Archive for the ‘Planning & Preparation’ Category

Flavors Of Victory: Why do good GMs fail?

I’m blessed, or cursed, with a naturally analytic mindset. I can’t help but look for patterns and, having seen one, trying to understand what it means and why it is a pattern. Of course, the more frequently you can observe the circumstances that produce the pattern, the more easily those patterns are to detect. Local […]

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Let’s Twist Again – Eleven types of Plot Twist for RPGs pt 2

With A Twist Campaign Mastery is hosting this month’s Blog Carnival. The subject I’ve chosen is “With A Twist” and anything about Surprises, the Unexpected, Plot Twists, etc, is fair game. The Carnival started with an article on the rules interpretation of Surprise, and last week I posted the first part of this exploration of […]

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Ask The GMs: Buzz and Background

Excitement. Buzz. Anticipation. Enthusiasm. How best to create these for a new campaign? This question comes from BlueNinja, who wrote: “I have an idea for a campaign, that follows off the plot of a popular CRPG [Computer RPG -- Mike] (set a few centuries later, of course, so that the PCs don’t have to compete […]

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Pretzel Thinking – 11 types of Plot Twist for RPGs, Part 1

With A Twist So it’s Blog Carnival time again, and (as I explained last week) this time around, Campaign Mastery is hosting. The Subject is “With A Twist” which means anything about Surprises, the Unexpected, Plot Twists, etc, is fair game. I kicked the month off with an article on Surprise, and this time around […]

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Studs, Buttons, and Static Cling: Creating consistent non-human tech

The November blog carnival is hosted by Roleplaying tips, and is on the subject of Races and Species. For the second of the two articles I am submitting for the carnival, I thought I would step into left field and look at the question sideways for a bit, as you can tell from the title […]

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Ask The GM: Seasoning The Stew (making races feel distinctive)

Today’s question comes from all the way back in June 2010 – I’m sorry it’s taken so long to answer it! The question comes from Brett, who wrote: “I am an extremely new DM, but I have played for 7 years now. I am looking to put my players in conflict with Drow. At one […]

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Super-heroics as an FRP Combat Planning Tool

When you’re designing a battle for an FRP adventure, how do you make it different from every such battle that you’ve had in the past? How do you make it more interesting than a mere dice-rolling exercise? It’s even more difficult than it sounds. I have a novel solution to offer to these problems, but […]

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There’s Something About Undead – Blog Carnival Oct 2014

Halloween, things that go bump in the night, and all things spooky, creepy, scary, or just plain haunted. This month’s Blog Carnival, hosted by Scot Newbury at of Dice and Dragons is devoted to the subject… and this is Campaign Mastery’s contribution. BWAH-HA-HA-HAAA… I’ve got a problem with Undead, and I think it’s one that […]

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Race To The Moon – a lesson in story structure

I was catching up on a Documentary series recently aired on Australian TV over the weekend just passed, called “The Sixties”. Each episode attempts to encapsulate one aspect of the singular decade of my birth, whether it be the Civil Rights Movement, the War in Vietnam, or – in this case – the Space Race. […]

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Memorials To History – an ‘a good name’ extra

This entry is part 8 in the series A Good Name Is Hard To Find

This entry is part 8 in the series A Good Name Is Hard To Find There is a pub in Soho that still bears the name, “The John Snow”. It is named for the brave physician who proved that Cholera was spread through drinking water, ending an outbreak in the district. And that sparks a […]

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Abandoned Islands – Iconic Adventure Settings

I love a great location, and one of my favorite settings is an abandoned island. There are lots of reasons for this. Here’s just a few: They contain great visual elements, even when described in narrative. Decay and Ruin can be used symbolically to represent almost any situation in a game. And there’s always overgrowth […]

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The Wandering Spotlight Part Two of Two: Shared Stories

My co-GM in the Adventurer’s Club campaign and I work very hard to maintain player engagement even when the spotlight is not on that player’s character (which only makes it all the more obvious and painful when we fail in attempts to do so). While there is little that I regard as especially novel about […]

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