Wandering monsters chop prep time and prevent railroading. Here’s my three-step system for creating great wandering monster tables and clever plots.Continue reading
Anon GM wrote in with this request about seeds and hooks: I need your help with something embarrassing. I have been DMing for years now and realized there is something that seems to be foundational to game play and I kind of don’t know anything about it.
I have read your tips and have read in multiple places about seeds and hooks. What are they and how do I use them?Continue reading
With the Encounter Intensify Technique you increase the stakes during an encounter to give your players a jolt of adrenaline. Just when you think it can’t get worse or more desperate, it does.
A reader asked me how to avoid wiping the party, because I advised picking a moment when encounter outcome seems dubious. Pick a low moment for the PCs to ramp up that intensity.
It’s just like in the movies. Something bad happens to the hero. As the hero struggles, something even worse happens, putting the audience on the edge of its seat.Continue reading
I got on Skype and interviewed Philip Athans last week. We chatted about adventure design, monsters, items, and more. Philip is the author of Writing Monsters and The Guide to Writing Fantasy and Science Fiction. He used to work for Wizards of the Coast and has penned several books over the years and edited dozens.Continue reading
Today I show you how I used the new goblin generator in Campaign Logger as an orc generator to create d20 orcs in under half a minute. But first, a quick backstory. Vargulf drank out of a magical pool. It made him forever afraid of orcs. There’s a half-orc in the party. Kriv. That doesn’t […]Continue reading
Static RPG encounters become predictable. We roll initiative. PCs choose their targets. Grind until the last hit point. However, there’s a concept I’ve penned in my upcoming 5 Room Dungeons book called Intensify. Use this technique to make encounters come alive, surprise the PCs, and keep your players thoroughly entertained.Continue reading
The other day I read a blog about the GM’s Top 10 mastermind monster villains. I love this idea! It’s great inspiration. So today for fun I’m sharing my favourite monster villains with you. The requirements for my list are I can only list monsters I have GM’d or made adventures for. In some cases I […]Continue reading
A new month is upon us, and it’s time for another RPG Blog Carnival. Sewers & Garbage But first, thanks to 6d6 for hosting December’s carnival, Sewers & Garbage. Here’s the round-up post. Prophecies & Omens Tales of the GM takes us into the New Year with a theme you might have augured: Prophecies & […]Continue reading
Here’s how I’m rebooting my Murder Hobos campaign in three easy steps, using new GMing techniques I learned in 2016 plus a few of my own design.Continue reading
RPG adventure themes are the rug that ties the whole room together, man. Get theme right, and you intensify your adventures, players’ experience, and stories. Here’s an example: the hanged man.Continue reading
Last Musings I spoke of explosive sessions starts. After social time, inject energy right away so the session feeds off that the rest of the night. And, it turns out, the quality of how your session starts depends a lot on how your last session ended. Who knew? If you can’t end on a cliffhanger, […]Continue reading
Here’s how to take an existing planned encounter and ensure it has spice for an explosive session start.Continue reading
Dungeons: dark holes in the ground. What’s the attraction? Is it the loving community of hungry monsters? The helpful pits, poison needles, and crushing ceiling tiles? Maybe it’s the pleasant aromas of necrotic flesh, well-groomed creatures, and fresh flowers? I urge you to think about the big picture of each dungeon for a moment during […]Continue reading
A Roleplaying Tips GM wrote in with this problem: Johnn. My players are all about the XP! “If I can’t get XP for it, there’s no point.” Short of “I’ll give you XP if you can tell me what this quest is about” I haven’t figured out a way to get them off the “XP […]Continue reading
What I like now are encounters with more than one interesting aspect. Used to be I was satisfied with a monster and some treasure. But not these days. I want my cheese and pickles too.
So I’ve come up with a draft of a technique I’m calling Encounter Triangles. Here’s the gist of it. Let me know what you think.Continue reading
Did you know we lose fat by breathing it out? It’s true. I discovered this on my quest to losing 18 pounds (and counting) this year.
The myth is we “burn” fat, or fat lost through diet and exercise breaks up and gets excreted. But scientists discovered awhile ago that’s not how it works.Continue reading
When I have the major elements of my Loopy Plots figured out, I need to dig into certain details to get gameplay going and plug holes.
A tool I use to do this is my Next Action Method.Continue reading