Roleplaying Tips Blog

d10 Things You Can Do With a Dead Character

By Johnn Four, patreon.com/johnnfour Roleplaying Tips Newsletter #1191 It sucks when a character dies. To avoid discomfort or upset players, many GMs end up supporting Mary Sue PCs. Or we provide plot armour so thick we earn no drama from combat, traps, and hazards. I support character death as a result of fair gameplay. This […]

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Wow Your Players With Monster Hunts

Roleplaying Tips Newsletter #1189 5 Room Dungeon Template When I invented the 5 Room Dungeon in 2003, I first thought of it as a physical adventure framework. Five literal encounters. This method still works brilliantly, but we can advance it for great monster hunter storytelling. After reading a bunch of work by American professor Joseph […]

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Highlights and Hopes — How to Get Valuable Feedback From Your Players

From Jonathan Hardin, sojournersawake.com Roleplaying Tips Newsletter #1186 If they are having fun, then you’re doing it right. With my Highlights & Hopes technique, I can immediately receive feedback on how my players define fun. I gather these Highlights & Hopes right after the game while they are still fresh in everyone’s mind. Definition Highlights […]

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Simple Ways to Enhance Your Magic Items

From Jonathan Roleplaying Tips Newsletter #1184 Siema Johnn! In todays’ Roleplaying Tips Newsletter, I’ve got the following GM tips for you: 3 Simple Ways to Enhance Your Magic Items How can we spruce up magic items so they aren’t boring +1 shields? Jonathan Hardin (sojournersawake.com) shows us how via three quick changes we can make […]

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Encounter Mapping Software – 3 Tips For Choosing The Best One

Roleplaying Tips Newsletter #1182 A great conversation came up in the monthly Wizard of Adventure chat Saturday on what encounter mapping software to choose. (Wizards of Adventure who could not make the call, here’s a link to the recording.) From DungeonFog to HexKit to Campaign Cartographer, and a bunch of others, how do you pick? […]

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Hear Ye, Hear Ye! A Simple Way To Improve Gameplay, Engagement & Character Outcomes

From JohnnFour Roleplaying Tips Newsletter #1181 Cén chaoi a bhfuil tú Johnn? Here’s a refreshed tip from Roleplaying Tips Newsletter #5, going way back to 1999 right before the world was going to end with Y2K. Too often we become trapped in our heads thinking three moves ahead, doing math, or coming up with names […]

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5 Ways To Warn Players Of A Deadly Challenge

From Jonathan Hardin, sojournersawake.com Roleplaying Tips Newsletter #1180 Many times the threat that presents itself to characters surpasses their abilities to defeat it. The encounter is not easy or even difficult, it’s deadly. Without a warning label, your players may be unfairly surprised that you designed a deadly encounter for them. To avoid that frustration, […]

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4 Ways To Surprise Players Who Know All The Monster Stats

From Jonathan Hardin, sojournersawake.com Roleplaying Tips Newsletter #1178 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 […]

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3 Easy Ideas To Generate Instant Adventure Ideas – Plot Factory Tutorial Part II

From JohnnFour Roleplaying Tips Newsletter #1175 Last week we talked about Plot Factories as a tool in your GM Toolbox. Think of them like spawn points in a video game. Foes keep emerging to assault your character until you destroy the spawn point. In our adventures and sandboxes, we do the same via Plot Factories […]

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Visual Aid Session Prep with the Five Room Dungeon

Roleplaying Tips Newsletter #1174 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 […]

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Use This Clever Tool To Herd Your Cats – Plot Factories

From JohnnFour Roleplaying Tips Newsletter #11731 A Brief Word From Johnn Today’s tips are about one of my favourite GM techniques. But before I share my ideas on Plot Factories, I wanted to let you know about a Kickstarter my friend Mike Shea of Sly Flourish fame is running. He loves clever GM techniques too, […]

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Do This To Drastically Improve Communication With Players

Roleplaying Tips Newsletter #1168 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 […]

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Outsmart Your Players With 3-Step Villain Plans

Roleplaying Tips Newsletter #1167 How do we outsmart our players? It’s all their brains against ours. Surely the odds are against us. However, here’s a neat trick we can perform to make our villains smarter and our adventures more cunning. We look at the possible plots and actions our poor villain might take and group […]

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Ripping Up Adventure Drama With A Saw Blade

Roleplaying Tips Newsletter #1166 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 […]

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My 7 Keys to a Great Sandbox Game

Roleplaying Tips Newsletter #1164 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 […]

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