Johnn Four, Author at Roleplaying Tips
Johnn Four

Author Archives: Johnn Four

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

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 “dumb” questions. While the […]

Continue reading

3 Ways Your Players Can Help You Out Next Session

Delegation comes naturally to some. For others, we don’t think of it, worry we might bother or offend folks, or just want to control too much. We do not have to take on the entire burden ourselves. Getting players to help us out makes the game experience better for all. Because some players want to […]

Continue reading

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

Terve Johnn, 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 End Dice […]

Continue reading

4 Ways To Surprise Players Who Know All The Monster Stats

From Jonathan Hardin, 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 GM, I want to […]

Continue reading

Use This Clever Tool To Herd Your Cats – Plot Factories

From JohnnFour Plot Factory Tips When something automagically generates valuable plot hooks within your System, Story, or Setting, I call that a Plot Factory. Plot Factories have been mentioned before here and here. And to help you worry less about your plot hooks and adventure seeds, I want to show you today how to craft […]

Continue reading

Do This To Drastically Improve Communication With Players

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 my experience. It helps […]

Continue reading

Ripping Up Adventure Drama With A Saw Blade

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 encounter even more tense […]

Continue reading

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

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 JG emailed me yesterday: […]

Continue reading

RPT#696: 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.

Continue reading

RPT#694: Villainous Banter: Using Propp’s Reconnaissance Scene

Bypassing a trapped stairwell, they descend into a room with three terrible monsters (umber hulks) trapped behind bars on one side and a tough metal door on the other. The Hobos quietly investigate. However, they hear a voice on the other side of the door: “Has anyone got pants?” Then a loud thunder crack nearly shatters the portal.

This enrages the umber hulks and the creatures start battering their cage. The portal opens. On the other side is a shovel-wielding pantless half-elf. (Welcome new player James and his bard, Captain William Blien!) “Hello. I have no pants. Can you help?”

Continue reading

RPT#693: How to Roleplay NPC Mannerisms

Memorable non-player characters are distinct. Whether you created an NPC or it came out of a published adventure, it is up to you as game master to make each quest giver, tavern goer, and orc slaver different from the rest.

The key to creating a believable, distinct cast lies in your performances. This might seem daunting, especially since every other player at the table has only one character to worry about while you have dozens.

Continue reading