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
2answers
447 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
945 views

How to effectively run a sandbox campaign in a weekly 2hrs timeframe

Premise I'm a relative new GM who only run a 2 years long heavily railroaded fantasy campaign that went south for various problems and that I decided to drop. Now I started to run a sci-fi sandbox ...
10
votes
2answers
721 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
503 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
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
557 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
5answers
307 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
4answers
365 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
4answers
267 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
5answers
435 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
333 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
446 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
7answers
535 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 ...
9
votes
3answers
451 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 ...
9
votes
2answers
450 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
749 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
311 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
237 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 ...
9
votes
3answers
304 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
873 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
4answers
605 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
669 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
509 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 ...
8
votes
4answers
594 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
552 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
2answers
405 views

How to run short sessions?

I am currently DMing for a group of people whom I only recently met. We've been playing for some time, but we have a bit of trouble getting together regularly, but since everyone seems to enjoy that, ...
8
votes
3answers
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 ...
8
votes
1answer
567 views

Is there an online random setting generator?

Ages ago, when I was still pretty new to the whole role-playing thing, I came across an online app for generating random settings for RPGs (or novels, comics, whatever). I've searched for it several ...
8
votes
3answers
241 views

How can I help the GM make investigation engaging for the whole party?

Inspired by How can I make investigation engaging for the whole party?, this is roughly the same question but from the opposite side of the fence. As a player, how can I make the investigations more ...
8
votes
4answers
550 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 ...
8
votes
3answers
274 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
263 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 ...
7
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 ...
7
votes
4answers
763 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
11answers
610 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 ...
7
votes
3answers
423 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
3answers
381 views

How do I get a fairly new player interested in playing longer adventures?

My girlfriend is fairly new to roleplaying, having tried a bit of LARP as murder parties (one INSMV and one XFiles-style game, she loved each one), and playing in a Cthulhu campaign I have been GMing ...
7
votes
3answers
720 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
5answers
513 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 ...
7
votes
4answers
1k 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
482 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
5answers
436 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
2answers
265 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 ...
7
votes
2answers
224 views

How to get others interested in restarting a very old campaign?

I am a part of a pretty regular little RP group, we have played several games together, and every person has had a turn GMing on or another game. However, over time, life happens, other things get in ...
7
votes
6answers
720 views

Should there be in-game consequences for taking too long to plan? [closed]

As a player in a D&D 5e campaign, our party was presented with a battlefield with several different environmental features (in this case, a goblin cave entrance with an alarm system and two ...
7
votes
4answers
453 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 ...
7
votes
1answer
458 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
2answers
160 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
243 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
132 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 ...