Archive for the ‘Planning & Preparation’ Category

Basics For Beginners (and the over-experienced) Part 9: Rewards With Intent

This 15-part series is an attempt to answer the question, “what advice do you have for a beginning GM?”, three articles at a time – while throwing in tips and reminders of the basics for more experienced GMs. This is the last article of the current trilogy. Rewards: Tabula Rasa To most beginning GMs, and […]

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Lightning Research: Maximum Answers in Minimum Time

One art that every GM should master is the knack of researching just enough information just as quickly as you can digest it. I sometimes call it the art of Lightning Research, and today I’m going to share a couple of tips for doing it successfully. These tips come in two parts – one for […]

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Decisions Of Plot: Encounter Planning and Prep

A lot of coming up with subjects for Campaign Mastery is nothing more than paying attention to what you do and see at the gaming table. Things that you might do automatically without even thinking about it can make great topics, you just have to notice them – even while you are distracted by the […]

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Cities Of Legend: Blueprints For Adventure

The Backstory: When my pulp co-GM and I started talking about this article, it had a very different shape. The original intention was to list the cities that we considered iconic settings for pulp adventure, and explain in each case why it had been selected to receive that accolade. As the article progressed, however, it […]

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Working The Other Side Of The Screen

Not too long back, an exchange on Twitter led me to the question – does continuing to play RPGs on a regular basis make you a better GM? I’m certainly in a position to judge, since I continue to run multiple campaigns and have, for most of the last year, been a player in a […]

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Basics For Beginners (and the over-experienced) Pt 8: Depth In Plotting

This entry is part 8 in the series Basics For Beginners (and the over-experienced)

This entry is part 8 in the series Basics For Beginners (and the over-experienced) I’ve been asked a number of times what advice I have for a beginning GM. This 15-part series is an attempt to answer that question, three articles at a time – while throwing in some tips and reminders of the basics […]

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Basics For Beginners (and the over-experienced) Pt 7: Adventures

This entry is part 7 in the series Basics For Beginners (and the over-experienced)

This entry is part 7 in the series Basics For Beginners (and the over-experienced)I’ve been asked a number of times what advice I have for a beginning GM. This 15-part series is an attempt to answer that question – while throwing in some tips and reminders of the basics for more experienced GMs. This is […]

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Consequential Expertise: A Neglected Plot Opportunity

Do your PCs know what they are doing? Not the players (they have no idea half the time) but the characters that those players operate – are they competent? Do they have expertise – in anything? Because there’s a type of adventure intro that seems, in hindsight, to be horribly under-used: the expert witness. Why? […]

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Ask The GMs: Many Hands, Mild Insanity: Large Groups Revisited

As I explained the last time I looked at large groups, I have only limited experience in the area, so this was one topic for which I definitely wanted to source a broader opinion base. The question at hand: If you are “fortunate” enough to have a large group of players, which games could you […]

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Throw Me A Life-line: A Character Background Planning Tool

When I was a child, I knew three of my grandparents well. My paternal grandfather and namesake, however, I have no memory of ever meeting; he died before I was born, he was only ever a photograph on the wall. I was thinking about that, and about how my experience of family was not adequately […]

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Encampments and other In-Character Opportunities

When I was starting the original Fumanor (D&D 3.x) campaign, I tried to get the players to establish the sort of routines that would come naturally in real life. You see this sort of thing in Fantasy novels all the time and it’s a great way for personalities to manifest and a useful tool for […]

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Ask The GMs: A Target With Warp Drive: Maps and Minis for Sci-Fi

This is the third of these Ask-The-GMs that I’m tackling without recourse to my usual allies and fellow-GMs. Battlemats, maps, and tiles all have a valuable role to play in creating game atmosphere and letting people get on with play. The old adage states that a picture is worth a thousand words; an appropriate terrain […]

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