Revisiting the Past: Trap Detection, Part 1

As I’ve gone through the process of revisiting my Old School gaming roots with D&D through Mazes & Perils, I have had to re-examine the art of trap detection. And yes, there is an art to it. Let’s start with the three main methods of trap detection that transcend rules systems entirely: Bull in the…

Revisiting the Past: Insight Checks in OSR

Anybody used to playing older versions of D&D (pre-4e) is probably wondering what the heck an Insight check is. Imagine for a moment that your PC is interacting with a NPC and you want to know whether the NPC’s motives are pure. Are they lying to you? Are they hiding something? Are they being forthright?…

Revisiting the Past: The Old School Mindset and Roll-Playing

When I started playing D&D in 1982, we were young, naive, and enthusiastic. We took on every dungeon with glee and even fought a few major figures like Orcus and Tiamat as I recall. But it wasn’t “Old School” then — it was just playing D&D with friends every weekend we could get together. By…

What is a GM? (GM’s Day 2016)

Today I’d like to muse a bit on a definition of Game Master (or Gamemaster or GM or Dungeon Master or DM or Storyteller or Referee, etc.). GM’s Day 2016 is coming up this week and I think it’s about time I actually defined what that role actually means to me personally. A GM is…

How do you inspire your players? RPG Blog Carnival – January 2016

This month’s RPG Blog Carnival topic is hosted by Johnn Four of Roleplaying Tips himself. He wants to know what we (as GMs I suspect) do to inspire our players to get excited to play each session. This is a tough one since I don’t GM a ton these days. Let’s take a look anyway……

Free Randomness, Part 1

You’re the GM doing prep for your next session. You have it all together. Maps. Broad strokes of the plot. But somehow you find yourself stuck when you try to come up with the little details – the glue to pull everything together. What do you do then? Panic? Meditate? Call an emergency meeting? Or…

First RPG Gamemastered – #RPGaDAY 2014, Day 2

The second day of the #RPGaDAY effort is about “First RPG Gamemastered.” After yesterday’s post, I’ll give you one guess which RPG was my first attempt at being a game master… Dungeons and Dragons. Shocking, I know. Honestly I don’t remember much about those early attempts at dungeon mastering in junior high. It wasn’t until much later…

Does your villain have what it takes?

Villains. Without them, what’s a hero supposed to do? Han Solo needs his “wretched hive of scum and villainy” to be discovered in. The Dread Pirate Roberts wears a mask and at best will kill poor Westley in the morning. And who else is going to cut a man’s heart out with a spoon than…

Let Local Lawbreakers Do Your Leg Work

How do you bring your towns and cities to life? By populating them with people and events that your PCs can interact with! But sometimes coming up with those events can be difficult. When you’re looking for inspiration, where do you turn? I’m going to suggest something you may not have thought of previously. Your…

How’s Them Road Apples?

As a player I often wondered how much time we actually spent on the road between locations. In some campaigns we seemed to ALWAYS be on horseback or foot, camping by the roadside, holed up in some creepy inn, or stuffed in the stacked hammocks aboard a ship… We never really complained all that much,…

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