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Manic Mystery Mayhem – Three Lessons Learned About GMing Mysteries

I had an interesting game on Wednesday. I made a couple big mistakes you can hopefully learn from. I’m playtesting the mystery portion of my Demonplague I: The Frozen Necromancer adventure, which releases in 2017. The PCs must find out who or what is behind disappearing villagers. During the session the PCs decided to knock […]

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Fear the GM

When I surveyed readers last year about what kinds of adventure design challenges you all faced, one thing that came up was how to solve the PCs rampaging through your encounters without a care in the world. The characters don’t plan, never retreat, and don’t parley. This topic is salient because I’m planning out Season […]

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Build Story Last

For RPG purposes, I define story as the sequence of events that come out of gameplay. And I think of plot as the GM’s plan for those events. Plot comes first, story comes second. Plot is based on ideas and connections for events and situations. It’s flexible and adapts to character actions and resulting consequences. […]

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My Table Rules

“The secret we should never let the gamemasters know is that they don’t need any rules.” – Gary Gygax, Born Jul. 27, 1938. This quote was called out to me by my buddy Colin Theriot. And it came in handy last Murder Hobos game. The party is fighting a group of elemental cultists doing a […]

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When Players Stop Talking, You Start. But What Do You Say?

What’s the problem: Work backwards from product referral, from GM doctor’s symptom prescription When players stop talking, you start. But what do you say? What’s the remedy: How does the GM doctor recommend solving this? Do they need more information? Do they need refocus? (Hints, prods, change thinking) Do they need a kick in the […]

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Better Storytelling With Two-Sided Characterization – Part II

Last Musing we chatted about the importance of characterizing details you bring into gameplay. As you provide encounter descriptions, introduce NPCs, offer treasures, tell secrets, and convey the world to your friends, you can think about both variables of the equation. The first variable is about how you inject physical and emotional energy into your […]

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Better Storytelling With Two-Sided Characterization – Part I

Better Storytelling With Two-Sided Characterization Characterization is how you roleplay the people, places, and things in your adventures. Here’s how to add panache, style, and zing via characterization to engage your players more and become a better storyteller. To me, it’s all roleplaying. But in the literary world, they call it characterization. When the PCs […]

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