Meet a Member

Nuno’s Session Theory

One of our (once) resident Game Masters, Nuno Teixera, developed this simple formula for plotting out a 3-hour game session — it’s his not-so-secret to running games! Although it was originally created for Kantas games, it is generic and universal enough to suit most RPG systems, with or without combat. So, let’s get to it:


You will need to prepare:

1 Concept
2 to 3 Obstacles
3 Locations/Stages


The starting premise of your game. Can either be player-facing or not. Just needs to be something to get your creative juices flowing.

Example of player-facing concept:

“This village is very creepy and you are here to investigate.”

Example of non-player-facing concept:

“You are in a village.” – The village is very creepy and they don’t know.

Other types of concepts can be: Monsters, an NPC, a magic item, etc. Everything works as long as you can build a story around it.


These are the pivotal points of your story and are moments you should pause the narrative timeline to describe/explain what’s going on.

Examples: An abandoned house, an NPC walking into the tavern, reaching a haunted clearing, etc.

For an extra kick you can prepare more stages/locations to give the players real choices. This is not necessary as long as they have the illusion of choice – that’s what matters for it to be an enjoyable, immersive experience.


Your classic conundrums.

Examples: Combat encounter, puzzles, negotiations, a lengthy story exposition, interrogations, etc.

As a rule of thumb if you choose to have 2 combat encounters as obstacles, you probably won’t have time for the 3rd Obstacle. If you choose to have only 1 combat encounter then more often than not you’ll end up needing the 3rd Obstacle.

Prepare an extra Obstacle that can easily be included before your climactic Obstacle, in case your players blitz through everything.


This is a formula that works for me, with players engaging in average to low amounts of RP. If your players start RP immediately and do it often, be prepared to cut locations/stages or obstacles.

Even if you don’t prepare for multiple choices/different outcomes, always give the players the illusion of choice. They will never know there was no alternative outcome.

If you know your players well, use this as a skeleton and cut/add sections depending on their gameplay style! If you’re DMing for strangers/new players I’m pretty confident this will work out for you.

Follow Nuno on Twitter and check out his games on