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Jan
13

Choose Your Way to Better RPG Session Prep

Choose Your Way to Better RPG Session Prep The Dragon Age, Mass Effect, and The Witcher video game series have all made names for themselves by forcing players to make important choices throughout the game. Although decision points in tabletop roleplaying games aren’t bound by a studio’s limitations the way video games are, many game masters (myself included) don’t capitalize on our medium because we don’t consciously consider giving players meaningful choices while we plan a campaign. Instead of preparing an adventure by assembling a series of encounters, game masters can design their narratives around...
Aug
21

Mini RPG Campaign Template: Session 2

Mini RPG Campaign Template: Session 2 Last session, as GM you introduced the players to the world just before setting it on fire. You gave them a glimpse of the villain’s plans and showcased the stakes of failure. Now, you’ve set the Player Characters loose in a brave new world so they can begin to get or learn what they need to oppose the villain or change who they are. No matter whether you’ve given them a linear quest line (A then B then C) or will let them choose between pursuing three different options (A, B, or C), you can keep the following tips in mind to nail the major beats of the second...
Aug
7

How to Create RPG Campaign Subplots

How to Create RPG Campaign Subplots “I like to call [subplots] supporting plots. They are there to support the main plot.” – McDonald, Brian. Invisible Ink (p. 100). Libertary. Kindle Edition. Subplots in roleplaying games are the side quests you go on to help accomplish one of your goals. When the NPC you need to talk to has gone missing, or when the NPCs asks you to travel to do some task or collect some item for him before he’s willing to help you, that’s a subplot. They’re the bread and butter of video games and roleplaying games alike. The conflict added to the story by subplots both provides...
Dec
2

The 3-Act Formula as a Mini RPG Campaign Template

The 3-Act Formula as a Mini RPG Campaign Template Type in “novel structure” to the nearest search engine and you’ll find a smorgasbord of templates and spreadsheets to help you plot your novel, and the three-act structure is one of the most popular there is. With a couple of tweaks (and borrowing slightly from the Universal Hero Cycle), you can adapt the three-act formula into a mini RPG campaign template. The end result is nine sessions with one for character creation and prep, two for the first act, four sessions for the middle/rising action, and two for the finale/climax. This template works...
Oct
30

31 Days of NaNoPrepMo: Day 30

31 Days of NaNoPrepMo: Day 30 Day 30: Do you want to create a scene tracker? Story and setting. If an outline is the macro level of your plot, the scene tracker allows you to delve into greater detail on a scene-by-scene basis. Again, you may not need or want one, but you may find it useful to think of scenes in their component parts as you write your way through NaNo. You’ll want to have your outline handy for this, but you can also apply it just to the scenes you know you have even if you don’t have all of them yet. Action Plan: Fill out a scene tracker (such as this one or this...

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