Tag Archives: dm-advice

City Government Power Bases – Leadership

What forces govern your city? Popularity Being popular earns a government a lot of power, though it is always a fragile thing. Think of popularity as a form of temporary affiliation . Popularity is often restricted to a subset of urban society – you can’t please everyone. Strengths With a large amount of consent, a government can rule with fewer objections and roadblocks. The will of the people can …

Pow! Bam! Crunch! Story 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 grown so substantially that it has become 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…

Bam! Zap! Crunch! World Conventions In Pulp

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 grown so substantially that it has become necessary to split it into multiple parts. World Conventions In researching this article, a couple of other websites came to our attention, one of which divided the genre conventions for pulp fiction into three …

Blat! Zot! Pow! The Rules Of Genre In RPGs

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 grown so substantially that it has become necessary to split it into multiple parts – yet another series! It’s pointless re-creating precisely a historical period or past fictional genre. For maximum …

Lessons From The West Wing III: Time Happens In The Background

One of the best pieces of writing/direction that I’ve ever seen in a TV production takes place in a later episode of the series, in season 6 or perhaps 7, and it’s something that has made an indelible mark apon my awareness and handling of the passage of time in my campaigns. The Scene One character (Josh Lyman) has been away from the…

Rules Mastery For Dummies & Busy GMs Part 3: Student, Tutor Thyself

Back when I was first given a copy of the Champions Game System, it was only the third genre of game that I had ever been exposed to: The first was FRP (In the form of AD&D) and the second was Science Fiction (in the form of Space Opera). As a comics fan from way back, I was immediatly super-enthusisastic, which made learning the rules a …

Rules Mastery For Dummies & Busy GMs Part 2: Getting Enthusiastic About Rules

Last time around, Johnn described (via exerpted email) his difficulty in getting enthusiastic about reading rules. Johnn has been making a common mistake, and it’s one that I have been guilty of myself in the past. When reading rules becomes tiresome, we avoid reading and re-reading the rules because we have the impression that we have to read them in one solid…

Rules Mastery For Dummies & Busy GMs Part 1: Introduction

In October, my co-author and partner here at CM contacted me to ask, (Extensively Paraphrased:) Something that has slipped away from me this past decade is a solid knowledge of the rules I game with. This lack of foundation has a number of serious consequences. Good thing I trust my players so much. Not having rules expertise undermines my position as GM and expert. …

Rules Mastery For Dummies & Busy GMs Part 1: Introduction

In October, my co-author and partner here at CM contacted me to ask, (Extensively Paraphrased:) Something that has slipped away from me this past decade is a solid knowledge of the rules I game with. This lack of foundation has a number of serious consequences. Good thing I trust my players so much. Not having rules expertise undermines…

Treasure Detail Generator & Dice Giveaway

Win these dice! You can win a set of the dice that appear in this blog post. Details at the end. Thanks for Q-Workshop for supplying dice to give away! A gamer recently mentioned a disappointing lack of detail when his GM handed out a “pouch of gems.” The player wanted more flavour. It is difficult detailing every little…

The Ubercharacter Wimp: Plotting within your PCs limitations

This week I thought I would describe a tool that I came up with to help me create quick and easy NPCs, called The Ubercharacter Wimp, or TUW. Three into TUW The concept is really simple: in a document of some kind, I list the highest and lowest scores for each of the stats, as well as the group’s average. I follow that with an alphabetical…

The Ubercharacter Wimp: Plotting within your PCs limitations

This week I thought I would describe a tool that I came up with to help me create quick and easy NPCs, called The Ubercharacter Wimp, or TUW. Three into TUW The concept is really simple: in a document of some kind, I list the highest and lowest scores for each of the stats, as well as the group’s…

40 Great Name Resources, Lists and Generators

Names resources for your games Great names are critical for immersion. Name an NPC Bob and you set a bad tone for any serious campaign. However, even the best GMs get stumped occasionally on generating great names. Following are links to several online names resources, lists and generators. Before diving into the links though, I have a naming tip for you. We’…

We All Have Our Roles To Play: Personality Archetypes, Part 3

The Premise Archetypes for RPGs are usually defined either by the psychology of the character or the abilities of the character, but other classifications systems are possible. These can yield a different perspective, which can be invaluable. This series’ approach is based not so much on what the characters could do as a team, but of how the characters fit into a team. I have defined 27 …

This Survey For New Players Ensures A Good Fit

New player surveys are a worthwhile time investment Roleplaying Tips reader Zerfinity sent me a campaign survey he used to build his new group. A friend once told me the best finishes have great starts. So it is with great campaigns, and one key is getting a group of like-minded, enthusiastic people around you each game night. Zerfinity’s survey offers a …

6 Ways to Enhance Magic Items

1. Give them personal names A simple but effective method. Even minor items get a personality boost when named. Tip: A name could imply special powers if you are not in the habit of naming most magic items, so you might need to explain the first time that Felix the Cape is what the previous owner called it, and it truly is just a +1 Cloak …

Stiff Upper Lip: Thinking about nations in RPGs

I’m interrupting my series on Psionics to bring you this timely post on sports and nation-building… As I write this, the local TV host is replaying highlights from the opening ceremony of the 2010 Commonwealth Games. Since Johnn is Canadian and I am Australian, both Commonwealth countries, we find our respective nationalities on opposing sides. It’s a somewhat interesting …

Stiff Upper Lip: Thinking about nations in RPGs

I’m interrupting my series on Psionics to bring you this timely post on sports and nation-building… As I write this, the local TV host is replaying highlights from the opening ceremony of the 2010 Commonwealth Games. Since Johnn is Canadian and I am Australian, both Commonwealth countries, we find our respective nationalities on opposing sides. It’s a somewhat interesting event, this time…

25 Cleric Character Hooks

Continuing the hooks series, today we have a bunch of priestly ones for your holy edification. Many came out as missions rather than internal character struggles or personality quirks. More actionable than character-revealing this time around. Use these for PCs or NPCS. Sensing his wanderlust and noting his independent manner, the church has asked him to become a holy bounty hunter. There is a long list …

Plot flowchart example

Reader Yong Kyosunim sent in one of his plot planning documents. This was in response to Campaign Mastery’s recent post on plot flowcharts . Check it out: An example plot flowchart You can download the plot flowchart in better quality as PDF if preferred. Yong created the chart using Excel. Thanks very much for sending this in, Yong!