Archive

Category Archives for "Adventure Building & Campaigns"

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 […]

Continue reading

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, […]

Continue reading

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 […]

Continue reading

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 […]

Continue reading

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 […]

Continue reading

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 […]

Continue reading

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 […]

Continue reading

Starting a West Marches Campaign – Step By Step

From Jochen Linnemann Roleplaying Tips Newsletter #1147 Starting a West Marches Campaign (Part 1) Some time ago, I decided to start a West Marches type campaign with the idea of an episodic, easy-to-prep game for a group changing players in mind. So, I started to research the topic. Reading Tips Google was a good jump […]

Continue reading

My 7 Keys to a Great Sandbox Game

Roleplaying Tips Newsletter #1145 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 […]

Continue reading

Story Sparks — A Way To Improv Better

Roleplaying Tips Newsletter #1135 Ever make a fire from scratch, without matches or gasoline? Every material has an ignition temperature where a spark lights it up. The shirt you’re wearing probably ignites around 267°C or 513°F. Wood is about 300°C / 572°F. And what about our encounters? What ignites them? More on that in a […]

Continue reading

Need A Last-Minute Halloween One-Shot Adventure Idea?

Roleplaying Tips Newsletter #1133 I was chatting with new subscriber Ric Miller this week, and he inspired today’s tip that’ll help you prep and run an awesome Halloween adventure this weekend if you have not found one yet. The tip is simple, yet full of amazing potential: Just add Cthulhu. Flash Sale Alert Before I […]

Continue reading

My Monsters Sucked Until I Discovered This Special Approach

Roleplaying Tips Newsletter #1130 I realized last month I’ve been in a rut slinging boring monsters. This troubled me because boring foes = boring games (h/t to Slapchop). In my Terror in the Badlands campaign, for example, we had a crazy battle in a ruined underground city against a white dragon. It was tricksy with […]

Continue reading

How To Stop Campaigns From Fizzling Out

Roleplaying Tips Newsletter #0876 Here’s an email from RPT GM Sam about campaigning: Hi Johnn! Glad I stumbled upon your stuff over the weekend. I am a gamer from Melbourne, Australia. I’ve been playing RPGs for about 12 years and I’ve been interested in GMing for about 5 years now. My biggest problem is this: […]

Continue reading

How To Create Wicked Rumour Tables

Roleplaying Tips Newsletter #1111 RPT GM Roy Winfrey asks: Love the rumour post you just posted. I was intrigued by the Knowledge Table. Any chance we might see an article about how to construct that? Thanks for the question, Roy. I first spoke about the idea of a Knowledge Table in my Adventure Building Workshop, […]

Continue reading

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 […]

Continue reading

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 […]

Continue reading

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. […]

Continue reading

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 […]

Continue reading

How To Conjure Incredible Sandbox Campaign Climaxes

Roleplaying Tips Newsletter #1000 How To Conjure Incredible Sandbox Campaign Climaxes Adventure Workshop GM Jeff B asked me this thorny question about how to finish a great campaign: If the adventure is not linear and the PCs aren’t railroaded, how can I get all the roads to lead to the big finale and tie up […]

Continue reading

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 […]

Continue reading

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 […]

Continue reading