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Tag Archives for " Tools & Techniques "

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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3 Round Combat Plans For Lightning Combats – Part I

Roleplaying Tips Newsletter #1148 In Faster Combat, a Three Round Combat Plan is how your combat will end after your side has had three licks against the other side. Why would we make something like that? If your fights finish after the third bell, think how much faster they’ll be than melees that just grind […]

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Ripping Up Adventure Drama With A Saw Blade

Roleplaying Tips Newsletter #1141 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 […]

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How To Create Wicked Rumour Tables

Roleplaying Tips Newsletter #1111 RPT GM Roy Winfrey asks: Love the rumour post you just posted. I was intrigued by the Knowledge Table. Any chance we might see an article about how to construct that? Thanks for the question, Roy. I first spoke about the idea of a Knowledge Table in my Adventure Building Workshop, […]

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Celebrate Your Encounter Locations This Way

Roleplaying Tips Newsletter #1069 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 […]

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Power Your Plots With Simple Rumour Tables

Roleplaying Tips Newsletter #1046 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 […]

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Your Campaign Agenda => Best Campaign Ever Part II

Roleplaying Tips Newsletter #1008 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 […]

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How To Conjure Incredible Sandbox Campaign Climaxes

Roleplaying Tips Newsletter #1000 How To Conjure Incredible Sandbox Campaign Climaxes Adventure Workshop GM Jeff B asked me this thorny question about how to finish a great campaign: If the adventure is not linear and the PCs aren’t railroaded, how can I get all the roads to lead to the big finale and tie up […]

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Create Your Special GM Moves

Roleplaying Tips Newsletter #0960 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 […]

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Monsters Are NPCs Too – A Short Monster Personality Stat Block

Roleplaying Tips Newsletter #0944 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 […]

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

Roleplaying Tips Newsletter #0926 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 […]

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New Mad Lib: Instant Magic Items

Roleplaying Tips Newsletter #0894 Got another Mad Lib for you today. This one is for special item creation and is inspired by the Perilous Deeps book for Dungeon World. Just fill in the blanks to make an interesting item: This item [DOES ACTION] [TO A THING] and the wielder [CAN CONTROL IT] which [CAN BE USED SOMETIMES]. For example: This item allows […]

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How To Create Five Room Horror Dungeons

Roleplaying Tips Newsletter #0870 Hola %FIRSTNAME% Roleplaying Tips Patron Jeffrey asks how to create five room horror adventures: Johnn, been reading for a long time, and always figured that I would one day have a question worthy of asking… I guess that day is today. How would you use a five-room dungeon to run a […]

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How To Make Skill Items As Treasured As Magic

Roleplaying Tips Newsletter #0854 How To Make Skill Items As Treasured As Magic Reward players with treasure that enhances their skills. Sometimes we get focused just on just combat-related rewards, or treasures that grant cool powers like invisibility. Mix things up by offering skill items. Here’s how. Step 1: Make A List Run through the […]

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How To Build A Fantasy City In 47 Seconds

Roleplaying Tips Newsletter #0852 Need a city fast for your campaign? Follow these 6 steps to build a fantasy town or metropolis in under a minute. Drawing or consulting a map is my First Move. [Kill GM Procrastination With Your First Move] So we’ll begin this recipe with a quick fantasy city map generator. Let’s […]

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The Mad Lib d12 Random Quest Generator

Roleplaying Tips Newsletter #0849 A bit of fun inspiration for your campaign today. RPT GM Tony shares a random quest generator in Mad Libs format. What I like most about his plot generator is it creates a named and enumerated quest purpose. You could use this template to create legends, world wonders, artefacts, Spikes of […]

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Mad Lib Template for Hook, Line & Sinkers

Roleplaying Tips Newsletter #0780 The other day I talked about a classic GMing technique called Hook, Line & Sinkers. Use this three-part method to generate encounter skeletons fast. I remember first coming across this method in the Knights of the Dinner Table Magazine. Each issue would have a few to inspire your game. Victor Diaz […]

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The Hook, Line & Sinkers Method Will Inspire Your Encounters

Roleplaying Tips Newsletter #0778 Here’s a great way to create encounter seeds for your next game via RPT Reader Victor Diaz. It’s  called the Hook, Line & Sinkers method. From the RIFTS Adventure Book, page 38: Hook, Line & Sinkers ™ is the popular Game Master’s tool created by Jolly Blackburn. The idea behind it […]

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Encounters Seeds Formula – Part II

Roleplaying Tips Newsletter #0715 Encounters Seeds Formula – Part II In a recent Musings email [Panicked Prep For Next Session] I talked about a formula to create encounter seeds fast: What if? + one source of inspiration = one encounter seed. I also provided three example sources of inspiration: Finally, I offered bonus points if […]

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