250
votes
24answers
18k 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 ...
127
votes
20answers
19k views

Dealing with difficult male players, when you're a new female player?

There was quite a bit of discussion about this after I posted this question, so I thought I would do as advised and re-ask the question in a new topic. I will be playing D&D 5th edition soon with ...
109
votes
14answers
9k 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 ...
107
votes
44answers
17k 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 ...
105
votes
17answers
9k 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, ...
103
votes
4answers
73k 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.
101
votes
10answers
9k 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 ...
88
votes
20answers
5k 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. ...
88
votes
3answers
15k views

What is “my guy syndrome” and how do I handle it?

I've been reading forum posts and blogs who mention "my guy" syndrome as a specific type of difficult player, but I can't seem to find a solid definition for the term. Can someone explain this ...
86
votes
9answers
23k 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 ...
83
votes
11answers
23k views

Without a magic item economy, what is gold for?

PHB page 144, Equipment, Wealth, Selling Treasure Magic Items. Selling magic items is problematic. Finding someone to buy a potion or a scroll isn’t too hard, but other items are out of the realm ...
79
votes
11answers
10k 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 ...
76
votes
18answers
5k 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. ...
74
votes
3answers
9k views

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

D&D 5E 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. How does this affect the ...
73
votes
10answers
8k 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 ...
71
votes
16answers
5k 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 ...
71
votes
10answers
9k views

Should I warn my players when they're about to do something stupid?

As a GM, I occasionally run into situations where the players want to do something very poorly thought-out. Honest mistakes, not intentional derailing. In these situations, I often feel the urge to ...
68
votes
9answers
15k 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 ...
67
votes
9answers
4k views

How can DMs effectively telegraph specific dangers in D&D?

There are some play-styles of D&D in which the spectre of player-character death is considered a feature of the game rather than a bug. For my own reasons (which aren't the point of the question), ...
66
votes
13answers
9k 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 ...
66
votes
12answers
3k 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 ...
64
votes
21answers
14k 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 ...
64
votes
15answers
5k 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 ...
63
votes
15answers
13k 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 ...
63
votes
12answers
6k 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 ...
62
votes
15answers
3k 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 ...
62
votes
18answers
5k views

How should a GM deal with sexuality in an RPG?

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 ...
61
votes
19answers
31k views

How do I play a paladin without being a stick in the mud?

What are some tips for/examples of an epitome-of-good type paladin who does not disrupt the 'sinful' fun of the rest of the group? As an example of the type of paladin I'm talking about, one of the ...
61
votes
14answers
4k 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 ...
60
votes
23answers
5k 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 ...
59
votes
17answers
7k views

How do I roleplay a character more intelligent than I am?

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 ...
59
votes
10answers
13k views

What can I do to paper to make it look aged?

I want to add some props to my game, I'm thinking of ancient scrolls or maps. What methods can I do to artificially age the paper in order to make it look older? A simple google search gives several ...
59
votes
12answers
10k 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 ...
58
votes
11answers
7k views

How can I make “Empty” rooms interesting?

Traditional advice for making megadungeons in older versions of D&D is in addition to any rooms with Monsters, Treasure, Traps, or "Tricks", there should also be at least 50 to 60 percent "Empty" ...
57
votes
10answers
14k views

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

My question: How would you, as an 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 ...
57
votes
16answers
4k views

How do I stop my PCs from acting like insomniac monkeys on crack?

An issue came up in the last session of my Pathfinder campaign - that of chronic PC impatience. It happens especially when they go to cities and between major adventures. They go into a frenzy of ...
57
votes
22answers
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, ...
57
votes
16answers
3k views

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

I'm a new DM running my first adventure in D&D 4e. I've heard of the "three clue rule", that there should be at least three independent pointers to any plot element you want the PCs to take note ...
57
votes
7answers
8k 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 ...
57
votes
3answers
2k views

Shoe-themed race or class features

My character is really into shoes and I'm planning on taking Leadership next level. I want my cohort to be devoted to the old norse god of shoes and vengance, Víðarr. While there is a retribution ...
56
votes
13answers
9k views

Players playing weird characters breaking the immersion of my group

I have an issue with two players in my very large gaming group that I would like some advice from people who have perhaps dealt with players like these. In terms of age and experience, we're all ...
55
votes
19answers
17k views

Why is burying yourself not such a great plan?

So one of my player is a clever guy. At night when the others are putting the camp together he digs a hole big enough for himself (between 3-4 feet deep) and ask someone to cover his body with dirt ...
55
votes
22answers
2k views

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

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 ...
55
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 ...
55
votes
3answers
49k views

What are the big differences between the D&D editions?

I've been out of the loop for a while, and I used to play AD&D 2nd ed, but today I find there are a lot of different versions that have fairly different gameplay. Can anyone summarize the really ...
54
votes
6answers
2k 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 ...
54
votes
7answers
9k views

Could Vampires use touchscreen devices (iPhone, etc)?

Could vampires use a touchscreen device, or would they have to spend a blood point to generate the electricity required to operate a conductive touchscreen?
53
votes
7answers
2k views

As an unreliable player, how can I lessen the burden on my group?

I'm often unreliable, in the sense that something always seems to turn up at the last minute that draws me away from our current regular game. (It's happened before as well.) Given that the reasons ...
53
votes
1answer
3k 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 ...
53
votes
2answers
5k views

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 ...

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