Writing, managing, and expanding campaigns.

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50
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6answers
5k views

Preventing saturation in a horror campaign

I am currently designing my first horror campaign and what I've come up with so far is pretty dark and gruesome. I worry that if it is gut wrenching the whole way through, eventually the players will ...
49
votes
11answers
7k views

How to ease down the munchkin factor?

I've been playing RPGs since the early eighties and have come to terms with the fact that not everyone enjoys this hobby for the same reasons as myself. I'm into it for the sake of the adventure, the ...
47
votes
13answers
1k views

How do I help my players not get caught up on smaller plot points?

I just finished having a conversation with one of my players, and was led to a question I'm not sure I know how to answer. I'm running a sandbox campaign (D&D 4e, if it makes a difference) where ...
47
votes
9answers
16k views

What are the essential features of a successful evil campaign?

Until this point, I have demanded that my players not build characters with evil alignments, as I am familiar with how to design campaigns and adventures around "good" or "redemption" themes. ...
38
votes
9answers
9k views

How do I run a successful and engaging campaign without combat?

I'm thinking of starting my own campaign with a few of my friends with me as DM, primarily because I wasn't extremely impressed with the campaign my friend was DMing. When I started thinking about the ...
37
votes
9answers
6k views

How to run a campaign for intelligent players with idiot PCs?

I've just started a pathfinder campaign, and all of the players have taken intelligence as their dump stat. This is causing problems, because usually I depend on knowledge checks to determine what ...
37
votes
8answers
2k views

What ways are there to anger the PC's without angering the players?

Since I got so many good ideas on my last question, here's part 2: What ways are there to really anger my PC's -- give them that sense of unbridled rage and fury -- without pissing the players off ...
36
votes
12answers
12k views

With the lifespan of elves, would you ever encounter a low-level elf?

Elves and other races have hundreds of years to get good at what they do — is the expectation that NPCs of these races would mostly be of high level? How do I build a campaign setting that makes ...
34
votes
11answers
2k views

What are some dangerous non-fantasy creatures?

We're running a fantasy game where the adventurers frequently travel through the wilderness. Too many of the threatening encounters they have are with fantasy creatures (like goblins, orcs, etc.). ...
34
votes
17answers
4k views

How can I have a campaign where not everyone shows up to each session? [closed]

I'm starting a D&D (5e) club at my school. As most high schoolers don't show up to every club meeting, how can I account for this in creating parties? The club will likely have 20+ members, so ...
33
votes
9answers
3k views

How do you discourage “player knowledge” as a GM?

As a trivial random encounter is winding down, a player thinks "That was too easy... The GM wouldn't give us an encounter that doesn't give XP," and starts searching for hidden bad guys or other ...
32
votes
7answers
3k views

What to do when a great idea comes too soon?

As a GM, often a fantastic ending to a campaign comes to me before I start it. In the Star Wars universe, I picture the heroes stealing a Star Destroyer from the Empire or, in D&D, I picture the ...
32
votes
11answers
586 views

How to get better feedback from players?

OK, we started a new campaign yesterday and I really want to take quality feedback from my players. When I ask, "How was it? Do you like it?", I generally get some vague answers like "It was good, I ...
31
votes
5answers
6k views

How to build an evil campaign

I'm going to start DM'ing for the first time next week. When I got together with my group to figure out what type of game to play, when we got to alignment, I told them they either all needed to be ...
30
votes
5answers
2k views

How can I make an overbearing government's unwelcome attention convincing without it dominating screen time?

My players are newly awakened mages (Mage: the Ascension 2nd edition) living in a near future in a metropolis in the European Union which is developing into a surveillance and military state union—a ...
29
votes
8answers
898 views

Running Parallel Campaigns

So, as seems to frequently be the case with me, more players wish to be a part of my new campaign than I'm comfortable putting around one table (maybe 8). I toyed briefly with the idea of running two ...
26
votes
4answers
1k views

How much to bend “the rules” about populating a world?

All right, I have a question about creating a world and populating it with appropriate monsters, etc. I created a world a little while back, loosely based off of the world found in Michael ...
26
votes
8answers
3k views

What should I keep in mind when running a game intended to subvert the players' expectations?

Many of my favorite works of fiction are either explicitly deconstructive in nature, or at least feature elements or scenes that unexpectedly subvert the audience's expectations. Often these are some ...
26
votes
7answers
1k views

Am I designing my campaign setting to be too specific?

I'm a first time DM (3.5e), and, being a passionate writer, I decided to create the entire campaign and campaign setting myself. It's been good fun, and I have about 12 pages of (elaborated upon) ...
26
votes
5answers
2k views

How can I keep surprising my co-GM when he's playing in my campaign?

I recently started a D&D 5e campaign with my gaming group and one of my friends has decided he wants to GM also. The setting we're playing in is a homebrew setting; I created the general outline ...
25
votes
9answers
669 views

How do I help create story around the table without writing it?

I love RPGs. I think they can create some of the most fun and enjoyable stories, both from an out-of-game and in-game standpoint. I also realize that "story" is the result of the game played by the ...
25
votes
5answers
1k views

Creating the setting with the players

As far as I'm aware, the two most common ways to choose a setting for your campaign are one of these: The GM makes it up pre-game, or the GM has some source book containing the desired setting. ...
24
votes
6answers
2k views

How can I have a mixed game of nWoD without having a thematic mess?

I'm planning on starting a full-on mixed nWoD game, but I don't know how to avoid having it feel like a fantasy kitchen sink, since that can easily destroy the feel of a game. What are scenarios or ...
23
votes
10answers
4k views

What alternative models exist for Vampire populations in WoD?

The official WoD sources say that a vampire requires between 50,000 and 100,000 people to support them, giving an upper limit of about 50,000 vampires in the entire world. I've always found this ...
23
votes
7answers
786 views

How can I convey the nonsensicality of a dream world?

Soon I will be GMing a campaign that allows the players to move freely back and forth between the "real" world and the "dream" world. I do not want this to be a secret or try to confuse the players; ...
22
votes
4answers
560 views

How do I construct an individual session as part of a larger campaign?

I've been GMing/DMing on and off for years. I prefer playing. Mainly because when I run a game, I'm more a fly by the seat of your pants kind of dm, and it works sort of.. My problem is that, while I ...
22
votes
6answers
897 views

Rules system for playing out the details of founding and developing a city?

I want to run a campaign in which the players control individual but influential characters (maybe heads of families), with the main focus of play on the PCs building up a city over time, starting ...
22
votes
2answers
718 views

Where can I observe a world's creation as it happens?

The Adventurer Conquerer King System has specific and detailed instructions on how to map and detail a setting for use in play, and I'm trying to get the hang of them. Unfortunately, not having a real ...
21
votes
8answers
2k views

Overcoming setting complexity paralysis as a GM

The problem What are the best practices to overcome that certain “complexity paralysis” that may strike a GM when trying to learn and immerse himself in a setting that has a lot of intricate ...
21
votes
4answers
1k views

Is it plausible to have a Player Character play as a villain against the rest of the party?

If anyone has experience running a game like this, what are some common errors to avoid and tips you would give to a GM embarking on such a campaign? Specifically I intend to have a 3 PC party with 2 ...
20
votes
8answers
1k views

“Retiring” a maxed-out party

This question has a specific and a general sense. Eventually, if your game runs long enough, a party will be pretty much maxed out - reaching level caps, wielding top-level powers and abilities, ...
20
votes
7answers
640 views

Speed up campaign development

I'm making a campaign, and it's going fairly nicely. However, I found out that my group is able to meet this week, which I didn't expect. So instead of having 9 days to find time to prepare, I have 2 ...
20
votes
7answers
413 views

How do you maintain a balance between mystery and offering clues?

Giving good clues that offer just enough information can be difficult. I think I tend to not give the players enough information and then to overcompensate with a reveal that comes too easily. ...
20
votes
9answers
806 views

What makes a good pitch for a new game?

What should make up a pitch about a new game to a prospective group of players? What does a good RPG pitch entail? What should go into the case for why a game should be played (and why that GM is the ...
19
votes
7answers
2k views

Is there an effect on player's reaction to treasure when raising the value of gold relative to other coins?

In fantasy games related to D&D the currency usually follows the 10 cp = 1sp, 10sp = 1gp pattern. This is convenient and fairly logical, but in my play throughs gold just didn't have much weight ...
19
votes
3answers
2k views

Good resources for travel times?

What are some good resources, on or off-line, for determining clear travel times for: different methods of travel (eg: foot, horse, vehicles by period and type, etc) different terrain types ...
19
votes
3answers
43k views

Any good premade campaigns for beginners?

Does anyone know of some good premade campaigns for a small (not more than 5) players, all of whom are new to D&D? I want to start them at low level since they haven't played before. I'm finding ...
18
votes
8answers
724 views

How do I create a sense of mystery about magic?

Magic in so many games is something mechanical and fully understood. Assuming I control the setting (and have a group of players willing to try new rules), how do I make magic something mysterious? ...
18
votes
6answers
1k views

How to make large number of NPCs manageable to the GM?

I'm planning a game where there is about a dozen important NPC actors, with some more less important ones. "Important" means that even if they are not directly involved in current events, they play a ...
18
votes
9answers
715 views

What ways are there to convey loneliness and betrayal in an encounter?

A little background: I am designing a campaign that largely takes place in the mind of a twisted wizard. The wizard was shunned and exiled from his home due to a physical disfigurement, and after a ...
17
votes
8answers
467 views

What's a good method for making cultures differ?

Just read through a great question (on getting players to play in line with their characters' cultures) and it got me thinking: What do you do to make the cultures in your setting differ? Let's say ...
17
votes
4answers
333 views

Are there any established “best practices” for teams of GMs creating campaign content?

I maintain a group of roughly 10 players including 3-5 flaky DMs. While looking for solutions to the usual large group problems (maintaining attention, DM overload, slow combat, designing appropriate ...
16
votes
5answers
2k views

How can I GM and play a PC without spoiling the fun?

We're returning to D&D 4E after a long absence from it, coming back from Savage Worlds since we've really missed HP-based battles and videogame-like logic. However, as we talked about our new ...
16
votes
8answers
663 views

What would clever creatures do to protect their lair?

(This question is for fantasy worlds like in D&D and other such games.) Usually, as the adventuring party goes up in ability, they end up facing stronger and more powerful characters. Let's say ...
16
votes
10answers
2k views

One-shot sessions as part of a larger campaign

My DnD group only plays perhaps once a month and occasionally one of them won't be able to make it. I (DM) home-brewed our last campaign and, whilst fun, the big story arcs and multiple NPCs did not ...
16
votes
4answers
653 views

How late in history can I set a campaign based in the US without cars and telephones being widespread? [closed]

I'm deciding on my next campaign offering, and I'm dealing with this dilemma: although I prefer, and am best at, running games set in the near-present, one of my players has a mild antipathy toward ...
16
votes
7answers
1k views

Are PCs supposed to start a game knowing each other, and if not, how should they meet?

I'm currently putting together a D&D game and I have most of it worked out. The only part about it that I'm still a little unclear on is whether or not the player characters should know each other ...
16
votes
3answers
462 views

What would the life of a child be like in a medieval setting?

The basis for an adventure I'm writing is a child. He is extremely intelligent and had a knack for magic at a very young age, but he has a mental disorder (something similar to Asperger's syndrome). ...
16
votes
12answers
353 views

What sort of events provides an impetus for adventuring to become commonplace?

As an example, in the Earthdawn setting, civilization was segregated because of demonic creatures known as the horrors that scourged and ruled over the surface world. The tides of magic that enabled ...
16
votes
5answers
4k views

Are there any good websites which have story hooks and plots points for campaigns? [closed]

Are there any good websites which have story hooks and plots points for campaigns?