Burn Everything Gaming

RPGs and more


Making Things Scary

Horror is not my particular genre of choice. I enjoy my sleep, and I dislike anything that might give me nightmares and keep me awake. Moreover, my style of GMing is to empower the players to tell their characters’ stories and allow the possibility of success in everything that they try.

But just like every other type of story, there is a time and place to make things scary. Characters can have powerful moments when they are helpless. The world can seem more real when it is twisted. And you really do find out who you are and what you are willing to sacrifice when death stalks the character that you have put 3 years of love and development into.

So for those of you that want to have some scary moments in your campaign, or a scary campaign as a whole, here are our 3 tips to make your roleplaying game scary.

Start With Normalcy

normal family

“Oh, Timmy.”

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How to Prepare Your Very First Tabletop RPG

One of the hardest places to start gaming is at the beginning. Our hobby is very intimidating from the outside, especially to people that really want to get in. There are so many systems, so many rules, and so much riding on that first adventure.

Today we are offering some advice for those of you that have never run a game before as a Game Master (or Dungeon Master or Beloved Master or Storyteller or Referee or whatever else you kids call it these days). We want to offer some practical advice, and a LOT of encouragement, to get you to try something new and include/make some great friends.

Please believe me, as someone who waited 10 years to finally cross the fence, the other side, that it is SO worth it. Tabletop RPGs are even more fun than they seem, and while not every minute of every campaign will be perfect the rewards far outweigh the fears. Hopefully the thoughts below can help you start gaming with your friends.

Why Write This Post?

I was recently looking at old YouTube blogs I had subscribed to, and in one of them the blogger said something that really hit home. She also thought that she and her friends would really enjoy getting into a tabletop rpg, but she had no idea where to begin. How could they get started?


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Adventure April: TimeStress: A Timetravel Fate Adventure

For all you Chrono Trigger and Doctor Who fans, here is a campaign starter for a time traveling adventure. We’ve talked about it, hinted at it, and touched on it long enough. Now let’s take a look at how to actually do it with an example you can pick up and use yourself!

The campaign is based on Fate Core, and there is a little bit of set up involved. We’ll walk you through all of that and offer some tips for character creation in your world building. The actual adventure brings everyone together and sets them off in the direction you choose for world building.

If you would rather just use this as a one shot to bring a lot of wacky people together from across time, just skip the next section and ignore the part about the “something more out there” at the end.

World Building a Timeline

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Yoda Teaches Us to Play RPGs

Jedi Muppet wisdom is easily applied to all areas of life, and roleplaying games are no exception. Today we are going to see what the wisest of the wise can teach us about the games we love to play.

Worry, do not. Translate everything he says, we will. Able to read it in normal sentence structures, you will be. Real, the wisdom is. Embrace it, you must. That nothing is lost in translation, we hope.

Don’t worry. We will translate everything he says. You will be able to read it in normal sentence structures. The wisdom is real. You must embrace it. We hope that nothing is lost in translation.

Things You Will See. Other Places.

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Fate Core: Why Stunt Trees?

A stunt tree is a series of stunts that have prerequisites. In other words, once you have stunt A, you are allowed to get stunts B, C, and D as well. And if you get stunt D, whether or not you get B or C, you can then also choose stunts E and F. But you might want stunt B because it lets you get stunt G. So yeah, with the different branches it starts to look like a tree.

But today we are not really going to focus so much on what stunt trees are. Rather, we would like to delve a little more into the WHY. After all, in the Fate Core system any player can make any stunt they wish (under the basic rules), so what’s the point of making some stunts harder to get than others?

Inspiring Players

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Lists of Inspiration

As an Improvisational Style Game Master, I have a difficult time doing prep work. I find it very rewarding, especially when running a game with heavy elements of mystery and intrigue, but it is not always easy to do. A lot of prep work gets wasted when players do not go the direction you expect them to go, and that hurts a lot when you put all that effort doing something you do not enjoy just to make the game you run better. But can you really blame the players for pursuing something that they find more interesting in your game?

That’s not a rhetorical question. Are we allowed to do that? I’d love to know!

Back to point, I find that over the years I tend to compromise my prep work by spending most of my time prepping for improvisation. I prepare little fun encounters that can fit when a player does something random, or I stat up a crazy monster if I ever need to have one kick down a door to pick up the pace of a game.

Today I want to talk about making one of my favorite Improvisational Preparation tools, one of the simplest and most popular tools in our genre for embracing random encounters: the list!

Making a List

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Making Mysteries Memorable in 5 Scenes

Have you ever tried to run a mystery adventure in a game that was not specifically designed for mysteries and failed spectacularly? Everyone loves a good mystery, whether they see the end coming or are shocked by the big reveal. They appeal to one of our most basic linear instincts, if you believe anything you hear on Star Trek DS9.

That may be the most important thing to understand about humans. It is the unknown that defines our existence. We are constantly searching, not just for answers to our questions, but for new questions

Pulling off a good mystery in an RPG is not easy. There are so many things that can go wrong: the players miss a vital clue, the GM force-feeds information, an important detail is left out early on, a red herring takes us down a deep rabbit hole, or a TPK results in us never getting the answers we want.

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Making Fan Fate: Follow up

Back in March we did a blog post called World Building for a Fan Fate Game where we gave some general ideas on how to convert your favorite book/anime/movie/tv drama into a Fate Core RPG world. Basically it was all about making that first session of world building a positive experience that points you into having a great campaign in the world you love so much.

Today we are doing a follow up on that, because we never really got down into the details of each step. So guess what we are doing today? That’s right. DETAILS!!!

On a quick note, we are going to refer to whatever subject you are fan Fating from as “the show” even though movies and books and other sources are perfectly acceptable sources for fan-based games. It just makes things simpler for our writing sake.

Choose Your Group’s Destiny

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Game Design: Start With Nothing, End With Awesome

Previously, Joshua had talked about starting a game in a Dark Room. The basic premise is you start with literally nothing and everyone creates a story from that. I (Taylor) wanted to work with that idea and come up with my own version and give you all the tools you need to make a good story. As with his example, I will be using the Fate Core system but this could just as easily be used with FAE.


We will start with the normal stuff:

  • Fate Dice
    • If you don’t have any you can convert regular d6
  • Character Sheet
    • Regular Fate Core Character Sheet
    • I used a modified version you can find Here (I really like Social Stress)
  • Pencils
  • Pieces of paper for notes and Aspects
  • Storytelling attitude

Now that you have your normal supplies, we will start with the unique items for this game:

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Fate Stunt making for GMs

Previously, we talked about Stunt making for players. Today we look at it from the other perspective.

When a GM designs stunts, it is usually more than one or two at a time and for more than one character. On a small scale, you may be making new stunts for a custom skill you have decided to add to your campaign. On a large scale, you may be adding several stunt families for several class builds. With so many stunts coming out, it is easy to lose balance on one hand or flavor on the other.

If you just want to make a few extra stunts to add to the default list, then by all means go for it! Players tend to understand that GM stunts are good stunts to take since the person designing the campaign is the one that made them.

Just so you do not get overwhelmed or make underwhelming stunts, here are some tips to consider when designing stunts.

Keep Your Campaign in Mind

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