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Role Playing Tips - By Johnn Four


1. Reward All Contributions Although journals are their own reward in the long run, an immediate incentive from the game master can help a player pad the possible short term pain or lack of enthusiasm for keeping a campaign journal. Give out experience points, hero points, or story points relative to the size of the contribution. Also consider a few good luck or good kharma bonuses, such as automatic successes, fortunate events or pleasant surprises.

2. Make The Journal An Event & It Will Become Its Own Reward Make the journal a celebration of the players, GM and shared campaign experience. Integrate it during play and make it important. i.e. "Reading of the Scrolls" at start of sessions to review last session's PC antics; ask players when they request information from the campaign journal that they do it in-character; the GM can request journal information in a flattering and grandiose manner to acknowledge the player's journalizing dedication. Have fun with it and make it part of the play.

3. Keep The Journal Interesting & It Will Keep The Interest Of The Journalizer Instead of a boring chronology of events, make the journal interesting by writing from the character's point of view-- including his/her prejudices, opinions, insults and compliments. Add personal comments about other characters in the journal: their feats, high points, low points. It makes it entertaining for everyone to read and for the journalizer to write. And if the other party members disagree with his/her opinions, well, they can just start their own journal now can't they?

4. Take Brief Notes In-Session And Flesh Out Afterwards During sessions, just focus on grabbing the important details and flesh things out during slow periods or after the game. Use point form notation, mind mapping or page spidering to capture the main points quickly without interrupting your play.

From: M. Sapp: "The most realistic trick I've found is to keep quick notes and fill in the blanks later that night or the next day. The following is a quick list of things to jot down. Names, places, travel time, enemies fought, things found and any one liners that you really liked; keep these notes divided by day, follow up on filling in the details after the game and a nice journal begins to form."

5. Use A Tape Recorder Discreetly & Strategically From Aric Wieder: "For the single person or Gm that wants to have their own Journal to write up that has their own particular flair, a small tape recorder works the best. Just put it on record at the times you feel it is important to your Journal and then compile a journal at the end of each session. The best part about this one is the fact that you can also record some of the cool and exciting quotes from the characters about the villains, situations or strange spoutings."

From: M.Sapp "...they [audio and video equipment] are simply too obtrusive and bothersome to be effective. Audio tapes have to be changed frequently and a tripod for a Camcorder gets in the way. Extension cords solve the battery problem but get underfoot. A game session can turn into an 'I love lucy' skit when the guy playing a barbarian trips on the cord and catapults your two hundred dollar Camcorder into the dining room wall."

Lesson learned: use a small tape recorder in a discreet manner to just record the highlights of a session as they happen.

6. Commit & Keep Your Self-Promise Understand that journalizing does take some time and effort. There is no hands-free technique unfortunately. So make it a real goal to keep a journal and then do it. Do it every session and don't get frustrated if you feel you're not doing a perfect job. Just by keeping up with it your skills will improve, journalizing will become habit and therefore much easier. And soon the journal grow and become inspiring all by itself.

More tips and advice from readers than can be included here are available at the Roleplayingtips.com web site. A special thanks to Mark J. Young for his very thorough and valuable response. This information can be found here: http://www.roleplayingtips.com/a-journal_tips.html

Have more fun at every game!

Johnn Four

* Coat of Arms 1.2a
* Promisance
* World of Phaos 0.9.2
Is Magic Armor Lighter Than Standard Armor of the Same Type?
Yes indeed
No, never!
In 1E yes, in 2E no
Only for encumbrance
Of course it is
Not in my world
* And-Mag.com

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