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Category Archives for "NPCs & Roleplaying"

d20 Noble Obligations

Privilege & Power: Using Nobility in Your World-Building and Plots, Part I. And happy Wednesday. Yesterday, we looked at the rights and privileges nobles may get in your world. This helps flesh out noble PC backgrounds, aids in world-building, and inspires plot and encounter ideas. A fantastic way to balance out some of the powers […]

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Privilege & Power: Using Nobility in Your World-Building and Plots

Privilege & Power: Using Nobility in Your World-Building and Plots, Part II. The idea of nobility comes up often in our campaigns. Villains, character backgrounds, NPC classes, settlements, and intrigue and politics, for example, can make nobility important in your milieu. Noble NPCs are special because they have special privileges and responsibilities most others in […]

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An Essential Ingredient for EVERY Villain Encounter

A GM on Reddit the other day was lamenting about a classic villain disaster. They introduced the BBEG at the start of their campaign to sew hints, hooks, hatred, and all that. But then the players unexpectedly attacked. Crits were rolled. The villain died. The GM’s now prepping a new campaign. Before you put villains […]

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From King To Pawn: A Simple Way To Scope Your NPCs

My business partner in crime, Jochen Linnemann, shared this great tip with me yesterday about a cool method for managing your NPCs…. Jochen: Just now, I read about an NPC classification scheme The Dark Eye uses for its publications: King: Cornerstone NPC, important for the living world and future campaigns and adventures. Knight: Important NPC […]

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Why Your Villains Should Be Making Moves

Why Your Villains Should Be Making Moves Today’s tip is inspired by a question about villains from RPT GM Gerald Lock. You can catch his full question, his one-shot Halloween adventure, and my video reply here. So, you’ve crafted an awesome villain, complete with a dark past and malevolent goals, but when game night comes […]

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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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Villain Roleplay Tips – A Trio of Detestable Traits

Roleplaying Tips Newsletter #1142 Salaam Johnn, How can we get players to chase our villains like frothing lunatics brandishing cleavers overhead? It’s starts with someone they want to punch. Someone who isn’t normal but has turned their difference into something cringey. A monster on the inside, at the least. We can achieve all these things […]

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Factions & Villains – 3 Reader GM Tips

Roleplaying Tips Newsletter #1143 Hitting too Close to Home Let’s dive in with this observation from RPT GM Maja who brings up an interesting point about favourite villain types that mirrors my own experience. Let’s call it the Seinfeld Effect. Johnn, If you ask me what villain type gets the most attention, it is the […]

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Fantastic Factions => 4 Tricks To Get The Most Out Of Your Villain Factions

Why do I use factions so much in my campaigns? You know I love my NPCs. They are our avatars and “Agent Smiths” in the game to influence players and direct the characters. Therefore, we get even more value out of groups of NPCs. But random clusters do not make great storytelling. We need each […]

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Outsmart Your Players With 3-Step Villain Plans

Roleplaying Tips Newsletter #1140 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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How To Create Roleplay Encounters

Roleplaying Tips Newsletter #1139 I received this great request from RPT GM Carter: I have a problem I’m trying to solve: my players tell me they’re more interested in roleplaying than combat, but I’m most comfortable with making interesting combat encounters than interesting roleplaying encounters. With combat I create interesting terrain, interesting enemy mechanics, cool […]

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Making Monsters Marvelous – Monstrous RPT Gems For You

Roleplaying Tips Newsletter #1128 A Charter Member of the Adventure Building Master Game Plan asked me about monsters. Great topic. One might say there are three kinds of monsters: Constructs Tricksters Mirrors Constructs fulfill our System needs. Stats, abilities, xp/treasure. Tricksters serve our Story needs. Clue bearers, agents, plot twisters. Mirrors serve our Setting needs […]

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Monsters Are NPCs Too – A Short Monster Personality Stat Block

Roleplaying Tips Newsletter #0944 When monsters become meat bags you lose a big opportunity for roleplay and storytelling. I’m guilty of queuing up encounters with 2d6 orcs in a 10′ x 10′ room. Big time wasters. Pointless. And boring. I know players love to use their characters’ powers. And crushing a foe is fun. But […]

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