The art of campaign design is just that – an art. How do we as the Game Masters stop doing all of the work and watch as the system we put into place does the work for us? Well, in this video, I talk about how to design your RPG campaign in a way that makes your life easier. From NPCs, to plots, to encounters – we talk about what you should be planning and what you should be doing on the fly, and how to go about doing this. Whether you’re designing a campaign for a DnD game, a Pathfinder expedition or a Star Wars adventure, these tips will help to remove the burden and bring the joy back into the being the GM at your tabletop RPG sessions.
The art of campaign design – how do we as the GMs stop doing all of the work and watch as
the system we put into place does the work for us.
We want to remove the burden of being the GM and add the joy. How do we do that? This
“Throw the dice” series gives some insight on how to do this.
An important detail to note is that everything in your campaign can die. Plots, NPCs,
locations, histories, encounter plans, names, ideas – everything in game is subject to
• Prep versus improv
o What do we NEED versus what makes us comfortable?
o We should prepare maps. Maps make the world real – we can see and touch
a map, not a history.
o Maps rule everything. Put effort into your map and it will tell you everything
you need to know.
o Whatever you use – make maps. A good map is going to be a huge help to
o Design NPCs you need when you need them. How can you design before you
o NPCs use OGAS. OGAS is more useful than stats, because stats are hidden
mechanics the PCs don’t see.
o There are free stat generators. Stats only help you in combat, which should
be less common than social interaction. So get them when you need them.
o The system tells you – once you are used to the system, it tells you the
outcome, instead of you having to figure it out.
o There must be a reason for them, otherwise they are just a waste of
– -When we listen to the system, it makes it better. We cannot plan everything,
so let everything have its own plan.
o It’s time to plot differently. What can you plot versus what does your NPC
want to do?
o We have been plotting the wrong thing. We should be plotting the NPCs plan,
not our plan.
o The enemy has plots. The enemy has the plan and their plot, as GMs – we do
not. We are there to determine how the NPC and their plan work out.
o The NPCs must react when their plan starts to change – not you as the GM.
Their OGAS value will tell you how.
o You, the GM, are not there to control. You are there to describe outcomes
and what the PCs are seeing, hearing, finding.
o You want the PCs to break plot! That way, the NPC must react – creating the
story and the new plot.