A Shared Tale & Clever Distractions

Roleplaying Tips Newsletter #0819

Table of Contents:


A co-worker is GMing his first D&D campaign for friends who have also not played D&D before. He described a couple of his encounters to me last week and I thought they were fantastic.

His encounters’ intent is to help his players learn to roleplay and tell stories.

He gave me permission to share. So, for your possible inspiration, here are Caleb’s encounters, A Shared Tale and Clever Distractions.

A Shared Tale

Imagine if a bookstore or library was a maze. The PCs have been sent to find a book. And there’s a ghost roaming the aisles, guarding the precious pages.

The ghost has a special power. It turns an intruder into a tome made of flesh that tells the victim’s life story.

Each section of the library holds a clue about how to overcome the ghost.

A pair of thieves also roam between the shelves. Caleb will use them to demonstrate the ghost’s threat. A caretaker on the premises can hep, but he’s deaf and the characters will have to shout, which draws the ghost closer.

To stop the ghost, the PCs must tell it a story. Each character who wants to avoid attack must join the story. And the story must be told one word or phrase at a time, rotating between the characters, so the ghost perceives just a single story, thus granting the whole party immunity.

Clever Distractions

The party encounters a prosemancer  — a wizard that creates things, effects, and foes with writing. The prosemancer summons a powerful creature and the party is hard-pressed.

The best way to harm the wizard-controlled creature is for the PCs to become inventive with their attacks, actions, and tactics.

The prosemancer will become distracted by something innovative. This momentarily weakens the summoned creature.

Each time a player describes their actions creatively it gives them an opportunity to get an advantage over their foe. This should encourage roleplaying and turning boring descriptions like “I attack” into “I jump off the back of the other character while spinning around, bringing my sword down the length of his spine.”

I also learned Caleb has a YouTube channel where he and his friends geek out on anime. Thanks for these great ideas, Caleb. And thank you for stepping up to the GM screen for your friends!