An Essential Ingredient for EVERY Villain Encounter

A GM on Reddit the other day was lamenting about a classic villain disaster. They introduced the BBEG at the start of their campaign to sew hints, hooks, hatred, and all that. But then the players unexpectedly attacked. Crits were rolled. The villain died. The GM’s now prepping a new campaign. Before you put villains […]

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We Only Think of the Gold

RPT GM Patrick writes in response to my tip about playtesting our encounters with mental playthroughs: Good morning my fellow GM! This approach has been truly amazing, as you mentioned, in addressing any peculiarities that might have been overlooked during the initial creation phase. I’ve been employing this method for several months now, and the […]

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Use This One Trick to Make Your Encounters Twice as Fun

Here’s something you can do to level-up your encounters. It takes only a minute, and it’s free. Play the encounter through in your mind before it hits the table. In helping GMs with their encounters over the years, I’ve discovered that almost no one does a mental playtest of the encounters they prep. This is […]

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Turn Pit Traps from Pit Stops to Pit Tales

I have a sinking feeling that today’s tips might involve some puns. Don’t fall for them though! I’m going to drop a bunch of ideas to help change a classic trap from filler into great gameplay. No More Pit Bull I like pit traps. They work in any genre. They’re simple. Almost any foe can […]

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My Sandcrawl Method

Author Paul Quarles For my The Refining Forge campaign, a Castles & Crusades campaign, I decided to run a sandbox, hexcrawl campaign, or a Sandcrawl campaign as dubbed by Johnn Four. My last campaign struggled as a pure hexcrawl campaign with two key problems: This newer approach has been a lot more organic and has […]

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Garner Combat Victories Faster With Signature Moves

Here’s a tip from my business partner and Campaign Logger developer, Jochen Linnemann. It’s in response to an RPT GM who asked for help speeding up his GURPS combats. GURPS, if you haven’t played, is crunchier than most systems. You make more rolls to complete an action. Therefore, combat can become longer affairs. Here’s Jochen’s […]

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Triple Hook: The 3 100% Motivating Factors

Got a great tip for you from RPT GM Ryan about motivating players. This tip works equally well for a question that came up on Saturday’s monthly Wizard of Adventure Q&A call about how to get players to hate NPCs. By the way, if you’re a Wizard of Adventure, you can catch the recording here. […]

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Use My Core Gameplay Loop When Your Game Stalls

During Monday’s game master coaching session, one GM, Mr. Snakes, encountered a plot block. His players had just completed an epic 5 Room Dungeon on a demon-infested ship, caught up in faction play while trying to solve a murder mystery. (Well done, Mr. Snakes!) He asked about my core gameplay loop because, after the ship […]

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How to Transform Passive Players Into Ones Who Seize the Day

RPT GM D echoes a sentiment I’ve heard from many GMs lately in my workshops and inbox: players are not seizing the plot and initiating gameplay. Instead, the GMs are doing the heavy lifting. Yet, despite carpet bombing plot hooks and poking the party with sharp irons — creating extra work and stress behind the […]

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Wield the Unseen Ripples in Your Campaign

How do you motivate players to seize the story? RPT GM D asks: Thanks for your email and tips. When I read your opening sentence I was expecting a very different tack from you. I read it as ‘GMs being frustrated that players won’t make any decisions or show initiative’ and your response was about […]

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5 Heroic Campaign Strategies You Can Apply from the Dragonlance Chronicles

Last night I turned the last page on Dragonlance Chronicles #1, Dragons of Autumn Twilight. What an amazing book. The fourth time I’ve read it. This read-through, however, I pored over the pages like I was a game master running such a story. Through that lens, I added five items to my Basilica GM’s Agenda […]

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