Sep 01

Faculty Meeting # 83 – Elemental Shift


Hello and welcome to Faculty Meetings: The general advice and discussion podcasts from The Rpg Academy. This is Faculty Meeting  # 83 – Elemental Shift. In this episode I interview Travis ( @NotourTravis) about his first time taking up a spot behind the DM screen.  We had started a shorter adventure called Elemental Shift  that Travis was DM’ing. We had been recording it to release as an AP podcast but we never finished it and it’s now been so long I don’t expect we ever will (a few episodes are still on the Patron feed) so we decided to do a review of his process for prep and at the table and see if we could help some other aspiring DM’s out there get a leg up.


I hope you enjoy!!



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  1. That was a very cool episode to listen to, it helped a little to see someone else going through what I’m going through (and who has more experience than I have). There is definitely a learning curve, and there are a bunch of things that can be useful to learn over time. And knowing the group is really important as well, as my group definitely prefers to role play as compared to fighting, and they know that they have to fight and certain things will cause them to fight, but how to turn that into more role playing fighting is important as you guys have given me ideas for on twitter. It makes me really want to play again tonight, but it ended up not happening this week. It also really makes me want to play as a player as compared to a DM, just so I can get some of that experience across the table to see how it all works from that end, and to see what I can do as a player to help drive that part of the story and to be surprised when I think the story is going one way and the story goes a completely different way and see if the surprise is the same as when the players through their story telling helping cause the story to be told in a different way than I had expected it would be, or planned slightly in my head.

    Also, I’m a weird one, where I think my first session, bringing the group together, which was pretty well planned out , was okay, but there have been more recent sessions which have been awesome that I’ve barely planned anything for, just because the players have been getting more comfortable and there has been a whole lot more role playing. But purely improving those sessions or having thought through them for maybe 20 minutes before hand is interesting to see how smoothly they run, and how some really epic moments of character development can come.

    Finally, I need to start planning out more NPC’s. The ones I create on a fly have worked out pretty well, but I never remember names beyond Peter the Peddler and Professor McGonahill and her student Jor’rel. But fleshing those out a bit more before hand would be useful. Or I need to use more alliteration or word play as I’d remember those better.

    • TheOtherJared on September 14, 2015 at 2:57 pm
    • Reply

    Great discussion! I remember going through a lot of what Travis spoke of when I first started out as a GM. One thing to think about is when you don’t get to use your awesome moment in a game, you can always incorporate it at a later time even if it is implemented in a different way. Railroading is a quick way to degrade the effect of a scene or even the campaign. The moment characters have to stop being themselves, you lose the player / character connection and disappointment comes shortly after…at least for me anyways. Travis, keep doing what you’re doing and soon it will become second nature. We all have short comings as GM’s and if we get caught up in the bad, then we forget to enjoy the things we are good at.
    NPC’s are great, but they can get in the way if they are reference too often. They may make a suggestion that helps the group get back on track and that way there is no need for out of game railroading, but you want to keep their action subtle. If they are doing awesome badass things then you could be taking away from the groups enjoyment.

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