Summary of Game Masters of Exandria Roundtable

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00:00:00 - 01:00:00

The Game Masters of Exandria Roundtable discuss the process of worldbuilding and the importance of collaboration in creating a cohesive and believable world. They talk about their inspirations for the world, and how they slowly expanded it as their players became more invested in the game.

  • 00:00:00 The three Game Masters discuss tips for session zero, how to set the tone for a campaign, and how to create a world that feels like it's in control.
  • 00:05:00 The Game Masters of Exandria Roundtable discusses the benefits of pre-planning character development and session zero in a shorter campaign. They discuss how to create a cohesive group identity and hit plot objectives while still giving players freedom.
  • 00:10:00 Vox Machina started out as a group of friends, but as the game went on, Laura and Liam developed a deeper relationship that affected everyone else in the party. When the party began playing in longer form campaigns, Vox Machina came up with a system for character creation that allows players to create their characters without a session zero, relying on questions provided by the GM.
  • 00:15:00 The Game Masters of Exandria Roundtable discusses ways to trick players into caring about the characters and each other, how backstory can be helpful to momentum, and how to communicate with players who forget or do not send backstory.
  • 00:20:00 The GMs discuss the importance of having a game setting that is established before starting a campaign, and how it can be daunting for new or old players. They also talk about how to combat this anxiety by preparing for the game in advance.
  • 00:25:00 The game masters discuss the process of creating a world, and how it can be a collaborative and fun experience. Brennan talks about the creation of the Age of Arcanum, which was much more relieving for her than the first Exandria.
  • 00:30:00 The video discusses the game "Exandria", in which players explore the many corners of the world and change the future. Brennan recounts how intimidated he felt by the idea of having the past behind him, and how this is a key part of the game. The discussion then moves on to Calamity, in which players are given a deep in-world explanation for how the lost technology in the game has developed. Players are then given the opportunity to explore an ancient world, which is a dream come true for improvisers.
  • 00:35:00 The video discusses the game masters of Exandria Roundtable, a talk between Matt and Aabria. Matt talks about the challenges of world building and how it's important for the players to be able to explore and make choices without ruining the canon. Aabria talks about how it's been inspiring to collaborate with Matt and how it's been great to see his worldbuilding progress over the years. Matt and Aabria talk about the importance of passing the baton back and forth, and how nothing is more exciting than seeing what the players do.
  • 00:40:00 The Game Masters of Exandria Roundtable discuss their favorite elements of the lore they've created for their game, Exandria. Brennan says the Bolo Scene was one of the funniest things he's ever seen in a game, and Aabria says irreverence and humor are important in healing from tragedy. Matt says the taste of Tal'Dorei in the main game was one of his favorite moments.
  • 00:45:00 The Game Masters of Exandria Roundtable discusses the importance of world building and how it can be improved through collaboration. They specifically discuss the creation of Byroden, which was a town that had never been seen in person and was deeply tied into the backstory of two main Vox Machina characters, Vex and Vax.
  • 00:50:00 The Game Masters of Exandria Roundtable discuss their inspirations for creating a world, from scanning hand-sketched maps of the outside of Tal'Dorei to building Stilben, a swamp town for a one-shot, into a full-blown campaign. They note that it was a slow process, gradually expanding the world as their players became more invested in it.
  • 00:55:00 The Game Masters of Exandria Roundtable discusses worldbuilding and the creation of Exandria, the world in which the game is set. Aabria talks about the appeal of a world that grows organically, and Brennan speaks about wanting the players to have agency and feel like they're not reliant on the gods.

01:00:00 - 01:50:00

The Game Masters of Exandria Roundtable discuss the role of the game master, their favorite snacks, and how to create compelling villains. They also answer questions from viewers about game mastering and how to keep a self-contained story from going off the rails.

  • 01:00:00 The "Game Masters of Exandria Roundtable" video features a discussion between GMs about creating compelling villains. One GM shares that he never feels stressed during actual play because he knows his players will make mistakes that he can rectify with his knowledge of the world. Another GM notes that worldbuilding is a hallmark of great storytellers, and that nothing makes him happier than meeting Critters in the wild and hearing about their home games.
  • 01:05:00 Aimee and Lucien discuss why villains are hot, and how to make them so. Aimee says that she doesn't try to make villains hot, but that Lucien makes villains villains because he established them as hot. Brennan says that for smaller groups, theater of mind is a good way to tell a quicker story, and for larger groups, miniatures and maps are helpful.
  • 01:10:00 Rick Perry is the production designer for Dimension 20, and his team produces miniatures for the show. He emphasizes the importance of having a map for tactical gameplay, and players can improvise with whatever is on the battlefield. Othello pieces are a good option for home game maps because they can be easily flipped over to the white side to indicate hit points and damage.
  • 01:15:00 The Game Masters of Exandria Roundtable discusses how to make the most of theater of the mind combat, whether it's for an average session or for a game with high stakes. They recommend preparing for the combat the same way as the run time of the game, and communicating with the players to ensure they are aware of the game's world.
  • 01:20:00 The video discusses the challenges that game masters face when it comes to voice time, specifically when it comes to keeping secrets from their partners. The GM spouses discuss how they cope with this challenge. One spouse recommends getting a dog so that the GM can talk to the dog in a weird voice.
  • 01:25:00 The Game Masters of Exandria Roundtable discuss ways to make sure a self-contained story doesn't go off the rails, keeping in mind the constraints of a home game with a limited amount of filming time. Brennan recommends keeping the number of rails to a minimum, and Aabria reminds the group that players are like water, wanting to be immersed in the story rather than thinking about their narrative arc.
  • 01:30:00 The video discusses the role of the game master, describing them as a storyteller who uses improvised rails to help the players take the most efficient path towards their goals. It mentions that the game master should also avoid locking important information behind die rolls, and that good players will understand the end game and line themselves up for the final confrontation.
  • 01:35:00 Aabria discusses her nervousness before every game, recalling a time when a PC did something that made her weight disappear off her back. She credits her GMing style of making it matter and hitting the beats with making her games enjoyable for players. Brennan recalls a moment from his last game with Aabria where she used her skills as a storyteller to create a memorable scene.
  • 01:40:00 In this video, game masters discuss their favorite snacks. Some of the GMs discuss how their snacks help them stay focused during game sessions, while others discuss how snacks help them deal with cravings. One GM discusses how his snack habit has helped him create compelling villains.
  • 01:45:00 The GMs discuss how different their snacks are depending on their level of anxiety. Brennan shares that her car accident led to her snacking less, and that she now snacks more sparingly when streaming because of it. Aabria discusses her anxiety and how it affects her snacks.
  • 01:50:00 Aabria and her husband, John, hosted a Game Masters of Exandria Roundtable on YouTube to answer questions from players. They discuss the different Game Masters roles and how to be a good one.

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