How to Run an Improv Tabletop RPG

Today’s #GMAdvice is all about how to run an improv role playing game story.

Whether it’s 1 on 1 or with a group of players, improve RPGs can be incredibly fun. There’s much less setup, little to no paperwork, fewer items to keep track of, and you can all just jump right it without any prep. Everyone just needs dice of whatever denomination they’d like.

Before you begin, we recommend you establish the following:

  1. Genre (or even specific story-type)
  2. Ground rules (what is not permitted etc.)
  3. Mutual guidelines of trust between GM & players (i.e. when the GM rules in a certain situation, despite the lack of foundational math, the ruling is fair and final barring something unreasonable).

And then it’s off to the races! The Isaiah the Gray story I’ve been chronically for the past few months on Throwback Thursday RPG Edition (#TTRPG) is actually an improv story between my brother and I. We decided on a genre/story style (mostly Star Wars & Knights of the Old Republic with some Star Trek flavor) and then that we’d each just use 2, six-sided dices. Of course, since we’ve been playing RPGs together for over a decade, we have #3 wrapped up as well.

Of course, improv is more taxing on your “creative juices” and, for some, can be intimidating. But just like more traditional TTRPGs, improv should come with the “no pressure” label; whatever it is you’re bringing to the table is enough! Be kind, supportive, and compassionate of your players’ needs in this area and I can pretty much guarantee your next improv TTRPG session will be a great one!

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