176
votes
23answers
8k 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 ...
95
votes
15answers
7k views

Who created the idea of Experience Points?

The idea of XP in all its many forms has been around for quite some time. What designer had the idea of quantizing success and advancement through a numerical method? What game was it for? The ...
92
votes
44answers
10k views

What tools are useful to organize a GM's campaign notes?

There are plenty of tools available to organize campaign notes. I've tried 4x6 cards, files on my computer, notebooks, and more. I have thought of trying mind mapping software such as FreeMind, note ...
85
votes
17answers
5k views

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

Preface I apologize beforehand if this question has been asked before, I was not able to find one, except this, which may be related: Dealing with players who try to run from everything?. Also I'd ...
85
votes
5answers
42k views

Differences between D&D 3.5 and Pathfinder

What are some of the rule changes that Pathfinder brings in comparison to D&D 3.5? I am curious what changes were made so I can explain to my group what it has to offer.
80
votes
10answers
5k views

How does a player correct a GM mistake without being a rules lawyer or pushover?

You are playing in a game. The GM says that you need to roll a given roll. The rules clearly state something different. I realize one solution is to go along to get along, then tell the GM after ...
70
votes
19answers
2k 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. ...
70
votes
11answers
8k views

How many people does it take to steal a Star Destroyer?

The stats for the Imperial class Star Destroyer in West End Games's Star Wars RPG list the skeleton crew for the vessel as 5,000 people. They define the skeleton crew as "the absolute minimum number ...
67
votes
18answers
3k views

How do I not cheapen death, while also respecting my players' time?

I DM for a group of very busy people, for whom the commitment of several hours a week is a real sacrifice: that’s a sizeable chunk of their free time for the week that I’m asking for. ...
63
votes
9answers
13k views

I'm at a loss with “Dungeons and Dragons.” How does one play it, anyway?

I'm no gamer at all, so this could be like a very silly, basic question for you guys. The thing is that I always read about "Dungeons and Dragons" game (not the video game, but the normal game to play ...
62
votes
19answers
7k views

I'm creating an original setting for D&D—where do I start?

Creating a new fantasy setting for D&D is daunting but I don't want to use one of the published settings. I have a blank piece of paper in front of me and a whole world to create. My friends want ...
60
votes
16answers
2k views

Total Party Kill - What do I do as a GM?

Your party has had a streak of bad luck and/or made a poor choice and are now staring down death. The rules were followed to the letter and loss is assured. How do you handle this as a GM? Does ...
57
votes
10answers
9k views

As a man, how can I roleplay a woman better?

I rarely play characters of the opposite sex, and I find that I'm not very good at it, at least in my own estimation. This is hampering when I GM because it limits my range, and makes things hard ...
57
votes
35answers
28k views

Looking for solo (one person) RPGs - do they exist?

I am looking to find out if solo RPGs exist, and which you'd recommend. I do not mean "one-on-one" 1 player + 1 GM games. I really mean "1 person." Update: After receiving two (fine, up-voted) ...
56
votes
13answers
5k views

Where can I find other RPG players?

I'd really like to learn how to play pen-and-paper RPGs. I know that it takes a few players to actually sit down and play, but I'm not at all sure where to find more gamers. How do I find existing ...
54
votes
16answers
2k views

How can I help my PCs remember clues that they found?

I'm a new DM running my first adventure (it's D&D 4.0 but that's not relevant to my question). I've heard of the "three clue rule", that there should be at least three independent pointers to any ...
53
votes
10answers
6k views

Betrayed by my GM; how can I respond?

I was introduced to D&D three months ago and really delved into the world. I had so much fun creating my character and tried very hard to roleplay him differently from myself. I did my very best ...
52
votes
15answers
7k views

Why does everyone carry a 10' pole?

Based on this comment over on CRPG Addict: No adventuring party is complete without a ten foot pole. ... Jason, but WHY? In God's name, WHAT IS IT FOR?! What is a 10 foot pole used for ...
52
votes
21answers
2k 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, ...
52
votes
21answers
2k views

What approaches are there to lessen or eliminate reliance upon dice in an RPG?

Is it necessary to use dice all the time in a dice-based RPG system? In other words, are there occasions or means by which you speed up gameplay by either reducing the number of rolls or removing the ...
52
votes
12answers
2k views

What's a good mechanic for rewarding players for keeping their characters happy?

In a lot of setting and systems, such as D&D, the aim of the game tends to be to explore and kill things. Money is spent on useful items and hirelings. However, a real adventurer would probably ...
50
votes
23answers
2k views

How can a GM quickly create interesting, engaging NPCs?

What techniques do people have for coming up with interesting personalities and histories for non-player characters? I'm mostly interested in the GM side of things. I don't want to do a ton of prep. I ...
49
votes
23answers
13k views

Are there any good tabletop RPGs for young beginning players?

I'm looking for a fun, easy to get into RPG for my kids. It could be simple and card-based, or more "normal" tabletop style. I'm looking for something less bloody and dark, and more fun and easy to ...
47
votes
16answers
3k views

How do I roleplay an intelligent character?

What are some strategies and techniques for role playing a character that is more intelligent than you actually are? It's pretty easy to pretend to be someone who is less intelligent, but the reverse ...
47
votes
26answers
3k views

What alternatives are there to replace orcs, kobolds, and hobgoblins in low-level encounters?

In your average "generic D&D" campaign and setting, orcs, kobolds, and hobgoblins are frequently used to stock low level adventures and dungeons. These are usually nice for 1st/2nd level ...
47
votes
13answers
4k views

Is it wrong to ask a player to justify their character's actions?

When a player has their character do something completely outside of the perceived norm for that character, is it okay to ask them for a justification? If they can not give satisfactory ...
47
votes
7answers
7k views

How can I effectively drop clues of corruption in my campaigns?

In many games I GM, corruption plays a big role. Either in my fantasy games with a church with a firm hand on the king or dystopian future like Shadowrun. Almost every time in my games, corruption is ...
47
votes
7answers
1k views

How can I make my game more “noir” as a GM?

I ran a couple of Shadowrun games at Dexcon, my first time GMing at a con. It's not my first time running Shadowrun; I based the games off of a couple jobs my players did in a then-ongoing campaign. ...
46
votes
6answers
11k views

Is 3d6 the same as 1d18?

This might actually be a better fit for Mathematics SE, but since RPGs are the intended application of the information I've decided to put it here (it has nothing to do with me being lazy and not ...
46
votes
11answers
2k views

How can a GM prevent growing disillusioned with their own game?

I recently began a new game in which I gave the players much more free reign in designing their characters than I might have in the past. What I wound up with was a very morally-diverse party, with ...
46
votes
14answers
3k views

When should I fudge dice rolls?

When I started my first D&D campaign as a DM, I accidentally rolled and confirmed a crit on a PC from a goblin. It was an instant kill as our campaign had no cleric. That time I decided to fudge ...
46
votes
26answers
3k views

What games are out there that could be played in a single night, with no prep?

What games are out there that could be played in a single night, with no prep? I have Spirit of the Century, but it really takes too long to make characters. So, in my opinion, it's great if you've ...
45
votes
13answers
2k views

How should GM deal with 'standing orders'?

I once got this scenario. This is what the player says as he infiltrates an enemy NPC's mansion. I am always checking for trap wherever I go. Assume that I am always looking around me wary and ...
45
votes
9answers
7k views

How should I respond to a DM who unfairly plays the “rules-lawyer” card?

My question: How would you, experienced role-player, deal with this situation? I was recently invited to join a 4e startup goup. I've RP'd a fair bit in my day, but not in decades, and never D&D. ...
45
votes
11answers
6k views

3d6 vs a d20: What is the effect of a different probability curve?

What is the effect on game play of replacing d20 rolls with 3d6 rolls in a D&D 4e campaign? I started thinking about this after reading this question where the example was given of playing a d20 ...
45
votes
10answers
1k views

Medieval problems in a magical world

This is a bit of a broad question, but I will try to narrow it down to this: When GMing a medieval fantasy, and conflicts arise between the medieval times and the magical world (mostly D&D and ...
45
votes
4answers
1k views

Running a game of Microscope that isn't totally insane?

I purchased Microscope quite a while ago, and have played countless games that were really awesome. We've created things like superheros with the power to turn any weapon into fish, people marrying ...
44
votes
13answers
2k views

How do I make skill checks more than just sequences of die chucking?

I think I don't get skill challenges. As I understand it at some point I break the narrative by proclaiming: "This is a skill challenge. You need 5 victories before you reach 3 failures. Go" And then ...
44
votes
11answers
5k views

How can I reward a character that doesn't want magic items?

So I've got a campaign where one of the characters, a fighter, severely distrusts magical items. The party level is 6+, and it seems difficult to figure out a way to compensate this character in ...
44
votes
9answers
1k views

Running games for a constantly unreliable group

My RP club has been going on for many years, which has the unfortunate effect of us getting older. Many members of my club have started to acquire something called a 'real life'. I'm not entirely sure ...
44
votes
2answers
4k views

Well, what is the “whiskey flask” problem with Paradox?

So, I've just read @Jadasc's eye-opening (+1) answer to @Flamma's question Where does the Transform Vampires/Werewolves into lawn furniture rote come from? (+1). At the end of his answer, Jadasc ...
43
votes
18answers
3k views

How should a GM deal with player-instigated sexuality in an RPG? [closed]

I think it's a matter of fact that since the first moment a player realizes that he or she can interact with someone of the opposite sex romantically within the game, things get hairy. I had my fair ...
43
votes
6answers
2k views

Preventing saturation in a horror campaign

I am currently designing my first horror campaign and what I've come up with so far is pretty dark and gruesome. I worry that if it is gut wrenching the whole way through, eventually the players will ...
43
votes
5answers
1k views

How could towns restrain a magic user?

The modern concept of crime and punishment is very reliant on the ability to disarm and restrain and control an individual (think handcuffs, the dividers in police cars, and jails). How can that be ...
42
votes
14answers
2k views

How do I get the PCs to stop focusing on a red herring?

Okay, I'll cop to it -- this is totally my fault. I get a little excited at the slightest opportunity to expound upon the setting, and in this case I added a small mausoleum to an otherwise boring ...
42
votes
5answers
3k views

Abuse: Is it fair if it's in-game?

I play a half-orc barbarian, while everyone else in our group is dwarven or elven. So in a town heavily-populated by dwarves, my character received a fair share of abuse, which is to be expected. ...
42
votes
10answers
2k views

Is it fair to press the players for decisions during combat?

My group tends to over-analyse during combat, which slows everything down. I press upon my players to make their decision and roll the dice quickly. My players are all experienced in the system and I ...
42
votes
12answers
922 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 ...
42
votes
1answer
2k views

What's the inspiration for the owlbear?

The standard explanation for the owlbear in-universe is "A Wizard Did It." Which is fine, as far as it goes, because the trope of "madman tinkering with bizarre mutations" is part of our speculative ...
42
votes
6answers
788 views

What are the key considerations to creating compelling environments?

An area I am close to revealing to my players was barren rock, until I realised adding a few kinds of plants and some crystal spires (which have very good reason to be there) took the location from ...

15 30 50 per page