The GameMaster’s 20 Questions

The Game Master’s 20 Questions

Have you ever asked yourself: “Gee I sure wish group character creation sessions took TWICE as long as they do now in 5th ed L5R”?  😛

I’ve been pulling various sources together to make a GM’s 20 Questions, which hopefully aims to help the GM create a fleshed out adventure in just about as much detail as the PCs the players make with their questions. Also engaging the players to get invested into the adventure by asking for their creative input.

“The game of 20 Questions has been a beloved feature of L5R since its earliest editions. Its focus on creating fully dynamic player characters has since been mastered in the 5th edition system published by Fantasy Flight Games, but an interesting idea not yet explored is a 20 Questions aimed at creating a fully dynamic campaign.


The questions in this workbook aim to accomplish the following before your first session of play:

  1. Create an outline for the campaign, including the Movers and their goals.
  2. Gain player investment through incorporating their creative input.
  3. Generate loose ideas for NPCs, loca-tions, and scenes so that you’ll be prepared and confident for a strong session 1.


Keep in mind that this should be a shared experience between the GM and the players at the table. In fact, the best way to answer these questions is in complete sections, starting with “Core Identity” on the GM’s 20 Questions then alternating with the player’s 20 Questions by moving right into their corresponding “Core Identity” section.
Here is an outline of each section, setting expectations on what the intention is and hopefully speaking to the reason on why the questions are ordered in this particular way:

  1. Core Identity: Figure out the core concept and build a foundation for the story that you and the players want to tell. That way the players know what kind of characters to make.
  2. Players and Movers: While the players discover who their character’s are, we can take a moment to scheme in secret and create some concepts for NPCs and Movers of the plot.
  3. Strengths and Weaknesses: Next, the GM and players come back together to add traits to the NPCs, even naming them and forming bonds. This will gain investment from the players.
  4. People and Places of Interest: Start this section after the players complete their question 16, we’re going to take the time to validate the player’s choices and tie them to key locations.
  5. A Strong Start: Once again going into secret, we will create a strong first scene and the secrets and clues that relate to the established locations, NPCs, and inciting incident.
  6. Know the Heart: Finally, we will collaborate with the players to gather a wishlist of Narrative rewards, Item rewards, and learning what scenes the players would like to see in the first session.

Hopefully this will help create some amazing adventures, if not, then let’s discuss it here! If so, tell us about it!Looking forward to what everyone thinks about this.

Share this:

3 thoughts on “The GameMaster’s 20 Questions”

  1. Alrighty! Next iteration is up, with better font choices, fixed header positions, and plenty of examples from an adventure I built using the steps from this document. We’re at our first official draft at this point.

    Still interested in building an FAQ, please let me know if you have any questions, if I don’t see any then I’ll assume this will be the final draft. Thank you for following along, I hope this helps!

Leave a Reply