Roleplaying Posts

    • The Forced Reaction

      Basically, a forced reaction is pulling a lever you placed in advance, to push the players toward a specific course of action you hope they’ll embrace.

    • Some Alone Time

      There’s an old RPG saying, “never split the party”; the common interpretation is “splitting up reduces our chances of survival”, but a much more common occurrence is “splitting makes it hard to tell a story that engages everyone”.

    • Crystal Metaphysics

      We want things to be a bit mysterious, a bit unclear, and always open to new surprise – but this doesn’t have to come at the cost of your suspension of disbelief.

    • How You Convey the Information will Influence the Results

      On this week’s page, an NPC slipped away from the table without rolling Stealth; immediately after, when a PC wanted to sneak after the NPC, she had to roll Stealth. Why is that? What happened there?

    • From the Mist: Narrative Power

      A third and final excerpt from City of Mist: how can demigods and street cleaners co-exist in the same group?

    • From the Mist: Think Cinematic

      In celebration of the City of Mist Core Book PDF now available here’s a lovely sidebar about how to think cinematic.

    • From the Mist: Red Herrings

      In celebration of the City of Mist Core Book becoming available soon, here’s a side-bar discussing the all-too-frequently misused red herring.

    • Crystal Channeling, Revised

      We’re trying a new direction for the Crystals: Here are the major changes to the rules, along with our protagonists’ revised Crystals.

    • Social Skills Set the Mood

      The real power of rolling the dice is by giving the players the confidence that something real just happened.

    • Revealing Rivals

      Rivals are, I think, the easiest way to engage your players emotionally in the game.

    • What’s Included in Minimum Prep

      Here’s the basic template for my prep, or in other words, the things I usually make sure to have before the game begins.

    • Setting Up the Scene

      First impressions are everything, because they set the expectations to whatever comes next, and establish a benchmark against which the rest of the scene is compared.

    • The Cycle of Inspiration and Investment

      You, player or GM, invest in the game; the other participants see this and get excited; this inspires the group to bring new life into the game and maintains engagement; from this engagement arises a desire to invest; and so on.

    • Storytelling Examples

      In continuation of the previous RPG post, here are a few examples of storytelling techniques that you might want to use.

    • Storytelling

      The way you tell a story is just as important as its contents.

    • A Page is Worth a Thousand Words

      Here’s the full description Lily gave, translated from the art of this week’s page.

    • Inventing Interesting Interludes

      Interludes sound cool, but many players, when faced with the need to invent a whole story out of basically nothing, might find themselves unsure of how to even begin.

    • Improvising Interpersonal Interactions

      A closed-off, quiet and shy person seems to be “unable” to play a verbose, colorful, outspoken bard. But it’s possible – it’s all a matter of perceived competence.

    • Stratified NPC Complexity

      I am very lazy, which is why I developed a quick and dirty way to create non-player characters while avoiding as much effort as I can.

    • Weekly Question in Crystal Heart

      Nadav asks his players: What was your first encounter with an Agent of Syn like?

    • Propelling the Game Forward

      Generally speaking, it’s better to act and fail, than to have never acted at all.

    • Crystal Heart Character Sheet

      The latest draft of our Crystal Heart Savage Worlds character sheet.

    • Planning as a Player Motivation

      Should the players be allowed to plan out-of-character? Depends, on several factors.

    • Character Choices Control the Clues

      When the GM asks a player to roll an “info-giving” check, they should base it heavily on one of the distinct features of the character, for several reasons.

    • Would You Like to Have a Crisis?

      How to turn a potential conflict to a roleplaying opportunity that enriches the game.

    • The Game Master as a Clown

      A GM should put themselves out there and go full-clown when playing (most) NPCs.

    • Expectations are Made to be Subverted

      Setting and subverting expectations is one of the most important tools in the GM’s toolbox.

    • Review – Conan: Adventures in an Age Undreamed Of

      Conan: Adventures in an Age Undreamed Of is an excellent game, mainly for campaign-length play, and I’d love to give it a try on my table, for a few long months at least.

    • Crystal Heart in Other RPG Systems

      Some ideas about how to set a Crystal Heart game in different role playing games.

    • Demolitions for Beginners

      One the features of Savage Worlds is exploding dice; How does this mechanic influence the feel of the game?

    • The Heart of the Matter

      We know about Crystals, but what are hearts like in the world of Crystal Heart?

    • Early Character Malleability

      Rotem forgot to take the Tracking skill for her character. The game is already running, we’re past character creation, so what should be done about this?

    • Guidelines for Using Crystals

      For a campaign setting to have allure, it should have something unique, something you can’t get somewhere else. In our case, that’s obviously the Crystals. In order to keep the allure, it’s important to keep the uniqueness of the Crystals, which is why Nadav (and I) have created this list of guidelines, things we should keep in mind to maintain the spirit of the setting.

    • Creating Cultures Collectively

      A a few guidelines for a specific – and in my GM eyes, very helpful – kind of player-created content: cultural backgrounds.

    • Making Rules Mistakes

      When someone makes a mistake regarding the rules, should you correct it? A simple guide.

    • Exploiting the Player-Character Knowledge Gap for Fun and Profit

      One of the most interesting interactions in RPGs is the Player-Character Knowledge Gap – your character doesn’t know the same things you know, and vice versa. This can be used to help the game.

    • Getting into Savage Worlds’ Character Sheet

      In most role playing games, your fictional character is presented in a character sheet. Want to see Mac’s? Also, today’s new podcast!

    • Rationalizing Dungeon Crawling (or: how to avoid murderhobos)

      I believe the world and the story should be constructed in such a way, as to enforce the specific play style you want for your game. Here’s how I prevented murderhobos in Crystal Heart.

    • RP Tools: Enriching Scenes With Details

      Details make scenes and characters more memorable, more interesting. They help differentiate and emphasize, so each session, each encounter, stand on their own. Here are a few easy to use tools that can help you add interesting details to any scene, on the spot.

    • RP Tools: Managing Expectations as the Basis for Fun

      “Managing Expectations” is the need to ensure that every participant in the game, players and GM, have the same expectations about the genre, narrative style, operations of the rules, and the ways in which they can influence the story. Here’s a simple guide to make sure you go through it all.

    • How I Won the Olympic GMing – Running the Game

      Olympic GMing is a yearly event in Israeli sci-fi and gaming conventions, in which GMs compete for the yummy honor. Here’s how I won it.

    • How I Won the Olympic GMing – Prep

      Olympic GMing is a yearly event in Israeli sci-fi and gaming conventions, in which GMs compete for the yummy honor. Here’s how I won it.

    • RP Tools: Combat Arenas From The Hobbit

      Combats in the Hobbit movies are great fun – how can we make our own battle scenes as interesting?

    • RP Tools: Combat Arenas From Lord of the Rings

      Combat tends to be a big part of the story in most roleplaying games. To make sure they’re as interesting as can be, I occasionally look at the way other media handle physical engagements, in order to imitate the things I find they do best, the things they get right. Well, the Lord of the Rings trilogy of movies have some excellent scenes.

    • RP Tool: Examples of Weekly Questions

      Weekly questions can serve various needs. A skilled player or GM can use a weekly question to encourage a specific atmosphere, or to instill specific ideas or doubts in the players’ minds. They can also be used for worldbuilding, or for retroactive justification.

    • RP Tool: Question of the Week

      After the session ends, one of the players comes up with a question that reflects something that happened in the session, and emails it to everyone. They all answer it during the week, and at the start of their next session, talk a bit about it.


  • Three Suggestions

    The Three Suggestions… series is meant to give players and GMs some interesting and roleplay-provoking ideas, for use in all sorts of settings. Each set of suggestions is also accompanied by a new or variant rule, for use in either Fifth Edition or Dungeon World.

    On DriveThruRPG.com you can find three suggestions for…

    Interesting Inns
    Bards Who Don’t Sing
    Cohort Motivations
    Strange Market Stalls

    Over at dmsguild.com, you can find three suggestions for…

    Strange Half-Elves
    Motivations for Characters Whose Parents Were Killed by Orcs
    Things Your Intelligent Item is Doing Behind Your Back
    Alternatives to Potions
    Reasons to Shave Your Head
    Interesting Mentors
    Supernatural Weather

     

    Let’s Play Storytelling Games

    Venture Forth is a storytelling game in which you play the entire RPG campaign in a couple of hours. It’s by me (yay!) and it’s based on, and inspired by, Intrepid and The Quiet Year, which you can check out right here below. Venture Forth will soon be available in digital and print form.

    Intrepid is a storytelling adventure game by John Keyworth. It’s cool, you should give it a shot. Buy PDF (affiliate link)

    The Quiet Year is a map-creating game by Avery Adler. It’s always lots of fun, check it out! Buy PDF (affiliate link), print and PDF, or buy on Roll20.

    City of Myst is a cinematic tabletop RPG of individuals gifted with mythical powers in a dark and mystic city rife with supernatural crime and conspiracy! Eran is the game’s editor. Buy here.

    Gaming Marathon

    On 17.9.16 we ran a D&D mini-marathon for charity, changing adventures and players every two hours. The viewers could dedicate their donations to strengthen either the heroes… or the monsters!