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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

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 player’s actions and way […]

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Look up, what’s that falling?

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 fortress that fell down. […]

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Drama Works Best When There Are Contrasting Moods

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 emotional variety. Tension and […]

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The Hidden Places Are The Best Ones

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 mystery. They draw curiosity […]

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Dang Megadungeons Break My Heart

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 critters. Here’s a snapshot […]

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Making High Level PCs Fulfill Their Worst Enemy’s Plans

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 over their foes. So […]

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5 Room Campaign Planning

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 muses about how you […]

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5 Room Dungeon Spawn Points

Ohayo %FIRSTNAME% You can make 5 Room Dungeons spawn points for deeper adventures. Here’s how. The basic formula is: Type: Ruins, campsite, tower, etc. Plot: Combat mission, quest, explore, etc. Room #1: Entrance or guardian Room #2: Puzzle or roleplaying Room #3: Trick or hazard Room #4: Conflict or climax Room #5: Reward or plot […]

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How To Wrangle Your Million Campaign Details

Roleplaying Tips reader S.S. Asked me: I have recently bought both MyInfo and Campaign Logger. As I am starting the MyInfo course you have I was wondering if you were considering a blog post illustrating using the two of them together? MyInfo seems like it’ll be perfect for my world-building, and CL seems great for…well…campaign […]

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Hide The Monster’s Stats To See The Story

If you’re like me, you sometimes let monster stats limit your thinking. I was reminded of this when I received Fourscore Phantasmagores in the mail for review. It’s a monster book created by Montreal artist Rupert Bottenberg. It’s what I’d call a high concept book. It presents ideas, not stats. Its weird and disturbing entries […]

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Spikes Of Danger Tease Your Players While Filling Them With Fear

Even though we try to balance adventures, not so much for fairness but for fun, it is tough to get right. There are so many factors involved. Current character health. Whether it’s session start and players are fresh, or session end and players are making mistakes from fatigue. Whether the characters have just rested or […]

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RPG Theme Example: Beauty, Value, Usefulness

Adventure themes create deeper immersion and better play experiences. It’s like the difference between drawing with random crayons or painting with a coherent colour palette. If the theme you’ve picked resonates with your players, they will see the patterns and theme-connected relationships of your people, places, things, and plots. You can game this for clues, […]

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How To Create Your Own Plot Factory, Part III

With 5 Room Dungeons as our core short-adventure building technique, we can introduce and intertwine multiple plots running at once in our campaigns. We do this so we put the odds in our favour that every session a climax or major milestone will trigger. This keeps our players engaged. And it gives you more control […]

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How To Create Your Own Plot Factory – Part II

We add more NPCS to your campaign to create more gameplay options and interesting situations (you don’t jealously cling to and railroad NPCs when you have a wonderful abundance of them). We should add more plots or storylines for the same reason. Imagine if every session a plot thread was about to reach an exciting […]

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How To Create Your Own Plot Factory – Part I

Unending plots become a grind. Encounter after encounter with no resolution or reward in sight causes players to lose enthusiasm. And when they lose their drive, game sessions fall off the wheels. When Players Sabotage Your Game For example, why roleplay hard to squeeze clues out of reluctant enemies when it’s not going to get […]

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