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Category Archives for "Adventure Building & Campaigns"

How To Keep Dungeons Interesting – 5 Ways

Roleplaying Tips Newsletter #1223 How To Keep Dungeons Interesting – 5 Ways How do you make dungeon crawling perpetually interesting? This was a frequent tip request made in December’s Dungeon23 poll. I struggle with this too, whether it’s an endless series of rooms in a megadungeon, a series of 5 Room Dungeons, or just a […]

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A Way To Make MegaDungeon Rooms Interesting (Have Your Dice Ready)

Roleplaying Tips Newsletter #1222 A Way To Make MegaDungeon Rooms Interesting An RPT GM asks: Facing the Dungeon23 challenge, I wonder how to come up with different rooms instead of falling into tired tropes or ending up with repetitive floors. My answer: roll for it! First, theme your megadungeon and its levels. Next, make yourself […]

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Turn Travel Into Fun Setbacks – 3 Ways

Roleplaying Tips Newsletter #1219 Brief Word From Johnn We played session #5 of Basilica yesterday. The old memory muscles for Basic D&D slowly return, as does the OSR mindset, which I’m really enjoying. It’s wonderful not turning to the rulebook every time to figure out what to do or how to adjudicate a player action. […]

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3 Alternatives to PC Drinking Contests

Roleplaying Tips Newsletter #1217 3 Alternatives to PC Drinking Contests Last weekend we played session #04 of my Basilica campaign. We’re using Old School Essentials and my homebrew world of Duskfall. And this session we did a new thing called Stars & Wishes. I got this technique from Jonathan, who wrote today’s ideas for fun […]

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11 Ways To Make Mysteries Magnificent

Roleplaying Tips Newsletter #1211 Brief Word From Johnn Check out this cool session pic from Platinum Wizard of Adventure Nemsoli: I asked Nemsoli what I was seeing, and he replied: What you are looking at is a Dwarven Forge 3d model my GM bought and painted. The two minis are clockwork owlbears he printed and […]

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1d6 Ways To Create Urgency In Encounters

Roleplaying Tips Newsletter #1212 Brief Word From Johnn Biggest Eruption In Over 100 Years Did you hear about the volcanic eruption that happened at Hunga Tonga Hunga Ha’apai last January? It’s probably the biggest eruption that’ll happen in our lifetime – the biggest since Krakatoa in 1883 – but due to its remote location it […]

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How To Build Encounters On A Budget

Roleplaying Tips Newsletter #1210 Brief Word From Johnn I just returned from a two week camping trip that was a great and relaxing time. I know I’m stressed when my notebook gathers dust and doesn’t get any new ideas. That was the story of my 2022 so far. But after a few days sitting around […]

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6 Tips On How To Tie Dungeon Encounters Together

Roleplaying Tips Newsletter #1203 Brief Word From Johnn Last night I found a great course on Udemy about video game design. In part, it dives into the tension between player agency versus game designer agenda. Open world games versus plotted story paths. This is old hat for us though. The first moments behind the screen […]

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Tips For Lunch Hour Games + Personal Announcement

Roleplaying Tips Newsletter #1198 Big news to share with you this week. I have embarked on a grand adventure. Two adventures, really. The Great Resignation First, I’m going fuller-time with Roleplaying Tips! I’m thrilled but nervous and can’t wait to begin this new journey. I gave notice at my day job last week and I’ve […]

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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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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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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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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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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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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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Weaponize Your Villain’s Secret

Roleplaying Tips Newsletter #1152 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 […]

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