Not related to any one particular system or rules. You want solutions to the question that are not directly tied to a game's mechanics.

learn more… | top users | synonyms

24
votes
6answers
5k views

How can I limit my players' options in character creation when the reason why is a spoiler?

I am currently preparing for a game of Vampire: The Masquerade. I've got a plot in the works that involves a Malkavian villain. Given the nature of the Malkavian Madness Network I want to exclude the ...
2
votes
1answer
86 views

Are there benchmarks for the “in-game time” to “out-game time” spent in combat for different games? [on hold]

I'm searching a scientific study that evaluated different combat systems in regards to the in-game out-game ratio. Or if there is currently non a dataset that would allow to create such a study.
-2
votes
0answers
147 views

How do I threaten characters who aren't afraid of the usual things? [closed]

The threat of dying is a fundamental motivator for most PCs (and, frankly, most people in real life). You buy armor so people can't kill you, you buy weapons so you can kill people before they kill ...
14
votes
5answers
356 views

How can I moderate the flow of information in a discovery-focused campaign?

30K foot view The overarching structure of my current campaign relies a lot on discovery. My players are placed in an open world that they can explore more or less freely, but in order to make ...
4
votes
3answers
526 views

How to head off problem players before they start? [closed]

I am about to embark on my first campaign as a GM (D&D 5e if you think that might be relevant), and I will be leading this game for a whole slew of new players. Most of the players seem great, I ...
10
votes
3answers
2k views

How can I prevent players ruining immersion?

Me and some friends are thinking of starting a D&D adventure, the problem is some of my friends already played D&D and some didn't... I will not be the DM (one of the experienced players will ...
1
vote
0answers
147 views

“Trapped in a MMO” pen & paper? [closed]

I was planning on playing a MMO in a setting similar to Log Horizon (or Sword Art Online, but I was more thinking about Log Horizon). I know there's already a Log Horizon RPG somewhere, but the rules ...
24
votes
5answers
3k views

What to do when you notice another player's mistake?

I happened to notice a mistake that one of the other players has been making a mistake that causes their character to be much more powerful than the rules dictate that they should be. I'm sure that ...
8
votes
3answers
163 views

Building Story as a Player

I would like to know how to help a new GM build story as a player. History I am playing a campaign with some friends and our GM is a new GM and we have been playing for about a month now. He has ...
10
votes
3answers
599 views

How to ‘meet in the middle’ with two different types of player?

I'm GMing a game for long-standing friends. I took over GMing duties last year, and in that time I've noticed that while everyone seems to be having fun and I can retain their interest, half of the ...
65
votes
11answers
9k views

Is saying “Your PC wouldn't do that” to a player denying their agency?

In a comment to my answer to What would be the side effects on a Druid of wearing metal armor?, @Kevin asked: "So, RAW a druid will never choose to wear metal armor or use metal shields, so the ...
13
votes
1answer
1k views

Providing party niches for a murder of Witchers

My players decided they all want to play Witchers. Thus I have a murder of Witchers1 on my hands. Since I like to have each player character excel at one thing above all other player characters, this ...
3
votes
0answers
115 views

How smart should the BBEG be? [closed]

So recently I've run into an issue with some of my players concerning the tactical efficiency of the bad-guy spellcasters. Specifically, we're playing a Pathfinder Adventure Path at mid-levels (they'...
18
votes
5answers
2k views

How do I make a PC's religion help drive the story?

As a GM, how can I make a player-character's religion help drive the story? I'm going to be making up a local religion for the region that most of the party is from, and I'd like it to really matter ...
13
votes
5answers
714 views

My players insist that I use “rule zero” for their benefit. How do I get them to accept that I don't want easier house rules?

I would like to know, why it makes practical sense to have rule zero. I'm not an experienced RPG player, but we play a lot of board games with friends, and what I noticed, is that players often want ...
9
votes
4answers
690 views

What can I do to help me remember details about the area the PCs are exploring?

I've recently started DMing Curse of Strahd. The players took the bait and ended up in the Death House. Our currently first and only session of this module ended with the party just reaching the third ...
31
votes
5answers
5k views

How to explain to a new player that metagaming is encouraged in this group

I am part of a social board games group that meets most weekends to play short (max one session) games that usually involve role playing of some kind. Recently someone invited a friend from another, ...
2
votes
2answers
212 views

How can I provide a challenge for a powergamer? [duplicate]

One of the players in my game is the most fervent powergamer I've ever met. I know it's how he gets enjoyment from the game, and so far it doesn't intrude on the other players' enjoyment, so I've ...
20
votes
7answers
3k views

How to get players to do something without them feeling railroaded?

I'm DM'ing a play-by-post campaign and I'm at a point in the adventure where the group all meets for the first time. They've all had something stolen from them at the same time and saw a creature that ...
20
votes
6answers
3k views

How to deal with a group reluctant to think and discuss? [closed]

Here at RPG.SE we form a quite specific bunch. We discuss social-contract or group-dynamics, we use terms like "player agency" or "emergent settings". We approach the hobby at an intellectual level, ...
14
votes
5answers
516 views

How do I get less attached to my characters?

In terms of my preferences, I tend to like a balance between story and dice-rolling, and write 1-2 page backstories for my characters. I also like a cinematic style where failure means a temporary ...
1
vote
2answers
104 views

Revising Armor Class for a Homebrew System [closed]

I have decided to create a Homebrew System loosely based off of Pathfinder. There is a Mechanic I would like to add in, but I haven't found any good references within the Exchange for: Revising the ...
6
votes
1answer
359 views

How can you handle PvP Combat so everyone has fun?

Recently my group's campaign in Anima: Beyond Fantasy took a turn towards a combination political intrigue/martial arts tournament that inevitably ended up resulting in PvP matches. The first of these ...
3
votes
0answers
144 views

How to test a Campaign Setting's Content? [closed]

I'm working on a pretty expansive campaign setting of my own right now, and I'd like to test it. The question is: How do I do it? Notes & Details This setting is generic, intended to be adapted ...
45
votes
9answers
6k views

How to handle players who make unmotivated characters

I'm a relatively new GM, and I'm having trouble getting my (also new) players to create motivated characters. I don't mean that the players themselves are unmotivated, but the characters they create ...
6
votes
5answers
433 views

Dice results hidden from the players? [duplicate]

Does it make any sense to specifically hide the results of a player's dice roll from the said player? This method is based on my assumption that many actions do not immediately reveal themselves as ...
47
votes
9answers
6k views

Make the player roll even if there is no chance of success?

Let's say you're the GM and the player attempts to do something, but you already know that given his current stats, it's impossible for him to succeed at it. Do you make him roll anyway, or do you ...
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 ...
15
votes
4answers
1k views

Is there a subtle difference between increasing DC and adding detrimental modifiers?

Modifying difficulty works in various ways within and between various roleplaying systems. But generally speaking, it seems added difficulty either modifies the target number (altering the check) or ...
6
votes
2answers
447 views

My GM has created a Mary Sue NPC. What can I do to persuade the GM to make her less powerful?

My GM has created a Mary-Sue-type NPC. She is a demigod with thousands of years of experience, and was once an enemy, but is now an ally of the party, though really of only a few favourite players. ...
3
votes
2answers
340 views

Past tense for smite [closed]

Odd question. I got into a debate with someone over smite and its various forms of tense (future, past, and current). The dictionary says smote is past tense. For years I have been using smited. Is ...
7
votes
0answers
152 views

How to give a ''secret agent'' feel to a game? [closed]

I am planning a one on one Fate game and I want it to feel and play like a secret agent story (think James Bond, Bourne, Taken, etc. maybe even a hint of heist movies as well, aka Ocean's eleven) My ...
39
votes
5answers
3k views

How do I make engaging Man vs Wild encounters that aren't excercises in rolling dice?

I like wilderness adventures. My earliest games as a player (in AD&D 2e) featured wilderness adventures, and I really enjoyed them. I try to use them in my games (We're playing Pathfinder right ...
26
votes
6answers
5k views

How do I convey that players can solve problems in ways that don't involve punching them?

I'm currently running an exalted 2e campaign, and the party (three solars and one lunar) got beaten horribly by a single infernal who wasn't much more powerful than any single one of the PCs. This ...
4
votes
1answer
254 views

How should I role play a madman NPC? [closed]

As a DM I always try my best to include unique characters in my adventures. I wanted to use a lunatic character who has completely lost his mind as a sort of minor plot hook to introduce the players ...
22
votes
7answers
3k views

Helping players remember NPCs with uncommon names

In my game of The Dark Eye we play in the south of Aventuria, and thus the players come across many NPCs with names that are not that common (especially compared to common german names) and my players ...
43
votes
5answers
7k views

8 hour sessions require a meal! How can we incorporate meal breaks into the game itself?

Our group meets once a month for a long 8–10 hour session. There is always the moment at around 6–7 pm where we like to have dinner together. We have always just taken a break and came back to the ...
17
votes
9answers
926 views

How do I help my players stay engaged (with the game and each other) at the table?

I GM a long-running Pathfinder campaign, and for some time now I've been noticing our group fall into a familiar pattern of lethargy, where only one player engages with me at a time and the rest seem ...
17
votes
2answers
769 views

What is an SRD for?

Some RPGs have SRDs. Wikipedia tells me that they are System Reference Documents, but that it's largely a D&D thing, and doesn't explain why they exist. Only that they do. This answer suggests ...
11
votes
5answers
835 views

How can I discover if players would react positively to a change of tone for a game without them knowing of the change?

I'm currently running a game of Cyberpunk 2020 for a couple of friends. Things are incredibly silly so far and the group seems to really like it. To get an idea of what I've run them through so far: ...
25
votes
13answers
2k views

How to begin a role-playing scenario in medias res?

If I am running a pre-planned role-playing scenario, how and when can it work to start the session in medias res? The narrative technique can work so well in literature, film and video to increase ...
3
votes
2answers
408 views

How do I avoid making a taciturn character? [closed]

I've played several characters in different D&D systems, and they almost invariably end up being grumpy, by-the-book, mood-killing characters. I think part of the problem is that I haven't been ...
20
votes
7answers
1k views

How can I help my players be interested in others' characters?

In asking this question I realized something that I never have before: my players aren't interested in each other's characters. How can I, as DM but also game session organizer and facilitator, help ...
9
votes
4answers
492 views

Advice for Running the “In Between Times”

I usually run published adventures which may or may not be related to each other. During and in between the adventures there are often times when the two main facets of RPGs, story role-playing and ...
8
votes
7answers
3k views

How to deal with a GM who does not tell us everything?

The session We just arrived in a village and one of our member got ill and puked in the inn, so we went to the village doctor for help and he told us to go to continent Y where they could know how to ...
39
votes
13answers
6k views

How do I help my group stop derailing our GM’s set-piece battles?

My current roleplaying group has a problem in which the GM will plan an awesome setpiece, only for one of the players to accidentally and unknowingly derail it by performing what seems like a ...
23
votes
6answers
4k views

How to deal with time sensitive decisions?

Before I start I have looked and seen similar questions like this, but I don't think the answers truly address the issue I'm having with my group. I'm having an issue with my group with mostly new ...
8
votes
6answers
842 views

How do I encourage players to make characters appropriate to the tone and theme of a game?

I have been a GM for many years and have experience with many different systems and settings of different themes and moods, but my current group seems to be having issues I've never had to deal with ...
13
votes
5answers
777 views

Can you bypass travel by fast forwarding in your campaign?

Instead of having the players cover every single room in a dungeon or square of travel overland, is it permissible (or even warranted) to "fast forward" to a more interesting place, provided that ...
26
votes
9answers
3k views

How do you make loremaster characters more than just a GM mouthpiece?

You know, like how the Mouth of Sauron is just a mouthpiece and nothing more. Even his name was forgotten. Many a time, I have see this type of exchange when dealing with a lore master character ...