This week my brain decided to not work all that well. I was having a lot of trouble getting into gear for certain games so I asked this question to reddit:
“My brain is usually always in “imagination mode” to the point where I’m pretty sure I have subprocesses running that are generating plot points in my games. Unfortunately, my brain sometimes crashes and a system reboot can take up to a month. I usually have plan B plots that I can fall back on but I’m wondering what other people do to get their brains back into creative mode, or how to mitigate the effects of a brain that wants no part of the creative process.”
Here are some of my favorite answers:
While planning, if I can’t come up with something, I just write down something, no matter how derivative and horrible it is, then work that idea. Usually, I can make it into something good, or it will spark something good.
During a game, if I’ve run out of ideas or had a brain fart, I’ll turn to the players and ask, “What do you do?” or “Where do you go from here?” and that usually kickstarts the brain juices.
Well it sounds like you already answered it for yourself: Just store up your B-Plots until you find the creativity again!
Myself, I do a few things:
Look at what’s happened already. A lot of my stories start from just asking ‘We haven’t seen this NPC in a while, what’s he been up to?’
I make an ‘elevator pitch’ and list of themes to riff on for every campaign. I tend to over-think things, so this helps me get back to the essentials.
Homage or remix a story, monster, or scene I really like.
Ask broad questions like “What could really shake up the status quo right now?” or “What kind of monster haven’t we seen yet?”
Write 25 ideas as fast as I can, regardless of good or bad. Usually there will end up being a couple seeds I can grow.
Mine ideas from a character’s backstory or past actions.
Look elsewhere for ideas. I run modern games, so looking at fantasy stories can give me ideas that are ‘outside the box.’
Ask the players what they’d like to see.
Announce a bye week ahead of time, if the block is really bad. “I need some time to sort things out and work on the next arc, so we’re taking the next session off.”
The most helpful thing for me is just asking different questions. Questions about theme, or what people want, or moral issues I’d like to explore. Usually, the questions that give me the most ideas aren’t related to ‘What will they do next week?’ But that’s just me, I think everyone creates differently.
So those of you who know me know I’m not a fan of long drawn out combats. Tactical I still love, but chewing through hit points is not my cup of grog. I recently went through the Bestiary and decided to make the monsters hit harder. This was to put them more in-line with the Deadliness rating but also to give players a clear idea of whether they should fight or flight during the initial rounds of combat.
Fun New Malady
Big shout out to Mason for his constant Pucking up rolls. It’s forced me to be creative with Maladies. Here’s one I came up with last game. Creepy: Something about your Fairy is off-putting and people want to be around them as little as possible.
In Kittens McMitten’s (Mason’s) case this was an undead clown mouse that constantly played circus music on the xylophone and followed him around. The mouse could be destroyed, but would always come back shortly after.
ANOTHER NOTE: Mirrors are now Pookas. That was what they should have always been called, I just didn’t know what a Pooka was.
Great/Terrible News Everyone!
So… I’ve been trying to find a way to sell Fray:Inquisition the same way you’d sell an RPG on DriveThru RPG. I thought I’d seen every gaming site but somehow missed a fantastic one that handles distribution for me. I’m an idiot, or lazy, or maybe I forgot how to read at some point. Anyway, new site means new formats for cards which means I get to go back and export all the cards with new sizes. The upside is that everything is going to be more standardized and some mistakes I missed originally are now getting fixed. I hope playtesting goes well, because it’d be a shame to let a game this gorgeous go to waste.
First fully satisfactory playtest
This week I ran Cyberpunk with the usuals, big shout out to my playtesters, you guys are amazing. From my side of the table everything about the system felt like it was lining up. It needs a better write up explaining the magical powers, their limits, and what they can do. Perks still need a little work, but I felt like the system was pretty spot on and delivered what it should be delivering. There was no real combat, however, so that still needs to be tested a little more but the system is so almost there I can taste the sweet metallic cyberpunkiness of it.
This week I’d like to think Kylenan Clyde. She’s the amazing artist who has really been helping bring Fairy Trails to life.
Her work is all hand-drawn and amazingly well done. She’s done an amazing job of bringing my poor descriptions of what is in my brain to life and really shaped the visions of the fairies in Fairy Trails.
My System for DnD – This Week: Flen
Ability Score Increase:
+2 Dex, + 1 Int
Flen reach maturity at the age of 13 and can live up to 100 years. Alignment
Flen from the Northern Kingdom tend to be Lawful Neutral. Flen from the Southern Kingdom tend to be Chaotic Good. Size
Flen are usually 175 cm tall. Speed
Delk Base Speed is 40. Dodge
You can use your Reaction to gain +1 AC. Graceful
You have proficiency in Acrobatics. Languages
Flen can speak the Common Tongue