Storytelling Archives - Roleplaying Tips

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Keep Players Intensely Engaged With the 3 Conflicts

Roleplaying Tips Newsletter #1151 Character arcs tell the story of how characters develop by overcoming foes and challenges in pursuit of their goals. This is the ambition of campaign play: to develop cool character story arcs. Such arcs keep players intensely engaged in your games. Why? Thinking about armour, health points, personality scores, and other […]

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Story Sparks — A Way To Improv Better

Roleplaying Tips Newsletter #1135 Ever make a fire from scratch, without matches or gasoline? Every material has an ignition temperature where a spark lights it up. The shirt you’re wearing probably ignites around 267°C or 513°F. Wood is about 300°C / 572°F. And what about our encounters? What ignites them? More on that in a […]

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Storymastery: More Examples of Bad Reveal Timings

Roleplaying Tips Newsletter #1029 Last Musing, we talked about how to stage your prophecies for maximum effect. Reveal your prophecy too soon, and players won’t be invested. They won’t care because they have not bonded with your campaign yet. And then even the best prophecy destined to hit your table will feel like a gimmick. […]

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RPG Theme Example: Beauty, Value, Usefulness

Roleplaying Tips Newsletter #0839 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 […]

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Coming Home Empty Handed After A Raid

Roleplaying Tips Newsletter #1097 RPT GM K. asked me a question about rewards in sandbox games: Hi Johnn, I’ve been running an (in my opinion) fairly successful West Marches/Open Table game for several months now. I’ve accumulated a dedicated set of players and run at least one game per week, and so far it’s good […]

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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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Storymastery: Don’t Make This Mistake with Your Reveals

Roleplaying Tips Newsletter #1028 Reveal something at the wrong time and it could backfire. But have a little patience, and your grand effects will dazzle. I was on an adventure consulting call last week with Adventure Building Workshop member Michael, and something we discussed was the timing of a prophecy in his campaign. In my […]

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Paranoia: Shattering The Trust Part – III

From Ross Shingledecker (~Acolyte) Roleplaying Tips Newsletter #0213 Paranoia: Shattering The Trust Part – III Part III: Minor In-Game Events Click here to read the Paranoia: Shattering The Trust Part IClick here to read the Paranoia: Shattering The Trust Part II This group of tips refers to small things that will unnerve your players without […]

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Combat Missions: Adding Glorious Stories to Gruesome Struggles

From Tony Medeiros and Johnn Four Roleplaying Tips Newsletter #0631 A Brief Word From Johnn Dungeon Crawl Classics Is A Classic I had a blast this past weekend playing the DCC RPG for the first time. We adventured through the character funnel, 67: Sailors on the Starless Sea. The flavour of the game is great. […]

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How to Make a Villain-Based Plot Engine

Roleplaying Tips Newsletter #0645 A Brief Word From Johnn I have a special opportunity coming tonight just for Roleplaying Tips Patrons (you can become a Patron here). I’m starting up an epic, weekly online campaign for just 6 players. I’m taking three of my all-time favourite mega-modules and converting them to 5E. Then we’ll tell […]

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Focusing the Spotlight: How I Handle Split Parties For More Drama

From Johnn Four Roleplaying Tips Newsletter #0622 A Brief Word From Johnn The Productive Game Master Did you know I recently doubled my reading speed? It took minutes. No, really. There’s a way of reading on-screen where the words just flash by. All you do is focus. I did a reading test first, because I […]

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Core Stories In D&D

From Mike Mearls Roleplaying Tips Newsletter #0269 A Brief Word From Johnn The Expeditious Retreat Press Monster Tips Contest It’s contest time again and Expeditious Retreat Press has kindly agreed to sponsor it! Entry is easy; just send in a monster, alien, or critter-related tip: how to build, how to roleplay, tweak tips. combat tips, […]

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Story Sparks Part II – More Ways To Begin An Adventure & Bring The PCs Together

From Ian Winterbottom Roleplaying Tips Newsletter #0229 A Brief Word From Johnn The Warlock of Firetop Mountain I recently got the d20 module conversion of the classic Fighting Fantasy Gamebook by Steve Jackson and Ian Livingston. Before I cracked the cover though, I wanted to experience the book again before the module laid open the […]

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Story Sparks Part I – New Ways To Begin An Adventure & Bring The PCs Together

From Ian Winterbottom Roleplaying Tips Newsletter #0227 A Brief Word From Johnn Server Issues This week’s article was delayed a couple of days–my apologies! The mail server has been down since Sunday, but everything is back up now and I’m able to send you this issue. I hope you find the story sparks useful! Contest […]

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Paranoia: Shattering The Trust – Part II

From Ross Shingledecker (~Acolyte) Roleplaying Tips Newsletter #0212 Paranoia: Shattering The Trust – Part II Part II: Major In-Game Events Click here to read the Paranoia: Shattering The Trust Part IClick here to read the Paranoia: Shattering The Trust Part III The use of these tactics can permanently alter your campaign, its setting, and potentially […]

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Paranoia: Shattering The Trust – Part I

From Ross Shingledecker (~Acolyte) Roleplaying Tips Newsletter #0211 Paranoia: Shattering The Trust – Part I Click here to read the Paranoia: Shattering The Trust Part IIClick here to read the Paranoia: Shattering The Trust Part III “Hastur was paranoid, which was simply a sensible and well- adjusted reaction to living in Hell, where they really […]

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Contest Results: Cool Conflict Scenes

From Scorpio Roleplaying Tips Newsletter #0166 A Brief Word From Johnn GM Library Autoresponder Ready In Issue #160 I posted a request for non-fiction books that would be valuable to GMs. That file has now been assembled and is ready for download. More submissions are always welcome. To receive the file, send a blank email […]

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6 D&D Dungeon Ideas to Make Dungeons and Rooms More Interesting

Roleplaying Tips Newsletter #0156 (Updated November 20 2022) How can we get D&D dungeon ideas and make our dungeons and rooms more engaging to our players? The following tips will help you liven up routine dungeon adventures and breathe fresh life into dungeon-ruts. If you’re not a fantasy GM, then when you read the word […]

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