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Improv is Critical in RPG Storytelling

 

improv
Improvisational theatre in progress. [Image by Aude Vanlathem/www.audevan.com]
Tabletop RPGs are deeply rooted in improvisation. After all, they’re games where people do things by saying they’re going to do them, and everyone else has to react to what’s being done by saying what they’re going to do.

 

This process repeats for two to four hours, or until there’s a good stopping point. Even Game Masters who prefer a more structured style are going to improvise more dialogue than they’ll use their actual prepared material.

This does not even include all the improv for the inevitable unplanned encounters, or how the GM has to improvise describing the outcomes of rolls – especially in combat. Technically you can just say what you’re going to do and exchange numbers across the table to determine success, and not describe what’s being said or done, but what would be the fun in that? Continue reading Improv is Critical in RPG Storytelling

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E32 YR1-How to Build a Campaign World- GM Tips Podcast

podcast

podcast

Episode 32 of Nerdarchy the Podcast Year One. First off this episode is a bit of a double episode combining two different longer vids into one podcast. It seemed to make sense since they kind of go together.

We get into some world building with this one. First we start off by looking at some interesting pre-existing campaign worlds in the D&D cosmos

 

How to Build a Campaign World| The High Concept-Part 1| Game Master Tips

Game Master Tips| How to Build a Campaign World| The High Concept-Part 1 It’s Game Master tips time with Nerdarchy once again. We are going to be talking about creating or building a campaign world from the ground up. Now we are going to be building our campaign world for the dungeons and dragons 5th edition game we are currently playing in, but that doesn’t mean our GM tips are specific to D&D exclusively. We’ll always start with concepts that aren’t really specific fantasy or any other genre and then work towards the specific goal of fleshing out our fantasy campaign world. Our intent is to arm game masters and dungeon masters alike with tips for creating a better role-playing environment for their players and non-player characters. We start the discussion with the high concept. One to three sentences that describe the overall theme/themes and feel of your campaign world. Feel free to share your world building tips down below in the comments.

How to Build a Campaign World| The High Concept-Part 2| Game Master Tips

Game Master Tips| How to Build a Campaign World| The High Concept-Part 2 Our how to build a campaign world series continues. For this Game Master tips with Nerdarchy we have Nate the Nerdarch joining us as well a list of ideas from our viewers and subscribers.. We are going to be expanding upon creating or building a campaign world from the ground up from our last video. Now we are going to be building our campaign world for the dungeons and dragons 5th edition game we are currently playing in, but that doesn’t mean our GM tips are specific to D&D exclusively. We’ll always start with concepts that aren’t really specific fantasy or any other genre and then work towards the specific goal of fleshing out our fantasy campaign world. Our intent is to arm game masters and dungeon masters alike with tips for creating a better role-playing environment for their players and non-player characters. We start the discussion with the high concept. One to three sentences that describe the overall theme/themes and feel of your campaign world. Feel free to share your world building tips down below in the comments.

 

 

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Game Master Tips- The Power of Long Rest, Short Rest, and Random Encounters in 5E D&D

game master tips

game master tipsDungeon Master: “You’ve been fighting and slaying monsters all day. Your caster’s spells are nearly depleted, all of you bare wounds, and you’ve just stabilized the halfling rogue who is unconscious. What do wish to do?”

The players of the adventuring party nearly in unison: “We make camp.” Continue reading Game Master Tips- The Power of Long Rest, Short Rest, and Random Encounters in 5E D&D

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Schrödinger’s Encounter | Game Master Tips

frustrated dm needs Schrödinger's Encounter | Game Master TipsDo you have difficulty, as a DM, surprising your players? Do they always seem to know whether an encounter is going to go their way?

Do they always figure out a strategy that stomps your encounter flat? How does it make you feel?…

Enough of that let us check out a DM trick,, part of a and Game Master Tips to put the game back into your RPG. Continue reading Schrödinger’s Encounter | Game Master Tips

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8/23/2015-8/28/2015 Nerdy News and Weekly Digest More 5e D&D Content

Dungeons and Dragons

Welcome to another week of Nerdarchy content. This week we’ve covered everything from D&D player’s tips, game master tips, and all kinds of other dungeons and dragons topics. We also have a Nerdarchy fan art submission based off of our chimera video we did.

Chimera variant the Golden Chimera by artist- Justin Lewis Continue reading 8/23/2015-8/28/2015 Nerdy News and Weekly Digest More 5e D&D Content

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Creating A NPC Villain For D&D 5E| Game Master Tips

Many a Game Master spend months thinking of these grand worlds and epic wars that shape the campaign arc with which they are going to start their story.

Battle_of_Towton_by_John_Quartley Creating A NPC Villain For D&D 5E| Game Master Tips

Others go back and forth between using some cataclysmic event or an ancient evil for the backdrop that affects the people and their lives.

elder_god_by_darkmessiah999 Creating A NPC Villain For D&D 5E| Game Master Tips

I just roll dice… :-p

No. Seriously, I started an entire section of Nerdarchy’s campaign setting, Chimes of Discordia, by randomly rolling an NPC Villain and consulting the charts found in the D&D 5e Dungeon Master’s Guide.

Not everyone is obsessed enough with being a game master as to have read all of the sections in the D&D 5e DMG. And that is okay.

For you I say. “check out the section on creating a NPC villain”, it is an easy way to start the super computer between your ears thinking creatively about antagonists and story arcs for your game. Continue reading Creating A NPC Villain For D&D 5E| Game Master Tips

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Board Games, Nerd Craft, Art, and Game Master Tips 8-9-2015 Nerdy News and Weekly Digest

Greetings and welcome to our weekly nerdy news. This is were we go over what happened what Nerdarchy has done over the past week. We create a

game master tips
Cover via Amazon

lot of content here on the website as well as over on the Nerdarchy YouTube channel. Below is all the links to articles as well as embedded YouTube videos. We’ve covered everything from game master tips to nerd craft.

Articles Here on Nerdarchy.com

Dungeons and Downtime | What Adventurers do when not Adventuring

Intro to Jewelry and Metalworking | Nerd Craft

Emoji Art in Philadelphia, PA

Game Master Tips – Giving your Players Agency in Your Campaign

Board Games in Review – Hive – Strategic Tile Game

YouTube- From D&D 5e Modern Magic to Nerd Craft

D20 Modern for D&D 5E Modern Magic| Unearthed Arcana Reviewed

 

 

Dungeons and Dragons Movie Review- Can WOTC Pull Off a D&D Film

Intro to Metal Craft| Nerd Craft- Metal Working

 

 

Spice Up Your RPG Gaming Session With Props at the Gaming Table| Game Master Tips

 

 

Why Video Games are Important to Tabletop RPGs

 

 

Don’t Let Player Versus Player Ruin Your Game- Tabletop RPG PVP Do’s and Don’ts| Player Tips

 

 

The Haunted House in Role-Playing Game| Terrible Terrain of Dungeons and Dragons

 

 

Ettercap the Spider Assassin of D&D| Dungeons and Dragons Monsters

 

 

When Hell Claims Your Soul Spawn D&Dized| Fictional Characters Stats for D&D 5E

 

 

We Be Goblins- Goblin Rangers That Is| Dungeons & Down Time ( D&D 5e Game Play)

 


Ghost Stories in GryphonGaff| Live D&D 5e Game Play Session 10 Part 1

 

8-9-2015 Nerdy News and Weekly Digest Blog, YouTube, and Other Nerdy Goings Ons

Channel Chat: Nerdarchy talks to TheDMG CC#001

 

This is a new series here on Nerdarchy.com that we’ll put out once week on Sundays. The purpose of these articles is to allow readers and YouTube viewers to quickly and easily find the content they seek. Whether you are looking for D&D 5e or Nerd Craft content this is place to find it.

“Until Next Time Stay Nerdy!”

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What to do When a Magic User wants to make a Custom Spell | Game Master Tips

Almost everyone who has played a magic user long enough has gotten themselves into a tight spot where the spells they have are not what they need.

Either during other players’ turns or after the encounter is over we think of a custom spell that would have gotten the job done. One major problem with this custom spell…

it just don’t exist.

Yet

So you go to your Game Master and tell them all about how the encounter would have ended if you had this sweet custom spell you thought up.

“I want to have this spell I thought of that turns swords into water droplets,

every blade in my sight!”

The Game Master looks at you and says, “This custom spell is way too powerful, I won’t allow it”.

knights tomb What to do When a Magic User wants to make a Custom Spell | Game Master TipsThe magic user has been slain…

No, more like the player’s creativity has been slain.

Whenever a game master shuts down a player’s request, without considering how they could say yes to that player, the player has less incentive to passionately discuss creative solutions with that GM.

Do this too much and player’s will begin to see that thinking outside of the box of the strict rules as written is not going to happen while that game master is running the story.

A different way to deal with a magic user, who wants to make a custom spell idea, is to consider how it could work within the confines of the rules without being reduced to a different flavored fireball (i.e. sonic damage instead of fire damage).

What to do When a Magic User wants to make a Custom Spell | Game Master Tips

Before we get too into the thick of it I have organized a list of guide posts to keep in sight when crafting custom spells with a player.

  1. Ask the player all of the effects that they want to have occur when their magic user casts the custom spell
  2. Write the effects down and begin to shuffle those effects into the following categories:
    • What does it target and the number of targets a
    • If it deals, reduces, prevents, or heals damage- how many dice and which ones?
    • Is there a save
    • Is there an attack roll
    • Area effect, If so what type of area is affected.
    • What is the duration, is it instantaneous
    • Does it require a form of concentration to maintain.
    • What is the maximum range
    • Place any parameters that do not fit elsewhere here
  3. Write down other spells from the rules that have at least 1 factor in common with the custom spell.
    • note the level and any magic user type who have access to the spells
    • note any special restrictions on the spells
  4. Gather all of the info together and see how the custom spell compares to all of the known spells.
  5. I would say any spell that allows a magic user to have a power of another class should be considered with a high level of caution.
  6. If the new spell would deal or heal damage then their are guideposts setup in a chart found within the DMG for D&D 5e

Note: Make sure that as a Game Master you do not hand cure light wounds to the wizard and sorcerer without some type of binding restriction. At the same time don’t give extremely powerful non-thunder or non-psychic attacks to the bard without a lot of consideration.

What to do When a Magic User wants to make a Custom Spell | Game Master Tips

Going back to my original example the wizard is 5th level so destroying every blade that the mage can see is a bit out of their league when we consider other spells that have similar properties to the concept spell.

  • Shatter is 2nd level, deals damage in a radius to nonmagical objects that are not being worn or carried. Several parts are similar to the effect
    • area effect > than 1 target
    • damages / destroys nonmagical objects
    • Instantaneous, it does not have a duration
  • Stinking cloud is 2nd level, it has the chance of taking combatants out of the combat
    • from round to round (requires a save) to not be useless in combat.
    • It also requires concentration. But it has a large radius of 20 ft.
    • It can effect a large  quantity of people.
    • but once they pass the save they can be back in the combat
      • this differs from a blade turning to water because the blade can’t come back to the fight
  • Heat Metal is 2nd level, if used on a sword the person holding it needs to make a save or drop it.
    • this removes that weapon as a choice but does not destroy it.
    • It also doesn’t do any damage to the person after they drop it.
    • requires concentration
  • All of these spells have a range around 60 ft

By looking at these spells we get an understanding about the non-permanence of taking someone out of the fight with 2nd level spells and how there are not any spells that destroy weapons outright.

Well the player still wants to destroy it by turning it into water so let us see if we can make that happen.

Writing_Wizard What to do When a Magic User wants to make a Custom Spell | Game Master TipsNow you may have noticed that there are a lot of conditions on each of the spells above.

  1. Concentration
  2. saving throws
  3. 1 target (heat metal)
  4. noneffective against held or worn objects

These are all examples of conditions that restrict the power of a spell.

Similar to the classes and special abilities every spell breaks rules while applying new rules specific to the spell.

Let us consider making a spell a bit higher than shatter but able to focus upon a drawn nonmagical blade that is held by a person.

The person gets a saving through- lets say intelligence because if they figure out what is happening they can shield it from the wizard or sheath it before the spell turns it into a puddle.

rusty bucket What to do When a Magic User wants to make a Custom Spell | Game Master TipsLet us make it 3rd level for now (we can lower it later if we need to do so) with the ability to cast it at higher levels and higher level slots target more people.

It is an instantaneous effect so there is no need to concentrate or use up action beyond the action for the casting of the spell.

Standard spell components like iron rust in a vial of alcohol or something similar.

Let me know if that helped you out with your own spell creations in the comments below and be sure to check out other game master tip articles here and videos about game master tips over on youtube

Remember keep that gamer passion high by figuring out how to say yes to your players even when they ask you something that sounds a bit too wild.

Until next time,

Stay Nerdy

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Top 10 Anime Series When Designing Artifacts and Magic Items | Game Master Tips part 1

Whether you are a game master or a player, the unique weapons and special powers found in anime series can liven up a gaming experience.

Personally, I really enjoy watching anime. so doing game master “homework” is easy

While there are many places to draw inspiration from the following are my top 10 anime series when designing artifacts and magic items.

They are not listed in any particular order. As I have explained in previous lists for my top 10 anime series, I am not looking to go over all of the merits and weigh one series against the value of another.

There are plenty of other articles for that type of list.

Instead I am looking to give you a bank of anime series that you can check out when you are looking for inspiration when designing artifacts and magic items.

Top 10 Anime Series When Designing Artifacts and Magic Items | Game Master Tips part 1

For some of these series it has been several years since I have seen them, some of these have just finished, and a few are ongoing. All of the shows are readily available on Amazon and other stores where you can find anime series.

You shouldn’t have much difficulty acquiring them (except LofLH). For your convenience I have linked the names to places you can find them.

Top 10 Anime Series When Designing Artifacts and Magic Items | Game Master Tips part 1 the_Legend_of_the_Legendary_Heroes2. Legend of the Legendary Heroes: This anime series takes place in a made up world with swords and sorcery. Every kingdom has it’s own spells and that comes into play when identifying army groups.

Several characters go around and deal with people who have powerful items that shape the outcome of battles and the fates of the characters.

4. D. Gray man: A great series that follows the major character, Allen Walker, through a alternate magical turn of the 19th century. There are akuma (demons) who attempt to kill as many people as they can while exorcists, with special items and equipment, attempt to destroy them.

6.Fate stay night, unlimited blade works: For those familiar with the original anime adaptation, this version trumps the original in animation quality and storyline. There is a war going on between mages and all of them have servants with amazing weapons and powers.

Top 10 Anime Series When Designing Artifacts and Magic Items | Game Master Tips part 18.akame ga kill: A group of rebels fight against a oppressive government. Their weapons of choice, strange and wondrous artifacts from another era

10.Hunter X Hunter– there are a lot of peoples special powers and items that could easily be explained as being powers from items or strange and unique artifacts. They talk a lot about the power of the individual but it is an easy design alteration to make the powers into thematic magic items.

Top 10 Anime Series When Designing Artifacts and Magic Items | Game Master Tips part 1

As far as the game master tips go for using anime series for inspiration I like to keep an idea of where I am going with a particular campaign while watching.

Otherwise I can too easily latch on to a concept and go far from where I want to be headed with my campaign and sessions.

In short, use my top 10 anime series when designing artifacts and magic items to further the magical might in your story but don’t loose that part that makes it uniquely yours. Make sure you keep an element that separates the story you want to tell from the stories told by the other artists and writers.

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What to do with Immersive Role Play Gone Wrong | Player Tips

We have all been there … the map is setup, the pizza is on it’s way,

pizzamap What to do with Immersive Role Play Gone Wrong | Player Tipsand the Game Master has begun to explain the problem in a low country accented voice on how ankhegs be bustin’ out of them there fields, swallowerin’ mi pegs ‘hole.

This farmer could really use some help from some adventuring folks and most of the players agree without asking about rewards or other such things.

Except for the Warrior Noble, he refuses to talk with the man, let alone help him.

What to do, what to do? The noble certainly isn’t going to risk his life for such a lowly commoner, “it is simply not done”.

What to do with Immersive Role Play Gone Wrong | Player Tips

This scenario is a classic example of immersive role play gone wrong. How can the adventuring party get their groove on when the muscle doesn’t want to show up and dance?

If that ankheg infestation is dangerous to take on without the fighter then the rest of the players are beholden to the character’s background and choices.

But ultimately there adventuring fun is being held hostage by a player.

Ideally I want to be in conflict with the characters but not the actual players at the table. What can we do to mitigate backgrounds and player concepts that, at first, seem to clash with the adventures and goals of the party?

Player tips and what to do so you don’t end up being “that guy”

  1. Check out this video

Don’t have time to check it out? Then I will give you the short short version.

What to do with Immersive Role Play Gone Wrong | Player Tips

  • Stay Flexible, the more rigid the background or mindset of the player the harder it is to create reasons to go where the character may not have gone before.
  • Talk with the gm and other players, have open communication between the group so they know where you are coming from
  • Figure out how your character could say yes to going out on the adventure or how they could be convinced to complete a task.
  • Add to the fun of the game for the players, don’t make your choice out of pride for your immersive role play skills. Where you end up sticking to a character concept so fiercely that it ruins the evening’s fun for everyone else.

These are a few of the player tips brought up in the video. For more players tips , game master tips , and much more come over to our youtube channel here.

Immersive role play can really add to everyone’s overall experience in the gaming session. Just remember when you are in a bind about what to do with your character consider one of the following solutions to get you back in the game.

crossed out What to do with Immersive Role Play Gone Wrong | Player TipsIf your character won’t do something, reverse the thought process and consider what is needed for the character to go on the adventure or perform the activity. In other words, figure out how to say “yes”.

Maybe the character’s background is not the greatest and they need a change, when someone is looking to change something about their life they can experiment with activities an groups that would normally not interest them.

The easiest strategy is the conditional yes. This entails a character agreeing to give aid or assist in a quest if they get something in return. This can be anything from monetary compensation to promises of assistance on a personal mission or goal.

What to do with Immersive Role Play Gone Wrong | Player Tips

Keep in mind that whatever your character’s desires they can be accomplished without halting the game for everyone else.

Good luck and Stay Nerdy!

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Top 10 Anime Series to Checkout When Writing Fiction | Game Master Tips -part 2

This is part 2 of my Top 10 Anime Series to Checkout When Writing Fiction | Game Master Tips –click here for part 1. This list is not in any particular rating order.

I didn’t want to do a countdown list for my Game Master Tips.

cowboy bebop Top 10 Anime Series to Checkout When Writing Fiction | Game Master TipsWhy not? Well. Is Fullmetal Alchemist better than Cowboy Bebop?

Maybe.

Is it the scope of this article to reveal the #10 through #2 spots and why each one is worthy of the number I have chosen for them? Next, I slowly build up to the #1 greatest anime of all time for inspiration when writing fiction?

No, there are about 3 dozen or so top 10 anime series lists out there.

At least 3 dozen.

My purpose in writing this is not to add another top 10 anime series list to the stack.

Instead I am here to share my experience with you on these anime. As well as my game master tips  and how to use this list of top 10 anime series as your inspiration when writing fiction for your game.

Top 10 Anime Series to Checkout When Writing Fiction | Game Master Tips

2.Cowboy Bebop: Follows a crew of people just trying to stay afloat as bounty hunters in the future. They are experts in their own way in a variety of skills. The setting is a great example of how technology could be used in the future when it comes to market places, advertisements, interplanetary  commerce, and living in and out of societal norms.

Space cowboys, bandits, and mercenaries are some of the antagonists and protagonists in a game based off of this show.

4. Blue Gender: A good example of future apocalypse where alien-like beings attack and eat humans on the humans’ home planet while survivors live on elsewhere. If you are considering futurist military campaigns or adventuring party vs. a dangerous, monstrous world then you should check this series out.

irregular at magic high school Top 10 Anime Series to Checkout When Writing Fiction | Game Master Tips6. The Irregular at Magic High School:This is magic student meets techno magic. Wait, how is it technology and magic?

Well. They literally use a CAD system (casting assistant device) that has programs similar in scope to apps but for magical effects.

They work by using the magic energy of the practitioner as the energy input and the output is the magical effect.  There are a lot of interesting concepts within the series dealing with the CAD system.

It is a good example on how to fit magic into modern society. And how modern society would augment how magic is practiced.

8. Tower of Druaga– Put in at least three episodes of this one to get a good idea of the series. It is dungeons and dragons- tower style. A fantasy setting where adventures go to climb a mythic tower full of monsters, traps, and obstacles in the hopes of defeating the evil within.

Different levels are themed in a various styles, with many of them incongruous from one level to the next. Great inspiration for traps, monster/environment combinations, and entire dungeon levels

fullmetal alchemist Top 10 Anime Series to Checkout When Writing Fiction | Game Master Tips10. Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood: Long show but it has a fantastic quantity of ideas to mine. There is the political military struggle. There is the adventuring party turning the terrible wrongs of the world around. There is the limitless potential and dark temptations of power. Both the series and setting have it all.

From the perspective of a gamer I think this series would run best as a mutants and masterminds game since the scope and variety of powers is huge. But I would not exclude running it as a level one D&D game. Where the heroes ascend through the military ranks in the hopes of enacting powerful changes in the world.

knights of sidonia Top 10 Anime Series to Checkout When Writing Fiction | Game Master TipsHonorable Mention: Knights of Sidonia: An interesting societal setup. The future where humans are fleeing from menacing creatures.

It has some genderless humans and genetic alterations for photosynthesis. Overall an interesting story and campaign setting but not enough story wise to make it to my top 10 anime series when writing fiction.

At the same time it does still have a good background story and basis for a campaign as well as an interesting alternate human culture.

Subtract out the mechanized units and insert some space orcs and I am ready to play!

Top 10 Anime Series to Checkout When Writing Fiction | Game Master Tips

There are many more anime series that are beneficial to checkout when writing fiction for your games. Obviously I am just going through my top ten for right now.

If you have some suggestions for your own top 10 anime series for inspiration be sure to let me knw what are your top 10 in the comments below.

Remember to share this with like minded individuals and until next time

Stay Nerdy!

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Top 10 Anime Series When Writing Fiction for a Game | Game Master Tips -part 1

There comes a time in every anime watching, RPG playing, nerd’s life when they are inspired by their top 10 anime series.

Below are my top 10 anime series for source material and some Game Master tips when writing fiction for your worlds.

Some of the worlds lend themselves to certain styles of play and certain types of players. Keep this in mind when you are writing fiction for your world.

This list is in no particular order, just my top 10 anime series for campaign inspiration. When writing fiction I like to stay within the theme of the game that I decide to run so when I list the anime I will start off with the flavor of fantasy that fits it the best. Then go into some non-spoiler descriptions of elements within that world. Continue reading Top 10 Anime Series When Writing Fiction for a Game | Game Master Tips -part 1

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Good Dungeon Masters Know The Rules, A Great Dungeon Master Knows How To Break Them

Game Master

NerdarchyHello Nerdarchy reader it’s Nerdarchist Dave and I’m here to take your Dungeon Master game to the next level. Rule zero of running a RPG game is the Game Master makes the rules.

Your number one job as the Game Master, Dungeon Master, Referee, Story Teller, or whatever you are calling the guy or gal running the game is help everyone have fun.

It was in the 4th Edition Dungeons and Dragons Dungeon Masters Guide where I first saw something so simple yet magical. Say Yes. Those two words changed my perspective completely with tabletop role-playing games. Continue reading Good Dungeon Masters Know The Rules, A Great Dungeon Master Knows How To Break Them

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Game Master Tips| Rewarding A Player’s Back Story

Hello and welcome to another article here at Nerdarchy.com. My name is Nerdarchist Dave and I’ll be laying down some Game Master Tips for you today. Have you ever struggled with getting your players involved in your game?

  • Maybe they ignore every one of your plot hooks.
  • Perhaps they just aren’t willing to interact with your finely crafted NPC’s.
  • Or they just don’t care about that living breathing city you’ve lovingly sculpted from your imagination.

Continue reading Game Master Tips| Rewarding A Player’s Back Story

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Game Master Tips|Common Dungeon Master Mistake, Is This You?

game master tips

game master tips

I’ve been throwing funny shaped dice with my friends for more years than I care to admit. For most of those games I’ve run the game as the Dungeon Master. Most of those years I spent making thing far more difficult for myself than necessary. Continue reading Game Master Tips|Common Dungeon Master Mistake, Is This You?