if it were in-character (“I know not of this oracle. Who is Google and where is his tower?”). Do it constantly and encourage your other players to do it as well. Basically spoil this person’s out-of-character fun. If that doesn’t work, talk to them directly. Ask them to put their phone away when they take it out. Interrupt non-game related stories as soon as you realize they are non-game related and refuse to allow the tangent to continue. I had one player who brought a novel with them to game and would open it and start reading when ever they didn’t have my full attention. Not exactly socialite behavior, but definitely rude and not focused on game. I asked him to stop, but he couldn’t seem to control the habit. I began initiating combat every single time I saw them open their book. After a while the other players realized something was up and asked about it. I just said that if I saw so’n’so get bored enough to start reading a book I would spice things up by making the otherwise peaceful NPCs become irrationally violent. The book stayed at home there after. 6. Chicken Little
Some players only seem able to contribute by poking holes in other people’s ideas. “That will never work because of x, y, and z.” “You can’t do that because of a, b, and c.” Whole game sessions will go by and nothing will get done because this person can’t imagine moving forward without a solid gold guarantee that nothing will go wrong with a given plan. They shoot down the ideas of others because they are not perfect and don’t come up with any ideas of their own because perfection isn’t possible. Net result? Stagnation. With this person in your group, you’re going to have to take an active role in forming the group’s plans. When someone comes up with an idea you think is a good one, reward them by supporting it. I don’t mean you should tell them what ideas they should use. Just contribute with little guarantees that certain things won’t be a problem. That way when Chicken Little starts poking holes in the plan, you can cover those holes back up. CL: “That will never work because of x, y, and z.”
GM: “Actually, you don’t think x will be a problem because you have so’n’so as a contact. Y shouldn’t come to pass because its the wrong time of year. Z may happen, but you think you could plan for it and cover that base by doing this or that.” 7. The GM
Whether it’s because they’ve just been the defacto GM for years beyond counting or maybe they’re just an insufferable know-it-all, this player can’t seem to ever leave the GM’s chair. They have advice for how every situation could have been better handled. They answer questions directed at the actual GM. In short, they (usually unwittingly) do everything in their power to make their current GM feel completely inadequate and inexperienced. Yeah. I’m talking about me. Go ahead and get your laughs in now. How would I handle me? Well, my first GMing experience involved someone like this. My guy (who is still a very good friend of mine) knew the rules far better than I did and had been our group’s default GM for long since before I’d joined up. Mostly what I did was muck the rules about. I introduced monsters that weren’t in any book. I changed game mechanics, invented new powers, and generally made sure that my old GM couldn’t be sure of what he knew and didn’t know about the game anymore. In short, I made the game new for him and did my best to put him on unfamiliar territory. He was a good sport about it too and in the end he enjoyed getting to be a n00b again.
Get it? “The Role of the Player”? Role-Player? Ahhhh… I kill me…Anyway, this blog is primarily aimed at GMs but they alone can not make a good game. On the contrary, a good GM can only do so much without the help and support of good Players. Hell, I’d go so far as to say that the Players’ attitudes and contributions probably make up the lion’s share of any given game. Mostly the GM is there simply to facilitate the Players experience. So what does a good Player do to help their GM? We’re going to come back around to this point again and again so we might as well throw it out there right at the beginning. A good player is open, honest, and involved with their GM on all aspects of the game. Point number one: tell your GM what your character is thinking and do it often. GM’s are not psychic. They can not read your mind nor can they read the mind of your Character. So you have to tell them what’s going on in there. Keeping secrets from your GM is never a good idea. GMs you’re going to have to accept that just because you thought something was the bee’s knees doesn’t mean it was what your players were hoping to spend their evening doing. Players it is up to you to keep your GM apprised of how the story is working on your Character so they know what is and isn’t working and are able to adjust the story accordingly. A good GM is trying to build their game toward your Characters, but they can’t tell you where they’re going with everything or what their NPCs are thinking because that would ruin the suspense and mystery of the game. You, on the other hand are perfectly able to tell the GM anything and everything about your end of things. You should jump at every opportunity to ramble about your Character’s point of view to your GM. Point number two: tell your GM what you (the Player, not the Character) thinks of the game. Just because you’re playing a fighter doesn’t make a game that is all combat enjoyable to you. Sure your Character is having a blast, but your enjoyment is the enjoyment that matters here. Your GM may not know this though unless you tell them. I know it is never fun telling your friend that their game is boring you to tears, but you have to tell the GM or you have no one but yourself to blame for the GM not knowing of your angst and/or boredom. Again, GM’s you’re going to have to be open to this kind of information as well. Getting offended that one of your Players isn’t enjoying themselves will not in any way improve the situation. If a Player has worked up the courage to tell you that your game is disappointing them for one reason or another, you owe it to them to be accepting of this information and to try and modify the game so that it works for them. Point number three: don’t cheat. I know. I know. This one should be obvious, but time and time again I find that it isn’t. Players, trust your GM and be honest with them. If they’re a good GM, you really have nothing to fear from missing this roll or that one. The game will unfold and failures can be just as entertaining as successes. Learn to be amused either way and try to think about how your Character would react to this set back rather than being pissed at your dice or lack of appropriate skill points, powers, or whatever. Point number four: play nice with your fellow Players. Yours is not the only Character in the game. You do not need to be involved in every single event that goes down nor do you have to be informed of all developments that come about. A role-playing game is all about point of view and if your Character isn’t present at something, don’t demand that the Characters that are call you or come get you or something like that. Do your thing and trust that the other Players will do theirs and that the GM will make sure that everyone is involved and has fun. Point number five: close that stinking book. Yes, role-playing games have rules. Yes, they are an important part of bringing the story to life. No, you shouldn’t spend all session pouring over the book and only participating when you find the loopholes that let you destroy the moon with a sling-shot. It’s role-playing, people. Put the book down and get into character. Have in-character conversations with the other Characters. Let the rules take care of themselves unless there is a serious question on the table. Then look up the rule, but get back to the role-playing as soon as you can.
When I was younger having a couple in the gaming group was rare and always caused huge amounts of drama as most things did when I was younger. However, it seems to have become more common as more and more of us pair up and start settling down. Lets face it, gamers either try to pair off with other gamers or they try to convince whomever they have decided to spend their life with that they should spend that life gaming. This can be difficult though because couple is a completely different entity than either of the individuals are on their own or even together (were they not in a relationship). Some people are less willing to indulge in some conversations and activities if their significant other is present. Some couples feel the need to confer on everything even if their Characters wouldn’t. How do you deal with this? Well, first you have to understand that this issue falls into three categories: Player/Player couples, GM/Player couples, Player/Observer couples.Player/Player couples are the easiest to deal with because as the GM you can enforce some policies that both of them have to adhere to. Most of this type of couple tend to have one member who is “more into it” than the other. What you need to watch out for is the “more into it” Player trying to play two characters for the price of one. Tackle this by starting your game with a C-gen session and requiring that significant others can’t make characters together. If the “more into it” Player doesn’t have a hand in the C-gen of the other’s character, they’re less likely to feel any kind of ownership of it. If the “less into it” person is inexperienced (and they usually are) assign someone other than their significant other to help them through C-gen or help them yourself (this latter being the better option). While the game is running, keep an eye out for the “more into it” Player suggesting courses of action to or performing the math/rolling dice for or even speaking for their SO’s character. Politely but firmly discount what the “more into it” Player has said (I’ve used the phrase “Hay! Who’s talking to you, chuckles?” and it worked well for me), make eye contact with the “less into it” Player, and ask them directly what they’re doing, what their roll was, or what their character said/did. Make it clear that they have to be involved. Also, taking them aside and running them through encounters without their SO being present will help a lot. In other words, cut the “more into it” Player out of the loop. A little time and attention can do wonders for meek Players and that’s really what this comes down to. Give them your time, but remember not to focus all of your time on this one Player or your game will suffer. Player/Observer couples, in my opinion, are just a Player/Player couple taken to the extreme. One person wants to come to game, but insists that they don’t want to play. How do I handle this? I refuse. No observers at my games. No exceptions. I mention that I don’t like observers in advance, but otherwise say nothing till the first session and then I insist that they make a character. In this way I turn the Player/Observer couple into a Player/Player couple and deal with it like that (see above). This may sound unreasonable to some of you, but I’ve never done this and not had the former Observer ending up becoming a Player for life and thanking me in the end for forcing the issue. 100% success rate. Hard to argue with, huh? GM/Player couples. That one’s a doozy. I’ve seen whole gaming groups crumble because of this and it’s hard to deal with because as the GM you’re part of the problem. I was once in a game where we were all supposed to make pirates. We all did, except the SO’s girlfriend who made a horse-archer. It was amazing how many boats we encountered that were built perfectly to house horses. All of the bad guys conveniently got close enough for the horse to jump onto the opposing ship. Every pirate’s treasure was hidden somewhere easily accessible by horse. A pirate captain even challenged our “leader” to a duel… that duel to consist of a joust followed by an archery contest. So lame… I was also told of a game where the SO alone was allowed to take a set of abilities which were (with some effort) able to double for any other abilities in the game and (because of a quirk concerning the way their SO’s character was built) those abilities would cost them half price in terms of xp. By the end of the game that Player had to imagine reasons for why their character would let the other Players participate in things rather than just saving the world on their own. Seriously, it was as if they had gotten twice as much advancement fuel as the rest of the team. I’m told the story was very imaginative and the game well run, but in spite of that the end game sounds more than a little lackluster to me because of the incredible power gap. Ouch. Here’s the best advice I have. Do your best not to steer the game completely in your SO’s direction. Include lots of face time with the other Players. Make a point of alternating which Player each session focuses most on. Oh, and for the love of god don’t let your SO become noticeably more powerful than the other players. If another Player becomes a little more powerful, no one will care. If your SO becomes more powerful than the others, it will be instantly noticed and the reason for it assumed (probably accurately). Finally, talk to your SO about it. The person with the GM’s ear for the largest amount of time outside of game tends to have some advantage in the amount of GM thought that has gone into seeing things from their character’s point of view. That’s just to be expected. However, if you acknowledge the possible issues and explain to your SO that for the purpose of game they’re just another player and that you may not want to discuss game with them at times they should understand. A good SO will anyway. If they don’t. I pitty you, and not just for your gaming career.
Well, I’m glad to see that you all didn’t fly away aboard the good ship Rapture with “Macho Man” Randy Savage over this weekend. If you had, who would read my blog? Oooh Yeah!Anyhow on to today’s topic. First, find a group. If this is your first game, any group will do, just get started asap. As with any endeavor there is always a reason to put it off till later and the longer you wait, the less likely you will start at all. Next, you probably shouldn’t be the GM, but if your whole group is comprised of first time gamers, someone needs to start the GM rotation and it might as well be you. If you’re going to GM, don’t do it reluctantly; jump on that shit. Get jazzed about it. The GM more than any other group member has to be into it and own it. Remember, it’s your job as the GM to keep your players interested and the story moving along. If you don’t really want to be there, it will show in your game. Pick a setting. I would recommend Pathfinder (or D&D 3.5) to start with. Avoid anything modern day or science fiction (and D&D 4th Ed which is a bored game not an RPG). We all have some kind of experience with the Fantasy setting even if it is just in the form of fairy tales so it is easy to latch on to. Also, with Fantasy your options are fairly limited at every stage of the game. This is a good thing to start with and I’d even recommend a further limiting by restricting your alignments to any Lawful and any Good. Evil is best left for later games and you’re not nearly as likely to offend any of your new players and drive them away so early in the journey. Now make a character while your players are making theirs and then throw yours away. You just want to know what they went through in this section, not to take on two roles in the group. Why no modern day games? Because we all know too much about modern day. If you run in a fantasy setting you can simply declare whether or not the king is evil or which countries are backward without the need to justify your declarations politically or rationally or historically. Also, if you’re running your game for a group of geeks, some of them will be more informed on some subjects than you are. Having your computer enthusiast friend play a hacker in your game and dictate to you what they can and can’t accomplish in your world is pretty lame especially for your first or even just an early GMing experience. Go with an entirely fictional world where science takes a back seat for your first trip out. You’ll thank me later. Don’t let the Players play themselves. For some reason (and I was as guilty of this as anyone) it is attractive to new gamers to try and imagine what their personal stats (the player’s stats) would be and then to make a PC that is them in paper’n’dice form and play that. Bad idea. Very bad idea. Think about it, if one of your friends playing themselves betrays you playing yourself. What does that say about your friendship? Besides, they get to be themselves everyday. This is role-playing. Bite the bullet and be someone else for a while. When you get right down to it, that’s kind of the point of this escapist past time. Use a table and keep the game regular. I recommend reading my earlier GM Tools post on Tables. Put simply, a table keeps people focused on what is being done at that table. This is good for new gamers. Keeping the game regular (on a certain night of the week, every week, with as few exceptions as possible) does what a table does with space except a schedule does it with time. With these two things in place you have a an easy path of focus for your group to adhere and most people take the easy path when given a choice. Trust me. It will help keep your group going. Start with a mod. A mod is a game story (with encounters, NPCs, maps, dialogue, and advice) that has been pre-written for you. They sell them where ever gaming books are sold so you shouldn’t have much trouble finding one. Or check the internet. I’m sure there are free mods available somewhere. I don’t use mods anymore, but I used to and when I did, they were a great help for a n00b GM. At the time I had no idea how to put together a story. With a mod it’s all right there for you. Use enough of them, and you should get the hang of what sort of developments need to happen at which points in a game. Once you have that down, you can take the mod training-wheels off your game and ride like a big boy. Till then, use them. That’s what they’re there for. Don’t fret if the PCs stray from the line-course of your mod. Actually, I’d say you should encourage this. As I mentioned earlier, I used to use mods and to my knowledge absolutely none of them ever turned out the way the writers said they ought to have. The mod is just a framework. It should only spark the creative juices. You and the players should supply the constant flow of it. If your players wander off to a section that has been left undefined by the mod’s author, make something up. It might be the wrong thing and it might not turn out well, but these are the risks GMs must take. Wing it often enough though and you’ll eventually learn to use those wings pretty well. Finally, don’t be too stingy with the xp and the gold (the advancement in other words) and keep the game moving along. An extremely easy combat during the first session is a good idea for any game regardless of the experience levels of the people involved and I’d say no more than one combat per session. If you’re finding that combat is taking up all of your game time, cut some of it out. I’ve seen 5 hours of gaming cover 5 rounds of combat (that’s 30 seconds of in game time) and that’s lame. All of the story development happens outside of combat so if you’re having too much combat, your story is going nowhere. Try and let your PCs level fairly often (once every couple of weeks) so they get an idea of how characters progress and so you can justify ending the game after 6 months to a year. You don’t want it going on longer than that. Why? So you can quickly move on to your next game and apply what you learned in your first game. If you never move on, you never get to apply what you’ve learned.
If you’ve been gaming as long as I have you’re sure to have encountered one or more of the following player types.1. The Bearer of the Perfect Character
This is the guy who comes to your game with a character whose history and experience is detailed and extravagant. At first you’re amazed at how much thought obviously went into this C-gen. Then you hear the seven words which make your heart fall “The last game I played him in…” Now you understand that the history of this particular character is so detailed because this player has been playing this same character since it was a zygote. Beware this guy. He may be willing to tone down the accumulated power of his character or change the name, but in his head the character will have reasons for this (in hiding, power drained by a big baddie, amnesia, etc), but he will always want you to allow certain things based on the precedents set by his old GMs. He will also only be able to hold on to his thin veneer of newness for just so long. Eventually he will want his character of many faces and many names to be revealed for the well traveled, knowledgeable, and powerful juggernaut he truly is. Don’t fall for it. Tell them they have to make a new (brand new and unrelated to any old PCs) character or take their business elsewhere. Trust me. You’ll be happier for it. 2. Curly
This is the guy who comes to your game, often as someone’s friend who wants to learn to game, and can’t take the game seriously. They have their character say or do things that are amusing to them Out Of Character and make no sense In Character. Usually these outbursts are followed by phrases like “C’mon. It’s just a game.” or “I’m just having fun.” or “What’s the big deal?” Dump ’em. I know that sounds harsh, but unless you’re playing something comedic like Paranoia all they can do is detract from your game and they won’t ever understand your reasons for not liking this. Getting into character and taking the game seriously are necessary parts of this past time. This person will pull the other Players out of their characters and out of the setting. Think of it like you’re directing a play. If one of your actors constantly shows up not knowing their lines or can’t get through a single scene without breaking character, your production would be better off with someone (anyone, even an NPC drone) in their place. They may be the blood brother of one of your players, but that doesn’t give them the right to ruin your game. Give them one chance to shape up and then politely ask them to go to a bar somewhere and play the class clown instead of doing it in your game. 3. Perry Mason
Also known as The Rules-Lawyer. This is the player who knows the book rules of whatever game you’re running inside and out; probably better than you do. They have all the books and have been playing in this setting for years and can guess what monster is lurking in the shadows from the first three words you speak about it like they were playing Name That Tune. How lame is that? Perry is a hard player to deal with. First of all, he wouldn’t know this much about the rules if he didn’t have a section of his heart hollowed out specifically so he’d have a place to carry the rules around with him where ever he went. He loves the rules. It is the first part of his joy from gaming. He like maps and minis and pouring over indexes. Most of all he loves being right. My primary advice is to run using a setting Perry is inexperienced with. Believe me, it won’t take him long to become experienced with it (see the above paragraph on loving the rules), but it will at least give you time to learn it along with him so you don’t have to constantly be interrupted by this guy telling you that you’re wrong. Further, you should state at the beginning of your game that you reserve the right to modify or flat out junk any rules you see fit with no warning. All modern games come published with this advisement printed somewhere in them, but it usually helps to be up-front about it. Finally, you should encourage them to give logical reasons why something should or shouldn’t happen rather than rules based reasons. “The car shouldn’t blow up because gasoline isn’t flammable in that fashion” as opposed to “The rules say that a car needs to take 30 points of structural damage before blowing up and it can’t have taken more than 25 because of X, Y, and Z.” Reward one and shrug off the other. If you’re consistent, Perry will learn this rule as well. 4. Samson
A hair cut? Really? That’s it? This is the Player that takes flaws which are extremely crippling, simple to exploit, and a little silly because they believe that if they throw themselves upon the mercy of the GM, they’ll get the extra build points and never have to deal with the flaw being used against them. Paraplegic hackers who never leave their homes, blind monks who “see” with other senses, modern day characters with phobias of elephants or polar bears, etc.Deal with this guy by being blunt as well. State at C-gen that all (not some, but all) flaws will come into play in your game and that the intensity with which they will do so will be based on the number of bonus points they granted the Player in question. The paraplegic hacker’s home will be assaulted early and often. The blind monk will have to cut the red wire. Afraid of elephants? Well the big baddie wants to meet under a flag of truce… at the zoo. Make sure this is understood at the beginning and then take a player who still tries this aside and make sure they are fine with a game populated by polar bears before beginning. Tell them that if they wanted something like this to be more flavor than substance, then they should take it for no points and you won’t worry about making sure it comes up. Then create a check list of your Players’ flaws that gave points and make sure each of them gets kicked at least once a month in a real and hindering sort of way. If you do this and follow through on it, these guys will eventually learn to take flaws based on a character idea rather than just for points. Remember to not be vindictive though. Be sure that you use your imagination and incorporate these flaws into the game in a believable fashion. There are more of these, but this post is getting a little long. I guess we’ll add to it later.