Category: Encounters

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Crimes as Plots or Premises

Ben Robbins, author of ars ludi, has an excellent post up about the two ways you can use crimes in your adventures. Specifically, it’s about the difference between crimes as plots, where the whole scenario revolves around the crime, and crimes as premises — an excuse to do something...

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Pulling Punches in Combat: A GMing Dilemma

Bill and the Gnome Punters wrote to me about a common GMing dilemma: Do you use PC tactics against the PCs — specifically, focusing attacks on a single target rather than spreading the love — or do you pull punches in combat? Bill ran into this situation with his group a little while...

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Improvising an Encounter

Every GM improvises, but not every GM is comfortable winging important encounters. Here’s one way to make running an improv encounter a breeze. During a session, your players take the game in an unexpected direction. The PCs are about to get involved in an encounter that you haven’t...

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Can Old RPG Standbys Still Amaze?

If you’ve been gaming for long enough, you’ve seen plenty of campaign elements more than once: giant rats and skeletons in low-level D&D games, sinister corporate goons in cyberpunk scenarios and the like. When you first started playing, those things might have been pretty...

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A Little Christmas Action Scene

Merry Christmas from Treasure Tables! Last year’s Christmas post was about the worst Dungeon Master ever; this year, it’s about action scenes. Over on ars ludi, Ben Robbins (of Lame Mage Productions) lays out the anatomy of an action scene. His approach involves a simple seven-part...

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Perilous Cliff Road of Doom

I give you the amazing Perilous Cliff Road of Doom, as featured in Dangerous Roads of the World, Part 2. (Via kottke.) Not only is this road incredibly cool, but it fits into any genre — pulp, fantasy, horror, sci-fi, modern, espionage, supers… Seriously, I can’t think of a...

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Using Wargames for RPG Combat

I’ve always been intrigued by the idea of running a MechWarrior campaign and using BattleTech for in-game mech battles. The fact that the PCs are involved would put a different spin on the wargame aspect (and vice versa), and it sounds like fun. There are other RPG lines that also have (or...

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Encounters: A Simple Formula

Here’s a basic formula that you can use to construct an encounter: Challenge (combat, social, puzzle or other) + unique element (memorable NPC, fighting on a rope bridge, etc.) + a way to advance even if the party fails (although perhaps with penalties) = a successful encounter. And...

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