All posts by The Crazy GM

RPG Enthusiast and Legally Crazy GM

Quick Tip on Creating Place Names

Earlier today I was trying to come up with a place name for a small area that I am working on for a “Secret Project.” I was having a bit of difficulty as names are probably the hardest part of my gaming prep. I usually wing it and always end up naming the NPC “Bob.” This is a horrible practice, and it got me to thinking. How can I come up with neat names pretty much on the fly.

I’m not entirely sure that this original, I’m a bit lazy in my research lately. But this is what I came up with. It is quick and extremely easy.

Take the first few letters of each part of a person’s name. I know different cultures have different number of names. Here in the US, most people have a first, middle, and last name. Some places don’t have a middle name, some, especially Latino cultures may have many, many names. I apologize if any of this is incorrect or possibly offensive, I’m going by what I remember after what I think I remember, I am crazy, memory is not my strong forte anymore.

In the end I used my daughter’s name: Alexandria Renae Garcia. I came up with the name Alerengar for my area. It is a very nice sounding name and steps away from the cliché of having fantasy names always end with an -ia. I’v never understood that need, it is odd indeed. I toyed with this idea for a while and did everyone in my family and had quite a few interesting names. I will probably use some of them. I will most definitely use this method in the future.

If you have trouble think of names or are afraid someone might catch on, especially if you use the names of the PCs! A good source for this would be a local phone book or use something like the http://www.fakenamegenerator.com/ .

I hope this might help some fellow gamers come up with some interesting place names or even perhaps PC/NPC names as well.

One last note, I did my name: Michael David Garcia, kinda freaked me out. It comes up Midagar. Sounds very familiar doesn’t? I smell a conspiracy. 😀

Bridging the Gap part II

Back again with another tip on using something from a newer game in an older one.

One of the biggest problems in most games has to be how the party got together and how they know one another. One solution that I have used many times is actually from an Old-School blogger, It’s a file called 100 Reasons and can be found here:
http://bxblackrazor.blogspot.com/2010/08/give-me-reasonor-hundred.html

But I would like to talk about an alternative that a lot of people actually seem to enjoy. Group character creation. I’m not talking about everyone making there characters at the same time and making sure the party is well rounded.  I’m talking more about creating a little background story along with character creation.  I don’t always riff off of FATE games but they do have a lot to teach.  This time I want to take a look at the 5 phases of Spirit of the Century and how
you might use this to make characters in D&D or any other game for that matter a little more organic.

Continue reading Bridging the Gap part II

Bridging the Gap

There is a lot of animosity between the old-school and new-school gaming groups. A lot of this I think is unnecessary. I mentioned briefly in my introduction that I am more of an old-school gamer. This isn’t entirely true. While I do enjoy the older games much more than the newer ones. There is a lot to be learned from any game.

I think that the fact that I mentioned my preferred game system was Castles & Crusades was hint to this line of thinking. It does use some things from the d20 era along with somethings from the older versions. I like this because I can use pretty much any material printed with very little conversion. Older or newer it doesn’t matter.

What I would like to talk about is how to take this one step further. Let us take a more modern game and see what we can mine from it to use in an old-school game or any game for that matter.

Today I want to talk about the FATE system and what I took from it. Ever since I read the old FATE 2e book a couple of years ago the idea of fate points stuck in my head. I thought I would try to bring this to my game and did so successfully.

Instead of making the fate points tie into aspects or having to make any rules changes, I simply gave each player 3 coins. They could use these coins to add +2 to a roll, re-roll any dice, or take narrative control. If they contributed something meaningful to the adventure, I would give them another coin.

Narrative control is the big one here. Not many old-school people would allow this type of thing. Since I am the type of GM that likes wing it, I didn’t think this would be a problem, and it wasn’t.

Let me give a quick example of how this went down and you may see where this could be fun.

We were of course playing C&C and the setup isn’t too far from the fight scene in the Mines of Moria from The Lord of the Rings. Five PCs fighting a lot of goblins, I don’t recall exactly but I would say about ten. One PC rolled and hit a goblin but only did 2 points of damage, he used a coin to add +2 for 4 points. One PC fumbled a roll and decided to re-roll. Standard usages for a coin.

Then the narrative started. (After a bit of prodding by me.) Realizing they were kind of hurting at this point. One of the PCs decides to say, “Something scares off the goblins.” I’m thinking okay, now I gotta come up with something. Then one of the other PCs says, “Wouldn’t it be cool if it was a big ass cave troll like in the movie.” I thought, hell yeah, here’s a coin. Then another of the PCs, “We are too weak to fight that. It’s an illusion.” Coin spent. Now I had a magic user to add to the combat, awesome.

Now this isn’t far off from what normally gets talked about at the table, the only difference is what they speculated was true. They really had a good time with this and I think others could too.

Have you used something like this in your games, or do you have any tips on merging old and new?