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MW GUIDES add-on: GM Writing Exercises

   
MW GUIDES add-on: GM Writing Exercises

In the interest of helping others with creativity (a stated trouble spot where the MW GUIDES are lacking) I've decided to include a segment on Writing exercises geared towards new GMs to get them moving in the right direction.

What I need from you:

take a quick peek at the exercises and see if you can think of another exercise that would be useful to a new GM (non system specific). Most of these should be solo activities, but it's fine to include a couple of exercises to be done in pairs.

When designing an exercise, consider how it will help the new GM attain fundamental skills they will need to have to GM effectively.

here is what is up so far:












EDIT: NEW EXERCISES:





Additional exercises to add:

The Trap/Puzzle
Set the scene

Excercise recommendation

Exercise recommendation. Combat.

Nearly every genre hits the apex of the adventure where conflict occurs. A well described battle scene will achieve these objectives. It will give your players the satisfaction of seeing their heroes in action. Set the field accurately to help eliminate confusion.

I hit (insert monster) with my sword is a lackluster description in comparison to.

The troll hunched down over the carcass of the horse smacking its maws over the flesh. The scaly head tipped back sniffing the air. Emitting a low growl as it stood to face the party. Clicking its bloody claws the monster leered at the group of adventurers.

The myrmidon spun the sword in his grip anticipating the battle. He circled to the right drawing the troll’s attention in an attempt to offer his allies the opportunity to strike from a superior position. Once the vile creature turned its flank to the bold warrior’s comrades he charged in with his sword held high.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Melverne View Post
Exercise recommendation. Combat.

Nearly every genre hits the apex of the adventure where conflict occurs. A well described battle scene will achieve these objectives. It will give your players the satisfaction of seeing their heroes in action. Set the field accurately to help eliminate confusion.

I hit (insert monster) with my sword is a lackluster description in comparison to.

The troll hunched down over the carcass of the horse smacking its maws over the flesh. The scaly head tipped back sniffing the air. Emitting a low growl as it stood to face the party. Clicking its bloody claws the monster leered at the group of adventurers.

The myrmidon spun the sword in his grip anticipating the battle. He circled to the right drawing the troll’s attention in an attempt to offer his allies the opportunity to strike from a superior position. Once the vile creature turned its flank to the bold warrior’s comrades he charged in with his sword held high.
Ha Ha! I knew I forgot something. I even planned on adding that in but it was late when I wrote this.

Also another exercise:

3 person dialog, at least 3 turns each without using the words "he/she said" or an extrapolation of the same words (Tom said, etc.)

I'm glad to see this topic expanded on. There have been several posts lately of players who are just getting started that would benefit from reading this. Even for long time gamers it has helpful reminders.

Yeah, besides the MW GUIDES a full 3.5 DM college is in store for a future project.

New Exercises added to the OP

I'm not sure about this one, but I feel like there maybe should be one to describe a room/chest/bookcase/whatever that has at least one Plot Object and one Red Herring in it.

The purpose of it would be to get used to the idea of describing things besides those that directly matter so players don't just latch onto whatever you describe as being the only things of value and importance.

Conversely, being able to evoke a general idea for a location without a lot of specific detail is always useful for what are basically throwaway locations. A seedy bar is a seedy bar is a seedy bar, oui? One need not spend more than a paragraph describing such a place, unless there's something special about this particular seedy bar. And there doesn't always have to be something special or memorable. Sometimes, it's just a backdrop for something important and detail would detract from the scene.

Quote:
Originally Posted by dauphinous View Post
I'm not sure about this one, but I feel like there maybe should be one to describe a room/chest/bookcase/whatever that has at least one Plot Object and one Red Herring in it.

The purpose of it would be to get used to the idea of describing things besides those that directly matter so players don't just latch onto whatever you describe as being the only things of value and importance.

Conversely, being able to evoke a general idea for a location without a lot of specific detail is always useful for what are basically throwaway locations. A seedy bar is a seedy bar is a seedy bar, oui? One need not spend more than a paragraph describing such a place, unless there's something special about this particular seedy bar. And there doesn't always have to be something special or memorable. Sometimes, it's just a backdrop for something important and detail would detract from the scene.
Too true I remember the days when the moment I described a room was the que for the party to search it. Just like making an apparently random roll for secret or concealed doors. The party would suddenly stop to investigate the area. That was a hurdle to overcome.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Melverne View Post
Too true I remember the days when the moment I described a room was the que for the party to search it. Just like making an apparently random roll for secret or concealed doors. The party would suddenly stop to investigate the area. That was a hurdle to overcome.
These are players that are overcompensating though, and that means there are other issues going on that simple writing exercises aren't likely going to fix too soon.

I like the idea of giving a setting description though with one object given importance. For added challenge we could make that object have a plot twist to it so that the idea is more of a scene design than just a description... Still I feel this concept needs one more good feature to go from being an alright idea to a really good one.

Atmosphere. The seedy bar with dim lighting, mismatched/broken/mended furniture, smoky air and grimy unwashed patrons gambling coin in the corner. The dank, dark, dripping cave with a small stream trickling through it, bats in the ceilings and centipedes as long as your arm creeping around limestone stalagmites/stalactites. The tall leafy forest with thick jungle undergrowth, dim beams of light shining down through the canopy and vines and poisonous spiders/snakes on every other branch. The alleyway, narrow and garbage filled, with hard packed earth on the ground, alley cats/dogs/rats and sewer grates. The merchant stall/shop with an assortment of wares to choose from (insert your required weapons, armour, clothing, food, basket weaver here).

That is: Describe a scene with a suitable atmosphere, include various descriptions of plot objects and misc objects. Include visual (smoky room etc.), audio (conversation, clink of coin/mugs), olfactory (the smell of smoke/tobacco/unwashed bodies) and tactile (the sticky floor from beer spills) senses. It ought to include obvious things (people, potential dangers, entry exit points) that characters need to know straight away, as well as secondary things which can include other 'plot object/s' and 'red herrings'. Possibly followed up with a second description that highlights the plot object/s and dismisses the red herrings in the event that players miss or latch onto the wrong things.

As another thing that is possibly useful for GM writing, is a list of suitably descriptive words that will evoke an adventurous atmosphere. Instead of creeps, why not slinks? Instead of tall, why not soaring? Instead of dark what about inky or sinister? If you want to encourage GM creative writing, having a list of adjectives, verbs and adverbs to inspire as a starting point might not be a bad thing, as well as some examples taken from literature or created by other MW GMs so people can see what sort of stuff is good descriptive writing. I learn best by seeing and imitating.




 

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