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RPG Articles For Better Game Mastering

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GMing Articles

Over-Resting PCs
How to handle a party that rests too much and is always healthy and buffed for every encounter.

Tips For Dealing With Stealthy PCs
How to handle characters that cannot be seen or heard.

Tips For Planning & Running The First Session Of A Campaign
The first game session is always the most terrifying. Read this advice so it becomes a rollicking success.

NPC Essentials Article & Book Info
Create your best ever NPCs with this ultimate NPC resource.

Remedies For GM Burn-Out
Great list of ways to get excited and energized about GMing. It will be just like the old days again.

The Perfect Gaming Environment
Get your game area working FOR you instead of AGAINST you.

Helping Players Choose To Roleplay vs. Fight
Essential advice for game masters frustrated with players who just hack ‘n slash.

Excel Game Master Tips
How to use spreadsheets to make GMing easier and speed up gameplay with note taking, map-making, and combat tables.

How much can you game in a week?
Logan Horsford shares his incredible gaming schedule. He logs more hours each week at the game table than most people do at their full-time job

Running Games At Conventions
Great advice you should read before you run your next con game.

Top RPG Movies For Game Masters
Roleplaying Tips readers submit their favourite movies for GMing inspiration.

3 Ways To Make Your Life As GM Easier
Classic tips to help generate new ideas and organize your GMing.

8 GM Binder Tips for the Organized Gamemaster
What to put in the ultimate GM binder to help you run games faster and more efficiently.

Preparation of Material for a Roleplaying Adventure
What and how to prep for your next game session.

Free Maps
A killer list of places to get maps for your campaigns.

Tips for GM’s, From a Player’s Perspective
Some good tips for game masters from a player’s point of view.

Poker in RPGs
Over the years, poker has come up several times as tips. This article links up various tips about using poker and gambling as mini-games inside your game.

DM Delegation
Aimed at workaholic GMs who could use advice on how to coordinate players and ease the workload a bit.

Tips from the Trenches
A spectrum of GMing advice aimed to help new game masters.

Gaming Group Grind
Keeping your gaming group happy.

So You Want To Be A GM?
The roles of the GM.

A Guide to Map Making
Making maps on the PC.

Drama Doubloons
A nifty GMing tool and how to use it to encourage roleplaying.

Online Games
Virtual tabletops, software and tips on using them.

A Cave, A Con, A Troll
When your players won’t walk into the cave….

Re-balancing Your Game-Dealing With Powerful Items
In-game solutions for the problems of unbalanced items.

Do It Yourself Flying in D&D
Thoughts, formulas, and ideas about flying and levitation in the D&D universe.

How to Make Your Games More Cinematic
7 tips on how to turn your campaign into a compelling soap opera.

Hangings Can Be Fun
Tips and advice for hanging your players.

The GM’s Library
Books and resources every GM should read.

Fear in Role-Playing Games
A short piece with some good info on instilling fear into your players and their PCs.

Electronic Gaming & Tools Reviews
A bit dated, but full of gold nuggets.

Romance In RPGs
How to tastefully run romance in your games in an entertaining way.

The Handheld GM
Using handheld and portable computers at the game table.

Guide to PBP & PBEM
Covers who PBP/PBeM works, how to get started, and playing advice.

An Example Campaign Survey
A survey my friend Colin whipped up before launching his D&D campaign in 2006. I thought his survey was excellent, and that you might find some ideas in it for your own surveys.

The Perfect Gaming Environment
Numerous tips, stories, and comments about gaming environments.

Advantages of Amber: Diceless Gaming
Advantages and problems with diceless roleplaying, plus a few diceless GMing tips.

The Organized Game Room
Pics of a Tips reader’s organized game room.

The Chaotic Good Game Room
Pics of another Tips reader’s game room.

When It All Goes Wrong: DMing on the Fly
One of the DM’s biggest tests is when the players don’t follow the yellow brick road. Sometimes they veer a little, sometimes they completely go off the beaten path, and sometimes they’ve left the planet. You can’t control when this happens; what you can control is how you handle it.

Colourful Combat Descriptions
Several tips on making combat thrilling and fun through good description.

Online Bingo as dice roller?
A strange idea should you forget your dice at home.

Campaign, Adventure, and Encounter Design Articles

Making Magic Items Interesting
Tips and advice on how to create awesome magical rewards.

5 Room Dungeons
Free dungeon adventures using the 5 Room Dungeon template for fast and easy GMing.

Roleplaying Quests
Awesome list of ideas for roleplaying-based encounters and adventures.

Minor Rewards Ideas
Another awesome list, this time of cool rewards that do not break campaign balance.

Alternative Forms Of Character Rewards
Third in the series of rewards tips and advice. This one offers unique ways of rewarding characters and players outside of magic and treasure.

Buildings, Establishments, and Places You Can Find In Villages, Towns, and Cities
Excellent lists no urban campaign GM should be without.

Wilderness Encounter Ideas
Want to spruce up travel? This will give you a ton of ideas.

Mapping Tutorial Using Free GameTable Mapping Software
How to use this simple mapping program to play via the Internet or to dynamically map face-to-face at the game table. Includes pics and examples.

150 Benign Urban Encounters
A huge list of encounter ideas to flesh out your cities and inpsire urban game session planning.

Alternative Forms Of Character Rewards
Another great collect of wisdom and advice from Roleplaying Tips Weekly subscribers.

Running Adventures With little Preparation
Too busy to plan for your upcoming game? This article tells you how to jam hours of preparation into a few minutes.

Random Wilderness Encounters
How to plan and organize random encounters for wilderness treks.

Bright Lights, Big City
How to keep your character busy in a large town or city.

Choosing a Setting
Tips on picking a setting for your fantasy, historical, horror, or sci-fi game.

Conversation Skills in an Action Game
Handling player roleplaying versus character charisma.

Thoughts On Diceless, Free-Form Combat
“I’ve been playing since I was knee high to a grasshopper, and I’ve been a dungeon master for at least the last seven years. In all that time, the one thing that has really gotten under my skin is combat I don’t think that it’s ever been done right….”

Free Will in Roleplaying
Scripting adventures: pros, cons & advice.

Big Secrets and Big Plots in Roleplaying Games
How to use secrets and secret plots in your games.

Preparation of Material for a Roleplaying Adventure
Advice on preparing for roleplaying games and gaming sessions.

How To Maintain Game Consistency, While Winging-It, For Right-Brain Game Masters
Players notice inconsistencies right away, and it’s tough tracking information you make up on-the-fly, so here’s some tips on how to do that.

How To Fix Botched Encounters In Mid-Game
What to do if you lose inspiration or botch an encounter during a game session.

Writing The Effective Villain
8 bits of excellent advice on creating bad guys for your campaign.

Overused Standards of Fantasy Literature
Cliches of fantasy fiction and what to avoid in your campaigns.

RPGs and Film Narrative
How to use the structure of film and narrative to build your campaigns.

RPG World Building

Hierarchy of Evil
An 11 step guide to creating an evil organization for your campaign.

World-Creating and Mapping
Tips and advice on drawing your world’s maps.

Creating Fantasy Names and Scrolls
A technical article that arms you with specific techniques for crafting names and documents in your campaigns.

How to Create a Bureaucracy
A guide to using bureaucracy in your worlds and how characters can interact with it.

Creation Myths or the Truth About Creation?
Religious Myths vs Religious Truths, and their impact on your game

City Places (Fantasy & Lo-Tech Worlds)
Lists and lists of people, building, and places you’d find in an urban environment. Great for encounter setting ideas and city design.

The Guide to Crafting
A crafting system, including several fantasy materials, forged by a trio of GMs.

Weapons Permits
A rationale for permits and a guide to their usage in your campaign.

Knowledge: Decipher Script, Part 1
Cryptography for use in your campaign.

Knowledge: Decipher Script, Part 2
More cryptology information.

B13: Movie Magic
Magic from Hollywierd.

Dragon Characters for Eberron
Silver dragon backgrounds and traits.

Putting The Fear Back Into Disease
A detailed article about all aspects of disease, and a great resource for world builders questing for realism.

On Feats
An interesting article on how to group and analyze feats in your D&D campaigns. This will be of particular interest to GMs who allow a lot of feats or who want to build worlds and need a good system to organize regional and cultural feats.

Articles About and For Players

The Mother Of All Character Questionnaires
Use this massive list of questions to construct your own character questionnaire. Character depth comes from player introspection. Prod your players to put a little thought into their PCs. This will pay you a lot of dividends as your campaigns progress.

The Logic Death Guide to Players
Gamemaster strategies and tips for gaming with all types of players and player styles.

Re-educating The Power Gamer
Advice on how to introduce munchkins and powergamers to a character-driven, story-based style of play.

Make The New Guy Welcome
How to bring in new players, make them feel welcome, and motivate them to participate.

Managing Intra-party Conflict
Dealing with infighting in your games.

Helping Players Choose To Roleplay vs. Fighting
Another assembly of readers’ tips from Roleplaying Tips Weekly submissions, this article gives great advice on how to help hackers become talkers.

What To Do When Your Players Aren’t Taking It Seriously
Assembled from readers’ tips from Roleplaying Tips Weekly submissions, this article gives great advice on how to deal with a potentially disastrous situation.

RPG Industry, Writing, RPG Freelancing

Open Design Interview – From the Shore to the Sea
Interview with Brandon Hodge and Wolfgang Baur on creating and running adventures.

Getting Your Foot In The Door For RPG Writing
Advice on how to become an RPG freelance writer.

Die-Cast Ignorance
“D&D is enjoying the height of its popularity with an estimated 20 million players worldwide.”

The Freelancing Life
By Matt Forbeck. “A lot of people ask me how to get started as a freelance writer or designer in the adventure games industry.”

RPG Advocacy
Information and links about advocating RPG.

Role-Playing Games and Kids
Tips to convince parents that RPGs are fun, and how to run games in such a way that they stay appropriate for the age group you are playing with.

Starting and Running a Role-Playing Games Club
Tested advice for teachers and organizers for building a successful gaming club.

RPG Game Reviews

Wyvern Mountain Review (D&D 4E)
By Grant Howitt

Citadel of the Corruptor (D&D 4E)
By Grant Howitt

Forgotten Heroes Review (D&D 4E)
By Grant Howitt

Blackdirge’s Dungeon Denizens Review (D&D 4E)
By Isaac Calon

The Hero’s Handbook: Dragonborn by Goodman Games (D&D 4E)
By Jamie Hetchler

The Shrine Maiden (D&D 4E)
By Grant Howitt

Fantasy Class: The Martialist (D&D 4E)
By Rachael Kvapil and Ekon

Fantasy Class: The Martialist (D&D 4E)
By Grant Howitt

Alpha Omega RPG Review – First Look
By Patrick Irwin

Alpha Omega RPG Full Review
By Patrick Irwin

Alpha Omega: The Encountered Volume 1 – First Look
By Patrick Irwin

Epic Words, Obsidian Portal, and MyDndGame Compared
By Dave Schaefer

Feature comparison chart for Epic Words, Obsidian Portal, MyDndGame
By Dave Schaefer

Epic Words
“Epic Words is an excellent resource for game masters to post details of their campaign…” by Jenette Downing a.k.a Silveressa

Obsidian Portal
Is Obsidian Portal a useful tool for tracking a campaign? Yes. Is it perfect? I’m afraid not. By Brent P. Newhall

Epic Words
“I will watch the site’s progress with keen interest.” by Chuck Durfee

Obsidian Portal
5 out of 5, by Lord Skudley

Helix: The Post Apocalypse, High-Tech, Fantasy, Western Role Playing Game
3.5 out of 5, by Lord Skudley

Helix: The Post Apocalypse, High-Tech, Fantasy, Western Role Playing Game
So so but interesting, by Mark Bruckard

Helix: The Post Apocalypse, High-Tech, Fantasy, Western Role Playing Game
1.5 out of 5, by Jim Yee

The World Book of Khaas – Legendary Lands of Arduin

Ruins of the Dragon Lord

Conan: The Roleplaying Game

Conan: Road of Kings

Ultimate Equipment Guide II

HARP and HARP Lite