Roleplaying Tips Blog

Starting a West Marches Campaign – Step By Step

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 I found this post […]

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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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My Monsters Sucked Until I Discovered This Special Approach

I realized last month I’ve been in a rut slinging boring monsters. This troubled me because boring foes = boring games (h/t to Slapchop). In my Terror in the Badlands campaign, for example, we had a crazy battle in a ruined underground city against a white dragon. It was tricksy with its moves, actions, and […]

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Making Monsters Marvelous – Monstrous RPT Gems For You

A Charter Member of the Adventure Building Master Game Plan asked me about monsters. Great topic. One might say there are three kinds of monsters: Constructs Tricksters Mirrors Constructs fulfill our System needs. Stats, abilities, xp/treasure. Tricksters serve our Story needs. Clue bearers, agents, plot twisters. Mirrors serve our Setting needs by reflecting darker aspects […]

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How To Help New Players Have A Blast With Their First Session

With so many new players (and GMs) joining our beloved hobby, there’s a lot of confusion out there about how to make sessions enjoyable and accessible for newbies. Sometimes your entire group is new. They don’t even have trope or game references to draw upon from different mediums such as video games. That’s what happens […]

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How To Level Up Players With Reward Systems

We’ve mused how motivating yourself to be a better GM makes you happier. Those who pursue intrinsic goals are happier because they control more of their destiny. Now let’s talk about our players, who are probably a mixed bag of intrinsic and extrinsic interests. I go along with live and let live and to teach by example. So […]

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Intrinsic vs. Extrinsic: The Cause of Your Gaming Woes?

Here’s something key to understand about yourself and your players. People are motivated by some combination and degree of intrinsic and extrinsic factors. Learn what these are for each person in your group to better tailor your game rewards. Rewards that fit, like the right key to the right lock, help your game become a satisfying campaign. An extrinsic reward is […]

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