As mentioned, here is a list of reading that I would recommend for all manners of reasons.  This is not a comprehensive list as I tend to find new things that would make the list; and I just plain don’t remember everything that I would recommend in a single sitting.  Anyways, onto the list:

Vampire the Masquerade: Storyteller’s Guide-for any player or GM who wants to develop a stronger story for their games, this is great source.  While it tends to focus on the gothic punk style of the Vampire setting, and has some dark fixations in my opinion, it is a great read for how to add to a story with little details.  Another thing that the book does that I have not seen many others (RPG books) try to do is spell out that as it is your game, “DO WHAT YOU WANT WITH IT!”  You can ignore canon and craft your own history within the setting if you want; you can even ignore the rules and develop your own with the game, so long as you have fun and it fits your story.  The big lesson from this book, take ownership of the games you play: have fun and don’t be afraid to get involved with the game (to a healthy limit, of course).

Vampire the Masquerade: Player’s Handbook-again this book offers a great deal to story/character heavy games.  In this case, it helps the players more so than the GM in developing a better gaming experience within the game.  Confession time: I have not finished reading this book.  However, I am putting this book on the list prematurely because from what I have read, it is really good.  Namely, the section on the Lone Wolf is really good; it teaches players how to avoid creating a character who is two-dimensional and also equips GMs with techniques to help mitigate the presence of the Lone Wolf character and even help make the character more productive and conducive to the story than a simple undefeatable beat-stick.

Dungeons and Dragons: Hero Builder’s Guidebook-out of the Third Edition of DnD comes this FANTASTIC book.  It has no rules in it at all; ZERO!  So what is it, if not a collection of the latest and best new rules?  It is a guide that helps you develop a character from a series of pencil marks on paper.  There is a section on developing a background; another on picking a good name; a section on how to craft your character’s career as an adventurer.  One of my favorite little anecdotes within the book is about how to take a really badly rolled stat and turn it into a compelling angle for role-playing and character development; in essence, giving you ideas to spin unfortunate happenstances into something positive and interesting.

TV Tropes.org-this is a wiki-format site with many articles on tropes (basically cliches) that permeate throughout literature, movies, video games, you-name-it.  Which article would I recommend?  Any of them!  They are all interesting and written with just the right balance of glib/charm and informative.  They do police themselves just enough to avoid any particular bias; outside the fact that they are all geeks and nerds, and proud of it.  At the same time, they try to keep things informal and avoid excessive editing to avoid coming off as Wikipedia.

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