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The Sneaky GM Trap I Spotted At Start Of This Adventure

The Sneaky GM Trap I Spotted At Start Of This Adventure I was reading an adventure last night (an adventure that I also played in January) and something troublesome jumped out at me from the initial encounter’s boxed text. Here is the first sentence: The stairs leading to the basement of the Otari Fishery creak […]

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When Players Go Feral — How to Clarify Actions of Misunderstood Players

Roleplaying Tips Newsletter #1200 Brief Word From Johnn Today’s tips from Jonathan cover a problem I’ve experienced many times, especially at conventions. What do you do when one player goes off the rails? I especially like the example of the ranger who seemingly isn’t on the same page as the party and wants to ask […]

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Hear Ye, Hear Ye! A Simple Way To Improve Gameplay, Engagement & Character Outcomes

From JohnnFour Roleplaying Tips Newsletter #1181 Cén chaoi a bhfuil tú Johnn? Here’s a refreshed tip from Roleplaying Tips Newsletter #5, going way back to 1999 right before the world was going to end with Y2K. Too often we become trapped in our heads thinking three moves ahead, doing math, or coming up with names […]

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5 Ways To Warn Players Of A Deadly Challenge

From Jonathan Hardin, Roleplaying Tips Newsletter #1180 Many times the threat that presents itself to characters surpasses their abilities to defeat it. The encounter is not easy or even difficult, it’s deadly. Without a warning label, your players may be unfairly surprised that you designed a deadly encounter for them. To avoid that frustration, […]

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Avoid This Nasty Description Trap GMs Often Trigger

Roleplaying Tips Newsletter #1019 I saw this writing tip from @ShawnMerwin and it applies to GMing, as well: Avoid “begin to” or “start to” unless those actions are interruptible. “You begin to hear a scream” is simpler as “You hear screaming.” Clearer and more concise is better. So it is for GM descriptions. And that […]

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Run With The Impressions Technique

Roleplaying Tips Newsletter #0998 Here’s the thing with read-aloud scripts and boxed text you find in published modules…. It’s boring. And it kills the mood. Imagine an actor stopping mid-scene to grab the script and read it aloud to you. A terrible experience for both actor and audience. Likewise, stopping your natural way of describing […]

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Better Storytelling With Two-Sided Characterization – Part II

Roleplaying Tips Newsletter #0804 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 […]

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Better Storytelling With Two-Sided Characterization – Part I

Roleplaying Tips Newsletter #0803 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 […]

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The Dangling Description Mystery Method Formula — The Secret Sauce To Riveting Descriptions

Roleplaying Tips Newsletter #1037 I was working on a new Faster Combat lesson about the Action Economy last weekend and a lightbulb went off. I know exactly what I want to deliver each time you and I describe something to our players. This applies to descriptions for encounters, NPCs, items, monsters, and locations. This applies […]

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