Posts Tagged ‘Encounter-Design’

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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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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Risk Assessment For GMs

This article was started way back when I was submitting articles to Roleplaying Tips, in fact, more than ten years ago, but it was never finished – until now. So “recently” means “relative to 2006″… I recently read a book describing the calamities that befell Lloyds of London in the early 80s and 90s and […]

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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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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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Stalking Fear: The Creepy in Non-creepy genres

This is being written on October 31, which is one of those Iconic dates in North America and catching on (thanks to the marketing muscle of various supermarkets and retailers, who are always looking for an angle that will persuade you to buy something extra) through large parts of the rest of the world. This […]

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The Bigger They Are, The Bigger The Headache: The Proxemics Of Scale

I’ve been thinking a lot about the size of creatures lately, because it seems to me that size poses unexpected problems for the GM. This is a subject that’s been at the back of my mind for years, ever since it was pointed out to me that Dragons are never as tough as they are […]

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ATGMs42: The Hollow Echo Part 2 – Musical Traps

This is (still) the fifth of these Ask-The-GMs that I’m tackling without recourse to my usual allies and fellow-GMs. Traps and puzzles are always a tricky problem for the GM. All too often they focus attention on one particular character and leave the rest sitting around doing nothing, possibly for what feels like an extraordinary […]

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The Hollow Echo Part 1 – Adding Music To Your Game

Music can provide an iconic trigger that instantly transports the listener into an associated memory. Soundtracks and scores for Film and TV have long recognized this effect and played on it. You might not know it, but every major character in a movie or TV show has their own “theme”, a handful of notes, usually […]

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Engagement vs Involvement: The forgotten balance

Every player, and more importantly, every PC, who is participating in an RPG is a member of a team. That team can be constructed to form an idealized “machine” if the players collaborate on their character designs, but more normally, things are looser. At best, you have the GM constructing a team model in which […]

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Not Like My Tribe – Sophisticated Primitives, Part 2

In Part 1 (make sure you have read it before continuing) I made reference to a map of Australian Aboriginal Languages which contrasted so strongly with the media stereotyping of these peoples as a single collective population that it was revelatory and inspirational. I meant to provide a link to that map, but ran out […]

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