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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239
votes
23answers
16k views

How do I get my PCs to not be a bunch of murderous cretins?

Most RPGs teach you that casual violence is the best solution to all your in-game problems. This is so well established a part of the vast majority of RPGs that there are entire satire RPGs like Greg ...
9
votes
4answers
299 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 ...
21
votes
5answers
1k views

How do I signal that alternate tactical end states are possible?

Question inspired by "Redefining Combat" on Clan of the Gray Wolf: It provides an excellent list inspired by army manuals of alternate tactical goals for a scenario: Here are some tactical tasks ...
2
votes
2answers
213 views

Useful mental frameworks during character creation [closed]

This post on Greywulf's Lair explores the concept of a one axis sliding scale for character building: One thing that all of these choices brings is the idea of a sliding scale. With 4e D&D, ...
28
votes
9answers
2k views

How do you discourage “player knowledge” as a GM?

As a trivial random encounter is winding down, a player thinks "That was too easy... The GM wouldn't give us an encounter that doesn't give XP," and starts searching for hidden bad guys or other ...
17
votes
5answers
856 views

Does anyone know a good system for building a city?

We're beginning a Geist game and we talked about how interesting it would be to build a city together as a group so we really felt like it was our home town. I've heard Damnation City is good, but ...
36
votes
3answers
648 views

How do I build a sense of wonder in my games?

I guess this is part three of a series of questions, with part I being on building tension, and part II being on building comedy. Greg Stafford has talked of his primary motivation as a gamemaster ...
50
votes
10answers
2k views

What characterizes a “Modern” role playing game or gaming system?

I recently read about D&D clones in another question (I forget where I saw it) and noticed comments referring to gaming systems that were clones of D&D as "Old School" while others ...
28
votes
10answers
1k views

What are the advantages and disadvantages of develop in play (DIP) compared to develop at the start (DAS) character generation?

Originally, Are you really DIPpy?1 What are the advantages and disadvantages to developing your character in play (DIP) compared to developping at the start (DAS)? What experiences have you had with ...
21
votes
4answers
438 views

How do I alert the rest of the party that a character within the party has stolen a major plot device?

I'm running a campaign in which a rogue has stolen a powerful necromantic focus (and is keeping it outside of the box that protects the world from it.) The party doesn't know, and I'm looking for a ...
13
votes
6answers
659 views

Regional Resource Management and Trade Rules

I've been looking at TSR's old Birthright setting lately, searching for an easy way to quantify trade between political entities. I'm thinking about ways for a city or region or planet to develop ...
10
votes
6answers
437 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?
19
votes
8answers
616 views

Inventory: How can you carry adequate equipment without bringing a caravan?

In our campaign, we try to stay somewhat realistic. Unfortunately, we always find ourselves in one of two situations: Lacking equipment to survive in basic adventure circumstances. Burdened by ...
18
votes
8answers
435 views

What are some proven methods of generating attachment to locations/objects in a campaign?

It is a truism that a GM can never really be sure what a group of players will do, or which NPCs they are going to grow fond of. Places and objects, however... are they the same? In games like Star ...
35
votes
8answers
2k views

What ways are there to anger the PC's without angering the players?

Since I got so many good ideas on my last question, here's part 2: What ways are there to really anger my PC's -- give them that sense of unbridled rage and fury -- without pissing the players off ...
7
votes
5answers
420 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 ...
18
votes
8answers
432 views

Practices to mitigate player characters' conflicting agendas

You have a campaign that provides, by design, a high level of freedom for the players to pick the story threads, sides and whatnot for themselves. In the long run, a conflict arises: some player ...
15
votes
4answers
766 views

High-Tech Dungeon Crawling in Hard Sci-Fi

I've started playing Eclipse Phase with a group of friends. Most of them have a Dungeons and Dragon history, and love getting magic items and such. I've already made up my mind to take the party on ...
13
votes
4answers
530 views

How can I depict three dimensional combats?

The dragon hovers 2 squares over the paladin, the ranger is perched 5 squares up in a tree, and the fighter is magically flying 3 squares off the ground. Aerial minions soar all about. In tactically ...
11
votes
7answers
1k views

Anyone know of a good generic moral/alignment tracking system?

More specifically, system for tracking a characters morals/alignment, like Humanity in Vampire or darkside points in Star Wars. I'm looking for a system that's either designed to be generic, or could ...
28
votes
9answers
667 views

How do you track the PCs' reputation?

I'm currently planning a game with a significant amount of intrigue. I envision the players undertaking actions and adventures that will endear them to one group, and anger others. It occurs to me ...
14
votes
5answers
800 views

Semi-random name generator

Does anyone know of a good online name generator that can be set up to create random names with culture-specific flavour? (Meaning, for example, names that sound like Russian, Norwegian etc etc.)
14
votes
5answers
1k views

A summary of visibility?

Does anyone have a pointer to a good (plain and simple, quick to use) guide to visibility ranges, or could someone please give me (us) a brief, basic summary of visibility? (How far can you see on a ...
85
votes
20answers
4k views

How do you help players not focus on the rules?

Background - My Group's Gaming Style When I GM, I run games loosely from a rules standpoint, and do not feel bound to adhere to what the rulebook says when it doesn't make sense in a given situation. ...
17
votes
10answers
2k views

Glossary of Common RPG Terminology [closed]

This thread is a Community Wiki to define terminology specific to the world of RPGs which outsiders looking to come in may not be familiar with. This question is for terms which are not unique to a ...
16
votes
9answers
552 views

What are the pros, cons, and hitches of having only the players roll dice?

I ran a variant of DnD3.5 a few years a go with this house rule Player Only Rolls. The basic of the idea was that the referee never rolls at all. The players roll to attack vers the creatures AC. They ...
27
votes
8answers
651 views

How can I encourage a style of play where enhancing others' fun is the most important goal?

Let's assume that we can break play styles into two categories: "selfish play," where you want to have fun, and "less-selfish play," where you want to have fun but you want everyone else at the table ...
19
votes
8answers
3k views

How can my character coerce uncooperative player characters?

Occasionally in games we find ourselves in a situation where the player characters might not want to co-operate even if their players do. How do you handle the party coercing those characters into ...
10
votes
3answers
326 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 ...
6
votes
2answers
770 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?
17
votes
9answers
1k views

What real world skills can RPGs improve?

What real world skills can be improved by playing Role-playing games? What skills have you or others in your experience improved through gaming?
12
votes
8answers
2k views

What are some of the major challenges in playing an Evil Character? [closed]

What are some of the major challenges in playing an Evil Character (whether that's a formal alignment or not) in a co-operative party game, and likewise, what are some of the reasons many groups ...
14
votes
9answers
1k views

What games have good treatments of sub-Saharan Africa, or fantasy analogues?

I'm aware of Atlas Games' Nyambe, and I read the Kindred of the Ebony Kingdom sourcebook that White Wolf released for Vampire some years back. Which other books treat the area well, or at least as a ...
28
votes
14answers
1k views

Do role-playing games have to be fun?

There is a hypothesis that entertaining activities (like role-playing games) should be "fun." Quotes like "It doesn't matter, as long as you're having fun" and "The rules aren't important as long as ...
32
votes
14answers
3k views

How to deal effectively with a player unable to lose?

How do you effectively handle a player that overreacts to any loss of his character (level drain, death) ?
10
votes
8answers
537 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 ...
36
votes
12answers
2k views

How do I create a great fantasy villain that inspires the party to rally against them?

In my early years of GMing it was simple enough to say that the badguys were evil and that was all the justification we needed. They are attacking the village because they are evil, they are stealing ...
13
votes
10answers
1k views

Do you use character sheets? Or, do you use a blank sheet of paper? [closed]

Also, what are the advantages and disadvantages for each approach?