Campaign Logger Just Replaced My Paper Notebook

Starting a new campaign is like the last strip of Watterson’s Calvin and Hobbes: “full of possibilities!” It’s a blank piece of paper, a fresh field of snow, or whatever analogy is most appropriate for the area you live in. The only thing standing between you and the epic plans you have for your players’ characters is penning them all down.

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Encounters Seeds formula part II

In a recent Musing 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: The Monster Manual The News Random Page Finally, I offered bonus points if you connect encounter seeds to each other so your plot […]

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Trying Out Funnel Adventures and Campaign Logger for the First Time

During last Sunday’s game, my group and I played something I have wanted to try for a long time: the funnel game. Characters and monsters both fell to gruesome deaths, chickens were sacrificed in the name of the greater good, and treasure was avoided in case it was tied to a trap that would blow one of our would-be heroes away. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to start a fantasy campaign any other way again. To prepare and help me run the game, I also got to use Campaign Logger for the first time.

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3 Line NPC Contest

Quick update: the contest is now over. Thanks to everyone who entered! Use My New 3 Line NPC Generator to Create Great NPCs To celebrate RPT#700, and to get your help testing a new online generator I’ve created, I’ve got another GM challenge and contest queued up. The theme is 3 Line NPCs and there’s […]

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RPT#642: “I only have 30 minutes to prepare for a game” What do you do?

Tips and ideas on how to panic and get ready for a game with only 30 minutes to prepare. I’m going to assume you don’t just wing it 100%. That requires no prep time except to go to the store to buy snacks. 🙂 Instead, I’m going to say you GM like me, where you want some ideas, notes, and rough plans, because you like a safety net and enjoy having at least some material to riff off of during the session.

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RPT#696: How to Roleplay Seducers, Ancient Evils, Law Enforcement, and Genius NPCs

One of my players, Colin, has stepped up to GM our group through the D&D 5E module, Out of the Abyss.

We’re taking turns being GM. He’ll run his game, then next time I run Murder Hobos, and so on. This means I’ll be GMing about once a month now.

My character is a third level cleric of Helm. Guiscard Windholme, brother of another player’s PC, Raphael. Mike and I chatted by email about making our PCs family. Raphael is always getting into trouble, and Guiscard is always trying to save him.

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RPT#695: Crossing Swords With Factions – How To Build Quick Guilds For Your Kingdom

A guild is a group of artisans or merchants who joined together in an association to protect their members and control their trade in a specific area. Non-guild members attempting to ply their trade would either find themselves persuaded to sign up or be quickly run out of town.

Guilds have become a popular feature of fantasy RPGs, with the idea of the thieves’ guild being almost ubiquitous. This article discusses what sorts of guilds populate a fantasy kingdom and how you can construct a capsule stat block for a guild in your campaign.

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RPT#694: Villainous Banter: Using Propp’s Reconnaissance Scene

Bypassing a trapped stairwell, they descend into a room with three terrible monsters (umber hulks) trapped behind bars on one side and a tough metal door on the other. The Hobos quietly investigate. However, they hear a voice on the other side of the door: “Has anyone got pants?” Then a loud thunder crack nearly shatters the portal.

This enrages the umber hulks and the creatures start battering their cage. The portal opens. On the other side is a shovel-wielding pantless half-elf. (Welcome new player James and his bard, Captain William Blien!) “Hello. I have no pants. Can you help?”

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RPT#693: How to Roleplay NPC Mannerisms

Memorable non-player characters are distinct. Whether you created an NPC or it came out of a published adventure, it is up to you as game master to make each quest giver, tavern goer, and orc slaver different from the rest.

The key to creating a believable, distinct cast lies in your performances. This might seem daunting, especially since every other player at the table has only one character to worry about while you have dozens.

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