Roleplaying Tips Blog

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

Roleplaying Tips Newsletter #1162 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 […]

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

Roleplaying Tips Newsletter #1161 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 […]

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How to Master Your Craft

Roleplaying Tips Newsletter #1160 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 […]

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How To Handle Hack & Slash and Plot-Breaking Character Powers

Roleplaying Tips Newsletter #1157 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 […]

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Do You Get Bored Of Your Campaigns?

Roleplaying Tips Newsletter #1156 What’s the purpose of a campaign? My answer: To finish it. No joke. Other factors rank high too: Tell a long-form story Keep the adventure going with beloved characters Have more fun at every game! My apex, though, is to finish the dang thing. Else, feelings of a story unfinished. An […]

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3-Step GM PiXiE Kaizen

Roleplaying Tips Newsletter #1155 There’s a myth about game master time management. Or even about time management in general. Folks think it’s about time. But in my experience that’s not true. It’s about energy. Doing campaign prep for 15 minutes a day will get more prep done over the long haul than doing it once […]

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