Make a Roleplay Cheat Sheet for D&D

A roleplay cheat sheet can be a single sheet of paper covered in a bunch of quick references for roleplay, in a similar way to how a DM Screen is a bunch of quick references for game mechanics. It contains a number of tables you can glance at to quickly put together NPCs, locations, towns, motivations, and plots.

This can help during game time when you need to quickly create a character or place from scratch that you weren't able to prep beforehand. When a player suddenly asks about a random patron in the tavern, or when they decide to give up on their current quest and go in a totally new direction, you can use the roleplay cheat sheet to easily craft the adventure on the fly without needing to pause or even cancel the session because you weren't ready.

Your roleplay cheat sheet can be made up of 4 sections: names and traits, locations, encounters, and towns. Then when you need something for your session you can reference that section and use what you have there to improv a new thing.

Roleplay Cheat Sheet

Start with names, your players will constantly be asking you for names of various people, so create a table for each race and gender all the way from Human Male to Female Half-Orc. It's a good idea to include a generic collection of monster names, too! To fill your tables just use the Name Generator and copy paste. If you prefer to print on paper then use your hands and eyes to copy paste instead.

Once you're done with the names, move on to traits. Something like hair colors, something that makes them look unique, and personalities. Again there's a tool to do this for you with the NPC Generator. With a collection of names and traits then any time you need a random NPC just look under the appropriate name table and choose their traits and you've got yourself a new character ready to go.

Next you'll want a list of locations your players can visit such as a citadel city on a peninsula with a forest of treants around it, or a monster's lair on a huge floating island with chains anchoring it to the ground. Use the Interesting Locations Generator to come up with a good list so you'll be ready to go when they decide to go somewhere completely unexpectedly.

You'll also want a list of encounters or plot hooks the players can stumble into on their way to whatever place or thing they've decided to see. The Plot Hooks Generator has a good list to use, or take a quick flip through the Monster Manual and find some monsters you like the look of when you need an interesting (or deadly) monster to spruce things up.

Lastly, your players are going to want to visit a town at some point and it might not be the one you had prepared, so having a quick list of towns for them wouldn't hurt. If you play with your phone or laptop you can have a list of Town Generator links you like by clicking on the link at the top that says [permalink] or clicking the save button. Or just write a brief overview of the town like the name, description, and maybe some business names.

Now you'll have your completed Roleplay Cheat Sheet. Have it on hand for easy reference like a DM screen during the session and you'll be able to quickly and easily improv new people and situations as they arise. Cross off things as you use them, or include a mark and a note about who they are in your game in case you need them later. Like when it's session 20 and one of your players announces, “oh yeah, we can go see that guy we met 16 sessions ago... Garend Helcraxe!”

Once you've used up the spaces on your sheet, just use the generators again to roll up a new one. Before you know it you'll have a rich lore and cast of characters for your world within easy reference, all without having to plan it all out beforehand. Sometimes the best stories are the ones that happen unexpectedly in between your plans.

If you keep using and refilling your Roleplay Cheat Sheet in this way, then you can start incorporating more of these unexpected encounters into your prep or have them take over entire sessions. You'll also find that DMing and preparing goes faster and smoother for you, being used to having new things happen and being better able to think on your feet.

Need more help with your campaign? Check out all the other tools, generators, and articles: https://www.kassoon.com/dnd/

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