Josh Wash
Author Archives: Josh Wash

3 Books That Will Help you Earn and Keep Your Money

Secrets of the millionaire mind

Now it's time to think about the Philosophy of money. I know it can be scary and stressful. I've ignored my debt and money problems for most of my life. Money has always been scary for me. I've ignored bills and wasted my money and time on a lot of stupid stuff. I am finally trying to take care of my money issues and yes it is a lot of work. 

I think I have found the right books in order to create a good financial plan. Money is one of the most important aspect of our lives. The better we are with money, the better our lives can become. If you want a happy and successful life, getting educated and in control of your money situation is a nessecity. 

The more money we have, the more time and freedom we can have. I am all about freedom.

Before we get to an actual financial plan, I want to reccomend some books about the philosophy and our ways of thinking that surround money. Dealing with money is a major cause of stress and anxiety. The more we can understand our feelings about finances, the more control we can have over them. 

Remember that we can read all of the books and feel better about ourselfs for being smart. But if we don't take action and put that information to use, all of our knowledge is wasted. 

If you are looking for Ideas about building a business or a side hustle click here.

Rich habits by thomas c. corley 

Rich habits book cover

This is a great little book with some great big ideas. It's really short so you can read it in an hour. Rich habits talk about 10 things we can do that can make a huge difference in our lives. 

The book challenges us to follow these habits for 30 days. You'll see a drastic improvement if you do.  

The habit that hit me the hardest was number 6.  I will live each and every day in moderation. Unsuccessful people have little control over their lives they have wild swings in their moods which lead to strained relationships, strained health, and strained finances. I have never realized how important this is, and now I am aware of toxic behavior everywhere. 

Rich habits is not specifically about money. The idea is to create a richer life for yourself while creating a better future. Within each habit, Corley talks about the difference between successful people and unsuccessful people. Successful people work hard to create good habits that ensure and easier and mor fullfilling life. 

Rich Habits teaches us that successful people take responsibility for every aspect of their lives and strive to make it better. 

the richest man in babylon by george s clason

Richest man in babylon book cover

This book is a fictional tale in which each chapter teaches a lesson about handling and saving money. Everyone wants a fat purse full of gold. But not everyone knows how to make their money grow. 

This one is another very quick read. It contains a multitude of insights for saving and handling money. Readers will learn why it is so important to work with integrity and responsibility. You won't get very far if nobody trusts you, because no one will work with you.

The Richest Man in Babylon reinforces the mindset and princibles required to earn and keep your gold. If you don't learn to manage the money that you have, you will never be able to earn more. 

I enjoyed this book because it read like a fiction novel, very fun and easy to read. The lessons are simple but profound. 

secrtes of the millionaire mind by t. harv eker

Secrets of the millionaire mind

This is last on the list about the psycology of success and finance. Eker is blunt with his teachings and information. He lays out the thought process toward thinking and acting in a way that will help you succed. Are you begining to see a pattern in philosophy here? 

I learned that if you want to be rich, you can't have any negative feelings toward the rich. You can never become what you despise. 

Anyone who tries to tell you that money isn't important is broke. If we don't take the time to learn about and control money, it will contol us. 

We learn in here more specific ways that the rich and successful people think and act differently. Rich people understand that the more you can get your money to work for you, the less youw ill have to work. If you want to become more successful please pay close attention to Secrets of the Millionaire Mind.

I do have one complaint about this book, Eker continues to advertise his millionaire mind training workshop throughout this book. But we can't let that distract us from the amazing advice and help that this book offers. If you want to complain about this, then you can continue being broke. 

There is one chapter here that talks about creating a budget and I wish it was more in depth. I have followed what it says and I already feel a little more in control of my money. 

In the next post I want to talk about great books that teach us about actual finances and budgeting. 

Thank You!

Here at gamesmastery.com we want to give our appreciation and support to gamers everywhere. Our mission is to inspire creativity and help everyone enjoy the best life possible.

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3 Books That Will Build Your Business

E-Myth book

why am I writing book reviews on a site for dungeon masters?

I originally got this idea on new years eve going into 2021. I was talking with my amazingly smart and beautiful friends when at least 3 of them were talking about trying to start their businesses. I asked them if they were willing to listen to my ranting about all of the books I have read.  Instead of ranting, I'm gonna write about it.

Alright nerds, listen up. It's time to get our asses in gear and start making some money. I've read a few books over the years and I want to share my insights. This list will be part of an ongoing series that is part book review and part life planning. The goal is to reccomend books with a (somewhat) short description.

Every book I mention on this site is highly reccomended and has helped me a lot in my current journey. I want to help everyone live the best life possible. I want to help people make some money and hopefully retire early. 

I have recently realised that life isn't going to end very soon. I'm not going to die early. And even after some mismanaged plagues (I'm looking at you 'merica), the world isn't going to end. There won't be an apocalypse in my life time. We're here for a long time, so lets make our future something worthwhile, something worth living for. 

The 4-hour work week by tim ferriss

4-hour work week

Youv'e probably heard about this one and thought "No way! working only 4 hours is impossible." That is what I thought too, and I put off reading this for a long time. I gave this book a second chance after it was reccomended by the amazing youtube channel Charisma on Command.

This is the first book that taught me that it is possible to create a business on your own terms. And it can be a viable option. Stop working for others when your precious time could be your own. 

Tim Ferriss lays out a great plan for finding a simple business that could work for whatever your gaols are. After reading this, I hope your goals will become loftier. 

This books goes into detail about getting out of the office and working remotely. Tim preaches the 80/20 priciple for maximixing your time in order to be free to do what you want to do. Inactivity and being stuck in a 9-5 job is not the goal, doing what excites you and having the time to do it is the goal. 

The 4-hour Work Week gives us a solid plan for automating a business that can fund us and free up our time. 

I put this book first on the list for a reason. It was the first time I thought that I could actually acomplish something in life that I actually wanted to do! like write, and try to inspire people. This was the first time I realised that an early retirement could be possible.

Side Hustle by chris guillebeau

side hustle book

This definitly the simplest and the easiest to use business building book that I have read.  The chapters are designed for you to work on one simple task each day so you can launch your business or side hustle within the course of just one month!

The steps are easy to follow. Any noob can benifit greatly from this one. You are well on your way to making a real life business, now make sure you have a real life way to get paid for it.

I love Side Hustle, this book spells out the specific things you need to do to build a hustle from scratch while also telling inspiring stories. This can be another great foundation for all of your ventures. 

Chirs has a good number of books and I reccomend them all. 

The E-myth revisited by Michael gerber

E-Myth book

The E-Myth is straightforward in a different way than side hustle. The E-Myths major point is that we should be working on our business instead of working in your business. What is the point of making a busness, if you have basically created another 9-5 job for yourself. We are supposed to be freeing up our time instead of becoming just another employee at a dead end job.

Even if your goal is to create a fully automated business,  the E-Myth teaches some great philosophy and insights we can apply as we build a business or a side hustle. This book talks about the stages of growth in a business and what to do to survive to the nest stage. 

Gerber teaches the difference between a technician, a mangaer, and an entreprenuer. And how an owner needs to deal with these 3 personalities in themselves and their business. Most businesses fail because a technician take over and stops the entrepenuer from moving forward.

If you follow what The E-Myth has to teach, your side hustle and your life will become more focused and meaningful. Successful people work on their lives, not just in their lives.


Thank You!

Here at gamesmastery.com we want to give our appreciation and support to gamers everywhere. Our mission is to inspire creativity and help everyone enjoy the best life possible.

Disclosure: I am an affiliate of Bookshop.org and I will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase with no extra cost to you.

What Critical Role teaches us about being Dungeons and Dragons players

mins

What exactly is a good player?

In my very humble opinion, a good player is at the table for only two reasons. Too have fun and play with their friends. This answer is very vague on purpose because every game is different and group of players is different. Some players take their game nights very seriously while others just want attention and other players just want to see how much they can get away with. All of this is fine if it fits in with the group dynamics and the culture in that specific game.

So what makes a good player? Someone who can work well with their group to increase the amount of fun for everyone at the table. The whole point of playing in a group is to enjoy being together and creating something fun that you wouldn't be able to create by yourself. 

The World is your Classroom

Critical role is a you tube show where a bunch of professionals play some Dungeons and Dragons. Here is a link to Season 2. Because its better. https://youtu.be/byva0hOj8CU


If you are here you probably already know what all this is. so I'll get on with it!

Watching others play role playing games such as Critical Role or Adventure Zone can help you learn how to be a better role player and actor. We always want to learn from the best! Here are some excellent takeaways that I got from the players of Critical Role.

Good palyers are attentive and prepared

During a battle, the players are always ready for their turns and they know what they want to do. Making a choice on their turn is always better than stalling. You'll never see the CR cast wasting time by not making a decision. If they don't know what to do, they ask for help, in character, and the group role plays to get to a solution.

Act like you are reading from a script. Your character is not in every scene and they shouldn't be, in order to make a good story. Your character is not talking in every conversation. Good players know that some scenes are not all about them, other players need their own screen time too. Caleb doesn't interrupt when Fjord and Beau are having a conversation, unless it adds to the interaction.

Wait for your turn before your characters speaks. Wait until a scene is over before you try to start a new one or try to change the subject. Wait for a conversation to be over before starting a new one.

Good players Don't interrupt

The players in Critical Role never interrupt the DM. They always wait for Matt Mercer to finish his story or describe what is going on before they do any talking. They show the ultimate respect for their DM and other players.

The players never argue with the DM, whatever he says goes. The only thing that arguing accomplishes is wasting your play time.

Don't be the player who is always interrupting. The players need to hear the DM so they know what is going on. You should be listening too. A good DM will give you a chance to role play or make decisions, you'll just have to wait for it. It's okay to ask questions and offer suggestions. But never interrupt the DM or the players who are trying to role play. Role playing is a collaborative experience, and it only works when you let other people have a turn to talk. 

Another player interrupting or trying to change the subject will always destroy the flow of a conversation and therefore the flow of the game. Wait for the scene to play out before you take your turn. You will never see players on Critical Role  interrupting or trying to take up all the attention.

An intersting story can only develop when a scene comes to its conclusion.
Allow yourself as a player to sit back and watch the game unfold. Take your time with the game and let the story develop naturally, one scene at a time.

 Don't try to advance a scene until the previous one is over. This is especially important for DM's who ignore or dismiss a player trying to role play. Matt Mercer never interrupts his players when they are role playing. Matt is usually in character as an NPC, role playing along with them.

When the other players are done talking, that is your cue to either react and say something in character. Do not interrupt or change the subject until that story beat or plot point is concluded.

The Role-play Is Only as Good as it's players

The players rarely bring up side conversations, and if it happens, they are still very quiet and focused on the story. There is no talk that is completely out of game. Save it for the commercial break. If a pop culture reference is mentioned, they still keep it within the confines of the story. The players never go off on tangents and talk about a subject that isn't part of the game. Good players stay focused because they know that the show must go on.

Everyone in Critical Role acts like respectful adults who go with the flow of the game and they are mature enough to listen and wait patiently for their turns. When Nott and Jester are playing cards, the other 5 players listen patiently and let the scene play out to it's conclusion. Only one conversation should be happening at a time, no matter who is talking.

Role play doesn't work unless at least two characters are involved and interacting with each other. The cast is constantly reacting and asking questions in character to keep the energy and role play alive. If you want more role play in your group, you need to react in character to whatever is going on. When you react to another player, who is role playing, it gets you into the scene and lets the other characters role play with you.

If a character says something and no one else reacts or get involved, then the role play dies.  Role won't ever happen if other players are dismissive or don't engage in the conversation. A lot of lines that are spoken in character fall flat simply because other players never respond to them. 

The cast of critical role are always engaged and always ready to react. Their performances are fun and entertaining because of how much energy they put into staying in the action and paying attention.

The CR Players are confident in their characters, choices and actions. They think before they speak. Having confidence means knowing you can handle whatever comes up. A good player learns and grows along with their character throughout the course of the game.

Support your game to make endure

Why does critical role work so well? Why do they have a game full of energy and continues to work for multiple seasons?
Aside from them being professional actors, they do whatever they can to support the game and the story.

Critical Role avoids all the pitfalls of game ending behaviors. There isn't a player who is constantly trying to get all the attention. They always share the scenes with other players. There is no interruptive player who messes things up for other players. They are all great listeners and they know how to react and engage in the story without upstaging others.

The PC's are always supporting each other to keep the story moving forward. Make sure your character is supporting the other characters with their goals or plans. The more effort you put into the characters friendship, the more you will get out of it. You won't get a Beau and Jester without that conscious effort. Your characters are always playing and fighting together they should become friends pretty quickly.

 If you want your game to last 6 seasons and a movie, then give the DM and PC's all of your attention and support.

The DM is a great listener too, he doesn't rush a scene forward, he takes the time to listen to his players role play.

 But the most important reason that this show has gone on so long is that everyone continually supports each other. The players take the time to make sure their characters genuinely care for and support the other characters during the game. Supporting other characters goals and plans,  creates a lasting bond you will never see in other games.

You will never see a lone wolf edge lord character who is only out for himself in Critical Role. Because it is a group game. A game where supportive characters make a better story. The loner has no place in a group game and Critical Role knows it.

Show kindness and Respect

If you want a good story and you want to put on a good show, remember to always be attentive, always be ready for your turn. Do not interrupt or try to change focus when a scene is already in play. Do not hog the spotlight. Be active in the story by reacting and engaging, in character,  with what is going on. Go with the flow.

Be supportive of all the players and make an effort to include them all. This applies to players and game masters alike. If you aren't including others,  no one will want to play with you.

And most importantly be a good listener. The best way to get support from other players is to support them first. Listen to other ideas and work with each other. The player who listens is the player that will be included.

How to stop murder hobos from destroying your D&D game.

mins

Establish game rules and behavior first

 A players behavior at the table is based on expectations and rules that need to be agreed upon before the game even starts. I am a huge advocate of stopping people from acting rude or disrespectful.


If you know that your players wanted to be murder hobos in the first place, then you should have a game style that reflects their play style. However something can always become an issue no matter what rules and expectations you establish.


During session zero, everyone in the game needs to agree on what the play style is and how evil the party wants to be. Alignments should be followed according to character. If a player wants to be evil in a party full of good people, the players need to have a really good reason for it. Good characters won't travel with known criminals or evil people. And that needs to be role played.

Give your attention to other players

If another player is always interrupting or trying to hog all of the attention your other players will never get their turn. This selfish player is probably trying to do everything without giving other players a chance. This is easy to control by simply giving the attention to another player. Interrupt the rude player if you have to.


"We know what you are about to do, now lets take turns and see what our paladin would like to do." As the DM you need to take your attention away from that player.

Players can help too

Your character can interrupt the selfish player too. The DM will probably appreciate your help.
Talk in character, "If you attack the king, you won't be my traveling companion anymore. Your actions prove to be  unbecoming and insulting. You will get no further support from me. If I (my characters) can't trust you, I can't help you." Hopefully the offending player will understand that he needs to act according to the rest of the group.

You can also say something like this
 "In order to finish our quest, we need everyone working together for the common cause. If you want to kill kings and burn down taverns, you should look for another group to travel with."
Hopefully the player will get the obvious hint.

A player can also help intervene on behalf of the story. When a bad player makes the bad decision to kill an NPC. Your character can and should hold them back. In a one shot game it isn't as important. But an ongoing campaign will most likely have dire consequences. Stay in the way of the bad player until the DM can intervene and stop the conflict.

Stop the murder hobo in Their tracks

The dungeon master has all the power to allow  anything in the story to progress. This means that if there is an interruptive or rude player, they don't get to do anything until the DM says so.

Stop a rude boy in their tracks. This trick also works to stop players from destroying your game.

Rude Boy: "I slap the bartender in the face, then I light the tavern on fire, then I kill the closest guard next to me."

Dungeon Master: (taking the wind out of rude boys sails.) "Before you get close to the bartender, I want to know what everyone else is doing. Lets take turns and go around the table."

Take turns and let all the other players go first. Usually that can de-escalate a game destroying rude boy. Since the narrative was changed by another player, the rude boy should be focused on something else beside killing. If it gets back to his turn and he still wants to be destructive, let him give it a try. Since we already know that the rude boy wants to attack the bartender first, we can have a little time to prepare while the other players are going.

The key word here is 'Before'. Don't let a rude boy get away with even getting close to what they want to do. Don't even acknowledge what rude boy is saying.  The word 'before' can be used in any situation to take control of the action and slow down a player.

"Before you get to the bartender, roll a dexterity save, (make the DC impossible to beat) you have been hit in the leg with an arrow, you will now be moving at half speed." or something like this.

"Before you move to attack the bartender, you realize that the bar is full of royal guards and other witnesses who probably want to enjoy their dinner."

"Before you attack the king, the two guards closest to you grab the crossbow out of your hands. "

Enlist the players for help

This is another diversion tactic, but a little more involved. Talk to the other players. "You see your rude companion about to attack the bartender, what are you going to do." Say this to every player before their turn. Let all the other players go first and hopefully they will help stop or otherwise slow down the attacking player.

Dealing with a party of murderers

If your whole party is a group of murder hobos, it might be hard to ask for help from other players.  So get more NPCs involved. Bring in guides or advisors who can speak for you as the DM. Warn the players of the consequences.

"I really don't think you would want the entire kingdoms army on your tail, if you do try to kill the king." 

"If you allow this fire to burn down the entire forest, it will be your heads that the wrath of the gods come down upon!" Let your party of hobos reap what they sow.

If the party wants to act like villains, every NPC in your world will treat them like villains.

Bring alignments into play and make the players suffer every time they don't act accordingly. Make them ask their gods for forgivenss in order to get their magic back. Have the thieves guild set up rules of conduct or the players won't get to be a member.  Rouges might steal, but do they draw the line at murder?

Players need to deal with consequenses

If the player still insists after a warning. Say this. "You hit the bartender in the face and suddenly you feel the point of a sword in your back. One of the guards has hit you for 900 damage. (Don't even roll for attack or damage at this point. Do enough damage to teach a lesson.)You are now unconscious and are currently being dragged toward the prisons. Now what do the other players want to do?"

Consequences are only limited by your imagination.

Players killed a bartender or burnt down a town? Now there is a price on their heads. High level NPCs will always be hunting them down. Rogue NPCs will turn them in for a reward at any moment.

The PCs are never the strongest people in your world. If they just keep surviving, throw something stronger at them. Make them learn their lessons the hard way. There is always a bigger fish. There will always be something or someone stronger than your PCs. Bring the gods down if you have to. Have celestials and archons hunt the players down. You have my permission to make your murder hobos life a living hell.

Even more consequenses

The murder hobos faces are plastered on wanted posters everywhere. Every NPC knows what the players look like. Guards won't let your party into town. Shopkeepers and taverns refuse to serve the criminal party. "You burnt down my grannys hometown! There's no way I will let you into our city!"

If the party has a reputation for evil, cultists, murderers, and other criminals might want to join forces with the party. "We know you killed the royal guards in the city, maybe you can help us destroy them all! Take down their peacekeeping ways!" or, "Clearly you don't have any qualms about preserving life, so maybe you can help us summon our great god of death"

At this point the players should be questioning their morality, if not, the campaign just turned into a villains story. An evil party. All the good guys will be constantly hunting them down.

Thank You!

Here at gamesmastery.com we want to give our appreciation and support to gamers everywhere. Our mission is to inspire creativity and help everyone enjoy the best life possible.

If you are interested in learning all that you can about being a great Dungeon Master take a look at the DM's Aresenal.

Disclosure: I am an affiliate of Bookshop.org and I will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase with no extra cost to you.

Save The Cat! Book Review, A Storytelling Resource

save the cat book cover

My favorite book on storytelling!

save the cat book cover

I first learned about this book when I was taking acting classes back in the olden days. Our acting coach wanted us to read this as a way to understand movie story structure and teach us how to understand story and character arcs.

Save The Cat is the modern day hero's journey. It breaks down the foundations of a good story to its simplest form.

A great story can bond with our soul and embed itself with our psyche. A great story can be remembered for generations after it has been told. 

Save The Cat is the decisive recipe for telling a successful and memorable story.

Although the author of Save The Cat focuses on script writing for movies, we can take his advice and apply it to any form of storytelling. Whether it is novel writing, game design or any other form of story. Save The Cat can help.

Saving the cat is a concept that Snyder proposes that needs to happen early in the story. The main character rescues a cat that is stuck in a tree, letting the audience know that the main character is a good guy. The cat is a metaphor.

At the beginning of the live action Sonic The Hedgehog movie, Sonic picks up a turtle on the road before it gets run over by a truck. The save the cat scene can be short but it is important to convey to the audience what type of character they will be dealing with.

When Han Solo shoots first, we immediately understand exactly what type of character he is. That is his 'Save the Cat' moment.

The story foundations that Snyder uses is called the beat sheet. He want us to “beat” out every scene in the story to make sure the story flows well and gets the audience invested. Each beat is a scene in your story. This is my favorite part of the book.

When I first read about the beat sheet I was entranced. This was the breakdown I needed as an actor, a writer, and a dungeon master. 

Save The Cat covers a lot of writing territory. He analyses the type and genre of a story. He poses the idea that there are only 10 types of stories that have ever been told.

Snyder gives advice about the log-line, or the elevator pitch. The pitch is a single sentence that tells the audience what the story is about. If you can’t describe the story with one line, your story might be too complicated. 

Save The cat also helps with complicated scenes that need to be in your narrative. He tells us how to give exposition without it getting boring. He helps us keep track of our rules for magic systems and other mumbo-jumbo.

There is a multitude of advice here for repairing parts of your story that doesn’t flow. 

I love the concepts and advice in Save The Cat, and I will never get bored of re-reading it. Snyders writing makes everything simple, to the point, and comically entertaining.

Advice For Dungeon Masters

DM’s can use log-lines and short pitches for adventure hooks and quest lines. They can and should be used to entice specific players into action.

Dungeon masters can utilize the beat sheet for campaign creation. The beat sheet can be used for single session stories. You can also beat out player character development. Villains and NPCs in your game can also follow the same character structure. You will be amazed how well told your campaign will end up if you use the beat sheet. Your players will be fully engaged following each beat or scene in your story.

For more story telling ideas take a look at these adventure hook ideas.

You can use the storytelling tricks and techniques for any genre or style of rpg. Use the pope in the pool trick so your players won’t get bored with exposition.

 "Representatives visit the Pope at the Vatican. And guess where the meeting takes place? The Vatican pool. There, the Pope, in his bathing suit, swims laps back and forth while the exposition unfolds. We the audience aren’t listening, I’m guessing. We’re thinking, “I didn’t know the vatican had a pool?! And look, the Pope isn’t wearing his pope clothes, He’s… He’s… in a bathing suit!”

We can use this in our D&D games all the time. Whenever you need to convey some elaborate history or a piece of lore in your world, you can use this trick. Unfold exposition during a battle, a chase scene, or when the PCs are exploring some new and interesting environment. Or you can have a very entertaining or odd NPC tell some stories for you. 

DM’s should always be raising the stakes in the flow of their story and watching out for the glacier. 

Snyder says, "Danger must be present danger. Stakes must be stakes for the people we care about. And what might happen to them must be shown from the get-go so we know the consequences of the immediate threat."

This rule applies to the story in your RPG game and all the players in the game, this needs to happen to the PCs and NPCs that the players care about. The threats and villains should be up on center stage instead of slowly approaching like a glacier eroding away at a slow paced story.

For more ideas to make your battles interesting, look at this.

Please enjoy Save The Cat like I did. This book gave me a huge understanding of story structure and writing advice. As a film nerd and a dungeon master, I highly recommend this book to anyone who has an interest in writing or storytelling!

Don't let fear stop you from telling your story!


Thank You!

Here at GamesMastery we want to give our appreciation and support to gamers everywhere. Our mission is to inspire creativity and help everyone enjoy the best life possible.

If you are interested in learning all that you can about being a great Dungeon Master take a look at the DM's Aresenal.

Disclosure: I am an affiliate of Bookshop.org and I will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase with no extra cost to you.

Tell Your Story!

mins

It's Uniquely Yours... Don't be afraid to tell It!

Resist the resistance. Feel the fear and do it anyway.

Since every story has been already told before, you don't need to worry or beat yourself up about making things wholly original.

This is good news.

It frees you from worrying about being truly unique or inspiring. Creating something exciting will become natural if you write what you want to write. 

Your excitement and your passion will show through, and your players will feel that. It takes so much energy and effort to be totally and completely original.

It's better to tell your story in your own way and in your own voice. 

Working in your own voice and your own personal experience is what will make your story original. 

Put your personal touch on it. Make it how you want it. 

Write the story you want to enjoy, run the game you would want to play. 

Create the world you want to play in. If you enjoy it, other people will to!

No one can tell your story exactly like you can. Even if people are running the same pre-made adventure, yours will be told differently with your own flavor and character. 

No one will be able to tell it like you do. Add your own characters, worlds and ideas. 

Add to the adventure, add to the myth with your own personal spirit. 

Create your worlds, create that which draws you to the game. 

Follow your heart and passion that made you want to DM in the first place.

You have your own special voice. There is and always will be room for more stories. Tell yours. 

Tell your story because no one else can say it like you can. 

No one will be able to weave the tapestry of adventure and excitement like you do.

 Your voice is unique. Use it. embrace it. And above all, enjoy it.

Being a DM isn't just about running a game or knowing all the rules. 

Being a good dungeon master is being a story teller, a bard, a narrator, an actor and director. 

You channel your muse tapped into the primal nature of the story and myth that we all feel in our hearts.

Your call to adventure awaits! Answer it.

Thank You!

Here at gamesmastery.com we want to give our appreciation and support to gamers everywhere. Our mission is to inspire creativity and help everyone enjoy the best life possible.

If you are interested in learning all that you can about being a great Dungeon Master take a look at the DM's Aresenal.

The War of Art

WarofArt

The War of art By Steven Pressfield

Do you ever feel like your dreams will never come true? Are you constantly searching for energy or motivation to get things done? Are you the type of person who always ends up putting things off until tomorrow?

 If you want to get something done today, Then  The War of Art by Steven Pressfield is a must read for you!

This book is an inspirational tool that can help anyone get motivated. No matter what dreams you are trying to follow, or what project you want to finish, the War of Art will help you stop putting things off and get working. 

One of the main reasons I want to write reviews is because of The War Of Art. Pressfields book has pushed me in a way that I have never felt before.

I write because I have a passion for it. I might not be a good writer, or a talented wordsmith, but it is what I enjoy. And if I can help inspire someone to follow their passions, all the better! 

 If there is anything in your life that you want to work on or improve, this book will help you do it. Whether it is a new business you want to start, running a D&D game, creating new habits, dancing, singing, painting, writing a novel, putting on a puppet show, making your own games, or any other creative endeavor. 

Whatever you want to work on, you can apply the teachings in this book to help you out.

WarofArt

Most of us usually allow “life” to get in the way of our plans and dreams. The War of Art tells us that “life” is actually our resistance trying its best to stop us from what we really want to do.

The ‘war’ that is in the title of the book is the war within yourself, the war against the resistance inside all of us.

Pressfield talks about resistance as an enemy that we have to fight every day. Resistance fights against us in many forms. Resistance is our procrastination, our excuses to put things off until later. Resistance is self-sabotage.

Pressfield says “Resistance’s goal is not to wound or disable. Resistance aims to kill. It’s target is the epicenter of our being: our genius, our soul, the unique and priceless gift we were put on this earth to give and that no one else has but us. Resistance means business. When we fight it, we are in a war to the death.”

This book had a profound effect on me. I learned all the ways that resistance can destroy a good idea or kill dreams so they will never be followed. 

I see now how much resistance I had allowed to come into my life. I see how I constantly let laziness and resistance win out over my passions and dreams.

 Pressfiled wants to help us maintain a mindset that will help us survive, adapt, and win the every-day battle, within ourselves, against our resistance.

The War of Art talks about becoming a professional. In this context, a professional is someone who works everyday to practice and advance their craft, whatever it might be. A professional is humble and hard working.

“The amatuer believes he must overcome his fear; Then he can do his work. The professional knows that fear can never be overcome. He knows there is no such thing as a fearless warrior or a dread-free artist.”

I learned that one must be very serious and dedicated to their calling in order to get anything done. I found that there is a vast difference between someone with a hobby they work on casually once a month and a serious professional who works on their craft every day.

I admire everything about this book. I have fought with depression and a lack of motivation all of my life, and now I know it is the power of resistance trying to kick my ass everyday. After reading this, I see how strong resistance is, and how much I have let it take over my life.

Pressfield teaches us about invoking your muse. You can call the muse whatever you want, inspiration, creativity, a guardian angel, a calling, or simply passion to work on something.

The muse is what takes over for you, when you continue your work. Whenever you feel like you are “in the zone,” that feeling is the muse helping you out. If you want to invoke the power of your muse, you’ll have to learn what this book has to tell us.

This book is an amazing motivator and an amazing resource to continue coming back to. If you ever feel lazy or unmotivated, The War of Art can help us get back on track. We could all benefit from knowing more about how to fight resistance and follow our dreams.

This is about taking your passion seriously, the reason you get up in the morning. The War of Art can be a serious and feel-good inspiration for taking your dreams seriously. If you feel the call to follow your dreams or advance your craft, this book is for you! 

Thank You!

Here at gamesmastery.com we want to give our appreciation and support to gamers everywhere. Our mission is to inspire creativity and help everyone enjoy the best life possible.

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The Monsters Know What They’re Doing

kick your players butts

Combat Tactics For Dungeon Masters.

 By Keith Ammann.

The Monsters Know What They're Doing is an insightful collection about how monsters and villains act in a Dungeons and Dragons game.

The information here is specific for 5th edition D&D. It is Based on the popular blog of the same name by Keith Ammann. Themonstersknow.com

I am recommending this book and blog because I believe in helping dungeon masters run the best game possible.

I believe in sharing knowledge and supporting each other the best that we can.

Information and advice should be shared from multiple sources and we can always learn new things from different teachers.

The Monsters Know What They're Doing is a translation and expansion of the info we get in the monsters manual. The stat blocks in the Monsters Manual never revealed its secrets to me until now.

Until now, I had just copied and pasted the monsters stat blocks and didn’t think twice about them. Ammann gets right to the point and shows us the tactics in a precise and simple way.

After reading The Monsters Know What They're Doing , I had found what I was missing. This book taught me how to interpret the stats to make the D&D creatures come to life. Now my creatures and boss battles are so much more engaging and dynamic than ever before!

 The Monsters Know What They’re Doing is not a replacement for the D&D monsters manual. You’ll still need the manual and the Players Handbook for game rules. The Monsters Know What They’re Doing focuses on things you won't find in the monsters manual. Keith's focus leans more toward monster's tactics and instincts more than just a block of stats.

 I’ve been DMing for over 15 years now, (started with 3rd edition) and the combat tactics I have learned from this book are greatly appreciated. Most of the information Ammann gives us is pretty new to me. My mind was blown when I first sat down to read The Monsters Know What They're Doing. 

When it comes to monsters, my DM style was completely lazy. I usually ignore most stats, I hate math and numbers, and I never calculate experience points, and I always thought CR was just a guideline.

When preparing, I only ever paid attention to enemy attacks, spells I liked, and special abilities. I rarely thought twice about ability scores, and skills like perception, stealth and the rest. I never thought twice about how goblins actually behave in battle. I just threw them at the players and treated the goblins like low level cannon fodder.

 Boy was I wrong.

Kieth says, “High-strength and high-constitution creatures are brutes that welcome a close-quarters slugfest.” Before now, all I would see is how much damage a monster does.

Ammanns advice gets deeper and more specific. Every section and chapter in the book focuses on a different type of monster; NPCs, undead, dragons, aberrations, constructs, demons and much more. 

I am currently excited to run a vampire in one of my current campaigns. I learned how a vampire would use its spells, and special abilities more tactfully long before a battle even starts. I learned the way it can manipulate other monsters and PCs to its advantage.

I admit that I haven’t read the whole book, I have just skipped around and read about the creatures that I was interested in or was planning on running in an upcoming session.

This Book makes it easy for DM’s to skip around and find the info they need. The organization is great for campaign planning when you don’t have much time.

If you aren’t too familiar with the 5th edition rules, it might get kind of confusing. But I don’t think that would be a problem for most DMs.

I learned and will continue to learn how to run monsters and enemies more effectively than I ever had before. Ammanns’ book is an amazing resource that I will be using for many more years to come. 

A professional dungeon master never stops learning. If you want to improve your encounters, and your game, this book is most definitely for you. I believe every dungeon master could benefit from Keith Ammanns sage advice.

The Monsters Know What They’re Doing is an insightful eye opener that deserves its place on the shelf next to the Dungeon Masters guide. It is essential reading for dungeon masters who want to improve their game.

Thank You!

Here at gamesmastery.com we want to give our appreciation and support to gamers everywhere. Our mission is to inspire creativity and help everyone enjoy the best life possible.

If you are interested in learning all that you can about being a great Dungeon Master take a look at the DM's Aresenal.

Disclosure: I am an affiliate of Bookshop.org and I will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase with no extra cost to you.

How To Be A Good D&D Player

mins


Be Prepared and Be Ready For Your Turn

A good Dungeons and Dragons player will always have a general idea of what their character wants to do and what their goal is. This is key during battle. Know what dice you need to roll before your turn. Know when you are next in initiative.

Know what your spells and abilities can do beforehand. If you are ready to go, the battles are quicker and the game runs a lot more smoothly.

Don't waste the parties time by looking stuff up during your turn and trying to figure out what to do. You should have time before your turn to look up what you need to. Make sure you know everything on your character sheet and what dice you need to roll for a specific attack or ability.

You don't need to know all the rules, that's to much work and can get overwhelming quickly. All you need to know are the attacks, abilities, and spells that you are planning on using.

Make the game run smoothly by being prepared.

If you don't know, ask questions before a battle starts or before your turn.

Use your Ablities and items in creative ways

This isn't a video game. That means you should not be hoarding all your magic items or special abilities for the final boss. The DM is giving you items for a reason. They want to help you out. Dungeon Masters want you to use your cool items that they give you.

If you aren't using your cool gear and special abilities, you are wasting some great opportunities.
You will always find more loot and items.

Do not be afraid to try new things. I recently had a player tie a bear trap to a rope and throw it in the air to attack a harpy that was flying around. He rolled well, and I let it work. It was a great idea and a cool move.

 A good DM will let you try anything within reason.

 A roll of the dice can decide how well it works out. Use your thunderwave spell to knock enemies off of cliffs. Tie your giant spider fang to a dagger for some poison damage.

Be creative.

Use a prestidigitation spell to add a special effect to your diplomacy or performance skill. Cover your blade in holy water before you attack the zombies.

The more creative you get, the more interesting circumstances arise to make a more exciting and memorable game.

You don't have to wait for the end of a fight. Use your turn to do something besides attacking. Unlock a door or pull the lever on your turn.

Free a prisoner. The prisoner might be able to help in battle. Doing something besides attacking adds more strategy and complexity to a simple combat. Let yourself be part of the narrative by doing something different.

Most games don't last very long, you are lucky if you get a campaign that lasts longer than 10 or so sessions. Use what you have now because the next session might never come!

help out other players and take turns

The biggest part of the game is finding a good group that plays well together. The more you can do to make players feel welcome and accepted, the more fun the game will be.

 There is no game without the group.

Do your part to make it a good experience. It is a group game. Games fall apart for a lot of reasons, usually it's because of a bad DM, a bad player, or a general lack of energy.

Do not be the bad player.

Do not be the player who feels the need to lead the party at every turn. Let other players role play and use their ideas. You don't need to be doing everything. Since you are part of the group, you need to let other players try things.

 Sometimes the best thing you can do is to support other players with their ideas or abilities. Different classes have different abilities for a reason, you should not be trying to solve every problem and kill every enemy.

Share the spotlight with other players so when it's your turn to do something cool, the other players will be there to support you.

Take time to step back and listen to everyone else. You will be much more appreciated when you can just listen. 

Share information with the party

Apparently this can be a problem in some games. Players keep secrets from each other and try to be special because they have a secret.

The only time to keep secrets is for a character story arc. Those secrets should be planned in advance with the DM.

If you have relevant info that the party needs to survive, tell them. Lack of communication is a problem in every group. Be helpful and be engaging.

 Have a clear backstory prepared ,  and a character goal

Your backstory doesn't have to be a 30 page epic. And it shouldn't be, especially if you are starting at level 1. No one is going to read something 30 pages long. Make it more like a paragraph or two with only 4 or 5 sentences each.

Make your backstory something easy that the DM can build off of and expand later on.

If you want good storytelling for your character, you need a backstory.

You need something connecting your character the the world around them. The more connections your character makes, the more you will be invested in the story.

Type up your backstory. Make sure your DM gets it and can work with your ideas.

 This is your chance to be a part of the world building and creative process, don't squander this opportunity.

Make sure your character has a goal to work toward. It doesn't have to be groundbreaking, just something to motivate your character to be a part of the game world and a reason to be there. It can be something as simple as wanting to own a castle or finding loot. Maybe you are searching for your lost siblings or you just want to go do some good in this crazy world.

Communicate with your DM in order to play your character effectively. Make sure your DM knows what your goals are so they can add it to the story. A good DM will listen and create opportunities for you to role play and advance toward your characters goal.  Your characters story will suffer if you don't take advantage of those opportunities

The better goal you have, the better story your character will get. Without your characters story, you might as well be playing a board game. For more ideas on character creation check this out.

ask questions to advance the plot

Asking questions is key to a good game, a lot of players can end up missing out on things. If you have a good or helpful dungeon master, they will end up sharing helpful hints.

 Let the characters tell you stories and plot threads. You'll know exactly where to go next if you are paying attention.

Most DM's add things to the game for a reason. Ask about the odd looking painting on the wall. Find out why the villagers seem so stressed out. Ask why the orc shaman has a such better quality robes than the rest of her tribe. Ask the lord who hired you if they have anything that could help you on the quest.

In big cities, there might be clerics or seers who could spy on your enemies for you. Or a special shop selling the exact spell you were looking for. If you can't buy a spell, maybe you can hire someone who can cast the spell for you.

Dungeon masters can't possibly prepare everything, but if you ask for it, and let the DM know what you want, they can put it in the game for you. Ask for the flaming sword your character wants or the address to the vampires estate.

You want more loot? Ask about where the banks are, or the opulent merchants guild. As long as you make sure the DM knows what you want, you will probably end up getting it.

It never hurts to ask.

Role play on your turn.

You can ask questions during battle. Talk to your enemies. As a DM, I get so bored when players just attack every turn.

Get your enemies name before you destroy them.  You do not have to attack all the time, but you should always be helping out the party in some way.

You don't have to kill every enemy. Allow your blood lust to have a little mercy. Tie your enemies up and get info from them.

Knowledge is power. Lots of enemies will know more than your character does.

Help the DM

Help your DM by stopping other players from making stupid game breaking choices. There is no reason to allow the edge-lord player to kill the bartender or burn down the potion shop. Stop the player who continually tries to kill the king. It makes things a lot simpler for everyone.

Help out by looking up rules, keeping track of initiative, or anything else you could possibly handle to make the dungeon masters job a little easier.

 It's usually pretty easy to see where the DM wants you to go, and what they have prepared. A good DM will let you stray from the railroad tracks. If you can tell that the story is lagging, or getting low on energy, it's probably because the story is off track. Go back to where you are supposed to go. Let the DM give you what they spent time preparing for you.

Don't be a dick. don't fight Against other players

There is a big difference between playing a character, and just generally being an asshole. Don't waste too much time debating with other players. No one wants to sit there for an hour while you argue about opening the next door. It's tedious and no fun. This is not a competitive game.

 No one wants to watch you try to kill the other players. The games take long enough without your pointless squabbles. I'm not going to sit there wasting my game time while you are basically measuring your long sword against other players.

We are not here to feed your insecure nerd ego and your ego has nothing to do with the game. Leave the ego at home.

If you want a fight, go play a video game online and don't waste our time at the table. D&D is a group game, and you should be working together. As a DM I do not allow players to fight each other.

Do Not expect other players or the DM to know all the rules. Do not argue with the DM. It's OK to tell the DM what the rule is, but you have to let the DM  make the final decision. You have to accept that decision and move forward.

It's okay to help out and let people know the rules. There is no reason to hide information. There is no benefit to criticizing or making someone feel bad about not knowing a rule or ability.

No one will want to play with you if you are purposefully being mean, or making things harder.

Don't condescend or berate other players when they don't know something.

Don't be a cheater

Make sure your numbers and stats on your character sheet are correct. Have someone double check for you when you level up. If you are using an app for your character and stats, make sure you still know what your abilities are and where you are getting your numbers.

Make sure you aren't lying or cheating on your dice rolls. You can't be good at everything all the time. This is why we're rolling in the first place.

You need a random element of chance to tell an interesting story. Failure always makes things more interesting. If you are lying about your rolls,  or otherwise cheating, you deserve a boring story.

You need to be honest for the rest of the group to trust you. Don't let it become a problem. If your DM tells you to roll a different dice or roll for everyone too see, do it without arguing.

you cannot do whatever you want

Despite popular conceptions, you can't do whatever you want. More accurately, you can BE whatever you want.

You can't burn down the village just for fun. You can't kill the king during his speech. You can't purposefully break the game or you won't have a game left to play.

 Use your cool ideas and great role playing. but don't go so extreme as to destroy everything.

The DM built a world for you to play in, and the players came to do some fun stuff. Don't ruin things for the group. Don't destroy things without a purpose or a plan. Don't use your evil alignment as an excuse. Show respect to the world that your DM took the time to create for you.

If you plan on destroying something or killing someone important, Let the party know about it. Let the DM have time to plan for what happens. Let the story progress instead of chopping it's legs off without warning.

Be Appreciative

Be happy that you have a group to play with.

Be thankful that you have a great game master who builds amazing worlds for you to play in and continuously runs games for you.

Be grateful that you are always invited back to their table.

Remember to have fun!

Come to the gaming table with a good attitude, and maintain that attitude.

The better you feel and the happier you are, the game will be that much more enjoyable for everyone.

The key here is to maintain a good attitude. Like maintaining a car or a good looking costume.

Being happy is a habit you have to form just like anything else in life. Being happy and actively choosing that is an essential part of any experience.

Especially a game where you have to work with other people. Choosing to be happy is essential to having fun. Having fun is what the game is ultimately all about!

Get organized

Have an idea about what you are going to do next. Before your turn.

Be creative and ask questions.

Use your abilities and magic items.

Support other players. Be a good listener. Do what you can to help out the dungeon master. Don't be a dick.

Keep the game moving forward.

maintain a good attitude for a great game!

Thank You!

Here at GamesMastery we want to give our appreciation and support to gamers everywhere. Our mission is to inspire creativity and help everyone enjoy the best life possible.

If you are interested in learning all that you can about being a great Dungeon Master take a look at the DM's Aresenal.

Disclosure: I am an affiliate of Bookshop.org and I will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase with no extra cost to you.

RPG Ideas From Spider-Man 2

mins

Spider-man's stories have been deeply personal. Peter Parker is always dealing with real life situations and mundane problems that we can all relate to. The villains are also uniquely personal to Pete's' life. His story is universal. Today I want to talk about the Spider-Man 2 movie, with Tobey McGuire, and how to make a story more personal.

As a dungeon master you will want to tell the story with a villain that has a personal relationship to one of the players characters. In Spider-Man 2, we don't have a random monster-of-the week. We have a person that Peter looks up to, A scientific genius that Peter idolized.

make it personal

Every encounter Pete has with Doc Ock is also part of his personal story. When our villain decides to rob a bank, he doesn't just go to a random bank in the city. It's at the bank where Pete and Aunt May are visiting. This bring two plot lines together with them trying to get a loan. 

Give your villain a plan, and put your players in the villains path or vise versa. Once the players find out about the villain and are directly in their path, they can decide what to do about the baddie.

This is my favorite way of introducing the big bad and easily moves the plot forward. This is also a good way to set up the baddies in a way that the players see it directly. The players should not know the full extent of the bad guys plans right away, but they'll get a taste of it.

Spider-Man tries to stop Doc Ock, and when he grabs a meat shield, it's not just a random citizen at the bank, it is, of course Aunt May. This is a great example of raising the stakes. It's not just a nameless NPC who could get hurt, but someone your players should care about.

In the spirit of keeping things personal, we have another plot thread about Harry. He blames Spidey for his fathers death and is out to seek justice.

Every person in Peters life is affected by the story. Keeping things personal. 

Doc Ock and Harry end up working together, and theirs plans involve Peter. Once the villain meets your players, they need to start anticipating the players moves if they know the heroes will try to get in their way.

keep Your story moving forward

Just as Peter and MJ start patching things together and things might start going well, is the exact moment that Doc Ock attacks, interrupting their almost kiss.

This is hard to plan as a DM, because the players can be unpredictable. You can always interrupt the players when they are trying to rest or shop. 

Don't interrupt too often though because the players will get sick of it and they'll stop having fun if they can't catch a break. 

This continually raises the stakes if our hero doesn't seem to get a break. In the end, Doc Ock keeps MJ as a prisoner so she doesn't go to the police. Our villain doesn't know that she has a connection to Spidey, but we do, and of course you as the DM will know how to make it personal.

Raising The Stakes

The final battle in Spider-Man 2 is a great example of crafting an exciting and memorable encounter. 

Just defeating the bad guy isn't enough, especially in a boss battle. Spidey has to fight Doc Ock, save Mary Jane, and turn off the reactor all at the same time. 

The stakes are raised again because not only is MJ in danger but the entire city could be destroyed. Give your players lots to do in a boss battle and it will be a lot more interesting. 

You can also create a time limit to put pressure on your players. Deactivate the reactor (magic item, demon summoning etc.) so nobody dies. Spidey is also fighting someone who he knows and respected.

 To make things more exciting, the building they are fighting in is falling down all around them, adding more risk to MJ and our players. Adding danger in the location itself builds a more epic encounter. 

Add traps, puzzles, magic items that could do damage, rough terrain and anything else you can think of to make it more interesting.

Allow Role-Play During Battle

I also love this because they continue to tell the story during battle. Peter takes a turn to try to talk to Ock. He reveals himself and makes it personal to the villain and ultimately MJ. Peter talks Doc Ock out of fighting and it works. 

Give your players chances to talk and role play during their turns instead of just fighting. The bad guys can do this too. They will seem much more realistic and add depth to characters and battles.

Remember to have big plans for the bad guys and put the players in their path. Make sure the bad guys are connected to a player or players in some way. 

Use NPC's that the players care about so we can toy with their emotions by putting them in danger. Add more than one goal to a boss battle. 

Insert something dangerous in the environment for the players to deal with. Encourage players and enemies to role play during battle. 

Be adaptable to your players. 

And above all, have fun!

Thank You!

Here at GamesMastery we want to give our appreciation and support to gamers everywhere. Our mission is to inspire creativity and help everyone enjoy the best life possible.

If you are interested in learning all that you can about being a great Dungeon Master take a look at the DM's Aresenal.

Disclosure: I am an affiliate of Bookshop.org and I will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase with no extra cost to you.