Tag Archives: campaign mastery

Fastest Pathfinder Combat Ever – How We Did It

Lost Caverns of Tsojcanth Two weeks ago I reported on my combat timing and discovered I was taking the longest turns at the table. I vowed the fix this, and Friday’s session bore great results. Here’s the lowdown on how we did so well. Fight To The Death To Lift A Paladin’s Curse The PCs had just finished exploring parts of a mission dungeon. (A mission…

Speed Up Combat By Building Your Own Combat GM Screen

Photo courtesy of sdobie What is the number one way to make combat go faster? For D&D type games, it is mastering the rules. When you can make decisions based on accurate rules knowledge, not only do you have more options available, but you play with more effectiveness and confidence. You also need to make fewer rules references on or between turns. You help other…

How To Fall In Love With GMing Again + iPad App Review of Daily Notes

Write down your ideas when they come to you. This core GM tip gets repeated often in the Roleplaying Tips newsletter for good reason. If you do not record your ideas, they could get lost or fuddled, and I find nothing more frustrating when my brain pumps out a super idea only to ignore or forget it. How To GM More Often Writing…

Taming The Time Bandits: Some time-saving combat techniques

Synopsis Of The Problem In Johnn’s last blog post, “My Group’s Time Thief Revealed,” he described his discovery that the chief drag on the pace of his combat was the GM, despite his expectations to the contrary. While he did not track the components of his activity, he was able to dismiss a couple of factors out of hand – …

My Group’s Time Thief Revealed – Chronology iPad App Review

Chronology for iPad helps me time combats I was curious to see how long combat encounters last in my Riddleport campaign , and how long my group takes on each turn to do our actions. I surfed around for a long time, looking for the right timer software, and then I finally found it, for the iPad. This is a review of how long we took to play out our…

Perfect Skin: Some Musing On The Design Of Monsters

Monsters generally come in three parts: Stat Blocks, Descriptive passages (which some people refer to as Fluff), and Templates, enabling you to add the “monster description” to an existing race – sort of an ersatz Class. Lately, I’ve been thinking about the differing values and usefulness of books on the subject. NB: This is an unabashedly d20/3.x article. YMMV with other game systems. Reskinning…

City Government Power Bases – Land

What forces govern your city? In many societies, landowners have great power. With all the economic, defensive, military, and strategic benefits land provides, most governments use this as a starting power base for their regimes. For high fantasy games, consider land as an abstract concept that encompasses many possible dimensions. Land can be the ground, the clouds of sky realms, the flames …

Top-Down Plug-in Game Design: The Perfect Recipe?

Click on the image to see a larger version As someone who writes about RPGs

It’s Reality, Jim, but not As We Know It: St Barbara

Two of the most important skills that I added to the Hero System when I was writing my House Rules for my Champions campaign were Paranormal Physics and Paranormal Biology . The first explains how powers work using game physics – and therefore can also be used to determine potentials that the character had not thought of, and training methods to bring them out. It can also be…

City Government Power Bases – Religion

What forces govern your city? Religion, spirituality, and ideology make excellent government power bases because they are powerful sources of influence, prestige, and affiliation. Religion and cosmology varies from campaign to campaign, but it’s likely gods do exist in your world and they imbue certain, devout followers with spells and special powers every day. Even if your current campaign has …

The Nth Level Of Abstraction

During the last week, the RPG Bloggers Network brought an interesting post to my attention: “Discussion: Time Gaps” at Reality Refracted . This got me to thinking about the hierarchy of abstraction, and how often we (GMs) move from one level to another in the course of a typical game session, and how we can use a seemingly inappropriate level of …

8 Easy Ways to Organize Your Dungeon Tiles

This month’s RPG blog carnival is about cartography and mapping. So, I thought I’d talk about D&D tiles, of which I have several sets, and I like them a lot. If you own more than a couple sets of D&D tiles you understand the challenge in organizing them. The tiles are double-sided, so you want to see …

The failure of …urmmmm… Memory

The thing that I hate most about being a regular blog writer is that your best ideas come to you when you have absolutely no chance to write them down and no hope of remembering them. In my head yesterday – the only medium available to me – I wrote no less than three absolutely brilliant and insightful articles for Campaign Mastery. Of …

City Government Power Bases – Magic and Psionics

What forces govern your city? We resume the city design series this week with thoughts about how to use magic and psionics to build interesting city government power bases. For the purposes of this article, magic and psionics are treated the same. Your game system might make this thinking incompatible, but hopefully you can take the thinking that follows and apply…

How To Cast A Spell On Your Campaign And Polish Till It Gleams

The dead will not always give you clear answers In part one, you saw how spell details can inspire encounters . In part two today, we continue to walk through the plight of poor Halcos and who the PCs’ enemies plot to prevent them from casting Speak With dead. We also offer tips on how spells can help you design game worlds and regions…

On The Nature Of Flaws

Disclaimer: This article was prompted and inspired by my receipt of a free copy of Player’s Option: Flaws from 4 Winds Fantasy Gaming, but it is largely based on my experience with the Hero System. 4 Winds did not solicit this review and did not recieve notice of the content. /Disclaimer So that we’re all on the same page, let’s start with a quick review of just…

Life & Death in RPG Blog Carnival Wrap-Up

March 2011′s RPG Blog Carnival covered Life and Death in RPG . Full XP to everyone who participated with insightful and inspirational articles, and thanks for your contributions. Readers, you are in for a treat as you have many articles to choose from this month. I encourage you to read through them and make life and death more memorable elements of your games. …

How To Cast A Spell On Your Campaign And Make It Sparkle Like Gold Dust

One spell can change the complexion of a campaign If two people are casting Speak With Dead on the same body, does one get a busy signal? In my Riddleport Pathfinder campaign, an NPC named Halcos was assassinated as the PCs were dragging him away to be interrogated. In reaction, the party plans to bring the body to an allied temple for a Speak …

Bang! Blat! Whoomph! Character Conventions In Pulp (Continued)

This article is being co-written by Blair Ramage, with whom I co-referee a Pulp Hero campaign. Although it started as a single item, it has grew so substantially that it became necessary to split it into multiple parts. The first part dealt with the relationship of genre to other aspects of a roleplaying game, and furnished a context for the whole series. The…

Undead Foe Generator – and Skull Dice Giveaway

Win a set of these Who says undead can’t have personality? While rank and file skeletons and zombies will get mowed down faster than you can roleplay, you can turn any single undead into a remarkable NPC. To do that, you just need to add a few details beyond the stat block. Today’s generator will help you do this. Skull …