RPT#691: Space Opera Part 3: Making It Personal

I love space opera, laser swords, and ray guns, jet bikes in space swooping around ships bigger than they are and winning. These epic stories in vast galaxies sometimes take place a long time ago, far far away, and sometimes they’re in our own time and space, but you need to play a video game well enough to even be noticed by the star league. I love the scope, tone, and feel, but those things all play second fiddle to what makes space opera most compelling to me: the characters and their personal stories.

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RPT#690: How To Fill In The Blanks – Drawing Maps Dungeon World Style

The first Dungeon World principle is to draw maps but leave blank spaces. Maps are a fundamental part of world building, so leaving blanks suggests an unfinished world. However, the idea is to fill them in later. Blank areas on a map allow all manner of cool things to happen in your game. They prevent you from painting yourself into a corner at campaign outset. They let you be flexible and roll with the dice.

Here are some tips on using blanks on a map to increase the fun at your table. The tips are divided up according to the style of map being used…

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RPT#688: The Card Grid – The Fastest Way To Map Your Kingdom With Adventure Sites

A kingdom map helps you and your players see how your kingdom fits together. Players will use it to decide where they want to travel and what challenges to tackle next.

However, a map too detailed and complex harms gameplay. It blocks cool campaign ideas that come up after campaign kickoff. It puts players off, so its hooks fail. And prep becomes harder because you end up with too much detail to connect ideas with and GM for.

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RPT#599 3 Line Cultures: How To Inject Races and Factions With Flavour

Here’s the core tip in brief. I’ll describe the full recipe on how to create everything later in this article. Create a very short story that exemplifies the culture so you can remember and roleplay anyone from that culture at the drop of a hat. We remember stories better than cold, factual stat blocks. These stories also give you handy in-game roleplaying and storytelling prompts. And they are fast to create using my simple recipe:

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RPT#687: 7 Tips for Creating Awesome Legends

Myron Yorick, the king’s younger brother, went into the service of Our Lady in White, as was customary for younger siblings. He was a potent preacher, full of ecstasy and fire. When his discovered his brother’s plans to give preferential treatment to decadent Coraltoni wine merchants who would undercut the valuable Sweetblood trade, he resolved to do something about it.

He usurped the throne, threw out the Coraltoni pisswine vendors, and launched a war with Coralton over the trade routes to the Sword Sea. And though he eventually fell, he did not go quietly — the assassins who killed him had to poison, shoot, stab, beat, and burn him with magic before tossing him in the river, where he finally died of hypothermia while trying to claw up out of the ice. Then, as his body was cremated, he sat up in his casket.

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RPT#686: Wrangling Unruly Campaign Outlines: How To Keep Track of Plot Threads

At the end of a long campaign, I want my players and I to feel totally satisfied. I mean the sort of satisfaction one gets when a story wraps up with no question unanswered. The kind of story that ends with every major character’s arc finished and accounted.

This is a challenge when there’s only a single person telling a story – just think of all the novels that have left you hanging in one way or another over the years. But when a group of friends gets into collaborative tale-spinning one chapter at a time with long breaks between, it is almost impossible to wrap up everything with a tidy bow.

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RPT#685: Space Opera Part 2: Building The Setting Core Elements

In my last article I talked a little about how people get around as part of a Far Future Spacefaring Civilization and putting limitations on those methods. Now I want to talk a little more in depth about those methods and how you can put some limitations on them to make them more gameable.

There are three kinds of FTL travel methods employed in various sci-fi settings: hyper drives, jump drives, and warp drives.

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RPT#684: Kingdom Building Part II: Who Rules the Kingdom?

Knowing who is in power is important in any game where you want locations to serve as more than a simple backdrop, because the character of those in positions of power often reflects that of the kingdom itself. Having your ruler emphasize the themes of your kingdom will hammer those details home to your players. It is also useful information to have in the back of your mind when anything that affects kingdom law or policy occurs in-game.

This article takes you through the process of choosing an appropriate government type for your kingdom and then discusses how you can use this in play to give your campaign world more depth.

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RPT#672: Prevent Player Disagreements With This Quick RPG Campaign Survey

Players and GMs bring their own ideas, desires, and personalities to the table. This causes game friction when we have different expectations of each other and the game. To prevent intra-party conflict, use a short survey to understand what type of game your players want you to run. This survey also helps identify potential player vs. player conflicts ahead of time so you can deal with them proactively.

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