Magical NPCs for Support Roles vs. Player Roles

With the last post, there was a comment from Tom Harrison on Google+ that I had to ponder a bit… Tom’s input was… “Ok, so here’s my beef. Why does this NPC need a class? Why not just offer a set of services and put a price on them? Because that’s really what it’s going…

New Products! Insta-NPCs! (*Just Add Dice)

During the creation of the Big Book of Little Spaces: Haunts (available soon!), I added a couple of ideas as appendices for NPC creation that turned out not to fit very well in the scope of that book. However, I’m not one to waste a good idea. So I spun those two ideas into a new product…

Ten NPCs You Bump Into In A Crowded Tavern

So you have devised the perfect location, plot, or adventure for your next game session but need a cast of characters to make the setup complete. Your brain has other ideas however and is rebelling. Here’s a quick way to kick your creativity into high gear to describe somebody. Step 1: Roll a d6. On…

Encounter Design: Six Elements and More

What do you remember most about your favorite campaigns? I bet it boils down to one of three things… characters, plot, or encounters. Maybe setting could go into that pot as well. And of course none of it is possible without friends to play with. But mostly it’s those three key pieces. I’ll probably talk…

Design Ramble: Open Spaces and Abstract Thoughts

Lately I’ve been pondering strange questions as a GM and designer, so here’s my latest ramble… Have you noticed that most fantasy worlds are focused on the crowded places? The constructed places? What about the open spaces? If you watch The Hobbit or The Lord of the Rings Movies, you see the dwarves and the…

LPC Names Design: A Few Thoughts on People and Places

Today’s design post is a bit of a ramble around some ideas that have been bouncing around my head of late… Names have meaning. They provide handles to concepts. Unique identifiers to attach to unique nouns, whether they are people, places, or things. But they can do so much more. They can suggest history. Hint…

Brick by Brick Design: You Are Here

While working on the upcoming Brick by Brick: Floors product (follow-up to Brick by Brick: Doors), I stumbled across a strange idea. If context is so important for everything in a game encounter, do we sometimes need some sort of inspiration to determine how the PCs have come to a particular place? Arriving at a…

Encounters Design: One Approach to Road Encounters

Like with all projects, this one seems to be taking over my brain, so let’s take a look at some ways we can potentially structure these encounters to not only be functional, but fun, on both sides of the screen. Let’s take a road encounter. Instead of a social engagement, it’s more of an interruption.…

Building Block Encounters

Last week I talked about encounter design a bit and the keys to both making sure that players are engaged and the GM has measurable goals in the end. But let’s continue that thought a bit more. If we design a few general encounters, we potentially have some tricks up our sleeve in case we…

Designing Better Encounters

As I’ve begun work on yet another product idea, I’ve wondered at the different elements of RPG encounters. What are some of the pieces that make some encounters successful and others less so? For myself (and most gamers) I suspect that the biggest piece of the puzzle is engagement. Are the PCs involved? How do…

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