Roleplaying Tips Blog

Weaponize Your Villain’s Secret

RPT GM Dale S asked me for help with his adventure’s bad guy and plot: Hi Johnn, Would you mind wading in with any thoughts on my villain’s objective? The local gnoll clan and their unusual allies are attacking a small walled human frontier settlement. This is a nighttime ‘storming the barricades’ kind of assault […]

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Keep Players Intensely Engaged With the 3 Conflicts

Character arcs tell the story of how characters develop by overcoming foes and challenges in pursuit of their goals. This is the ambition of campaign play: to develop cool character story arcs. Such arcs keep players intensely engaged in your games. Why? Thinking about armour, health points, personality scores, and other character sheet elements are […]

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A Divine Way to Manage Your Meddling Gods – a 3 Part Framework

This is a guest post by Jonathan Hardin based on his original article at Sojourners Awake. How can you have gods walk your realm without whacking campaign balance? How can you turn deities into Plot Factories? And how can you roleplay divine beings in interesting ways that do not spell immediate doom for belligerent characters? […]

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Starting a West Marches Campaign – Step By Step

By Jochen Linnemann Starting a West Marches Campaign – Part 1 Some time ago, I decided to start a West Marches type campaign with the idea of an episodic, easy-to-prep game for a group changing players in mind. So, I started to research the topic. Reading Tips Google was a good jump off point, and […]

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Villain Roleplay Tips – A Trio of Detestable Traits

Salaam Johnn, How can we get players to chase our villains like frothing lunatics brandishing cleavers overhead? It’s starts with someone they want to punch. Someone who isn’t normal but has turned their difference into something cringey. A monster on the inside, at the least. We can achieve all these things for our villain in […]

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My 7 Keys to a Great Sandbox Game

New RPT GM Eddie asked for advice on homebrewing adventures: I love that a campaign can be going strong that long. The one I’m running is like 6 months old. Even though I’m pretty new to the game (less than a year) I’ve been looking more into old school revival and alternative materials because although […]

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7 Ways to Improve Virtual and Online Game Sessions

With the amount of online games I’ve been playing and running, I’ve learned a few things that help make virtual sessions better. Be Clear on Mission & Focus It’s more difficult herding cats in online games. With numerous distractions via computer, software, and home environment, we must work strategically to keep players focused. Having clear […]

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Fantastic Factions => 4 Tricks To Get The Most Out Of Your Villain Factions

Why do I use factions so much in my campaigns? You know I love my NPCs. They are our avatars and “Agent Smiths” in the game to influence players and direct the characters. Therefore, we get even more value out of groups of NPCs. But random clusters do not make great storytelling. We need each […]

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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 […]

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Players “Checked Out” When Campaign Switched To Virtual Online

RPT GM Hornick switched his game to virtual and now has trouble getting his players to roleplay: My players have started to outgame-play the sessions with little ingame interactions. Maybe this is due to the medium of Roll20 and Discord. Do you have any ideas on this besides talking to them about this? They lately […]

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How To Create Roleplay Encounters

I received this great request from RPT GM Carter: I have a problem I’m trying to solve: my players tell me they’re more interested in roleplaying than combat, but I’m most comfortable with making interesting combat encounters than interesting roleplaying encounters. With combat I create interesting terrain, interesting enemy mechanics, cool boss fights, etc. But […]

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The Unification Event — How To Get The Party Together

Character backgrounds are key tools in your GM Toolbox. Mine them for plots, NPCs, and character motivation. However, it’s a struggle to get useful and game-full backgrounds from players. Often, you just get a couple paragraphs explaining how the PC became an orphan. Or, you might get the inverse. Pages of narcissistic background explaining why […]

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Story Sparks — A Way To Improv Better

Ever make a fire from scratch, without matches or gasoline? Every material has an ignition temperature where a spark lights it up. The shirt you’re wearing probably ignites around 267°C or 513°F. Wood is about 300°C / 572°F. And what about our encounters? What ignites them? More on that in a sec. To start a […]

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