Hi. I’m Jarrod. I live in Australia. In my free time I like to build worlds and run roleplaying games. I run regular small group games and duets (one player, one gamemaster). Oh, and I have a little secret about running those games:
Most of the time, I have no idea what’s about to happen next. And it’s awesome!
Welcome to Playing Off the Tracks!
I love gamemastery, worldbuilding and roleplaying. I also like making the most of them. I’d rather do some quick and fun prep then get into an exciting and engaging game, than spend months building the perfect setting and adventure first.
I used to do it differently, and I still love worlbuilding, but my style of gamemastery has become very improvised. I prep interesting world details mainly to act as seeds and hooks in play. I prep the outline of adventures and fill the rest in on the fly based on how my players interact with the world. Often, the most important details are the ones made up on the fly.
This way, the game’s more flexible, my players feel empowered, and I’m often genuinely (and joyfully!) surprised at where the story ends up. It’s almost like being a player, but you get the perks of worldbuilding and the gamemastery too. It’s win-win!
You may be familiar with my work at Pyres of Vam. I’ve now retired that site and am making a fresh start here. I’ve added and backdated forty or so of my favourite posts from Pyres of Vam, in their original form or tweaked slightly.
Everything from this post onwards is new content.
Our Next Adventure
So, I had a blog already. Why the new one?
Well, mainly a fresh start and a clearer focus now that I’ve had some experience blogging. Playing Off the Tracks is dedicated to practical content about gamemastery, worldbuilding and roleplaying. As the blog grows you’ll find new settings, plot hooks, house rules, tips for gamemasters and players, musings on the hobby, and even new roleplaying games and supplements that I’ve developed.
We all value our time, so my focus will be content to help you get the most out of your game, improve your improv, prep less and play more, and be joyfully surprised while running your games. I’ll put in writing tips, tricks and tools I already use in my games, things I’ve tried that didn’t work so well (and why), and things I want to try but haven’t had the chance to yet.
Like my gamemastery, I’m making most of this up as I go. There’s always room to grow and I’m writing this blog for myself, as much as anyone. I hope you get something out of it too.
So ditch your baggage, hold on tight and get ready to start playing off the tracks!