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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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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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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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