Tag Archive

Tag Archives for " Running the Game "

How to Transform Passive Players Into Ones Who Seize the Day

RPT GM D echoes a sentiment I’ve heard from many GMs lately in my workshops and inbox: players are not seizing the plot and initiating gameplay. Instead, the GMs are doing the heavy lifting. Yet, despite carpet bombing plot hooks and poking the party with sharp irons — creating extra work and stress behind the […]

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Wield the Unseen Ripples in Your Campaign

How do you motivate players to seize the story? RPT GM D asks: Thanks for your email and tips. When I read your opening sentence I was expecting a very different tack from you. I read it as ‘GMs being frustrated that players won’t make any decisions or show initiative’ and your response was about […]

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Great Snakes! What To Do When You’re GMing a Single Player or Small Group

RPT GM Kevin asks: I finally have a group to start DMing for. It’s a group of 1, well 2, including me. He’s a newer player, so I’m thinking buffing the party out with some NPCs once the challenges get tougher. Any advice? Hey Kevin! Thanks for the question. Here are a few thoughts. Add […]

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A Mad Lib For Your Devil’s Bargains

This is Part III of a series on How to Make Encounters Fun. Read Part I, Part II, and Part IV here. On Tuesday I shared a favourite GM tool that gives us a few boons: This tool is The Devil’s Bargain, and you can read Tuesday’s article about it here. Now, there are a […]

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How to Offer Diabolical Choices to Make Rewards Feel Well-Earned

This is Part II of a series on How to Make Encounters Fun. Read Part I, Part III, and Part IV here. There are three main things I look at when trying to make encounters fun: While encounters have many ingredients, dials, and levers, if you hit high notes with challenge, plot, and your energy, you’ll make […]

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Why Story Gets the Horse’s Rump at My Table

Here’s something that might not be popular. I don’t know. But I see a lot of GMs online talk about the importance of story. And story is the last thing I care about when running a game. Ok, there it is. I’ve said it out loud. Gather your pitchforks and torches, lads and lasses! 🙂 […]

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Be The Ultima GM And Reward Tarot-Able Play

Here’s a fun way to reward virtuous roleplay. RPT GM Rafael reached out to me yesterday with this great tip about another use for tokens: For many years I have been doing something pretty similar to what you suggested as player rewards. It kind of looks like video game achievements, you know, when you do […]

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XP For RP? The One Thing I Reward Roleplaying Experience Points For Now

If you have time, I’d love to hear how you award XP for roleplaying. I love the idea but my concern would be that I might turn into a judge – “your roleplay was pretty good, but not great, so you get 100 XP” etc. And players roleplaying for my amusement would become a not-fun […]

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I Set The Scene, But You Fill It Out

Aloha Johnn! Before I dive into today’s GM tip, I have a quick hint for Campaign Logger GMs. Especially if you’re transferring text to CL from OneNote on Windows When pasting text from OneNote into CL, use CTRL+SHIFT+V to bypass Windows default of pasting as an image. I explain this in more detail with a […]

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Effortless & Dynamic Storytelling

Effortless & Dynamic Storytelling Among the many tools in my GM Toolbox, the method of Wandering Encounters holds a special place. It’s a simple yet profound way to keep the game world lively, the plot on track, and the characters engaged in evolving story arcs. The core essence of Wandering Encounters lies in its ability […]

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Unlock Player Creativity With Descriptive Options

We played another session of the WOIN RPG conversion of my Basilica campaign and it went well. We were running Old School Essentials, and the group opted to try a crunchier system. So far, WOIN is ticking all the boxes. Today’s tip is not about rules though. Instead, it’s about something great one of my […]

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Why Your Villains Should Be Making Moves

Why Your Villains Should Be Making Moves Today’s tip is inspired by a question about villains from RPT GM Gerald Lock. You can catch his full question, his one-shot Halloween adventure, and my video reply here. So, you’ve crafted an awesome villain, complete with a dark past and malevolent goals, but when game night comes […]

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A Change of Pace: How To Evaluate Pacing In Your Game

A Brief Word From Johnn Before we dig into pacing tips though, a couple of quick items. Get Help With Your Campaign August 26, 2023 – Wizard of Adventure Q&A Zoom. If you are a Wizard of Adventure, here’s details and the link. Feel free to bring questions about your world, campaign, encounters, NPCs, technique, […]

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Try Back Pocket Events In Your Campaigns

Did you know there is a Fantasy Grounds version of my complete 1-20th level D&D 5E campaign, The Demonplague, co-written by James Introcaso? I don’t advertise this on The Demonplague’s information page, but will fix that soon. Meantime, if you are a Fantasy Grounds GM, you can purchase the campaign here. Unfortunately, due to Fantasy […]

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