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RPT Newsletter #007 | Save Time & Get More Planning Done Through Campaign Newsletters

Stephan Hornick

Community Goblin
Staff member
Wizard of Adventure
Wizard of Combat
Wizard of Story
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Save Time & Get More Planning Done Through Campaign Newsletters
From JohnnFour | updated August 4, 2019

Roleplaying Tips Newsletter #007

I don’t know how I lived without my roleplaying campaign newsletter, “The Redblade Crier”. A newsletter is such a fast and easy way to keep your players motivated and interested, plan out your campaign, organize your next session and add depth to your game world that I heartily recommend every game master immediately start one for their roleplaying group.

A newsletter kills several birds with one stone (although no birds were actually harmed during the writing of this newsletter). And the more I get done in less time the better I’m able to fit my roleplaying hobby into my busy life.

For example, I keep an on-going log of all the people and non-human NPCs the characters meet in a section titled “NPC Journal”. This helps me keep my NPCs organized as well as reminds me to bring back an old friend or adversary once in awhile. It also helps me maintain campaign consistency. The players like it because they have a growing reference of contacts, allies and enemies.

Another example is the “Next Session” and “Player Info” sections that I put at the end. What a great way to distribute everybody’s contact information (i.e. for car pooling) and remind them about the time, date and location of the next session. This has prevented a lot of confusion and saves me time as well.

Quick Newsletter Tips
  • Keep it short and simple. If it becomes a chore it won’t last and you lose out on a great tool.
  • Write from your players’ perspectives. What would they find interesting to read? If no one reads your newsletter it’s just a waste of time.
  • Use your newsletter to educate your group about your campaign:
    • Game world factoids
    • NPC profiles
    • Legends and lore (story hooks)
    • Rumours, gossip and things of note
    • Monster lore
    • Magic item lore
  • By developing this type of information you end up planning, storytelling and advancing your campaign all at the same time–very efficient.
  • Send your newsletter (by e-mail or fax) between sessions, preferably closer to the upcoming session but never on the same day. I GM every other week on Monday evenings, so I e-mail my roleplaying newsletter on the off Monday. This helps everybody associate Mondays with roleplaying, which is important to me because my players and I will tend to keep our schedules clear for that day now–a good habit for generating full attendance.
Start your own roleplaying campaign newsletter and send me a copy. I’d love to read it.
 

Stephan Hornick

Community Goblin
Staff member
Wizard of Adventure
Wizard of Combat
Wizard of Story
Hahaha, Johnn, no, on the contrary: Please post YOUR newsletter as a reference. Please.

I had used to post a short summary / teaser on those days that we couldn't keep the regular appointment, just to keep them on board. Although great effect, it took me a while (too long) to write up something engaging. I dropped this habit then.

At other times, I had a more or less regular news cast about events in the (futuristic) world, including newsflashs about what got known of their adventures or of those of other groups. But the effort was again too much, the results too unfulfilling. So I dropped this also.

I fear that if I overload my players with information, they will drop out feeling not being able or wanting to keep up. It became a two classes group of players, those that read those articles and were informed, and those that didn't and weren't. As a result, the one thing happened that shouldn't happen in school classes: a scissor-like widening of niveaus and knowledge.

So, let's see HOW you bring your players together with those newsletters.
 

JochenL

CL Byte Sprite
Staff member
Wizard of Adventure
Beta-Tester
Gamer Lifestyle
Wizard of Combat
Wizard of Story
I always liked and still like the newsletter idea. I usually used it to highlight the repercussions of the heroes' last adventures and foreshadow the coming events. But it always took too much time away from preparing the next session. And players usually did not read it anyway.
So we stuck to a player summarizing the last session and getting XP awarded for that - this really caught them and let them engage more in preparation for the game themselves. But I still like to strew in some rumors now and then - a newsletter is cool for that, a forum way better. Playing "just" face-to-face makes this more difficult, teaser emails worked, though.

So, @JohnnFour, can you post a sample of your newsletter?

Thinking of this as a method to engage players, how do you generally engage players to actually prepare the game, too? Often I find players showing up late, searching for their character for 10 minutes, finding only an old version, and not knowing what happened last time. Doing all the prep work for sessions (as the GM) sometimes angers me when players neglect their 10-minute prep.
 
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Bing

Member
Wizard of Combat
While this isn't exactly what you were talking about, I love the idea of writing a little hometown newspaper for the town where your campaign is set! Keep the players interested, add some dimension to your NPCs, maybe insert some clues . . . . .
 

MaartenB

New member
Wizard of Combat
The newsletter sounds great! I'm definitely trying this for my next campaign (kick off in sept/Oct hopefully).

Players who don't do their bit of prep (character sheet, spending xp, dice, being on time) get a gentle nudge at first.

But if it continues I do tell them to get their act together and ask how I can help. In my previous campaigns I kept their character sheets or regular copies to make sure people couldn't forget them. I have plenty of spare dice but I do expect my players to bring their own.

Spending xp is always the toughest. But encouraging my players to contact me between sessions and spending their xp together really helped.
 

Bing

Member
Wizard of Combat
I looked again at the name of this forum - save time and get more planning done - and those are sort of the opposite of what I did but I had a great time writing two-page newspaper for my village of Dendros. I mailed an actual physical copy to my players! I'm attaching it here though it won't make much sense to anyone but me and the players. . . . Easy to do on Apple Pages.
 

Attachments

MaartenB

New member
Wizard of Combat
Haha great! Nicely done Bing. Not something for between every session (at least not with my current amount of free time) but a good prop now and then adds so much to the experience.
 

Bing

Member
Wizard of Combat
Thank you! Might be a one time thing but there might be other such offshoots that would also be fun.
 
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