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issue431Roleplaying Tips Weekly E-Zine Issue #431

Fantasy Job Postings

Contents: 

 

This Week's Tips Summarized 

Fantasy Job Postings

  1. Adventuring Jobs
  2. Magic-Users Wanted
  3. Servants and Scholars
  4. Odd Jobs
  5. Threshold Job Board

For Your Game: The Vigil of Silence Holiday

Gamemaster Tips Summarized 

  1. Handling Henchmen
  2. One More Props Tip
  3. New RPG Site Directory

Latest Posts @ CampaignMastery.com 

  1. How Much Campaign Do You Plan Before Start?
  2. Google Groans: Misplacing The Rules
  3. Clash of the Timetables

Johnn Four's GM Guide Books

Halls of the Mountain King

The award-winning Open Designers are tackling the depths, with an Undermountain/Moria-style adventure that gives classic dwarven delve a twist and a half.

The 40 encounters will feature 3D maps, superstar designers, and a shot for patrons to contribute to the adventure. For just $29.95, you get a 124-page adventure plus a 48-page gazetteer, heavily playtested and tuned for both 3E and 4E.

Sign up now, or review the details at Kobold Quarterly.

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A Brief Word From Johnn 

Reviews of Helix: The Post Apocalypse, High-Tech, Fantasy, Western Role Playing Game

A few issues ago the folks at Helix kindly offered up three review copies of their new RPG to Roleplaying Tips readers. The reviews are in and you can read all about the game and the reviewers' opinions of it at the RoleplayingTips.com website.

If don't have web access, e-mail me and I can copy and paste the reviews back to you. Thanks again to the Helix folks for offering us a look at their RPG.

I've Switched to OneNote

A little before Christmas I received the Home and Student Edition of Microsoft Office. In it is a little gem called OneNote, which has been called out in tips in this e-zine before.

After playing with it a bit I've switched my campaign notes to this wonderful program. I can sort, link to, and create information in an intuitive way. It's not a linear document or a static topic tree. It's a combo of both plus much more.

I've just started to dig into the features of OneNote, and as I discover stuff I'll let you know. In the meantime, if you are using OneNote and have any tips to share, I'd love to hear them!

Have a game full week.

Cheers,

Johnn Four,
johnn@roleplayingtips.com

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New Lands of Darkness Titles Now In Stores

Lands of Darkness #3: The Woods of Woe (parties level 6-8) and Lands of Darkness #4: The Swamps of Timbermoor (parties level 9-11) are now in stores and available as PDFs! Keep your eyes open for Lands of Darkness #5: The Iron Mountains (parties level 12-14), coming out in March!

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Fantasy Job Postings  

In Issue #424, we had the following Reader Tip Request:

"I'd like to see what people could come up with for 'job postings' for fantasy. Things you might find on the town bulletin board."

We received many fantastic responses. Thanks very much! Here they all are - hopefully they'll be useful for your campaigns.

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1. Adventuring Jobs 

  • Wanted: Four or more adventurers willing to explore recently discovered ruins and return any valuable artifacts. Payment negotiable. May include some hazards.
  • The Goblin tribe to the south is becoming a larger menace each month. People are getting robbed and even killed. The city guard is seeking able-bodied warriors, fighters and hunters to eliminate this threat to our lives. Contact the Captain of the Guard for more details.
  • Looking for rare animals, both live and dead. I have a list of the ones I need. Contact me for further information. ~ Lord Belidon
  • Wanted: Hearty souls needed to recover stolen royal jewels. Large reward to any who succeed.
  • Scholar seeks rare supplies: Scholar unable to gather supplies due to age seeks trustworthy agents to gather materials for research. Mild danger may be involved, so no tyros, please. See Scholar Filo of the Blue Tower for additional details. Serious inquiries only.
  • Stirge-catcher needed to keep the monsters away from the sheep and cattle.
  • Feeling a little itch for treasure? Have a bad habit of peeking around corners or stumbling upon secret doors? Only experienced lock pickers and trap finders need apply. The job ahead will last approximately 3 months. Must have own horse. No money unless treasure found. See the alesman at the Bird and Bard Tavern.
  • Delver's Guild Bulletin board in Ptolus:

From: Adam Bragg, Steven R, Arlene M, John Wilson, Lara of Mir, John Guild Fetridge

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2. Magic-Users Wanted 

  • Help Wanted: Novice Fire Mages (Graduated or GMD) Pay: 200 gold, 2 Specialized spells, 4 component packets (empty) and a precinct membership.

    Job: Bi-weekly display of shapes and flashes for festival month. We provide dinner and components for each performance plus four days training. Includes two passes to the Royal Zoo after party. Injury paid recovery. No severance pay for half work. Illusionists need not apply.

    The catch: most applicants end up burning themselves, and don't get paid. The hospital will heal you good as new after a day's wait. Also, dinner is a wonderful array of castle left-overs from lunch. But at least they kept the flies off of it.
  • Needed: a passing fair wizard for a small security job. A little danger is involved, so expect hazardous duty pay. Length of job expected to be short. (I picture the person placing the ad giving a wry chuckle at this point, as he means the wizard won't last, not that the job will be completed quickly.) Please enquire at the Keep of Dunfirth prior to high noon on the fifth Thursday of the month.
  • Mining mage sought. Duties include: make flameless lights, locate ore veins by divining rod, treat black lung, ward or warn against cave-ins, and detect intrusion by denizens of the underdark.
  • Seeking inter-planar messenger. No previous experience required.
  • Wizard seeks apprentice. Interested in arcane lore? Good health insurance? Ask for Strigo the Red at the Tyran Guildhall.
  • Wanted: Negotiator. Prior experience with troublesome fey required.

From: Lara of Mir, John Wilson

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3. Servants and Scholars 

  • Seasonal farm hand workers requested to help local farms bring in their harvest.
  • Transcriber Wanted: Turn these manuals into coin pieces.
  • Tutor Wanted: Baron Nemo seeks instructor learned in the scholarly and martial arts to tutor his son/daughter. References required. If interested and qualified, present self and references to Seneschal Finnegan at Castle Blackrock.
  • Translator Needed: Summoner seeks multilinguist willing to learn infernal from bound demon; fluency required within 2 weeks.
  • Are You Looking for Adventure? Are You an ex-Soldier or ex-Adventurer? Do You have skills as an Officer's Steward or Gentleman's Servant?

    If You answered "yes" to all three of these questions and if You don't mind travel and are up for an extended sea voyage then You may qualify for a lucrative position!

    I am looking for just such an individual to enter into my service and assume the position of my Personal Steward. A qualified applicant should have most, if not all, of the following skills:

    The ability to handle weapons in defense of yourself, should the need arise; the ability to clean and mend clothing; the ability to polish and keep up weapons, armor, and equipment; the ability to attend a Gentleman of Rank; the ability to prepare and serve continental style meals; and the ability to remain calm and unperturbed during trying (and even potentially dangerous) circumstances.

    If You feel that You meet My criteria then present Yourself at the Adventurer's Club of Tortuga and ask for Master Chateaubriand. Pay will be generous for the one who meets My requirements!

    Applicants may be required to submit to a background check as well as magical scrutiny.

From: Steffi J, Arlene M, John Wilson, Forrest

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4. Odd Jobs 

  • * Reward for Stolen Locket: Locket of Sentimental Value stolen. Lady Emma of Hamilton offers a reward for its return.
  • Needed: Carter to bring stones to the castle.
  • Merchant seeks caravan master, cartographer, navigator, and experienced mercenaries for trade expedition. Must have references.
  • Wanted: Rat-catcher, woodcutter, engineer and lands warden. See the gatekeeper at Keep Murin.
  • Newly-opened tavern seeks contacts with brewer, vintner, and distiller. Must have samples available.
  • Authentic medieval jobs

From: Arlene M, Steffi J, John Wilson

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5. Threshold Job Board 

From: Will Scott

ATTENTION ALL CITIZENS OF THRESHOLD:

The militia is called to arms, by order of Lord Ironwolf.

Please gather your equipment and report to your stations.

We ask for the assistance of all our people during this difficult time.

Official Posting, 2 Glorysun 655

WANTED: Strong backs for mine labor Posted: 1 Goldleaf 654 The ROYAL MINING COMPANY has been set up to extract veins of valuable ore from the untapped wealth of the WEST MARCHES! Be part of this exciting endeavor by learning the honorable profession of MINER. No previous experience required. SALARIES starting at 5sp per day! Contact BASILLE AHARINI of the ROYAL MINING COMPANY for more information.

Apprentices Needed Posted: 2 Goldleaf 654 Well, I can't compete with the base salary of the Royal Mining Company, but I can tell you that a master blacksmith makes a lot more money than a master miner. So if you are looking for a long-term career plan, and you are strong enough to lift three dozen horse shoes in one hand, and you can listen and take directions, I might be able to put you to work hammering out sheets of metal. ~ Tamara Vassago

LET IT BE KNOWN,
that the King and Queen
of this year's Midwinter Ball
have been duly chosen:
Elric Floodfill and Xaviera Harper

Please be invited to attend their coronation on
15 Hoarfrost 655
On the front steps of this very building.

Lord Gregor Ironwolf and Lady Morgan Ironwolf of Threshold
Official Posting, 12 Hoarfrost 655

Horse Trading Expedition Planned, Company Welcome Posted: 15 Whitefrost 655
I am sending my two sons eastward with letters of credit to replenish the horse-stock of the West Marches. Any who wish to join them are more than welcome, as traveling companions or as fellow horse-traders. We will be happy to introduce you to our contacts in the Eastern Kingdoms if you can demonstrate your value on the road. They intend to leave on 15 Dewrain, before the thaw gets bad, and should be back by autumn.

~ Casimir Merrydown

MISSING: My Favorite Sheep Posted: 30 Ivyrain 655 Ach, and a beut she is! My prize-winning sheep of last year's fair, who I had hoped to breed, producing a magnificent new stock. She last was seen wandering in the vicinity of hidden falls where several other, lesser sheeps have goon missing. I crave revenge and will pay handsomly for it!

~ Ysbaddaden Haas the Rancher, out by Crookbridge

NEEDED: Herbs Posted 24 Highsun 655 I need help gathering herbs! Ye lousy ingrates expect me to prepare your medicine, well I need proper ingredients! I'm an old woman and can't be expected to traipse about the countryside by myself! If ye want the good stuff, I'll need some strong young folks to help run a wee errand! I can't pay much but will give you some of my wares in exchange!

~ Zerriska

SEARCHING: Thurann Posted 29 Highsun 655 If anyone knows where Thurann has got to, please let me know. His mother and I are worried sick. If you are holding him in punishment for some trouble he has inflicted, I am sure he deserves it, and you need fear no repercussion from the guard. We just want to know that he is safe.

~ Kartenix Balcard, Captain of the Watch

WANTED: Caravan Guards Posted: 2 Glorysun 655 Due to the ACTIVATION of the LOCAL MILITIA, the ROYAL MINING COMPANY finds itself without sufficient GUARDS to escort goods over the VESPER MOUNTAINS. Now hiring additional protection - QUALIFIED applicants ONLY.

Contact BASILLE AHARINI of the ROYAL MINING COMPANY for more information.

WANTED: Information On Fedor Dwarfs Posted: 2 Glorysun 655 Scholar Miles Makraxonikis and A'laric Fedor seek information on a group of Fedor dwarves who departed Threshold for points unknown. Good gold will be paid for truthful information on their destination, whereabouts, or fates. Contact Miles and A'laric in the taproom of the White Ram.

My Sheeps Been Eaten By Dragons! Posted: 17 Glorysun 655 I seen it with mine own eyes - a fearsome winged beast, some 50 or 100 feet long, swooping down in the night to carry off my very best sheep! It started last week, when that wretch Haas hired them mercenaries search for his prize sheep (which should have never got more than honorable mention). I will be driven out of house and home before long! Any help much appreciated!

~ Frampton Dougal

Suitable Suitors Wanted     Posted: 21 Glorysun 655
My lovely daughter, Bella, needs an honest man to make an honest woman out of her. She is charming and quick-witted, but is strong-willed and needs a firm hand to guide her. A good dowry will by provided, but only if you meet the approval of both Bella and myself: no con artists, gold- diggers, ruffians, layabouts, or people of low character need apply. ~ Baldrick Nickersvil, King Platinum Distillery

Reliable Servants Required     Posted: 24 Glorysun 655
The Dusken Stars Recovery Company intends to re-open Bardmeer Hall as a residence for its members. They require reliable servants to maintain the house. Apply in person to Sister Zula or Miles Makraxonikis at Bardmeer hall.

THE DRAGON'S FLAGON PUBLIC HOUSE
GRAND RE-OPENING!!!
17 SHROUDSUN 655

YOU, the hard-working and non-adventuring PEOPLE
of the good city of THRESHOLD are invited to
the GRAND RE-OPENING of the famous DRAGON'S FLAGON!

Under the NEW MANAGEMENT of GLIMMER MOON and
with the SPONSORSHIP of the KING PLATINUM DISTILLERY,
all CITIZENS and all FOLLOWERS OF BAHAMUT are
offered a free drink and an evening of laughter and song!

ALSO: a WELCOME BACK party for the esteemed
VANESSA LAROCHE, local tailor and traveller to
THE REALMS OF THE DEAD.

Hear her sordid tale of murder, betrayal, and
ultimate redemption and a first-hand account
of the afterlife!

Posted: 10 Shroudsun 655

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For Your Game: The Vigil of Silence 

From: Andreas Rönnqvist

This is a day of mourning, when you remember those who have passed away. During this day you cannot work and cannot speak, for the mind is meant to dwell on those who came before you. Some people hold communal vigils at graveyards or monuments of old heroes.

Holiday Encounter Ideas:

  • A woman is raped during the Vigil of Silence and comes weeping to the characters to seek help. She refuses to speak, afraid of drawing the ire of the fallen and disgracing herself and her family even more, but she paints a picture of her rapist.

    The man believes himself safe for the day and is in no hurry to disappear, but he has strange gifts. Can the characters defeat him without uttering a word, or perhaps even without drawing their blades (work for adventurers)?
  • As the Silence spreads, a deep throbbing drumbeat shatters it. It is the Drums of War, only to be used if the Kingdom is attacked.

    Should the characters break the Vigil and rush to the borders? Should they perhaps investigate who has sounded the Drums? Is it a prank, or even worse - spies using the Drums to throw the people into disarray before an attack?

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A Whole New Mind

I read this excellent book recently based upon a recommendation from a freelance blog. Author Daniel Pink discusses how success in the workplace of yesteryear involved left-brained skills, like accounting. In today's world of instant communication, global workforce, and massive competition, it takes a whole new mind to succeed.

It struck me that the skills Pink proscribes are excellent for game masters too. He doesn't say that the right brain is coming to the fore, which I've read elsewhere. Instead, he insists it's a left+right brain set of skills that will give you the edge in your business or career. In other words, a _whole_ new mind. Interesting stuff.

The book has nine chapters, and it's the last six where you'll find the meat for improving your game master skills.

Chapter Four: Design Chapter Five: Story Chapter Six: Symphony Chapter Seven: Empathy Chapter Eight: Play Chapter Nine: Meaning

Each chapter ends with suggestions for further reading, online resources, and ideas for implementation.

Anybody looking for more ways to be a great GM, check out a Whole New Mind. Currently $10 at Amazon:

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Gamemaster Tips 

Have some GM advice you'd like to share? E-mail it to johnn@roleplayingtips.com - thanks!

1. Handling Henchmen 

From: Will Scott

We don't see too many henchmen in our games, but here are the guidelines I use to keep them playable:

  1. Henchmen are weaker and less interesting and have fewer options than the PCs.

    This way they are not stealing the PCs' thunder, and they are not consuming too much game time. For example, in 4th Edition D&D, a henchman would use a monster stat block instead of a full character sheet; monsters have streamlined attacks and a fraction of the powers of most PCs, so they are much simpler to run.
  2. Players control the henchmen, but issuing commands requires an action.

    In 4th Edition D&D, it's a minor action; in Mutants & Masterminds, it's a move action. Until you issue a new command, the henchmen continue to do whatever they were working on before. This rule helps prevent henchmen from providing one PC with extra actions and monopolizing the game.
  3. The GM can take over the henchmen at any time.

    This is particularly for story/role-playing purposes, or for unusual situations (for example, the PC orders the henchmen to do something they don't want to do). It helps the player think of the henchman as a separate character and not just an extension of their PC.
  4. Henchmen don't make checks outside of combat.

    Instead, they provide a bonus to one of the PC's skill checks. In D&D, for example, just assume that henchmen automatically succeed on "Aid Another" attempts when using their trained skills, providing a +2 bonus on those skills. This way, the PCs stay in the spotlight and get to exercise their own skills, and it speeds up the game by not having to make twice as many skill checks.
  5. Henchmen that fight reduce the encounter XP.

    A henchman that cowers in the corner is fine, but when henchmen start killing monsters, it makes combat less of a challenge. In D&D, I just subtract the henchmen's XP value from the monster XP total. This encourages the PCs to try to find their own solutions, and to use henchmen only when they really are outmatched.

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2. One More Props Tip 

From: L

Rather than just roll on random treasure tables as they search the bodies, have a bag ready that you can just dip into and shell out a random handful of goodies through which the players can pick.

The majority of the items in my bag are 1p coins sprayed gold and 2p coins sprayed silver, but I also add coloured glass beads, the different colours of which representing a different item; either a gemstone, an item of jewelry or minor magic item like a scroll or potion. You can also throw in the occasional foreign coin that the players might originally mistake for "normal" gold or silver coins, but might actually be worth much more to a collector.

If you're really brave, you could even have the players draw out a handful of goodies themselves - although I've also made some copper coins out of 1p pieces to prevent greedy players from trying to grab only the smaller coins when they get their turn in the sack.

The mix of gold, silver and beads is up to you and how big a handful with which to reward the players should be dependent on the creature being searched.

For £10 and a couple of tins of spray paint you can have 100 gold coins and 450 silver coins ready to dish out.

Just my (literally) twopenneth-worth. I find players enjoy picking through and counting their spoils; much more engaging than just writing a number on a piece of paper.

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3. New RPG Site Directory 

From: Hannah L.

RPGSeek is a new search engine dedicated to tabletop roleplaying. It uses Google, but is human edited, meaning that every site added is guaranteed to be active and related to RPGs.

RPGSeek is divided by topic, so if you're looking specifically for info on D&D 4e, game publishers, or blogs, you can find just those without worrying about unrelated sites.

Add your favourite websites to the growing directory, or search for new sites to enjoy: www.rpgseek.com

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Latest Posts @ CampaignMastery.com: 

Campaign Mastery is the official blog of the Roleplaying Tips E-zine. It's a great way to get more GMing advice and to chat with me and other readers about GMing. Here is a quick summary of what's new.

How Much Campaign Do You Plan Before Start?

In this article I describe the amount of preparation I do for my campaigns and rate how much prep I've done for my current D&D 4E campaign. A lively discussion about campaign planning follows,

Google Groans: Misplacing The Rules

Mike talks about the need for an RPG database that you could use to find the game master material you need.

Clash of the Timetables

Mike lays out the impressive schedule of gaming and campaigns he and his friends are up to.

 

* * *

Be sure to subscribe to the blog to get the latest updates sent to you:

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Johnn Four's GM Guide Books 

In addition to writing and publishing this e-zine, I have written several GM tips and advice books to inspire your games and to make GMing easier and fun:

Inns, Taverns, and Restaurants - new

How to design, map, and GM fresh encounters for RPG's most popular locales. Includes campaign and NPC advice as well, plus several generators and tables

Adventure Essentials: Holidays

Advice and tips for designing compelling holidays that not only expand your game world but provide endless natural encounter, adventure, and campaign hooks.

GM Mastery: NPC Essentials

Critically acclaimed and multiple award-winning guide to crafting, roleplaying, and GMing three dimensional NPCs for any game system and genre. This book will make a difference to your GMing.

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