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56

I would do the following. Note this is also found on my blog here . Using one page sketch a world or continent mapLabel important regionsWrite one page of background giving no more than a handful of sentences to each region.Pick an area roughly 200 miles by 150 milesGrab a 8.5 by 11 sheet of hex paper. The scale should be so that it represents a 200 by 150 ...


52

You've got a blank sheet of paper, and you want to play ASAP. Excellent. This is what I've done successfully: Decide with your players what kind of setting it should be. You can skip this if you're playing in the assumed setting of your game. Otherwise, find out what elements your players want to explore. Should there be firearms? Political machinations? ...


43

I've run a variety of tones of campaigns over time and some could be considered "evil"; in fact currently I'm running a three-year long Pathfinder campaign where the PCs are pirates - not all of them are technically evilly aligned, but murder, torture, rape, slavery, etc. have all come up in the game. Here's how you make it work. Decide on Limits, Within ...


38

Thus far, the party has tended to follow up more on smaller leads, like interesting caves, a village with a plague, etc., rather than major leads, Why do those leads end up being minor? Can you turn an interesting cave into a major lead? Maybe the cave leads into the massive underground dungeon that was rediscovered. Or maybe the cave has a family ...


37

Most campaigns don't reach their end That's just the way it is. Doubly so for your first ever campaign. You might lose interest. So might your players. You might realize you don't know what to do with them anymore. Life might intervene. Things happen. And that's ok. Fun would still have been had. Memories would still be formed. The world you create might ...


33

Well, for starters, I'd say don't use D&D. It is a game tailored towards violent conflicts, which is exactly what you're avoiding, it seems. Mind you, I said "violent conflicts". No story, thus no game, can exist without any conflict whatsoever. I'm not also saying it's completely undoable with D&D, just mainly... a waste of its design and practical ...


32

From the ever-essential Medieval Demographics Made Easy, I find that: A square mile of settled land (including requisite roads, villages and towns, as well as crops and pastureland) will support 180 people. This takes into account normal blights, rats, drought, and theft, all of which are common in most worlds. From Medieval Manors I learn that a ...


32

It depends. What are you trying to achieve? As the author of the campaign, you have a tremendous amount of freedom to create whatever world you wish to. You don't have to stick with the world created in the books any more than you want to. In many years of playing I have spent far more time playing in "generic fantasy world populated from the Monster ...


31

Dungeons & Dragons-style Alignment is not cut out for this The characters in Game of Thrones are almost as complex as real people. Real people cannot be put in one of nine little boxes and call it done. Alignment in general is extremely problematic for a lot of games, but this one especially so. It’s just far too simplistic to handle a ...


29

In Sandbox campaigns, what the players are doing is the centre of the campaign. If they do not investigate and stop the fire falling from the sky, then there is a consequence and you should play it out as if real history is unfolding before them. I find that the best way to do this, is to image what the major characters of the world are doing (in shells ...


29

Pacing The key to a good horror game/movie is the pacing; if the characters are constantly in peril and exposed to horrific things then it will become bland. From my Cthulhu games I've found keys to this are: Build up Slowly lead the players into somewhere dangerous, use mundane things to build tension like smashed glass, scrawled notes, lightning blasted ...


28

Tell your player to suck it. Your world works how you want it to. Neither of the critiques you cited from your powergamer make a bit of sense at all. "That's a 1e monster it wouldn't be in a 3.5e world" makes me doubt his sanity - people have ported absolutely every monster forward, and what edition they have rules for is totally separate from whether ...


28

Tell them that the side campaign ends with an epic, glorious, TPK. Making your players co-conspirators in the shape of the finale means that they will help you drive it to that epic conclusion. There's no value, in the scenario you describe, to making a TPK a surprise or look unintentional. Save the energy that would be spent on smoke and mirrors designed ...


27

Wolves I have torn more than one group of adventurers to shreds with wolves. Wolves are smart team-hunters. They harry and feint. They wear groups and individuals down. They work together and coordinate their attacks. Make them spend a night or two being howled at all night. Make sure to use whatever rules your system has for fatigue. Don't neglect the ...


26

I see a lot of insightful comments in the answers here; but, I think that there is a key element that hasn't been explicitly. PCs get angry when something that they like is threatened. Players get annoyed when something that they like is taken away. The best way to engage your players is to threaten something dear to their characters, and give them a ...


24

My recommendation is to work from the other direction; instead of taking the mortal population and extrapolating how many vampires "should" be there, start with the number of vampires you want to have and decide how it is they survive on a fief that's overtaxed. Use the 50K-100K as a figure of stability; once you get twice as many Kindred in there, you've ...


24

Even though the players are the center of the campaign in a Sandbox, they are not the only cause of action in the world. They want to investigate the village with plague. Let them. Meanwhile the fire raining from the sky continues (and unlike videogames, does not go into a static point of no extra destruction until the players show up). Maybe the Fighter ...


24

Use a very strong central theme and mood. Think of your campaign as if it was a TV series held together by these things, as well returning props, characters, places etc. Use a strong, universal antagonist, possibly an organization that has agents from all the various supernatural factions as well. Even better if your party are members / helpers of the same ...


22

Start with what you know you and your friends like. You should establish a basic setting and campaign focus, depending on the themes you know your players will enjoy. Decide if its going to focus on combat, investigation, exploration, etc, and if the setting fits or inverts that style of play. For example, a campaign that takes place in Rome during the ...


22

As a long-time V:tM and V:tR fan, I have always thought the 1:50k and 1:100k ratios were unimaginative, unrealistic (well, as unrealistic as a game involving vampires could be) and poorly thought out. In fact, I generally think any set ratio of vampires:humans is arbitrary and silly because ratios fail to take into account numerous real world factors. For ...


22

I would say that you want to have a sort of reverse-donut shape for the detail-level of your campaign: Lots of detail at the top levels, lots of detail about the areas surrounding the players, and not as much in between. Think about how the information will be used by the players. Obviously the lowest-level stuff (inside-out) is vitally important... That's ...


22

Building Tension to Build Horror I’ve played RPG’s since I was a kid, but I’ve also written narrative as a hobby for years. RPG’s combine the intellectual stimulation of board games with the deep engagement of storytelling (books and films). When the players calmly intellectualize their attempts to WIN, they’re in board game mode. When players FEEL ...


22

There are many ways to retire a party. The trivial one is, of course, say that they lived happily ever after. But you can borrow big endings from classical stories, like: The characters, or some of them, become gods themselves. They are not mortals anymore, they are out of space and time, and their stories end there. The characters must make a terrible ...


21

Ask them about their experience. People are hesitant to criticize both friends and authority figures (and as a GM you fit into both categories). The answer to "how did I do" is always "fine." The answer to "did you have fun during the session, what did you enjoy or not like" is always much more evocative (and frankly casting it as about them indicates ...


21

Two things come to my mind immediately: Artifacts in the original AD&D DMG like the Rod of Seven Parts, and an extension of artifacts that I used in a D&D 3.5 game. Hopefully you'll get some ideas that will work for your game. The AD&D artifact route is fairly straightforward: as you get more pieces of the artifact together, you get access to ...


21

Don't do this. Especially not in 4e. Especially not with new players. From a pedagogic (problem based learning) point of view, this is a horribly bad idea: you want your students to be focused on a single suite of tasks that they can slowly master into a single, unified, "playing D&D" task. By saying "oh, and someone's a traitor" the game will descend ...


20

From the DM's perspective, it mostly comes down to obfuscation and training your player base. Don't force your players to resist metagaming if you can reasonably help it. Going down your list with some concrete examples: Make truly trivial random encounters a regular (but not necessarily frequent) occurrence. If every encounter is non-trivial, then a ...


20

Location. They will live near a water source, and probably near their fields... Neolithic hill forts are fairly common. It's a walled village atop an artificial hill, built on the floodplain. It may also have a cistern and/or a well down through the motte/tel. Walls are likely wood, possibly also dry-fit stone for part of the height. I can tell you from ...


20

Major threats include Any large predator that is faster than humans. most reptiles during the day all apex predators anything that hunts in groups any large (150# or larger) herbivore Especially Moose and other semi-solitary herbivores in rut also especially dangerous is any herd with calves. any disease vector a rabid bunny is a threat whether it ...



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