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Character Driven Dungeons and Dragons

by Mike Shea on 5 March 2012

Recently DM to the superstars, Chris Perkins, wrote an excellent article, the Storytelling King, on his tips for building character-focused games using the ideas of Stephen King from his book On Writing.

This is a topic discussed often at Sly Flourish and I wanted to take the time to look back on some previous articles that discuss building your D&D game from the actions of characters instead of plots and story lines. Let's take a look:

Build Worlds Not Stories: Probably the prime Sly Flourish article on developing stories based on the actions of characters. Includes my favorite night-time saying "what is my villain doing right now?" For me, it's like counting sheep.

Three Acting Tips for D&D: Three tips on building stories from the point of view of the characters.

Fiasco Style Relationships: Here's a list of random relationships your can roll for. The results can end up building the story for you rather than you developing one yourself.

The 5x5 Method for Antagonists: A way to use Dave Chalker's 5x5 method to help you figure out what the bad guys are doing. Much better than simply plotting out a story.

Three D&D Tips from Breaking Bad: A look at how you can let your story develop based on the actions of characters like those in one of the best shows on television.

Quests for Villains: A look at how to develop quests for your villains so they're not simply sitting on a throne waiting for the PCs to show up and kill them.

Four Tips for Character Development: A look at developing characters based on archetypes, motivations, and secrets.

Three Motivations for your Villains: A look at three potential drivers for your villains, giving them reason for their actions.

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Check out Mike's books including Return of the Lazy Dungeon Master, the Lazy DM's Workbook, Fantastic Adventures, and Fantastic Adventures: Ruins of the Grendleroot.

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