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Category Archives for "Running Games"

GMing 1st Level Parties Without a Tank

Wizard of Adventure Andy asked me for ideas on how to challenge a party of three 1st level PCs, particularly as the party lacks a tank. Since we’re constrained by the party’s overall strength, we should focus less on combat and more on other types of engaging encounters. Moreover, since game systems often reward typical […]

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GM Trick: Instant Gratification

Here’s another sneaky GM trick to use sparingly. I believe I’ve written about this before, but as I was cleaning up old files this week, I came across this note and wanted to make sure I shared it with you before deleting: Delayed gratification vs. instant gratification = GM takes advantage of human nature for […]

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4 Great GM Magazines

I’d like to call out four gaming magazines today, in case you haven’t encountered them yet. Most are free. And all offer excellent resources for we game masters. WorldBuilding Magazine Friend and RPT Discord moderator, @Auke, works with WorldBuilding Magazine. Worldbuilding Magazine is a free publication created by volunteer writers, artists, and editors, with a […]

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From Parchment to Potions: d12 DIY Prop Ideas

Physical, tangible, visceral props surprise and delight our players, and never fail to engage them. Here’s a fantastic example from Wizard of Adventure Carol: One of the coolest props ever was in a game my daughter is running. She gave my wizard a spell book that was locked with a code. Then she gave me […]

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Earn More Player Action With Push Points

Here’s a cool house rule sent to me by Jonathan Hardin from Sojourners Awake: My NEW favorite technique is Push Points. For every natural 1 or 20 you roll, you experience the consequences of the roll as usual, but you collect 1 point for experiencing that event. You can collect up to 10 points at […]

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Failing Forwards & Upwards: My d6 Go-To Results to Streamline GMing

We need not know every way to Fail Forward. We only want a few reliable go-tos. In the discussion after last night’s Story Stakes Workshop, the topic of skill checks came up. For d20 games, I mentioned that a fail doesn’t have to be a hard no or a binary 0 result. Any game system […]

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Master Improvisation Using Story Stakes to Amp Up Your Game

I recently polled several GMs with this question: If you could learn anything about GMing that would significantly improve your gameplay, what would it be? The overwhelming response was the desire to improve improvisation skills. Tonight’s coaching workshop is dedicated to that very topic. It will focus particularly on setting Stakes, an aspect of improvisation […]

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We Only Think of the Gold

RPT GM Patrick writes in response to my tip about playtesting our encounters with mental playthroughs: Good morning my fellow GM! This approach has been truly amazing, as you mentioned, in addressing any peculiarities that might have been overlooked during the initial creation phase. I’ve been employing this method for several months now, and the […]

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Use This One Trick to Make Your Encounters Twice as Fun

Here’s something you can do to level-up your encounters. It takes only a minute, and it’s free. Play the encounter through in your mind before it hits the table. In helping GMs with their encounters over the years, I’ve discovered that almost no one does a mental playtest of the encounters they prep. This is […]

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Use My Core Gameplay Loop When Your Game Stalls

During Monday’s game master coaching session, one GM, Mr. Snakes, encountered a plot block. His players had just completed an epic 5 Room Dungeon on a demon-infested ship, caught up in faction play while trying to solve a murder mystery. (Well done, Mr. Snakes!) He asked about my core gameplay loop because, after the ship […]

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Write More Engaging Room Descriptions

Description Sorcery from a Wordsmithing Warlock Crafting concise and evocative descriptions provides a huge boon for our storytelling prowess. Descriptions serve as the bridge between our imagination, character perceptions, and player choices. A well-made description: Jeremy Brown is a repeat offender, er, contributor, to the Roleplaying Tips Newsletter. 🙂 During a convo we started up […]

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