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Visual Aid Session Prep with the Five Room Dungeon

Hello Sojourner! The goal of Visual Game Session Prep is to have a quick glance reference that reminds me of notes and plans I made before the session. This keeps paperwork to a minimum. Rather than referencing your notes within a large document during the game, you can simply look at a simple visual diagram […]

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Use This Clever Tool To Herd Your Cats

Plot Factory Tips When something automagically generates valuable plot hooks within your System, Story, or Setting, I call that a Plot Factory. Plot Factories have been mentioned before here and here. And to help you worry less about your plot hooks and adventure seeds, I want to show you today how to craft Plot Factories […]

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Ripping Up Adventure Drama With A Saw Blade

Make your adventures wondrous with terrific drama. We want tension in our plots and gameplay that escalates as players get close to the climactic ending. To increase drama we raise the Stakes (what’s in it for the characters) and toughen the Conflicts (foes, hazards, obstacles, challenges). However, we shouldn’t make every encounter even more tense […]

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Cunning Combat Strategy – 3 Round Combat Plans For Lightning Combats Part II

How do you make your next combat fast and exciting effective 3 Round Combat Plans? And what are we supposed to do in each round? What is our strategy here? That’s what I show you in today’s tips, which are taken from my brand new Faster Combat 5E course launching this spring. Today, I’ll go […]

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How to Create Situations With 5 Room Dungeons

We want to cue up situations, not outcomes. By that, I mean we don’t dictate the actions of the characters. That’s the players’ job. But as storytellers, we have a job to do too. We need to weave good tales from our setting, adventure plans, and gameplay as it happens. How can we do this […]

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Keep Players Intensely Engaged With the 3 Conflicts

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 character sheet elements are […]

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Ripping Up Adventure Drama With A Saw Blade

Make your adventures wondrous with terrific drama. We want tension in our plots and gameplay that escalates as players get close to the climactic ending. To increase drama we raise the Stakes (what’s in it for the characters) and toughen the Conflicts (foes, hazards, obstacles, challenges). However, we shouldn’t make every encounter even more tense […]

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Celebrate Your Encounter Locations This Way

Make your locations memorable. And incorporate the story. Do those two things to make encounters even better. Here’s how: Features => Twist => Secret Let’s see what to do for each part: Figure Out The Special Features First, give your location a Purpose. Sometimes the game role for the location differs from the Purpose. This […]

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Power Your Plots With Simple Rumour Tables

The Keep is a monthly D&D campaign, just three sessions old, where the PCs have been shipwrecked on the mysterious jungle island of Barbossa. In session one, I used a rumour table to drop several plot hooks into play to give the sandbox immediate direction. Each player rolled a d20 and received their own rumour. […]

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Your Campaign Agenda => Best Campaign Ever Part II

There’s a moment mid-campaign when my inner voice screams out: “I’ve lost the plot! What the #@$% is going on? What the #@$% do I do now?” (Sorry, in-skull Johnn has a potty mouth.) When I’m off the rails as a GM it’s panic time. …Everything feels like it’s crap. …The campaign’s falling to pieces. […]

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Create Your Special GM Moves

Adventures get repetitive and boring. “Bring me another 10 scorpion tales!” Even megadungeons and campaign paths can grind you down. I received an email from a subscriber who asked how to keep players engaged. He caught one player even playing video games on their phone during sessions. The best way I know how to keep […]

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Monsters Are NPCs Too – A Short Monster Personality Stat Block

When monsters become meat bags you lose a big opportunity for roleplay and storytelling. I’m guilty of queuing up encounters with 2d6 orcs in a 10′ x 10′ room. Big time wasters. Pointless. And boring. I know players love to use their characters’ powers. And crushing a foe is fun. But after a few times […]

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Use The Feature Method To Make Adventure Design A Whole Lot Easier

Before you put pen to paper designing your next 5 Room Dungeon, do this one quick thing to greatly improve your design. When I build 5 Room Dungeons I often find it’s a struggle to make them more than just an assortment of encounters. Make It Pop A designer I worked with had a massive […]

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