Master Mike Mearls: Game Designer, World Builder and The Martian

Master Mike
led the creation of Dungeons & Dragons 5th edition, is a visionary guy with lot of ideas and thoughts about Role Play Games.
He love to be a living sandbox with options that expand rules boundaries.
He was the first DnD designer that answered rule questions during 5e playtest via Twitter but in these days Master Mike find Twitter’s character limit a Wall of Force for in-depth conversations.

I’m happy to announce a new Mike Mearls’ Facebook Page that will follow :

Happy New Year everyone! Up to this point, I’ve relied on Twitter to communicate with game players and designers out there. However, Twitter’s character limit makes having more in-depth conversations impossible.

I’ve set up this page and transferred my gaming Facebook friends here to create a platform I can use to talk about game design and world building in more depth without irritating my relatives who are, to be honest, Facebook friends with me only to see pictures of my lovely, baby daughter.

The martian Movie

I read The Martian over the holiday break and quite enjoyed it. From what I understand, the movie mostly follows the book, so I can recommend either one.

In terms of pulling inspiration from it for RPGs, there’s not a lot in terms of plot or character that offers a direct translation. The fascinating part of the story comes down to how an astronaut stranded on Mars uses science and engineering to survive.

The real takeaway for me is that equipment in an RPG is a lot more fun and interesting when it’s used in non-obvious ways. The Martian is filled with instances of the main character doing something clever to survive or solve a problem. Players love those kind of moments.

As a DM, the key lies in seeding your campaign with gear that’s flexible. If the PCs need to take on a dragon, it’s easy to drop a +3 sword of dragonslaying into a treasure hoard. That’s a fairly linear piece of gear – sword + dragon + stabbing = victory.

Instead, imagine a situation where the PCs find a wand that can transform water into ice. If the dragon lives in a swamp or sea caves, they have a useful tool to take on the dragon but not an auto-win button. They need to be clever with the wand to win.

In my experience, succeeding with the wand is far more memorable, fun, and challenging for players than using the sword. The next time you’re stocking a treasure in your game, give a thought to including or inventing an item that presents more questions than answers for the characters.

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