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Celebrate Your Encounter Locations This Way

Roleplaying Tips Newsletter #1069 Make your locations memorable. And incorporate the story. Do those two things to make encounters even better. Here’s how: Features => Twist => Secret Let’s see what to do for each part: Figure Out The Special Features First, give your location a Purpose. Sometimes the game role for the location differs […]

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Power Your Plots With Simple Rumour Tables

Roleplaying Tips Newsletter #1046 The Keep is a monthly D&D campaign, just three sessions old, where the PCs have been shipwrecked on the mysterious jungle island of Barbossa. In session one, I used a rumour table to drop several plot hooks into play to give the sandbox immediate direction. Each player rolled a d20 and […]

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Storymastery: More Examples of Bad Reveal Timings

Roleplaying Tips Newsletter #1029 Last Musing, we talked about how to stage your prophecies for maximum effect. Reveal your prophecy too soon, and players won’t be invested. They won’t care because they have not bonded with your campaign yet. And then even the best prophecy destined to hit your table will feel like a gimmick. […]

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Your Campaign Agenda => Best Campaign Ever Part II

Roleplaying Tips Newsletter #1008 There’s a moment mid-campaign when my inner voice screams out: “I’ve lost the plot! What the #@$% is going on? What the #@$% do I do now?” (Sorry, in-skull Johnn has a potty mouth.) When I’m off the rails as a GM it’s panic time. …Everything feels like it’s crap. …The […]

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Create Plots Easily With This Simple Method

Roleplaying Tips Newsletter #0986 Patrons have access to a cool plot-building PDF called the But Reversal Method. Today, I have a companion plotting technique for all RPT GMs called the Because Twice method, or B2. Sometimes my plans get convoluted and I literally lose the plot. Too many forks to detail and track, and not […]

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The Four Levers That Inevitably Pull Players Through Your Adventures

Roleplaying Tips Newsletter #0974 I’m writing right now in my Guide to 5 Room Dungeons about Push versus Pull. Push GMing means forcing players in a certain direction. But players are their own beings. They think and act independent of your wishes. You cannot control another person. Therefore, you cannot control your players. If you […]

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Create Your Special GM Moves

Roleplaying Tips Newsletter #0960 Adventures get repetitive and boring. “Bring me another 10 scorpion tales!” Even megadungeons and campaign paths can grind you down. I received an email from a subscriber who asked how to keep players engaged. He caught one player even playing video games on their phone during sessions. The best way I […]

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When Do I Peel Back The Cosmic Curtain In My Campaigns?

Roleplaying Tips Newsletter #0958 Sveiki %FIRSTNAME%, Grand campaigns take characters from weaklings to near demi-gods. Intrigue campaigns have shadowy layers with a central truth hidden deep in the core. Mega-plot campaigns have a pyramid of villains and factions piled atop each other like an Ikea storage unit. How do we know what truths to reveal? When do we […]

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An Example Of The Creature Feature For Your 5 Room Dungeon Designs

Roleplaying Tips Newsletter #0932 Without a key idea or theme, our adventures can feel like an uninspired assortment of random ideas. Our adventures fail to make an impact and they fall apart. One awesome solution is to create a Feature. Before you begin adventure design, choose a Feature. Pick a central idea and build your […]

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Use The Feature Method To Make Adventure Design A Whole Lot Easier

Roleplaying Tips Newsletter #0926 Before you put pen to paper designing your next 5 Room Dungeon, do this one quick thing to greatly improve your design. When I build 5 Room Dungeons I often find it’s a struggle to make them more than just an assortment of encounters. Make It Pop A designer I worked […]

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New Mad Lib: Instant Magic Items

Roleplaying Tips Newsletter #0894 Got another Mad Lib for you today. This one is for special item creation and is inspired by the Perilous Deeps book for Dungeon World. Just fill in the blanks to make an interesting item: This item [DOES ACTION] [TO A THING] and the wielder [CAN CONTROL IT] which [CAN BE USED SOMETIMES]. For example: This item allows […]

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Creating A Sandbox Campaign – 7 Steps

Roleplaying Tips Newsletter #0891 Here’s a quick recipe for building a sandbox campaign. The point is to not do a whole lot of plot prep in advance. Be an Agile GM. Only plan deeper once players have chosen a hex, path, or entrance. Step 1: Sandbox Campaign Structure First thing I’d do is decide on the overall […]

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How To Create Five Room Horror Dungeons

Roleplaying Tips Newsletter #0870 Hola %FIRSTNAME% Roleplaying Tips Patron Jeffrey asks how to create five room horror adventures: Johnn, been reading for a long time, and always figured that I would one day have a question worthy of asking… I guess that day is today. How would you use a five-room dungeon to run a […]

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How To Make Skill Items As Treasured As Magic

Roleplaying Tips Newsletter #0854 Reward players with treasure that enhances their skills. Sometimes we get focused just on just combat-related rewards, or treasures that grant cool powers like invisibility. Mix things up by offering skill items. Here’s how. Step 1: Make A List Run through the skill list of your game system and make a […]

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The Mad Lib d12 Random Quest Generator

Roleplaying Tips Newsletter #0849 A bit of fun inspiration for your campaign today. RPT GM Tony shares a random quest generator in Mad Libs format. What I like most about his plot generator is it creates a named and enumerated quest purpose. You could use this template to create legends, world wonders, artefacts, Spikes of […]

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7 Essential Encounter Ingredients

Roleplaying Tips Newsletter #0845 Here’s a fun reader tip from GM Barky on how to build your encounters. It’s definitely food for thought. Johnn, Here’s my recipe for encounter creation using a food metaphor: Meat Meat is the protein, the basic building block of life. In an encounter, it’s the enemy leader. Example: my players […]

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Sandbox Adventures – 5 Essential Ingredients

Roleplaying Tips Newsletter #0842 I got my first taste of sandbox play in B2: Keep on the Borderlands. The PCs based themselves in The Keep and forayed into the Wild. A crazy hermit shared the location of several caves nearby, confirmed dangerous, rumoured with riches. As the party crested a hill, a horseshoe valley stretched […]

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Quick Plot Design: How To Create A Villain Plan First Draft

Roleplaying Tips Newsletter #1115 Been working on my campaigns and thinking a lot about villain plans. I like to craft a roadmap for how the villain can win their goal. I call this Villain Win-State. And that road map becomes my adventure outline for villain type adventures. So what are the first couple of steps […]

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