I’ve been a big fan of using 1″ poker chips in RPG and wargames for years. Back in 2017 I pioneered the idea of Stoplight Damage™ and I sold sets of these tokens in my 5e Gamemaster Toolkit Kickstarter. Beyond their use in tracking damage in RPGs, I’ve also found them handy when differentiating squads of soldiers in 3+ player wargames. Need to differentiate your squad of six American WWII soldiers from the other two players with squads on your side? Just use sticky tack to affix 1″ tokens of the same color to your squad’s models.
The notion of a Session Zero is gaining in popularity in roleplaying games, especially when starting a longer-term RPG campaign. A Session Zero is setting aside the first game of a campaign (the session before Session One) to talk about what the players and GM want and don’t want during the upcoming games. It’s a great chance to level-set expectations, find key areas of interest, surface areas of discomfort, and listen to each other in order to collectively ensure everyone involved has a great time.
Owlbear Rodeo has quickly become my top choice for an RPG virtual tabletop tool due to its ease of use, elegance, and appearance.
Here are some of my top tricks, hacks, or hidden features I use when using Owlbear Rodeo.
I recently saw a quote about Star Trek novels but this made me think about best practices for shared campaigns with multiple GMs.
“Before the litverse, novels had a responsibility (possibly an actual rule from the publishers, but I’m not sure) to “put the toys back in the toy box” when done. In other words, existing assets (characters, ships, structure of existing galactic politics, etc.) had to end up the same at the end of the novel as they were at the start. This restricted the novels is in a certain way – despite how much danger he might be in, you know Sulu isn’t going to die if a novel is set anytime before Undiscovered Country.” (Source)
Probably any shared universe (be it a Traveller, D&D, or any other setting where GMs take turns running games for the same group) needs a chart of things that are “fixed” so the toy box is in order for the next GM.
So something like a “Session Zero”, but for Co-GMs.
We’ve had a really good experience in several of campaigns in our game club with rotating GMs in a shared campaign, so I’m very interested in this topic.
I think I’m finding that the easiest thing is to keep the PCs focused on smaller scale events rather than ‘save the world’. That way there’s not much ‘canon’ they could really effect.
“Save the world” doesn’t always mean that the PCs encounter a world-shaking event, but rather it can simply be “save their world”, which could be a regional issue or a PC related issue that may not directly impact the larger scope of the world. To the heroes it’s still a huge deal but their actions won’t necessarily change the geopolitical framework in the world.
Here’s a video that is worthy of review on this topic as well:
An article from the “Playing At The World” blog has several interesting insights. The thing that stands out to me was the point that, given these conflicting player goals, you can never really have a “perfect RPG” that meets the goals of all player types.