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Encounters Seeds Formula Part II

In a recent Musings email [Panicked Prep For Next Session] I talked about a formula to create encounter seeds fast: What if? + one source of inspiration = one encounter seed. I also provided three example sources of inspiration: The Monster Manual The News Random Page Finally, I offered bonus points if you connect encounter […]

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d10 Things You Hear In Town

I often stumble over thinking up rumours on-the-fly. Especially in my sandbox games where there are so many possibilities. I end up just slandering a character or bad-mouthing the establishment. While good for a laugh, that doesn’t drive the campaign forward. So Jochen and I just added a new generator to Campaign Logger called Town […]

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The Potion Factory for Fun Faction Finagling

The Potion Factory for Fun Faction Finagling On theme with this month’s RPG Blog Carnival, here’s an idea for arming your next faction without destroying campaign balance. We began my Murder Hobos campaign as a playtest of the D&D 5E rules using the adventure Lost Mine of Phandelver included in the Starter Set box. In […]

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Plot Your Dungeons with This Simple Grid System

The Nine Sector System of Dungeon Design I saw Castle Oldskull ~ CDDG1: The Classic Dungeon Design Guide ~ Book 1: Forging the Underworld (yup, that’s the full actual title) by Kent David Kelly in the Amazon Kindle store and on a whim purchased it. The book is a couple hundred pages of dungeon building […]

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I’m Killing Pcs and The Fun Doing This

Another bad habit I’ve gotten into is being arbitrary with encounter difficulty. This undermines player thinking and creativity and makes for a poorer gameplay experience. In my group, we don’t typically do long dungeon crawls. Encounters are a mix of wilderness, town, and dungeon, and of plot, puzzle, combat, and roleplay. So encounters are non-linear […]

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A Quick Way To Make Player Victories Sweeter

Roleplaying Tips Newsletter #1104 I just finished reading the Kobold Guide to Plots and Campaigns. I highlighted and flagged a few pages, so expect a tip or two I’ve gleaned from the guide in the future. On page 23 there’s a great tip about making player victories sweeter: Designing a finale specifically to a setting […]

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Make Monster Parts Puzzles For Your Adventures

Roleplaying Tips Newsletter #1103 Over at my Campaign Community forum, Doug the Winter shares a great campaign war story. And in that story lies a fantastic tip: use monster parts as puzzle pieces. Here’s a snippet of his story: The Situation The group has been stuck in the feywild due to an ongoing feud with […]

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Think About Encounters Like Game Tiles for Better 5 Room Dungeon design

Roleplaying Tips Newsletter #0739 Pizza last night was awesome. I ordered my favourite. My wife ordered the house special sans shrimp (I’m not a shrimp fan). Mmmmmhmmm. I’m a lightweight these days, though. Five pieces and I’m full. The pizza metaphor doesn’t handle well what I want to talk about today. But a board game […]

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Encounters Are Like My Favourite Zesty Game Food

Roleplaying Tips Newsletter #0735 How do you think your games? My favourite unit of thought for gameplay is encounters. Encounters are like pizza. They are central to the meal. You might get pop, dips, chicken wings, and other add-ons, but the meal is all about the ‘za. During sessions, we usually order four or five […]

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RPG Adventure Themes Tie The Room Together

[http://thescript.thetake.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/The-Big-Lebowski-rug-1024×769.jpg] Use Themes to Tie Your RPG Adventure’s Room Together A reader asked me about theme. Theme is the rug that ties the whole room together, man. As I teach in my adventure building course, get theme right, and you intensify your adventures, deepen your players’ experience, and sharpen your stories. Here’s an example. The […]

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Good Campaign Design Should Not Hurt Your Players

Roleplaying Tips Newsletter #0744 A good friend asked me this the other day: “All players are starting out at level 1. Now, one player dislikes playing his character and wants to start another character. He is asking to carry over his XP to the new character. “I dislike this option (which might be due this […]

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Look up, what’s that falling?

Roleplaying Tips Newsletter #0789 Characters never look up. Let’s take advantage of that in our designs. Inspired by a recent post from Derek Von Zarovich on his Patreon, let’s turn this soggy Monday into a fun brainstorm. First, here’s the cool idea and map from Derek Map-Adventure Vault. This was a tower from a flying […]

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Drama Works Best When There Are Contrasting Moods

Roleplaying Tips Newsletter #0787 Today’s Musing about megadungeons is brought to you by RPT reader Ydars who wrote in response to my recent piece about how Dang Megadungeons Break My Heart. He’s got some great ideas I want to share with you: Dear Johnn, Megadungeons are difficult beasts to run because they tend to lack […]

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The Hidden Places Are The Best Ones

Roleplaying Tips Newsletter #0783 Happy Friday %FIRSTNAME% I was struggling with a player request until I hit upon a good idea last weekend. The wizard wants to “break reality.” That’s the entire request. After wrestling for a long time, an idea from the Stranger Things show hit me. The principle is, hidden places have immense […]

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Dang Megadungeons Break My Heart

Roleplaying Tips Newsletter #0782 Here are four creative ways to drop a megadungeon into your campaign. This month’s RPG Blog Carnival is being hosted by Raging Swan Press. And the topic is megadungeons! (Insert thunderous noise and shaking ground here.) I lurvs me my megadungeons. I happen to have several bookshelves dedicated just to these […]

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Making High Level PCs Fulfill Their Worst Enemy’s Plans

Roleplaying Tips Newsletter #0827 Here’s a quibble with high-level characters, and it runs contrary to advice I posted years ago. My recent Musing on how to challenge high-level PCs received a lot of excellent feedback. Thanks! A common response was to give the PCs more roleplaying challenges. “The PCs are so tough now they roll […]

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5 Room Campaign Planning

Roleplaying Tips Newsletter #0826 Roleplaying Tips reader Sean S. has great ideas about using 5 Room Dungeons in combination with story arcs. I neglected to mention how conversations I’ve had with Sean have influenced my thinking about 5RDs over the years (thanks Sean!), including making 5RDs within 5RDs, 5RD spawn points, and more. Today, Sean […]

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