I have some great links for you today, so let’s get to it!
In my past GMing, I’ve kept my chase scenes pretty basic. If a PC comes up with a great tactic for getting away (or closing in), then I’ll give them a bonus to the die roll. High roll extends the lead (or closes the gap) until it either makes sense for the pursued to clear the area and get away or the chasers to close in and start a more “zoomed in” fight between the people involved. It keeps the game moving, but it, quite honestly, boring for most everyone involved. If your chase scenes boil down to what I’ve just described, you really need to take a gander at Mike’s article on how to make chase scenes more interesting.
If your encounters are boring (or you find a single encounter to be falling into the “yawn pit”), then take some ideas out of this post by Johnn. I think my favorite one from the list is to make existing hazards more hazardous for everyone involved. Perhaps the “lava river” suddenly boils over its banks in the cavern and puts everyone in danger of being boiled alive or succumbing to noxious fumes?
When my PCs come across a book of spells, they find, quite simply, a list of spells in various levels that make sense for the previous owner to have had. More “yawn pit” time. (I’m sensing a theme across the board for the posts thus far.) This guide by Matt is a fantastic resource for coming up with an interesting, entertaining, and potentially engaging book the players can come across. Think of the story and plot hooks you can drop into the book! That’s what gets my creative juices flowing.
“NOT MOAR BOOX!!!” — That’s the scream of agony from my wimpy wallet. Mike and team have put together yet another excellent “essential reference” list. Quite a few good RPG references and such in here. The books that really caught my eye weren’t RPG books, but the “Buried Treasures” series. Those look really neat!
Many years ago in a writing critique group a fellow writer had people loading up on a generation ship to escape Earth’s destruction. All of the key characters were orphans. All. Of. Them. He didn’t want to delve into the hardships of leaving family members behind. I told him that I could buy a single orphan among the cast of key characters, but having all (I think it was six?) of them be orphans was an “author dodge” and a “cop out.” He agreed and went back to planning his characters’ backstories. I wish this article existed back then to assist my fellow writer. If you want to play an orphan (which is fine, if that’s truly part of your backstory), then go for it. If you want a deeper family dynamic for your character, this article by Ang does the trick!
I can see so many great adventuring possibilities popping out of this map, I had to link to it! It’s been a while since I’ve showcased a Dyson Logos map, and this one is fantastic! Great work.
This is a very educational post by Peter on what you’re really supposed to be having hirelings around for. This is list is more exhaustive than anything I would have put together at this time. Great work, Peter! I also really like the fact that you called out that hirelings are not supposed to be as powerful as the characters. This is key. I’ve had way too many groups in the past want to “hire” a cleric (usually a cleric) at their own level for an adventure, but pay them hireling wages instead of a fair split of the loot.