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The GM's Guide

In-depth podcast on how to improve your campaign, focusing on the adventure, world and character design. We apply proven and practical game design techniques to the world of running pen and paper campaigns. There's a lot to get into, so let's get started.
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Now displaying: 2021
Jun 25, 2021

Trail of the Behemoth is an game about hunting giant monsters, a TTRPG you can bring to a boardgame night. I'm working on it with Seamus Allen, and we're going to talk about what we're doing and when it might be finished.

I might even hand out some playtest files to listeners. If your interested, contact me on twitter @designerdanf. 

May 31, 2021

A listener sent me a question on how to deal with evil PCs, and how to deal with lawful-stupid paladins. I answer.

May 7, 2021

How do you identify an inherently fun mechanic anyway? What's this 'Decision Engine' thing Dan loves so much and how do you make one yourself? Listen and find out.

May 1, 2021

Want to run RPGs for new players? Want to get them hooked on this hobby we love? Here's how Dan does it.

Apr 9, 2021

The second part of Dan and Reuben's live world building session. This time we're digging into Adventure Hooks and Sample Locations in the Necropolis.

Apr 2, 2021

Dan and Reuben recorded a live session of their world building. They had fun recording it. Will you have fun listening to it? Let's find out.

Mar 26, 2021

We didn't finish everything about this topic in one podcast? Huh, who would've thought? Game Designer Dan Felder breaks down how he starts working on a game and the common pitfalls new designers get stuck in when starting a project. 

Mar 21, 2021

I get a lot of requests to talk about designing and hacking TTRPG systems, so here we go! I make my own systems for nearly every campaign I run. It's a huge topic, so today we're going to lay the foundation. 

Mar 15, 2021

First example of the Content Forge, where we talk about a setting, system, or adventure we've found inspiring and pulled pieces from to use in our own games. Sometimes it'll be the royal we, but this time we're joined by Reuben Covington to talk about the whimsical and creepy Gardens of Ynn.

Check out The Gardens of Ynn

And the Gardens of Ynn Generator

Feb 12, 2021

Designer Reuben Covington returns to chat about designing Boss Fights in TTRPGs. The two give some advice, and tell a LOT of stories about memorable boss battles they've made and played against. Feel free to steal them (like always). 

Feb 7, 2021

Dan and guest Reuben Covington break down how to design and run Dynamic Adventures, where the GM role is treated more like a player than a job.

Link to the adventure notes: Cold-Blooded

Feb 7, 2021

Prepare a full adventure setting, a full region of your world, with just a single page of notes. This format, the one-page setting, is what I use to prepare vast open worlds with diverse and interesting regions with just a little bit of work.

Feb 1, 2021

A great sandbox campaign is incredibly fun to play in, and it’s a great introduction for new players. I often start new groups in sandboxes rather than carefully constructed narrative games. It’s a simple pitch: Here’s a fantastical wilderness filled with monsters, treasures, dungeons, and dragons. Want to go explore it?

However, while sandboxes can be a lot of fun to play in, they can be intimidating to think about building. Preparing one adventure is hard enough, how are you going to prepare dozens? In fact, I think a sandbox campaign is actually much easier to build than a linear campaign and takes me much less work to set up. There are a lot of tricks I use in my own sandbox campaigns and we’re going to go through the big ones today.

Jan 31, 2021

I love making combat encounters. I have a lot of advice on how to make them, but there's one point that I come back to more than any other:

Attack the players' STRENGTHS, not their weaknesses

Jan 31, 2021

Random Encounters are a classic element of TTRPGs, but most aren't fun in practice. Often the table just turns up entries like "2d4 wolves" or "two gnomes are arguing about which way the nearest town is". 

Here's the secret: Random Encounters are Micro-Adventures.

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