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.

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9
votes
3answers
223 views

How can I resolve dangerous journeys without playing out every battle in detail?

Here's the situation: The PCs are investigating a mystery far from town, in the dangerous wilderness. Against my expectations, they decide to go back to town, recruit some help, and return to continue ...
9
votes
2answers
701 views

How do you run a political campaign?

Although it's a fair way off yet there's a decent chance that my campaign is heading towards becoming very political. I've considered running political games before, but it seems like it would ...
9
votes
2answers
526 views

Where can I find a horror adventure/campaign writing guide?

I seem to remember an old (ebook format?) book I read, with instructions on how to write a quality adventure based in the Ravenloft universe. The book was distinguished by writing in a general style, ...
8
votes
7answers
698 views

How do I set the base price in a barter system?

I'm currently working on a homebrew system and one concept I was intending to incorperate is that there is no in-game currency; items are traded using a barter system. The thing is, how do I set a ...
8
votes
7answers
636 views

Cyberpunk chronicle… any ideas? [closed]

I want to run a Cyberpunk chronicle using a system that I designed, but have run out of ideas. I don't want to employ the clichés, like the AI who's gone sentient and want to merge his mind with ...
8
votes
4answers
443 views

What can I do to make playing a long D&D session more comfortable?

Right now, we play D&D every other Saturday and spend between eight and eleven hours playing in one sitting. We usually take a break for food, but eat it at the gaming table (Our wives sometimes ...
8
votes
3answers
335 views

How do I keep track of “hidden” in game variables without getting bogged down?

I'm currently designing a campaign that has a monumental amount of in-game variables to keep track of, which I'll need to check every time a certain kind of event happens. Reducing the number of ...
8
votes
4answers
315 views

Are there any problems with spies amongst the players?

As GM, I'm planning to, at some point, invite a friend from out of town who plays RPGs, to join our game with a appropriately levelled character. This character (and the new player) is actually a spy ...
8
votes
4answers
281 views

Pros and Cons of giving my party a spell based on the Portal Gun from the Portal video game series?

I'm considering giving my party's mage a Portal Spell as a way to spice up our campaign. The catch is they can only use it twice per day, the target surface has to be flat, clearly visible by the ...
8
votes
3answers
150 views

How do I make players more comfortable in an unusual historical setting?

I run a lot of games/write systems set in specific historical/cultural contexts, because I like rpgs as a way to explore them and think they provide a great sense of place. However, I tend not to ...
8
votes
3answers
641 views

Role playing/plot focused one shot sessions

I am faced with a challenge with creating a one shot session for a couple of friends. From experience I can see that it is difficult to indulge players into setting, plot, world, characters in a ...
8
votes
7answers
507 views

Giving Players the Game They Want

Currently I am running a game of Legend of the Five Rings, 4th Edition that is an extension of my 3rd Ed campaign. The current setting is a courtly endeavor, which dredges up certain problems. When ...
8
votes
7answers
318 views

How can I encourage my players to give me plot hooks?

Related: How can I help a player craft a backstory that gives me plot hooks? This question is about generating new plot hooks during play, rather than part of character generation, however. I ...
8
votes
4answers
248 views

How do I get players to assign alternate tactical goals?

Based on my prior question on signalling alternate end states and Redefining Combat, how do I present PCs with the ability to assign their own tactical goals beyond "clear" to a hostile environment ...
8
votes
3answers
202 views

Introducing a complex game world to players unfamiliar with its fiction whilst still hitting the ground running with character creation?

I am preparing to start up a Hellfrost game using the Savage Worlds system. Although I've run Hellfrost before, it has always been for people who are already familiar with its fiction and fluff. In ...
8
votes
2answers
239 views

Mechanics and methods for playing a quantum-superposition of worlds

I'm looking for game mechanics and story telling methods that convey the atmosphere that characters don't just live in one world, but in a multiverse adhering to something similar to the many-worlds ...
8
votes
2answers
220 views

Methods for round-robin style DM'ing?

Round-robin storytelling has been around for a while, and something I have always been interested in experimenting with a variation of DM'ing where players take turns becoming the DM in the same ...
8
votes
3answers
220 views

Good source for a dark/weird dryad concept?

I'm working on an adventure that involves obtaining the wood from a dryad's tree, and would like to present the dryad as something other than the typical depiction. I have some ideas, but am curious ...
7
votes
4answers
660 views

Do critical failures always act as event triggers?

In all the games I remember playing, critical failures have always, in every case triggered an event. This critical failure is due to exceptionally bad rolls on dice, either a 'natural one' in DnD or ...
7
votes
3answers
404 views

How can I stat up a troll in 5 different systems?

I'm developing a small, system-agnostic setting, which will be published in several mediums (blog, PDF, and paper). I'd like to stat up several of the most unusual creatures for popular systems: ...
7
votes
4answers
392 views

How do I run a dungeon crawl, communicating how various rooms/passages look?

I have never run a dungeon crawl before, such as the one linked here. How do you tell the players what they see? Some examples from older ROG books I have have description in the form of "You come to ...
7
votes
4answers
664 views

How do I deal with my players not roleplaying at all? [duplicate]

I know I should "let them have fun" or something, but the game isn't really working. I'm GMing a pathfinder campaign, but this isn't system-dependent. My players aren't roleplaying at all. Ok, they ...
7
votes
4answers
326 views

Recommendations for Arctic Campaign Sites/Settings

What are some books that people would recommend for quality material on an arctic / polar campaign setting / region / site? System neutral, though specifically in the traditional D&D medieval / ...
7
votes
3answers
351 views

How to play a Templar Knight

I am looking to create a character that is a member of a monastic order of Templar Knights. The game setting is a historical one set around the 1200s. Thus, I am looking at source material for ...
7
votes
5answers
373 views

Game-within-a-Game Cross-Genre Ideas

I've started running the starter adventure on Eclipse Phase. I have an idea for our first full-length campaign, but it's a little complicated. I need a (relatively) simple game to play the part of a ...
7
votes
1answer
279 views

How to describe combat with brutes

How can I describe combat where player characters face multiple opponents? For example, in 7th Sea there are up to six brutes in a squad. I'd like to have some inspiration for how to describe the ...
7
votes
3answers
201 views

How do I, as a player transition my group from Play in Person to Play by Post?

We've just finished our 8 week slot at my local university gaming society, and I feel like events were unresolved. I'd like to transition the game into a play by post option on the society forum so we ...
7
votes
2answers
185 views

Improving combat when playing on IRC

A group I play with via IRC seems to have a serious problem keeping combat interesting: the medium inherently slows things down, descriptions of attacks and defenses don’t have the same ...
7
votes
2answers
149 views

Best practices for balancing separate enemies in an encounter?

I'd like to run a game where a Mage has killed a necromancer, who has re-animated himself and is after the mage. The mage himself is evil. The necromancer makes up the majority of the session. The ...
7
votes
2answers
113 views

How to handle miniatures on a forum-based game?

When running a web forum game of an RPG that requires miniatures (such as D&D 4e), what's the most elegant way to handle a combat grid? In particular: Players should be able to change the map ...
6
votes
9answers
447 views

What are ways player characters could awake an ancient evil? [closed]

Almost any epic level threat will do, but he/she/it should arise as a direct/indirect result of player character meddling (thereby making them responsible to destroy it). Preferable if PCs have a ...
6
votes
5answers
625 views

How I figure what dice I need to attain a certain curve? [closed]

I want to make character stats that fit within certain bell curves depending on choices during character creation (for example race, gender, class, sprokets amount, whatever). And I am wondering how ...
6
votes
11answers
366 views

Simpler ways to keep track of the player's wealth/purchasing power?

I'm about to run my first game of D&D as Dungeon Master. I've played a few sessions as a character, and one of the things that always annoyed me was keeping track of how much money we had. The ...
6
votes
3answers
446 views

Where do the standard racial tropes for Dwarves come from? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Where does the D&D concept of a dwarf come from? In all traditional fantasy RPGs I've heard of or played, Dwarves are a mining/smithing race of short, anti-magic ...
6
votes
4answers
312 views

Game design differences between contested rolls and general attack rolls in combat

Background: Our group does D&D 3.5/4e one week, and a different system the other week (we've done GURPS and Serenity, and I'm going to be running Mutants and Masterminds 3rd edition). I've ...
6
votes
2answers
772 views

Polyhedral dice statistics program, spreadsheet, or document [closed]

Does anyone know of a program that does statistical analysis on dice rolls, or a document of tables for the same? I am looking mainly for statistics other than d6 (which are very common in most ...
6
votes
3answers
190 views

Representing different languages in online games

What are methods for clearly representing different languages (e.g. Elven, Dwarven, Deep Speech) in text-based online play? We have tried footnotes and are using colored text (green for Elven, brown ...
6
votes
4answers
487 views

Bringing a pre-made character to the table or not; pros and cons?

Sometimes a player will have a pre-made character and bring it along to the first gaming session. Other times they will make the character at the table. Sometimes you get a mixed bag. As both a player ...
6
votes
3answers
207 views

What is the feasability of having substitute players?

I'm currently playing in a D&D:Next game using Roll20. The group is supposed to meet every Friday night, but invariably, somebody can't make it. If more than just one or two people are ...
6
votes
3answers
197 views

Resources on undeads and their creation

I'm searching for resources on undeads in general and their creation, as I want to develop a new realm for my homebrew setting, in which necromancy and magical-alchemical research on undeads, ...
6
votes
5answers
276 views

Modern or future polar horror adventure

I'm looking for a contemporary or sci-fi horror adventure (for any such rpg), set in a polar – Arctic or Antarctic or alternate planet – environment. Mind you, I'll be trying to come up with my own ...
6
votes
0answers
180 views

How do I effectively portray multiple characters in conversation? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: How do you handle verbal exchanges between NPCs without taking the PCs out of the spotlight? You should be familiar with this set up: All the characters are at a party ...
5
votes
4answers
305 views

Building Campaigns to Characters' Strengths and Weaknesses

When I GM a game, I try to make sure that the skills the characters have can be used. If someone takes "Music", then I make sure there's a point in the campaign where someone needs to impress someone ...
5
votes
1answer
255 views

Powergamer to Roleplayer [closed]

I would classify myself as a powergamer. Most of the characters that I make are carefully optimized and crafted. However, the most "Fun" I ever had in a game was when my character was not optimized ...
5
votes
2answers
197 views

What's a good source for a fantasy common-magic setting?

I'm looking to create a new culture in my current campaign that lives in what I'll call a common-magic area (for whatever reason, in my case a McGuffin, there's heaps of magic), and I want to reflect ...
5
votes
2answers
162 views

Balance between planning and improvising [closed]

What is the ideal balance between planning out an entire session of playing, complete with music scoring and conversation detailing, and winging the entire thing? As an example, I'll cite one of the ...
5
votes
9answers
695 views

Where to find an adventure with a crashed spaceship

I'm running a fantasy sandbox game and would like to include a crashed spaceship as an adventure location in the game. Two of the player characters are humans with some scifi tech and they are ...
5
votes
2answers
418 views

What are the pros and cons of having a party leader?

What are the pros and cons of having a player party leader, or leaders? Is it more fit for some situations than others?
5
votes
2answers
164 views

Roll20 reminded me of a similar program; help me identify it? [duplicate]

I was in chat here on the site and saw mention of an online tabletop gaming website called roll20.net. I have checked it out and it looks pretty promising for online play as it works in the browser, ...
5
votes
1answer
364 views

What point-buy systems of magic (like psionics in 3e D&D) are there? [closed]

The RPG I'm currently developing is a d20 model, skill driven rules system. The mechanics of spellcasting center around spell effects and point cost for stamina (a universal energy pool for all ...