The hardest thing any GM has to do is come up with stuff on the fly. Especially when that stuff needs mechanical rules behind it. Fortunately, you have this Marvelous Mechanical Miscellany for Ad Hoc Adjudication and Improvisational Invention.
What do you do when your players force you to turn a nameless, faceless nobody into an actual NPC? What do you do when they don’t even start with a nameless, faceless nobody? How do you make NPCs out of nothing?
Everyone knows that the easiest way to start an adventure is to just have some damned NPC show up and tell the PCs what to do and how to do it. After all, that’s what MMORPGS do and it works for them. So why not do the same in D&D? Because Quest Givers can be so much more than expository text. Don’t waste that potential.
Tagalongs: NPCs that join the party. They are often derided, frequently misunderstood, and rarely used well. Because people are dumba$&es. Which is sad because Tagalongs are a GREAT Tool for your GMing Toolbox!
Building compelling NPCs is a tricky, tricky business. And it’s made even trickier by the fact that people don’t even REALLY understand what NPCs are. That’s a shame, because good NPCs are literally the key to emotional investment in games.
GMs suck at giving recaps. They give too much information or too little information or the wrong information or they make it boring or they let the dumba&$ players do it or they do it by e-mail. Recaps are a very powerful that no GM understands, let alone uses well. Except me. Because I’m a genius.
Tabletop RPG sessions are a lot like TV shows. The problem is the one very important way in which they are not at all like TV shows. If you always want to leave your players hungry for more, you have to learn how to structure your SESSIONS like episodes, NOT your adventures.
The problem with players is that they always want to run around and do things in your game. Things you weren’t ready for. Or ask questions you don’t have answers for. And sometimes, even your own brain will turn against you and demand you add a crazy idea to your game. So how do you change the story of your game on the fly?