Roleplaying Tips Blog

Visual Aid Session Prep with the Five Room Dungeon

Hello Sojourner! The goal of Visual Game Session Prep is to have a quick glance reference that reminds me of notes and plans I made before the session. This keeps paperwork to a minimum. Rather than referencing your notes within a large document during the game, you can simply look at a simple visual diagram […]

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

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 […]

Continue reading

Fast 5 Room Dungeons, Clue Tip, Instant Idea Generator, Different Combats – Mail Bag Edition

Ahn-nyong-ha-se-yo Johnn, It’s a Mail Bag issue and today I’ve got four helpful GMing tips for you. First is about alternative combat outcomes. Second is how to instantly generate ideas. Third is about adding clues. Fourth is a fantastic 5 question formula for fast 5 Room Dungeon ideation. Before we dive in, you might be […]

Continue reading

Cunning Combat Strategy – 3 Round Combat Plans For Lightning Combats Part II

How do you make your next combat fast and exciting effective 3 Round Combat Plans? And what are we supposed to do in each round? What is our strategy here? That’s what I show you in today’s tips, which are taken from my brand new Faster Combat 5E course launching this spring. Today, I’ll go […]

Continue reading

How to Master Your Craft

Sain bainuu Johnn, There’s something they neglect to tell you about writing. Understand this “plot twist” and the whole job changes. Here’s the really cool part. We can apply this new way of looking at things to GMing, as well! And my hope is, it’ll change how to approach mastering your craft, which I call […]

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

How to Create Situations With 5 Room Dungeons

We want to cue up situations, not outcomes. By that, I mean we don’t dictate the actions of the characters. That’s the players’ job. But as storytellers, we have a job to do too. We need to weave good tales from our setting, adventure plans, and gameplay as it happens. How can we do this […]

Continue reading

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 […]

Continue reading

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 […]

Continue reading

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

This is a guest post by Jonathan Hardin, sojournersawake.com 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 […]

Continue reading