15
votes
5answers
436 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 ...
7
votes
11answers
814 views

Balancing players' rolls, not characters

I have been the worst dice-roller in my party as far as I can remember. Be it D&D 3.5, 4th Edition, or any other dice based system, the goddess of luck has always been mean to me. To give you an ...
5
votes
2answers
167 views

Reward distribution and story continuity with rotating players/GMs

There are some people who like to GM, and maybe even like it more than role playing themselves. If you have one of those rare specimen in your group consider yourself lucky. Others are not averse to ...
4
votes
4answers
958 views

Sites for finding online RPG players for a play-by-chat RPG Campaign?

Are there any online sites in which you can look for people that are looking to play in an online play-by-chat RPG Campaign? I'm thinking of running a Pathfinder campaign for Skype (text only) and I ...
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 ...
14
votes
18answers
876 views

When GMing a game, how much should you prepare in advance?

Obviously you need to have some high level idea of what's going on in the world around the players, and where you are heading with the story, but in an ongoing game at some point players will be ...
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 ...
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 ...
20
votes
17answers
19k views

A 2 Player RPG for buddies? [closed]

If myself and an old buddy sit down for a night of roleplaying, what game can we use? I've heard of a couple of romantic games, but they're not really for buddies. Are they? Suggestions please.
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. ...
16
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 ...
38
votes
13answers
1k views

How to communicate to the players that an encounter can be solved also through diplomacy?

When you play D&D, you are not supposed to chat with the enemy during encounters. The system is made for fighting. However, in some circumstances, it would be nice to make the players conscious ...
29
votes
8answers
5k views

Combat rules for large battles

In the later chapters of a future campaign I'm thinking of having a section where the players take charge of parts of an army and fight a larger battle. I don't want to hand-wave the strategy, I want ...
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 ...
23
votes
19answers
2k views

What role-playing games have good gamemaster advice sections? [closed]

Which RPG's, in your experience, have good advice for gamemasters in their rulebooks, both for novice and experienced gamemasters? Please keep in mind that this question is not about good games for ...
22
votes
1answer
7k views

How does Stealth work with Sneak Attack?

So, in Pathfinder, it seems that being able to use stealth in order to gain sneak attacks only works in the surprise round, with the rules as written. So, imagine a scenario where we have a sniper ...
17
votes
6answers
6k views

Are 3.5 Bards mechanically weak?

People frequently seem to think that Bards are mechanically weaker than other classes, and I was wondering if this was true?
19
votes
4answers
1k views

What about character death should be included in a social contract?

For a D&D (4e, primarily) game what about player-character death should be included in a group's social contract? What are some options for best reaching consensus about the possibility of death ...
26
votes
20answers
1k views

How do you deal with missing players?

If you know ahead of time that you're going to be missing a player, do you reschedule? Or just play them as an NPC or as a group puppet?
15
votes
3answers
1k views

Can I use existing game mechanics in my own designs?

To what extent is it permissible to use aspects of a given system (for commercial use)? Say I wanted to have rules for how a skill check works, do I have to be careful that I am not using the same as ...
11
votes
3answers
556 views

Adapting literary works into RPG adventures

Beowulf is a classic tale which has been translated many times and has had many film adaptations. Seamus Heaney's new translation and Frederick Rebsame's translation are good starts if you have not ...
34
votes
11answers
2k views

Is there a limit to Rule 0?

Rule Zero: All other rules can be changed by the GM. I appreciate that there is a massive amount of work that goes into be a GM and the last thing that any GM wants or deserves is to have his ...
22
votes
3answers
2k views

Is a Dragonwrought Kobold a True Dragon?

The Monster Manual refers to some creatures with the Dragon type as “True Dragons,” and some later books refer to True Dragon status as a prerequisite for various options. Races of the ...
22
votes
6answers
424 views

Techniques for communicating setting and campaign information to the PCs?

In the past, I've almost always had at least one NPC that would travel with the characters as a type of "lore master" to expand on the story. I've tried to make the character witty and, once the ...
14
votes
5answers
432 views

As a GM, what aids could I use to create adventure scenes on the spot?

As a GM, many a time I run into a situation that I know nothing of, am not prepared about, and need something, NOW! Maybe it is a freeform adventure and plot was not prepared, maybe I prepared some ...
13
votes
8answers
468 views

Dealing with a changing set of players in a continuous campaign

I have a group of players who have all been integrated into the game. However we all live in different counties and at any one time only a subset of the players can play at any one time. I try to ...
10
votes
7answers
1k views

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

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 ...
31
votes
19answers
2k views

How to handle a rules-lawyer player?

As a game master, what strategy/strategies seem to work well for handling players that have spent more time reading through the rule books than you have? While it's helpful at times to have the ...
24
votes
6answers
7k views

What are the major differences between D&D 3.0 and D&D 3.5

I found a bunch of D&D books at a used bookshop, but am now realizing half are 3.0 and half are 3.5... How compatible are these with each other? What are the major rule changes I'll need to watch ...
23
votes
7answers
3k views

How do I use Passive Perception to have some characters notice parts of the environment?

I'm new to DM'ing and have an issue I'm not sure how to deal with. The situation is this: It's pitch black outside and the PC is walking, with a lantern in hand, toward a building. A bird is ...
21
votes
12answers
3k views

When and how should I introduce my kids to RPGs?

I grew up playing and DMing AD&D 1st edition. Have played a few other systems like Paranoia but really know the AD&D system well enough to not spend time constantly looking up rules. Do you ...
12
votes
13answers
3k views

How to mitigate glass cannon syndrome in Pathfinder?

This is the more gamey part of my other question, What to do when your character is just too good? In D&D 3.5e and Pathfinder, damage output grows very, very quickly. Much more quickly than hit ...
7
votes
2answers
744 views

Burrowing, Large Creatures, Opportunity Attacks, Drowning, and Z-Axis Movement [closed]

In our D&D 4th Edition campaign, the players have recently encounter Bulettes, monsters with the Burrow movement mode, and we had a few issues dealing with their movement. Monster Manual 1 states: ...
20
votes
2answers
10k views

How do favored classes work in Pathfinder?

I'm working on creating a half-elf paladin character for a Pathfinder game. Full disclosure: this is the first time I've tried creating a character; I've used ones other people created before. In ...
16
votes
8answers
10k views

Homebrew D&D with only 2 players (plus DM)

I DM'ed for my buddies this semester and it was really fun. I got my roommate hooked and now he's asking for me to make another campaign (I've got a great idea). The problem lies in the fact that I'll ...
15
votes
5answers
1k views

Where does the D&D concept of a dwarf come from?

Where does the modern D&D of a dwarf come from? I've noticed it's fairly far from the old Germanic concept of a dwarf. Where did Gary Gygax and company get the idea for the current long bearded, ...
12
votes
7answers
2k views

Is casting the spell Blood Transcription an evil act?

A player of mine in a recent game of Pathfinder was playing a Lawful Neutral Magus and was about to drink blood from a fallen spellcaster to get his prepared spells for the day by using the spell ...
8
votes
1answer
638 views

Is it possible to use rules from OGL or GSL in a computer game?

I'm experimenting with making an RPG game for mobile phones, and I could save some time if I used an established system for stats and combat etc. From a quick read of the licenses I'm not sure whether ...
13
votes
8answers
734 views

How valid is lying to players about the rolls they are making in The Dresden Files?

In last weeks Dresden Files game, the players followed the bad guy using a tracking spell, and found him in the projects at an apartment that they knew little about. Seeing his car, they decided to ...
6
votes
2answers
1k views

How do I read the Attack line on power cards in D&D 4e?

I've just recently started playing D&D 4e through the Red Box, and I am confused about how to fill in the power cards. So, take Nimbus of Holy Shielding for instance. I understand the Target and ...
4
votes
1answer
197 views

Where do I go from the Red box?

Me and my group just finished the essentials red box, and are looking at moving to the full 4e game. I'm doing some preliminary reading of the books and one thing is confusing me a little. The ...
37
votes
6answers
924 views

What is a good way to become a better NPC/monster actor?

One of the biggest problems I have as Game Master, (going on 30+yrs) is in portraying NPC and Monsters in any RPG. Is there a good resource for becoming a better 'actor'? Instead of just saying... ...
17
votes
11answers
23k views

What's the best software for mapmaking?

I use paint.net and paint shop pro to create fantasy cartography. Is there any better software, and why?
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 ...
36
votes
14answers
2k views

Can D&D Fourth Edition be played effectively in a non-gamist manner?

I'd like to ask a question that's been brewing for a while. A lot of the answers and comments on this site seem to be from people who play 4e and are insistent that the right way/only way/best way to ...
32
votes
15answers
782 views

Your friend wants to learn the ways of the Dungeon Master, what do you do?

I believe that all tabletop role playing gamers should at one point or another try their hand at Dungeon Mastering. However, it's a goal that at times can feel overwhelming. What advice would you ...
31
votes
8answers
3k views

What is some good advice for starting Paranoia with a new group?

My roleplaying group is talking about taking a break from our 4e D&D campaign for a bit, and doing some one-offs. We are planning on doing a few sessions with a GURPS game of some sort, and the ...
31
votes
5answers
6k views

What makes grease a good spell?

I often see people list grease as good go-to 1st level spell. Why is this? The spell description lists 3 of its uses: forcing saves and slows movement of enemies, disarming enemies, and preventing ...
13
votes
4answers
721 views

Tabletop Play Style Classification Schemes

People often present breakdowns claiming to enumerate the various types of tabletop player, such as the rule-lawyer and the power gamer. For example, "The lurker is generally a player who attends a ...
39
votes
3answers
4k views

How does rolling two dice and taking the highest affect the average outcome?

I've read that the D&D 5E playtest has an "advantage" concept where instead of rolling 1d20, you roll 2d20 and take the highest. Likewise, disadvantage means rolling 2d20 and taking the lowest. ...

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