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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RPT#691: Space Opera Part 3: Making It Personal

I love space opera, laser swords, and ray guns, jet bikes in space swooping around ships bigger than they are and winning. These epic stories in vast galaxies sometimes take place a long time ago, far far away, and sometimes they’re in our own time and space, but you need to play a video game well enough to even be noticed by the star league. I love the scope, tone, and feel, but those things all play second fiddle to what makes space opera most compelling to me: the characters and their personal stories.

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RPT#690: How To Fill In The Blanks – Drawing Maps Dungeon World Style

The first Dungeon World principle is to draw maps but leave blank spaces. Maps are a fundamental part of world building, so leaving blanks suggests an unfinished world. However, the idea is to fill them in later. Blank areas on a map allow all manner of cool things to happen in your game. They prevent you from painting yourself into a corner at campaign outset. They let you be flexible and roll with the dice.

Here are some tips on using blanks on a map to increase the fun at your table. The tips are divided up according to the style of map being used…

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RPT#688: The Card Grid – The Fastest Way To Map Your Kingdom With Adventure Sites

A kingdom map helps you and your players see how your kingdom fits together. Players will use it to decide where they want to travel and what challenges to tackle next.

However, a map too detailed and complex harms gameplay. It blocks cool campaign ideas that come up after campaign kickoff. It puts players off, so its hooks fail. And prep becomes harder because you end up with too much detail to connect ideas with and GM for.

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RPT#599 3 Line Cultures: How To Inject Races and Factions With Flavour

Here’s the core tip in brief. I’ll describe the full recipe on how to create everything later in this article. Create a very short story that exemplifies the culture so you can remember and roleplay anyone from that culture at the drop of a hat. We remember stories better than cold, factual stat blocks. These stories also give you handy in-game roleplaying and storytelling prompts. And they are fast to create using my simple recipe:

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RPT#687: 7 Tips for Creating Awesome Legends

Myron Yorick, the king’s younger brother, went into the service of Our Lady in White, as was customary for younger siblings. He was a potent preacher, full of ecstasy and fire. When his discovered his brother’s plans to give preferential treatment to decadent Coraltoni wine merchants who would undercut the valuable Sweetblood trade, he resolved to do something about it.

He usurped the throne, threw out the Coraltoni pisswine vendors, and launched a war with Coralton over the trade routes to the Sword Sea. And though he eventually fell, he did not go quietly — the assassins who killed him had to poison, shoot, stab, beat, and burn him with magic before tossing him in the river, where he finally died of hypothermia while trying to claw up out of the ice. Then, as his body was cremated, he sat up in his casket.

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RPT#686: Wrangling Unruly Campaign Outlines: How To Keep Track of Plot Threads

At the end of a long campaign, I want my players and I to feel totally satisfied. I mean the sort of satisfaction one gets when a story wraps up with no question unanswered. The kind of story that ends with every major character’s arc finished and accounted.

This is a challenge when there’s only a single person telling a story – just think of all the novels that have left you hanging in one way or another over the years. But when a group of friends gets into collaborative tale-spinning one chapter at a time with long breaks between, it is almost impossible to wrap up everything with a tidy bow.

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RPT#685: Space Opera Part 2: Building The Setting Core Elements

In my last article I talked a little about how people get around as part of a Far Future Spacefaring Civilization and putting limitations on those methods. Now I want to talk a little more in depth about those methods and how you can put some limitations on them to make them more gameable.

There are three kinds of FTL travel methods employed in various sci-fi settings: hyper drives, jump drives, and warp drives.

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RPT#684: Kingdom Building Part II: Who Rules the Kingdom?

Knowing who is in power is important in any game where you want locations to serve as more than a simple backdrop, because the character of those in positions of power often reflects that of the kingdom itself. Having your ruler emphasize the themes of your kingdom will hammer those details home to your players. It is also useful information to have in the back of your mind when anything that affects kingdom law or policy occurs in-game.

This article takes you through the process of choosing an appropriate government type for your kingdom and then discusses how you can use this in play to give your campaign world more depth.

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