GMing Tips

The Basic Set

Roll With It

TODO tips on when to roll, when to not care, how to flub rolls, and related topics

Paint the Fence

TODO tips on painting the scene including how to develop the flavor and scope of the campaign and communicate it to the players


TODO setting up outlines, maps, GM notebooks

The Afterparty

TODO post-game retrospectives - things like the "impress me" session and post-mortems

Name-Level Skills

Prop-perly Prepare

TODO prop tips, including digital props

Pace It Out

TODO tips on pacing the hardest part of most games: combat

I try to decide on opponent actions and roll up as much as I can beforehand so that I can minimize the lag between character actions. I'll have an opponent change its mind if the PC actions warrant it, but pre-rolling as much as possible and keeping momentum up really helps.

My House, My Rules

TODO house ruling things that get in your way or don't fit the campaign; includes adding rules and rules systems when the addition helps make the campaign work better

Advanced Dungeons & Dragons


TODO tips on researching players and their characters and figuring out what they want, then giving it to them in interesting ways

Yes, And…

TODO improv and rolling with unexpected actions

On the Line

If you're playing online via IM, voice, or video chat, there are some additional things to consider.


  • Time limits for response
  • Pre-written text chunks

Voice and Video Chat

  • Round-Robin actions so people aren't talking over one another
  • Encourage mic muting when players not talking
  • Screen-sharing tips - I find it's often easier to just link players to notes on a wiki page, but sometimes screen sharing is useful

Extra Credits Notes

Extra Credits did a deconstruction on Baldur's Gate to discuss PC-game dungeon design. I thought these all apply to paper-and-pen RPGs, too, though. Here are a couple notes I took while watching, and hopefully I can pull more notes together later.

Design elements for a dungeon:

  1. Combat component
  2. Narrative component
  3. Puzzle componenet
  4. Reward component

A good encounter either does 2 or 3 of these really well or does all four.

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