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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19
votes
5answers
3k views

How can I limit my players' options in character creation when the reason why is a spoiler?

I am currently preparing for a game of Vampire: The Masquerade. I've got a plot in the works that involves a Malkavian villain. Given the nature of the Malkavian Madness Network I want to exclude the ...
2
votes
1answer
83 views

Are there benchmarks for the “in-game time” to “out-game time” spent in combat for different games? [on hold]

I'm searching a scientific study that evaluated different combat systems in regards to the in-game out-game ratio. Or if there is currently non a dataset that would allow to create such a study.
11
votes
4answers
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 ...
-2
votes
0answers
139 views

How do I threaten characters who aren't afraid of the usual things? [on hold]

The threat of dying is a fundamental motivator for most PCs (and, frankly, most people in real life). You buy armor so people can't kill you, you buy weapons so you can kill people before they kill ...
20
votes
7answers
6k views

Fantasy economy: how to design a deep, sophisticated crafting system?

I want to construct an immersive, complex and functional fantasy economy in order to inform my world-building process. I'm interested in finding a working economic model and applying that into low-...
82
votes
22answers
17k views

How to deal with player MacGyver-ism?

Role playing is an excellent hobby to train your problem solving skills. You learn to look at situations from different view points (i.e. the characters) and you have various skills and resources at ...
14
votes
5answers
354 views

How can I moderate the flow of information in a discovery-focused campaign?

30K foot view The overarching structure of my current campaign relies a lot on discovery. My players are placed in an open world that they can explore more or less freely, but in order to make ...
29
votes
7answers
679 views

How do you get a new player engaged in an old campaign?

A group of three players had been going through my campaign for a year and a half, when a fourth player was added around level 15. The new player entered in media res: there was a ton of back story, ...
8
votes
3answers
163 views

Building Story as a Player

I would like to know how to help a new GM build story as a player. History I am playing a campaign with some friends and our GM is a new GM and we have been playing for about a month now. He has ...
4
votes
3answers
525 views

How to head off problem players before they start? [closed]

I am about to embark on my first campaign as a GM (D&D 5e if you think that might be relevant), and I will be leading this game for a whole slew of new players. Most of the players seem great, I ...
24
votes
6answers
1k views

When GMing in a high-tech game world how do you handle potentially disruptive tech?

This question stems from my Eclipse Phase campaign, but applies to any high-tech setting. While the setting books describe a wealth of technology, there are plenty of tools that are not listed. That's ...
9
votes
4answers
690 views

What can I do to help me remember details about the area the PCs are exploring?

I've recently started DMing Curse of Strahd. The players took the bait and ended up in the Death House. Our currently first and only session of this module ended with the party just reaching the third ...
17
votes
9answers
925 views

How do I help my players stay engaged (with the game and each other) at the table?

I GM a long-running Pathfinder campaign, and for some time now I've been noticing our group fall into a familiar pattern of lethargy, where only one player engages with me at a time and the rest seem ...
12
votes
5answers
1k views

Designing scenarios for infrequent, short sessions

I have GMed for a group of friends for over 10 years, mostly in the World of Darkness and Dresden Files universes. We really enjoy the character play, the storytelling and the occasional outburst of ...
20
votes
7answers
3k views

How to get players to do something without them feeling railroaded?

I'm DM'ing a play-by-post campaign and I'm at a point in the adventure where the group all meets for the first time. They've all had something stolen from them at the same time and saw a creature that ...
10
votes
3answers
2k views

How can I prevent players ruining immersion?

Me and some friends are thinking of starting a D&D adventure, the problem is some of my friends already played D&D and some didn't... I will not be the DM (one of the experienced players will ...
24
votes
5answers
3k views

What to do when you notice another player's mistake?

I happened to notice a mistake that one of the other players has been making a mistake that causes their character to be much more powerful than the rules dictate that they should be. I'm sure that ...
1
vote
0answers
146 views

“Trapped in a MMO” pen & paper? [closed]

I was planning on playing a MMO in a setting similar to Log Horizon (or Sword Art Online, but I was more thinking about Log Horizon). I know there's already a Log Horizon RPG somewhere, but the rules ...
35
votes
10answers
3k 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 clues....
12
votes
5answers
432 views

Is there a system for creating visuals of characters? [closed]

I'm thinking something like this, except for fantasy games like D&D or Pathfinder. Base models of various races (gnome, human, half-orc, whatever), each with compatible artwork of equipment. It ...
65
votes
11answers
9k views

Is saying “Your PC wouldn't do that” to a player denying their agency?

In a comment to my answer to What would be the side effects on a Druid of wearing metal armor?, @Kevin asked: "So, RAW a druid will never choose to wear metal armor or use metal shields, so the ...
13
votes
1answer
1k views

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 ...
10
votes
3answers
599 views

How to ‘meet in the middle’ with two different types of player?

I'm GMing a game for long-standing friends. I took over GMing duties last year, and in that time I've noticed that while everyone seems to be having fun and I can retain their interest, half of the ...
70
votes
14answers
5k views

How do I keep the game moving without undermining player agency?

In basically every game I've run or played, regardless of the system, I've encountered the same problem: things that should be quick decisions end up taking ten, twenty or even thirty minutes, and not ...
15
votes
4answers
1k views

Is there a subtle difference between increasing DC and adding detrimental modifiers?

Modifying difficulty works in various ways within and between various roleplaying systems. But generally speaking, it seems added difficulty either modifies the target number (altering the check) or ...
12
votes
7answers
459 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 ...
3
votes
0answers
115 views

How smart should the BBEG be? [closed]

So recently I've run into an issue with some of my players concerning the tactical efficiency of the bad-guy spellcasters. Specifically, we're playing a Pathfinder Adventure Path at mid-levels (they'...
51
votes
12answers
2k views

How do I make weather an important part of the game?

We're starting up a dark ages fantasy game, using some homebrew rules similar to D&D. As the GM, how can I make weather an important part of the game? To be clear, I'm not trying to just toss in ...
18
votes
5answers
2k views

How do I make a PC's religion help drive the story?

As a GM, how can I make a player-character's religion help drive the story? I'm going to be making up a local religion for the region that most of the party is from, and I'd like it to really matter ...
68
votes
22answers
3k views

How can I avoid players spending too much time planning?

Several times when I have played in or ran a game in which the players had an objective and reasonable resources, a lot of (real) time was spent trying to plan for every contingency. For example, ...
20
votes
11answers
972 views

How to help players settle down and focus?

We have a weekly game in the evenings; however, we often don't start playing for a few hours after we get together, if at all. This has been exacerbated recently by other events with the same people ...
13
votes
5answers
709 views

My players insist that I use “rule zero” for their benefit. How do I get them to accept that I don't want easier house rules?

I would like to know, why it makes practical sense to have rule zero. I'm not an experienced RPG player, but we play a lot of board games with friends, and what I noticed, is that players often want ...
21
votes
5answers
657 views

Is it plausible that characters can invent devices in a medieval setting, and how should one balance it?

To illustrate what I mean, let me give a quick example: In The Dark Eye, there is a Staff Ritual named "Hammer des Magus" or "Hammer of the Mage". Its effect is that everything non-organic you touch ...
15
votes
6answers
2k views

How to end a game session smoothly

After my first (failed) attempt at playing tabletop RPG two years ago, I'm going to give it another try. Still as a GM. One thing I didn't do quite well last time was ending the game. I didn't know ...
31
votes
5answers
5k views

How to explain to a new player that metagaming is encouraged in this group

I am part of a social board games group that meets most weekends to play short (max one session) games that usually involve role playing of some kind. Recently someone invited a friend from another, ...
63
votes
9answers
6k views

How to fix a terrible lapse in judgement

In the gaming group I run, I said at the very first day that this was going to be a very "adult" campaign. I told them I wasn't going to pull punches, and that the party would have to really think ...
117
votes
18answers
12k views

How to deal with players who like to use the local authorities to solve their problems

The problem I have a player in my group which tends to approach local authorities (may it be guards or churches) when facing a threat. He thinks that, given his role (a bard in a medieval world, so, ...
52
votes
17answers
8k views

Dealing with “fearless” players

I have some "badass" players in my group who do not fear death, 4 out of 6 to be precise, which causes problems for the rest players as they feel they are always getting dragged into trouble, trying ...
34
votes
6answers
3k views

How to deal with players not taking things seriously?

As both a player and GM I play with my group of players (and close friends) on multiple occasions and they will often make fun of either my characters, NPC or a specific situation and won't stop ...
2
votes
2answers
211 views

How can I provide a challenge for a powergamer? [duplicate]

One of the players in my game is the most fervent powergamer I've ever met. I know it's how he gets enjoyment from the game, and so far it doesn't intrude on the other players' enjoyment, so I've ...
49
votes
12answers
6k views

How to create a dungeon based on a realistic tomb, but still enjoyable to explore?

One of the typical location that is used as an excuse to build a dungeon is The Ancient Tomb (tm). I often struggle building dungeons that are credible tombs, in terms of rooms disposition and type ...
6
votes
5answers
1k 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 ...
20
votes
6answers
3k views

How to deal with a group reluctant to think and discuss? [closed]

Here at RPG.SE we form a quite specific bunch. We discuss social-contract or group-dynamics, we use terms like "player agency" or "emergent settings". We approach the hobby at an intellectual level, ...
14
votes
5answers
514 views

How do I get less attached to my characters?

In terms of my preferences, I tend to like a balance between story and dice-rolling, and write 1-2 page backstories for my characters. I also like a cinematic style where failure means a temporary ...
45
votes
9answers
6k views

How to handle players who make unmotivated characters

I'm a relatively new GM, and I'm having trouble getting my (also new) players to create motivated characters. I don't mean that the players themselves are unmotivated, but the characters they create ...
1
vote
2answers
104 views

Revising Armor Class for a Homebrew System [closed]

I have decided to create a Homebrew System loosely based off of Pathfinder. There is a Mechanic I would like to add in, but I haven't found any good references within the Exchange for: Revising the ...
6
votes
1answer
357 views

How can you handle PvP Combat so everyone has fun?

Recently my group's campaign in Anima: Beyond Fantasy took a turn towards a combination political intrigue/martial arts tournament that inevitably ended up resulting in PvP matches. The first of these ...
6
votes
5answers
433 views

Dice results hidden from the players? [duplicate]

Does it make any sense to specifically hide the results of a player's dice roll from the said player? This method is based on my assumption that many actions do not immediately reveal themselves as ...
21
votes
6answers
15k views

How do I build interesting dungeons? [closed]

I'm a new GM and I need to undestand how to build enjoyable locations. I don't get how to build interesting dungeons. For example, I need to explore a castle. But a castle is not as complicated as ...
3
votes
0answers
144 views

How to test a Campaign Setting's Content? [closed]

I'm working on a pretty expansive campaign setting of my own right now, and I'd like to test it. The question is: How do I do it? Notes & Details This setting is generic, intended to be adapted ...