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Emotions Before the Game

I’m reading an interesting GMing book right now called How to Run by Alexis D. Smolensk. And Alexis has a pre-game welcoming stage I think is brilliant: “…I must motivate [the players], provoking their attention and creating the shared experience that is game play. “At the start of the session, the players enter the theatre, […]

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A Cracking Way To Conjure Compelling Encounters

The best way to start adventure planning is with conflict. Conflict drives gameplay. When PCs must meet and beat something, you’re going to offer up choices, skill checks, attack rolls, and parleys. Roll the dice, say yes, keep the pace storming. A problem I used to face was coming up with enough conflict, encounter, and […]

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Focus on More of This To Have More Fun at Every Game

Forget fiction. Forget scripts. We’re talking interactive storytelling and gaming here. We have our own rules. I think of interactive story games — let’s just call them RPGs for short — as a collection of inputs and outputs. Your Multitude of Inputs On the input side we have: GM Players Dice Rules Adventure material Campaign […]

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Explosive Session Starts, Part III: The Encounter Pyramid

An Encounter Walkthrough Example As this mini-series about kicking sessions off with excitement winds up, here’s a step-by-step walkthrough of planning my next explosive session start. We’ve been talking about how to launch with instant energy and surfing that wave to have amazing sessions. It’s harder to wind up from a slow start than it […]

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Psssst, How To Tell A Secret

“Here’s something  about myself I’ve never told anyone.” It doesn’t matter what NPC says that, your players are going to stop fiddling with their dice and tune in. Everyone loves a secret. And one of the classic laws of GMing from the old Dragon Magazine column Dungeoncraft [http://www.darkshire.net/jhkim/rpg/dnd/dungeoncraft/http://www.darkshire.net/jhkim/rpg/dnd/dungeoncraft/] by Ray Winninger is to give everything […]

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3 Tips For GMing “Blank Sheet” Characters

Recent emails in my inbox share a common theme of characters unknown to their players. Example: the PCs have amnesia and players get blank character sheets. As facts emerge about the PCs through trial and error or memory recovery, the character sheets get filled out. Another example: zero level PCs. A compelling mythological device with […]

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