Johnn Four

Author Archives: Johnn Four

XP For RP? The One Thing I Reward Roleplaying Experience Points For Now

If you have time, I’d love to hear how you award XP for roleplaying. I love the idea but my concern would be that I might turn into a judge – “your roleplay was pretty good, but not great, so you get 100 XP” etc. And players roleplaying for my amusement would become a not-fun […]

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A New Year, New Campaign Tool For You

Here’s a Mad Lib you might find useful for your GM Toolbox. There’s a January tradition in the RPG community. It’s called New Year, New Campaign. You might start a campaign. You could also run a different game system. I like to add a third option: campaign reboot. Why not take the opportunity of setting […]

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Happy 2024!

I heard a nice story over the break. I’m paraphrasing the paraphraser here…. A mason was building a wall. Unfortunately, a pair of the hundred stones broke and he had to use extra mortar and position them a bit differently to get them to fit. After finishing the wall, he was filled only with disappointment. […]

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A Game Of Clues

Clues My family LOVES hidden object games. We’ve got PC games and iPad games. I’ve got several cool hidden object books on my shelf. And for Christmas, my wife is getting a hidden object jigsaw puzzle. While I don’t use hidden object games as session props (though if I did, I’d make the PCs quest […]

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How One RPT GM Exploits The Flatulent Feline

If you caught Monday’s announcement, I’ve written a new book with RPG AI expert Danny McKeever about how to use GPT for adventure building. It gives you detailed and specific prompts you can paste into ChatGPT (or Zorgon in Campaign Logger) to help you create adventures, worlds, NPCs, and treasure. In French, it turns out […]

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How I’m Using ChatGP For My Campaign Today

Have you ever heard a cat fart? Wizard of Adventure and loooooong-time Roleplaying Tips reader and contributor, Loz Newman, told me a funny story. He’s in France, probably preparing for another season of teaching kids and adults all about medieval archery. And he explained that, when you say ChatGPT in French, it sounds like you’re […]

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How I Prep My Basilica Campaign

How do you prep? While chatting with a GM during a coaching call, I realized I don’t prep the same way many GMs do. Let me explain, using my Basilica campaign as an example…. My current campaign is sandbox meets hex/dungeon crawl meets story path. I’m looting Temple of Elemental Evil (and hope the PCs […]

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A Festive Twist on RPG Downtime: Surprise Your Players With This Great Idea

Here’s a fun and cool character downtime idea. I had another email planned for today, but I just received this in my inbox from RPT GM Maja and wanted to share it with you. It’s not only a fun seasonal tip, but I could see doing something like this for general character downtime. I want […]

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I Set The Scene, But You Fill It Out

Aloha Johnn! Before I dive into today’s GM tip, I have a quick hint for Campaign Logger GMs. Especially if you’re transferring text to CL from OneNote on Windows When pasting text from OneNote into CL, use CTRL+SHIFT+V to bypass Windows default of pasting as an image. I explain this in more detail with a […]

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GM Toolkit: A Magic Item Template For You

Here’s a template to help you design great items. In response to my Treasure First: A Quick Hack For Creating Adventure Hooks tips from last week RPT GM Jeremy Brown sent me this fantastic D&D 3.5 stat block for magic items. It’s my hope you might adapt it for your campaigns and game system to […]

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From King To Pawn: A Simple Way To Scope Your NPCs

My business partner in crime, Jochen Linnemann, shared this great tip with me yesterday about a cool method for managing your NPCs…. Jochen: Just now, I read about an NPC classification scheme The Dark Eye uses for its publications: King: Cornerstone NPC, important for the living world and future campaigns and adventures. Knight: Important NPC […]

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Treasure First: A Quick Hack For Creating Adventure Hooks

Treasure First: A Quick Hack For Creating Adventure Hooks When players fail to trigger an encounter or adventure, our prep becomes moot and the game goes sideways. But how do you craft hooks so appealing that players bite on them harder than an orc at an all-you-can-eat troll BBQ? Earlier this week, I gave a […]

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Plot Your Sandbox in Under a Minute with Player Magnets

Here’s how I plot out an old school sandbox in pretty much under a minute. In the Wizard of Adventure members area, we got to chatting about how to use Campaign Logger in conjunction with the The Plot Compass technique. The Plot Compass technique is something I shared with Wizards of Adventure recently. It boils […]

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Effortless & Dynamic Storytelling

Effortless & Dynamic Storytelling Among the many tools in my GM Toolbox, the method of Wandering Encounters holds a special place. It’s a simple yet profound way to keep the game world lively, the plot on track, and the characters engaged in evolving story arcs. The core essence of Wandering Encounters lies in its ability […]

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Unlock Player Creativity With Descriptive Options

We played another session of the WOIN RPG conversion of my Basilica campaign and it went well. We were running Old School Essentials, and the group opted to try a crunchier system. So far, WOIN is ticking all the boxes. Today’s tip is not about rules though. Instead, it’s about something great one of my […]

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Why Your Villains Should Be Making Moves

Why Your Villains Should Be Making Moves Today’s tip is inspired by a question about villains from RPT GM Gerald Lock. You can catch his full question, his one-shot Halloween adventure, and my video reply here. So, you’ve crafted an awesome villain, complete with a dark past and malevolent goals, but when game night comes […]

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Map, Monster, Chest: The Golden Trio of Adventure Design

The Golden Trio of Adventure Design RPT GM Benjamin asks: For an anxious and inspiring GM that tried to learn way too much for what is actually needed, how do you just sit down and say, “I’m doing this random plot, with random PCs, and keep everything afloat and fun?” My brother can improvise anything […]

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