Here's an embarrasing little query about castles! Be nice it's my first
proper post!

Is the maintenance of castles 1 GB per castle or per level of that castle!
The rules seem to agree with the former but a couple of places (particularly
realm guides seem to agree with the latter).

When this came up in my campaign I made a simple ruling that the former was
true, unfortunately this led to a particular player embarking on a major
castle building campaign. This fit the Paladin's perception of his role as
the protector of the people but proved quite an encumberance as far as game
speed/vitality went, and made it even more difficult to tempt the entire
party out of Roesone. It was also very hard to justify why every NPC had not
built a chain of castles!

This is particularly relevant as I tend to concentrate on first person
description and adventures rather than majoring on domain turns and
impersonal rules.

Which neatly brings me to:


I freely admit that I tend to get caught up by an idea and sweep my players
along with me, rather than necessarily thinking things through in an ordered
and uniform manner.

(as I have almost always sent my players home talking in an excited and
animated fashion I assume that they approve, and admit to getting a
particular pleasure when a players eyes light up during the game as they
describe a fiendishly crafty plan that will bypass a problem!)

The key "devices" I use are:
1) I constantly vary game speed and description (particularly as far as
combat goes). You can't half motivate the players and even get an air of
desperation if they don't have long to decide their actions and have to
describe their actions rather than simply say "I'll hit the troll with my
sword" after 2 minutes of group consultation and discussion!

2) I camp up all my major and most of the minor NPC's with their own voices
(just remember which voice or accent you use!). This seems to work wonders
in persuading the players that the NPC's are real people worthy of their
protection or hatred. There's nothing quite like seeing pleasure on the
players faces after extracting information from an old farmer which they
didn't expect, or the howls of their pain when you use certain voices thay
have come across before! (a.k.a. the cackling old mad woman). This also
makes it far easier to spread disinformation!


3) To encourage a sense that the players are in a real and thriving world I
encourage my players to flesh out their family, friends, acquaintances and
enemies and then integrate them into the campaign. I can still remember the
piss taking the first time that the Paladin's mother wrote to him chiding
him for not writing to her or visiting that year!

4) I get them to keep (short) diaries which I regularly take a look at to
see where the character is going and how they perceive what is developing
around them. (Some of my best storylines have been unashamedly knicked from
the diaries, and the relevant player gets such a kick when they appear to
have out thought you!! veg)

5) I try to end most sessions with a cliffhanger or cinematic description.
Whether it be arriving at a lonely cottage in the windswept moors or one of
the players standing up to give a speech at a conference or freezing a close
combat! (Dream sequences are another of my favourites). At the start of each
session I give a short statement of the position at present or maybe a
different perspective, e.g. the perceptive thief might notice the lack of
smoke from the chimney of the cottage even though it is getting dark.


If anyone has any thoughts/comments/rants on the above or any useful tricks
of the trade that they use PLEASE TELL ME. Don't say "it's too long" because
I already know that! I got swept up half way through and just hope that none
of my players subscribe to this brilliant list. :-)

(DON'T ban the lurkers - though if you had you wouldn't have had to sit
through this overly long first real post! Ooops!) (Despite your anti-lurker
views I still love and use your pieces Jim so please don't flame me to
death! Or strangle me if we ever meet at GENCOM or elsewhere) :-)

Sitting on the edge of my seat waiting for your replies (even if it is just
by private e-mail) ;-)

The only person on this with the simple moniker of GM due to not having
played a PC for almost eight years (Boo Hoo) !

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