Archive for the ‘Planning & Preparation’ Category

The Pentagon Of Encounter Design

There are five attributes to any encounter that define it, and any one of them can be the foundation of that encounter. In the old days of D&D, it used to be that there was relatively limited flexibility. You chose an encounter based on one of these five criteria and everything else was more-or-less dictated […]

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A radical concept: The GM Task Experience Table

On twitter the other day, one of my regular contacts (Rising Stars Press) posted a meme that read something along the lines of “All right folks, give yourselves 500 xp for surviving 2016” and an image of Gary Jackson. And, as sometimes happens, one stray thought had a whirlwind romance with another, and before you […]

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Plotting The Phone Book: A How-To Of Adventure Inspiration

0. New Year, Old Business Welcome to 2017! I hope every reader has had a happy and safe Holiday period and is now ready to face the New Year with gusto and confidence, recharged and re-energized. For the first time in, I think, eight or nine years, I took the Christmas/New Period off, completely. No […]

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Paving Over Plot Holes: A Masterclass in Adventure Creation

I’ve spent a fair amount of time over the last couple of weeks working on the next adventure in the Zenith-3 campaign, and the techniques employed have enabled me to illustrate some of the techniques that I’ve written about in the past. Normally, I would not post an article on the subject until after the […]

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The Perils Of Pre-Play

As part of the recent Blog Carnival, I shared a tool that I had developed for creating a character’s background (Blog Carnival November 2016: The Ordinary Life of a Fantasy PC). As part of that article, I originally had a section (entitled “An Alternative Route”) discussing playing a pre-game to enable players to develop the […]

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A life less ordinary: November 2016 Blog Carnival Wrap-up

I wasn’t going to write and publish this until later in the week, but a mis-remembered schedule means that there will otherwise be no article today, so this seemed the practical solution. After all, the odds of a late entry coming in grow vanishingly smaller with each passing day; the carnival itself has well-and-truly moved […]

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Ask The GMs – Up Hill and Down Dale: RPG Travel Laid Bare

Once again I’m daring to tackle a topic without the counsel of my friends and fellow GMs, largely because I had a clear answer in mind. Today’s question comes courtesy of Jason B, who asked, “Hey, I was about to start up a campaign that would ultimately take characters to all ends of the world. […]

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Blog Carnival November 2016: Ordinary Life in an RPG

This is an article in two halves, but the two should segue together seamlessly. The first is partially a rebuttal, partially a sequel, and partially a reply, to Clark Timmins’ thought-provoking submission to the Carnival, The Real Life of Heroes. The second half looks at how the ordinary lives of the PCs are depicted in […]

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Essential Reference Library for Pulp GMs (and others): 8th Shelf

This entry is part 9 in the series The Essential Reference Library for Pulp GMs (and others) The Eighth Shelf – Life In The Pulp Era I: Civilian Life – Introduction by Mike This month’s blog carnival is about “Ordinary Life” and is being hosted by Campaign Mastery, so its’ fitting that the vagaries of […]

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Blog Carnival November 2016: Ordinary Lives In Paranormal Space and Time

This is the fourth of five articles scheduled to be part of the November 2016 Blog Carnival, which Campaign Mastery is hosting. The carnival subject is “ordinary life” – in this case, how I create and manage subplots based on the ordinary lives of the PCs in my Zenith-3 campaign, how they connect seamlessly to […]

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Essential Reference Library for Pulp GMs (and others): 7th Shelf

This entry is part 8 in the series The Essential Reference Library for Pulp GMs (and others) Another monster post (18,400 words), another late posting. I once swore that I would never be involved in anything this large and complicated on a weekly deadline again; but every two or three years, it seems, overconfidence or […]

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Blog Carnival November 2016: The Extraordinary Life of a Fantasy PC Pt 2

This is the second half of this article; the first dealt with character backstories during character generation, and this deals with making use of them once play has started. It is also the third of five articles scheduled to be part of the November 2016 Blog Carnival, which Campaign Mastery is hosting. The carnival subject […]

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