The brilliant Mark Yohalem, brilliant writer and designer of the cult classic Primordia, drops by for a chat about world building.
We establish our final adventurer's character arc, then lay out the core process I use to destroy writer's block and build the materials for my campaigns. We even start putting together a soundtrack.
Not all characters are easy to work with. Even the best players sometimes pitch spitballs at a GM. Chad's character was a nightmare for the campaign. While the character would be great for a novel, in an RPG it featured an unworkable inner conflict that would be a weak experience to roleplay. Worse, Chad's own joys as a roleplayer ran directly counter to my campaign's setting and theme.
Here's how we made it work.
Premade Adventures train us to build a campaign first, then figure out how to 'hook' a group of players and drag them into it. Here's how you can build a campaign where your players are truly the main characters. They aren't the random action heroes sucked into the story, they belong here. It's their story. The results can be absolutely extraordinary.
We return to building a campaign step by step and create the core character and history of the setting's arch-villain, as well as many of the important locations we'll use throughout the campaign. In the process, we break down what makes great tragedies work and why so many inexperienced writers fail when they try to create unhappy endings.
How do you make something scary to your players, when they know they're the heroes? We develop the core concept of the camapign's key setpiece and build Ravenshadow's creative playlist.
We start creating the foundation of Ravenshadow's world and design a way to get the most out of our player's characters.
The beginning of my richest stories was within the ashes of transformers style action.
It's time to play god.
We all have worlds we love. Let's make them feel as real as possible.
"Why would anyone play a human fighter?" "Why would anyone ever play anything else?"
Dan designs an adventure from scratch live on the podcast.
Tips and tricks and example villains.
Three principles go into making a great villain for a heroic campaign.
Here's a bunch of traps I've made and run for my players. Feel free to introduce them to your own players.
Traps have a huge history in RPGs and they're a MOUNTAIN of missed opportunity.
Dan takes apart some of his adventures to show how they work. It's also an example for how Climactic Event Structure and Four Act Adventure Structure work in practice. Feel free to take any of these ideas for your home games.
When new GM's ask me for advice on how to build a great dungeon, this is the foundation of it all.
When new GM's ask me how to create great adventures, this is what I go through first. No, it's not the hero's journey.
We're back! Story Structure is one of my favorite topics and I've spent more time studying it than probably anything else. If there's anything I can give to new GM's to help them set up great adventures, it's this basic Story Event Structure.
It's The GM's Guide's Christmas gift: The third and final installment of the epic difficulty trilogy! Today we dig into the secret of weaving in the benefits of high difficulty adventure design into any campaign, while sidestepping the problems that sometimes pop up. We also answer some listener questions. It's good stuff.
One podcast wasn't enough. Today we dig further into why High Difficulty is the sonic screwdriver of rpg adventure design and how to implement it successfully into a campaign.
High Difficulty is the sonic screwdriver of RPG design. While not technically necessary, it does SO many things, comes with SO many advantages to make your games extremely difficult that I can barely imagine a running a game without it.
Don't set your encounter in an empty box.
Why does D&D's own Creative Manager include "Throw out what the rulebooks say about building encounters" in his advice to new DMs? Because the rulebooks have been leading us wrong for years. Tune in to find out how you can shake things up and make your players scream. Whether it's in delight or terror is up to you.