Friends (Wednesday Poetry Break)

Two people on paths that wind
continuously around and about
Through cities and years, friends
both old and new, and much more.
Schoolmates, roommates, Best “Man”
by my side in the Maternity Ward.
These paths aren’t running concurrent
and who can really know why?
This I do know: If I need you, you’ll be there
because we’ll always be friends.

Doyle R. Clark II
January 14, 2015

Happiness (A poem for my wife)

Coral pink lips that only give me truth
Eyes of swirling caramel and chocolate
That only see the best of who I am
A heart that holds all my love and trust
Hands and arms that cradle my child
A temper that’s mild and wild
Brains and conversation a must
Tears that could break the damn
And I wouldn’t ever try to stop it
Squandered time and wasted youth

Mistakes in our past
Eternity ahead
A love that will last
I thee wed

The vows were made
The songs were played
Two people in love
And never deprived of

Happiness.

Doyle R. Clark II
January 7, 2015

Tweed Jackets and Sweaters

Tweed jackets and sweaters
With scarves over ties
Holiday cards and letters
With homemade pies
Through wind, rain, and cold
To see friends young and old
We carry on to a Year brand new
And to the old one we bid adieu.

Doyle R. Clark II
January 1, 2015

Why I like pipe smoking

Smoking a pipe is complex
It requires both hands
Your mind is free to choose
To focus on the outward
Or to withdraw to the inner
To escape the daily hustle
To avoid the noise and vex
To see the hourglass and sands
To look behind or forward
At life apparent or mere clues
To be not saint nor sinner
And at all costs avoid bustle

Swirls of smoke afloat
Wafting along the gentle breeze
Like an old sail boat
Adrift on open seas…

The escape is always sweet
The tobacco sometimes sour
Whether it’s ten minutes or an hour
I will always love the retreat…

Doyle R. Clark II
December 17, 2014

Rules for the Game Master Part Two: Rule One

As promised, here is the second part of the key rules for being a Games Master.
Rule One is a simple rule that can be difficult for most Games Masters to grasp. As a GM your sole responsibility is to keep the game going. How? How do you do that? You have to keep it fun. Keeping the game fun is Rule One. It is like with a movie or a book if either is dull and don’t stimulate the audience then they will lose interest. The same can go with your players. As I stated before, a GM is a story teller and the players your audience.
So, how do you keep the game fun? This is where you have to do some research. Before I run a game or plan a full campaign I talk with my intended players and toss out probing hypothetical ideas. For instance, one of my current campaigns, which is on an temporary hiatus, before I began to put it together I asked my players what they thought about a War Campaign where they would be expected to do a lot of sneaky-sneaky things. They were all for it. That is how it begins, ask probing questions to see if there is an interest or desire to try a campaign like that. If not then I toss out other ideas to them. The thing about being a GM is, if it is your forte, you will have ideas just not always sure how to use them (I will cover this in a later article). Bottom line, you have to have players willing to play.
The next step is keeping them interested. This is where many a GMs drop the ball. Anyone can roll dice, kill the monsters, and collect treasure. If that is all you are wanting to do and that is all your players want to do then more power to you and I recommend playing the card game Munchkin. But many players need more than that. To keep the game fun you need to know your players. You need to know their likes and dislikes when it comes to gaming. Not every player is the same. Some want more story based game play others want more role-play based game play and you need to be ready to deliver that.
The final step, and this is the hardest one, is making sure you, the GM, do not get bored. It is one thing to keep your players happy but you too are sharing in the gaming experience and need to have fun as well. If there is one thing that gets boring for me it is spending countless hours creating NPCs and designing traps that my players go through with, what seems like to me, little effort are their part, though that is not the reality. It is like a player that has put a lot of time into his or her own character only to see it cut down without really being able to do much. It doesn’t seem fair but that is what happens. Now, I am not telling you to make the NPCs weaklings then there is no challenge but you have to know when you are getting burned out as the GM. What we in my group of friends do is have another GM waiting in the wings to run their own game and alternate between games to give everyone a chance to play. Because even though you GM your are also a player and you want a chance to play. Doing this gives you, the GM, a chance to recharge and get back in the mind of a player which adds to your effectiveness as a GM. Think of it like being a spy working as a double agent. It helps you to get further into the minds of your players learning their strengths and weaknesses.
You now know the two key Rules for being a Game Master. Stay tuned for further tips on how to help you out as a GM and improve your game.