When “Thief – Deadly Shadows” (aka Thief III) was released, Ion Storm also made the games’ soundtrack available for download. The games’ score consist of 16 atmospheric tracks that were composed by Eric Brosius.
The soundtrack has some tracks that work good when you try to create an eerie mood, but it also works great when running a dungeon adventure.
The complete soundtrack can be downloaded here.
Long before White Wolf created their World of Darkness there was Ars Magica by Atlas Games. And when you first have a look at Ars Magica’s rules and setting you could believe it was some kind of Mage: The Dark Ages or something. And this is not far from the truth since the Storyteller system was developed by Ars Magica’s co-author and initially Mage: The Ascension was planned as “Ars Magica in the Modern World”.
Some years agon I bought a copy of Ars Magica at my friendly neighbourhood game store, but I never actually played it. The one thing that always bothered me with Ars Magica is that you play not one character but at least two: the Magus and his Companion. While this sounds rather intruiging on paper, I prefer playing only one character in roleplaying games. But since I never tried it out, it could really work.
If you want to have a look at Ars Magica you can either buy it at your local game store or download the fourth edition for free.
The 272 page long PDF is available at e23, Steve Jackson Games’ digital content store. As far as I’ve seen the PDF is pretty close to the printed version. And by the way, you don’t need to register at e23 for downloading free content and that’s a big plus in my book!
GM’s block is a problem you’ve probably experienced yourself in the past. It is the inability to run or prepare roleplaying sessions due to lack of creativity or inspiration. I have had that problem several times in the past, especially when I was in stress. There are a few methods that can help you to get out of this crisis.
Ask someone else to be GM
Ok, that’s the cop-out. But it could help to be in the players’ shoes for some while to give you new energy for running your own adventures again. But don’t stress yourself. Perhaps the new GM is enjoying his new position and wants to run a campaign. So lean back and enjoy the game!
Use a pre-written adventure
If you don’t have any ideas of your own, don’t hesitate to pick up an adventure written by someone else. If finding ideas for your own stories is your problem, just run some else’s adventure. If there are no adventures for your game available for sale (or for free over the internet), take an adventure from another game and make it fit.
Don’t be perfectionistic
Sometimes the problem is not that you don’t have any ideas but you have to many ideas. And on your quest to create the perfect world, campaign, adventure you just can’t stop. But sometimes you have to accept some flaws to get things done.
Do one-shot adventures
Sometimes it’s easier to just run one-shot adventures instead of coming up with a full-blown campaign. If you start to feel overwhelmed focus on shorter adventures instead of trying to run the “epic-campaign-that-will-end-all-campaigns”.
Change to another game/genre
You just can’t come up with another adventure for your current game? Try a different game/genre instead. Most game masters have lots of roleplaying rules and settings lying around, so why not try that Shadowrun game you picked up at the last con or the new D&D 4E you read so much about?
Talk to your players about it
Don’t be shy and talk with your group about your problem. That’s much better than rescheduling the game “to next week” forever. Perhaps a player has an idea or ask them what they would like their characters to do next. Perhaps turning the whole campaign into a “sandbox campaign” could be the solution. Sometimes improvising during the session is much easier than planning the game beforehand (don’t ask me why), so why not concentrate on improvisation while the players drive the story?
These are some strategies that helped me overcome “GM’s block”. What do you do to fight that problem? Or is this phenomenon totally unknown to you? Please share your thoughts in the comments below!
A Roleplaying Games blog
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