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 #213 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 radically altering your plot or campaign story. […]

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Combat Missions: Adding Glorious Stories to Gruesome Struggles

From Tony Medeiros and Johnn Four Roleplaying Tips Newsletter #631 “You must look down on the enemy,and take up your attitude on slightly higher places.– Miyamoto Musashi, The Book of Five Rings Do your combats drag on because their purpose is total annihilation? Today you’re going to learn how to avoid this common mistake and […]

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How to Make a Villain-Based Plot Engine

Roleplaying Tips Newsletter #645 Last Round Stories How to tell evocative stories about each combat round none of your players will ever forget From Tony Medeiros Are your combats so long everyone struggles to remember their pivotal points? With all the dice rolling and number crunching, it’s hard for players to see the bigger picture […]

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

From Johnn Four Roleplaying Tips Newsletter #622 After last week’s recount of my D&D 5E session where the PCs split up in the town of Phandalin, RPT reader Glenn Davis asked me this: How did you play out the last campaign session when various PCs were separated? For example, how did you keep the fighter’s […]

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

From Ian Winterbottom Roleplaying Tips Newsletter #229 Below are several story sparks–possibilities for introducing sub-plots or NPCs to help unite new player characters and to start interesting new adventures. To create a rich, varied backdrop in which your players can react and interact, try combining more than one spark. You might even pick one or […]

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

From Ian Winterbottom Roleplaying Tips Newsletter #227 Tired of “chance encounters” in the pub? Of tavern patrons hiring adventurers for a mission? Are your stories’ beginnings getting predictable? We’ve all got plot hooks, but what’s the bet your characters will ignore them or kill the wrong guy? Just like the old tale of the scientists […]

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Paranoia: Shattering The Trust – Part II

From Ross Shingledecker (~Acolyte) Roleplaying Tips Newsletter #212 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 even your system. If you are dedicated […]

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Paranoia: Shattering The Trust – Part I

From Ross Shingledecker (~Acolyte) Roleplaying Tips Newsletter #211 Part I: Meta-Game Events 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 were all out […]

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Contest Results: Cool Conflict Scenes

From Scorpio Roleplaying Tips Newsletter #166 Here is a summary of all the entries in the Interesting Scenes contest that ran in Issues #164 and #165. Use the categorized lists below to inspire encounter creation or to beef up encounters you have planned. These lists would also make a great GM Binder tool for enhancing […]

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6 Methods For Making Dungeons More Interesting

Roleplaying Tips Newsletter #0156 6 Methods For Making Dungeons More Interesting The following tips from myself, the GM Mastery list, subscribers, and a couple of previous issues 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 “dungeon” think […]

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