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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10
votes
8answers
1k views

How can I make the daily lives of the PCs interesting?

I'm going to start a new campaign soon and my players and I are looking for a campaign that is somewhat close to the feel of the Buffy: The Vampire Slayer TV series. With that I mean a campaign that ...
10
votes
4answers
568 views

Guide to writing an RPG - Examples inline or at the end?

I am writing a guide on how to write a free RPG on my blog. The guide has a series of techniques and tips from inspiration to playtest. I have been writing an RPG as I go along as an example of using ...
10
votes
2answers
296 views

Simulating grenade explosions in a stairwell

What would be a fair way to adjudicate the detonation of a grenade in an enclosed space, such as a stairwell? I have used the rules for blowback in games such as Shadowrun before, but recently ran a ...
10
votes
4answers
497 views

In a high fantasy setting, what changes when you restrict player magical item purchases?

In every game that I've played or run, the players have been able to easily buy or craft any magic item that they could pay for. What are the pitfalls of this kind of unlimited magic freedom system? ...
10
votes
3answers
839 views

How can I emulate TV Shows with only 2-3 main characters?

I watch a lot of TV. Probably too much. Shows like Buffy the vampire slayer and Firefly have a whole slew of characters, which is perfect for a gaming party as you fill in the slots to the point you ...
10
votes
3answers
377 views

How do I make a story based campaign revolve around a megadungeon?

I'd really like to make a more story-heavy setting in my next fantasy campaign, but I also love megadungeons. What is a good way to use a megadungeon to tell a story instead of as a place for ...
10
votes
3answers
280 views

Looking for suggestions for quick character generation

I am considering setting up a semi-casual zombie-apocalypse game in which the player's characters will be based on "normal" people. [Rather than heroic characters.] This is not a game that I expect ...
10
votes
2answers
314 views

Atmosphere of alienation and horror — halloween game

It is Halloween soon and I am planing to run a horror game featuring zombies. Lots of zombies. In fact, hordes of zombies. The setting is akin to Walking Dead than Shawn of the Dead and set in the ...
10
votes
2answers
474 views

Advice for writing and publishing a setting/extended campaign for an existing system

I have been playing and GMing rpgs for a number of years, and a little while ago I had what I believe to be a really good idea for an original campaign setting for Savage Worlds, my system of choice. ...
10
votes
2answers
512 views

How can I introduce Life Paths to character generation?

The first time I played* Traveller, I found myself blown away by the detailed character creation, featuring year by year (4 year chunks actually) break down of how your character got where they are ...
10
votes
3answers
468 views

Water and electricity spells - RL physics approach

I like to master (and play) in a world I can believe (even fantastic ones). This question comes from D&D3.5 but applies to every game where reality collides with things you can't (usually) do. So ...
9
votes
7answers
498 views

How well does “attractiveness” work as a stat?

Does attractiveness as a stat or attribute work in an RPG setting? I know it was included in oWoD, but then was trashed later on in nWoD. Why? What effect does it have on player choices? Are they ...
9
votes
3answers
720 views

How do I deal with two players who dislike each other and disrupt the game?

I have lately had a problem with some players in a campaign I am running. Basically, they don't get on well together, for various reasons. I don't really understand it, but then again, I am looking in ...
9
votes
4answers
635 views

Resources for Creating a Home-Brewed Alchemy System Using Real World Herbs?

I am in the preliminary steps of creating an Herb-gathering / Alchemy system for my OSR game. I will be using real world herbs, as I feel that's more interesting than any list of fantasy herbs that I ...
9
votes
4answers
332 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 ...
9
votes
5answers
270 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 ...
9
votes
5answers
364 views

Running a campaign alternating GMs every session

The group with which I usually roleplay has a consistent problem: someone will say "Hey, I want to run a campaign in X system with Y setting." Everyone will make characters (which can take quite a ...
9
votes
4answers
220 views

How can a GM aid switching between the immersion and the meta level?

In recent adventures, I've often employed and supported using the meta level (i.e. thinking, joking and referencing about the game's contents with reference to our cultural context) for everyone's ...
9
votes
2answers
268 views

What should be considered when deciding if and how to use props?

GMs and players who have experience with props in their games, what do you think about when considering props to use and how to use them? How might props be used to further the game, instead of ...
9
votes
2answers
842 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
4answers
271 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 ...
9
votes
1answer
182 views

Transitioning from a long running successful campaign to a new game with the same group of players

I have recently completed running an extremely successful, long running campaign that lasted over two and a half years. All the players absolutely loved it, and by the end they were each deeply ...
8
votes
7answers
730 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
671 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
473 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
376 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
296 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
173 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
792 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
543 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
401 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
3answers
220 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
249 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
3answers
233 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
2answers
665 views

How to get to know my players' expectations?

I am soon starting a new game with a bunch of new people that I have never played with - and some of them I barely spoken to. I am going to be the GM and will introduce them into the setting that they ...
7
votes
3answers
412 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
401 views

Ways to minimize the negative effects of miniature use on immersion

Quite a number of games recommend and support the use of miniatures for combat to provide players a tactical view and tactical options. However—besides obviously having its distinct advantages—using ...
7
votes
4answers
419 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
3answers
511 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 ...
7
votes
4answers
934 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
360 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
375 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
388 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
312 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
4answers
242 views

Is there any book dealing with Dungeon Design?

I got this old book from a friend, titled "Central Casting: Dungeons" yesterday night. My friend is my player and he's noticed how much I struggle to make decent dungeons. Though the book is actually ...
7
votes
2answers
195 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
152 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
118 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
476 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
4answers
705 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 ...