Johnn Four

Author Archives: Johnn Four

Turn Travel Into Fun Setbacks – 3 Ways

Roleplaying Tips Newsletter #1219 Brief Word From Johnn We played session #5 of Basilica yesterday. The old memory muscles for Basic D&D slowly return, as does the OSR mindset, which I’m really enjoying. It’s wonderful not turning to the rulebook every time to figure out what to do or how to adjudicate a player action. […]

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How To Keep Players of Unconscious & Dying Characters Engaged

Roleplaying Tips Newsletter #1214 How To Keep Players of Unconscious & Dying Characters Engaged When a character drops in combat, the fun stops for that player. While they can cheer their friends on, they can no longer join the fun. Different systems have different rules around death and dying. Regardless of ruling, here are some […]

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1d6 Ways To Create Urgency In Encounters

Roleplaying Tips Newsletter #1212 Brief Word From Johnn Biggest Eruption In Over 100 Years Did you hear about the volcanic eruption that happened at Hunga Tonga Hunga Ha’apai last January? It’s probably the biggest eruption that’ll happen in our lifetime – the biggest since Krakatoa in 1883 – but due to its remote location it […]

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When Players Go Feral — How to Clarify Actions of Misunderstood Players

Roleplaying Tips Newsletter #1200 Brief Word From Johnn Today’s tips from Jonathan cover a problem I’ve experienced many times, especially at conventions. What do you do when one player goes off the rails? I especially like the example of the ranger who seemingly isn’t on the same page as the party and wants to ask […]

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3 Ways Your Players Can Help You Out Next Session

Roleplaying Tips Newsletter #1197 A Brief Word From Johnn Do you allow players to change their characters during level-up or between games? I received a nice tip on the weekend about this from RPT GM Paul M: I offered to modify the ability scores of the barbarian in my friends and family game to more […]

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What Do You Do When Characters Fail? — 5 Solutions For You

Roleplaying Tips Newsletter #1196 What do you do when the dice betray your players? When the party seems to meet a dead-end? When your adventure stalls due to bad luck or bad choices? That’s the topic of today’s tips. But before you dig into them, please take the associated poll here: How to Prevent Dead […]

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4 Ways To Surprise Players Who Know All The Monster Stats

From Jonathan Hardin, Roleplaying Tips Newsletter #1178 Hello Sojourner! My players know all of the stats for every villain I place in their path. Through searching on the internet, hours studying monster manuals, and good old fashioned wits, my players have found a way to circumvent the wonder of being surprised in battle. As […]

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Use This Clever Tool To Herd Your Cats – Plot Factories

From JohnnFour Roleplaying Tips Newsletter #11731 A Brief Word From Johnn Today’s tips are about one of my favourite GM techniques. But before I share my ideas on Plot Factories, I wanted to let you know about a Kickstarter my friend Mike Shea of Sly Flourish fame is running. He loves clever GM techniques too, […]

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Do This To Drastically Improve Communication With Players

Roleplaying Tips Newsletter #1168 When there’s good communication, it’s invisible. When there’s bad communication, everyone feels it. As an anti-social, only child introvert, I’ve always considered myself as having a low emotional quotient. I’m much more polite in writing. 🙂 At work I’ve been called direct due to my questions. Being direct is effective, in […]

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Ripping Up Adventure Drama With A Saw Blade

Roleplaying Tips Newsletter #1166 Make your adventures wondrous with terrific drama. We want tension in our plots and gameplay that escalates as players get close to the climactic ending. To increase drama we raise the Stakes (what’s in it for the characters) and toughen the Conflicts (foes, hazards, obstacles, challenges). However, we shouldn’t make every […]

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How To Handle Hack & Slash and Plot-Breaking Character Powers

Roleplaying Tips Newsletter #1157 Dia Dhuit Johnn, How can you make travel and exploration more interesting? And what can we do about players who like to kill everything and ignore roleplay? I’ll share a couple of tips on these topics, triggered by recent emails, with you today. Too Hack & Slash Focused Roleplaying Tips GM […]

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How to Roleplay Seducers, Ancient Evils, Law Enforcement, and Genius NPCs

One of my players, Colin, has stepped up to GM our group through the D&D 5E module, Out of the Abyss.

We’re taking turns being GM. He’ll run his game, then next time I run Murder Hobos, and so on. This means I’ll be GMing about once a month now.

My character is a third level cleric of Helm. Guiscard Windholme, brother of another player’s PC, Raphael. Mike and I chatted by email about making our PCs family. Raphael is always getting into trouble, and Guiscard is always trying to save him.

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