Creative Ways to Run an RPG

By: Titus Villanueva

Roleplaying games are always fun. As someone who’s been running them for years, they’ve been a huge part of my life and a great source of joy. Now, while they’ll never really get boring, sitting behind a screen and telling a story will become flat from time to time, especially if you’ve been playing with the same group for a long time. Sometimes the best one can do is find fun out of the box ways to surprise their players.

On one run of the Song of Ice and Fire campaign I ran some years ago, the players hit a painful emotional point in the story where one of the player characters was killed off due to that player having to move to a different part of town. In the finale, I actually had him hide just outside the room for a big reveal that his character was in fact alive. Another friend of mine even had some of his friends contact and text the players as NPCs only for them to all show up for the final battle.

During a horror game where players were made to read a cursed play together, I secretly hid messages to each player in their individual scripts that slowly drove their characters mad, planting the seeds of paranoia and mistrust among them… They all killed each other by the end of the story and it was amazing.

It doesn’t even have to be serious or emotional all the time. During one Halloween game that had a Wolfenstein theme to it, I had a guy dressed as Hitler pop out of nowhere and become the final boss. Yes, the effect was simple, but that didn’t stop people from freaking out.

Every once in a while, it’s good to surprise people with something. They make for great stories and memories that people talk about for years.