david orna-ornstein wrote:

> 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).

1GB/level per domain turn sounds like a perfectly legit house rule, especially
given the building campaign begun by your player. Personally, I think this
makes sense in general accept that... well, castles aren't exactly up to snuff

> 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!

Sounds good to me. In fact, the BR rules are particulary suited to even further
extending the DM's ability to do this. Now you can extend things not only from
an individual/party POV, but on the level of nations and armies....

> 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!

This sounds good to me too. Using voices can be a bit difficult from time to
time, however, for the reason you noted regarding trying to remember who is
who. Quite often I don't keep accurate records of NPCs myself so I sometimes
get my players asking if Gorog the Barkeep didn't have a cockney accent last
time they spoke.... Oh, well.

> 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!

Heh. Cool. Again, this is even more significant (and more dangerous in BR)
because of the emphasis on bloodlines and royalty. You have to be careful when
your low-level PCs have access to units of soldiers and have relatives who might
be very powerful indeed.

> 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)

Hmmm. Interesting. This isn't a bad idea, though I don't know how well my
players would react to it. If it works for you though then great.

> 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.

Absolutely. I love to leave things up in the air for the PCs. Always give them
an open ended conclusion to any individual adventure unless it is one at the end
of a long campaign and you are giving them closure after many "years" of
adventuring. Even then, it is a good idea to hint at more adventures to come.

Often I find myself consciously or unconsciously borrowing from the books I've
read on writing when it comes to designing an adventure. Individual adventures
are often like screenplays with three acts or short stories with lots of
immediacy. Campaigns are more like novels, or even series of books. Usually
things don't go as planned, but that's the fun of gaming as opposed to writing,

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