Archive for the ‘Tools & Techniques’ Category

Shades Of Suspense Pt 2 – Fourteen Types of Cliffhanger Finishes

For those who came in late: Cliffhangers are a wonderful way to end a gaming session. Ending play at a moment of high drama leaves players anxious to get back to the gaming table, and makes a gaming session memorable. They serve as milestones within the adventure. In Part 1, I listed eight general tips […]

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Shades Of Suspense Pt 1 – Eight Tips for Cliffhanger Finishes

Cliffhangers are a wonderful way to end a gaming session because they end play at a moment of high drama that leaves the players anxious to get back to the gaming table, and that tend to be fairly memorable because of the drama. You can think of them as milestones within the adventure. The primary […]

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Things That Are Easy, Things That Are Hard

There are lots of things that are hard to do, or at least to do well. This article is about two of them, and a Kickstarter project that looks like a serious attempt to do both to a very high standard. Challenge The First The first is low-level adventures. Many GMs find these difficult to […]

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The Flunkie Equation – quick and easy Hors d’Combat

A few weeks ago, I described my processes for creating Partial NPCs, a methodology that determined how much NPC definition was needed for that NPCs role in an adventure, in Creating Partial NPCs To Speed Game Prep. This was described as essential know-how for the article that I was originally going to write and publish […]

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Vampire’s Creep and other stories: Working With Places

What’s the first thing you think about when considering a location in an RPG? There’s no one right answer to that question. A lot depends on why I’m thinking about that location at all. Location: a place for things to happen A location is not a simple thing to pin down. Let’s say that we’re […]

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Creating Partial NPCs To Speed Game Prep

How much character do you need? Or, to phrase it another way, how much character construction do you have to undertake in advance when creating an NPC? You could simply have a random character generator throw up something to avoid any character construction, but the results never seem to mesh properly with the situation in […]

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3 Feet In Someone Else’s Shoes: Getting in character quickly

It’s not easy being a GM. Not only do you have to create dozens or hundreds of characters for every one PC, but you have to create adventures and encounters that bring those characters to life in an entertaining way for the benefit of the players – all while refereeing a complex simulation of a […]

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Domino Theory: The Perils and Practicalities

I love a good domino theory, but they aren’t easy to do, never mind to do them well. This article holds the secrets to creating and implementing a string of dominoes that will keep players coming back for more.

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Prodigious Performances Provided In Due Course

Back in “Exceeding the Extraordinary: The Meaning Of Feats” (April 2012), I promised that a future article would discuss the approvals process for feats, prestige classes, etc, in my 3.x Fantasy campaigns…

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Stream Of Consciousness: Image-based narrative

It’s almost impossible to prepare descriptions of everywhere. This article offers a way to shortcut and streamline the process so that you need never get caught short again.

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If Then Else or Maybe: Witchmarsh and Plot Interactivity

A review of the promise of Witchmarsh, a promising new RPG videogame in development, and the lessons & value it holds for tabletop RPGs

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Growing Plot Seeds Into Mighty Oaks

You’ve picked an Adventure Seed – it doesn’t matter where it came from. The first step to transforming that seed into an adventure that is everything you want it to be…

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