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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11
votes
6answers
429 views

What are the pitfalls when swapping characters between players?

I have a plot hook that I want to use where the entire player character team gets gassed and wake up feeling "different". I want to simulate that by swapping characters between the players for one ...
11
votes
5answers
394 views

How to simulate distraction during battle without actually distracting the players?

Here's my situation. In an encounter I have coming up next week, an epic aerial battle between an Angel and a powerful necromancer rages overhead a group of low-level PC's. Attempting to assist in ...
11
votes
3answers
429 views

Stopping rule questions from overrunning encounters

A common problem I observe is that the players start flooding the GM with questions regarding rules during an encounter (within and outside their respective turns). From the perspective of a GM, how ...
11
votes
2answers
339 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 ...
11
votes
3answers
356 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 ...
11
votes
2answers
2k 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 ...
11
votes
1answer
1k views
+200

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 ...
11
votes
5answers
795 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: ...
11
votes
8answers
468 views

Using Boardgames or Card Games to improve GMing or Playing [closed]

Do you know of any cases of successfully using props or cards from board games/card games (all kinds) to run a campaign, ease preparing for a session or the playing itself? I am interested both in ...
11
votes
2answers
547 views

Water and electricity spells - RL physics approach [closed]

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 ...
11
votes
6answers
393 views

Mechanical ways to handle dark power temptation

In many settings there are light and dark versions of powers. Dark force and light force in Star Wars, Defilers and Preservers in Dark Sun and so on. In this post I will use the term dark power for ...
11
votes
2answers
851 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
10answers
1k views

Is It OK To Sic Assassins On My PCs?

L5R has the most specific example in my immediate memory. In one game, the players were in a diplomatic situation and a Shosuro Shinobi (ninja) was sneaking around to stir the pot. This was a ...
10
votes
6answers
864 views

Encouraging players to not cheat the item purchase system?

I'm running a campaign for a group of friends who - while not new to roleplaying - are new to the idea of a generic resource points system. For context only (still system-agnostic advice), I'm talking ...
10
votes
12answers
953 views

How do I design a Christmas-themed horror adventure?

'Tis soon the season and I want to treat my players to a Christmas-themed adventure as part of my ongoing horror campaign. I want to keep the horror element, but I don't mind mixing in a bit of humor ...
10
votes
6answers
471 views

How to deal with broken combos? [closed]

Based on Rob Schwalb's article Stuck in the Middle: How do you, as a player or DM, deal with choosing or forbidding broken combos in your character, group, and system?
10
votes
6answers
744 views

How to keep the group engaged when the party is split?

I recently pitched a game to my group, to which they were receptive. However they pointed out some problems I would have to solve before the game started. The Pitch The game is set in the ...
10
votes
8answers
549 views

Can a high charisma/social score save you from acting like a bastard?

I'm talking about PC.-vs.-NPC interaction; presumably, PC-PC interaction ignores 'social score' almost always (although counterexamples may exist). This has been a real life 'issue' in one of my ...
10
votes
4answers
867 views

Is it a good idea to give our GM ideas/puzzles/riddles for his campaign?

Is it a good idea to give our GM ideas/puzzles/riddles for his campaign? If it is, how do I bring up my idea without offending our GM? I don't want him to think that I don't like his campaign or ...
10
votes
4answers
401 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 ...
10
votes
4answers
334 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 ...
10
votes
4answers
770 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
3answers
2k 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
571 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
576 views

How do I teach players to engage with a game in a rules-first way?

Among other ways, I often like to play in a rules-centric way1, where the rules are the "physics" of reality and dictate what can and cannot be true within the fiction. I especially like this for PvP ...
10
votes
7answers
623 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 ...
10
votes
2answers
556 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
1answer
283 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 ...
10
votes
2answers
859 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 ...
9
votes
7answers
961 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 ...
9
votes
7answers
1k 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 ...
9
votes
7answers
621 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
4answers
315 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
4answers
357 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 ...
9
votes
4answers
477 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 ...
9
votes
4answers
817 views

How to create meaningful relationships with NPCs

How do I help the PCs to create meaningful relationships with NPCs? Maybe it is a result of my group playing too many one-dimensional adventures trying to find whatever MacGuffin they are after each ...
9
votes
2answers
495 views

Do birds cry? Or, how to play interactions with intelligent non-humanoid beings

Currently I have a campaign where the highly capable antagonist has a weak spot: A very beautiful, highly intelligent, jocund and unfortunately pretty spoiled raven which is also able to speak. The ...
9
votes
7answers
831 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 ...
9
votes
4answers
484 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 ...
9
votes
4answers
654 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 ...
9
votes
4answers
345 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
5answers
427 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 ...
9
votes
3answers
338 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 ...
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 ...
8
votes
4answers
688 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
5answers
790 views

Keeping a group together in a Zombie RPG

Being fairly new to GMing I am having trouble with keeping my PC's from turning on each other, and every thing in sight. It doesn't matter how much I punish them for killing obvious allies, or ...
8
votes
6answers
812 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 ...
8
votes
4answers
759 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 ...
8
votes
4answers
711 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 ...
8
votes
5answers
2k 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 ...