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36

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 ...


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 ...


20

Have you ever read Order of the Stick? I see that KRyan's used it in his answer, but it's a good example. However, in my games, I've used three different methods that work pretty well. You don't. Don't get me wrong, I'm all for letting players choose their character roles and archetypes, in fact I think it's the best thing you can do to facilitate a good ...


19

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 ...


15

Go Play! I haven't played a table top RPG before Do that. You have friends who according to what you wrote, want you to play. Ask them if you can be a player first, or at least watch them play. Being a player isn't the same as being a GM, but since the GM sets the game up for the players, if you get some experience playing you will understand a lot ...


14

You're right, combat only challenges get pretty boring. So in a long term campaign, it's good to have a bunch of other kinds of things that PCs can spend their time on. These tend to break down into three different kinds of things. Action scenes other than combat Non-action skill-driven challenges Strategy and Diplomacy Action Scenes Other Than Combat ...


12

Don't. Split the party into two groups. I've been gaming 25 years and have played in home groups, at cons, and at gaming clubs. Without any exception, in my experience games that large are terrible. You can try "keep people on track" techniques, but in the end you're putting lipstick on a pig. No one will be able to do satisfying roleplaying, encounters ...


10

Pathfinder provides an overwhelming focus on combat, and what non-combat options exist aren’t very complex or interesting. When I look at a character sheet or a manual, the vast majority of it is about combat options. Even skills are frequently geared toward combat applications, like feinting or demanding surrender. If I've spent most of my time in ...


10

You're right that GMing is not just about writing—in fact, "frustrated writer syndrome" is often a problem that bad GMs have, since roleplaying is a shared creation and sticking to a specific plot is often un-fun for the rest of the players, and doesn't really suit the medium. When writing you control the protagonists, but in roleplaying the GM by ...


9

I had a character in a campaign with ranks in Profession: Innkeeper (character history reasons, that's what he trained to do before life took him another way). For the daily work of running an operation like an inn, we abstracted it with the profession roll. As that campaign was focused on an epic quest and not running an inn, I was okay with that (but it's ...


9

Disclaimer: As always, make sure you and your players are on the same page in what you want from the game. There is a tool here to help with that. You should use it or something like it before you try to change yourself, in case what you really need is a different game. Now, assuming you want to adjust your GM skills in the direction your players favor, ...


9

Great epic campaign ideas are fantastic, but on their own, they don't make much of a game. From my own personal experience, great ideas can be a trap. My best campaigns have been almost entirely improvised, whereas my biggest campaign idea turned quickly into the worst failure ever. Engage the players right now, not later This is the most important thing ...


8

There is one question you have asked (though it is not your titular question) that I haven't seen addressed yet: how do DMs deal with [not being able to "go up" anymore]? While, as others have pointed out, you don't have to continue on (and the retirement suggestions sound great), there are ways you could continue if you and your players wanted to. For ...


8

Working with others In the LARP games most adventures I've played were small self contained affairs. Larger adventures or plots spanned over several days had to have anything OK'd by anyone whose "area" was involved - this works for large event systems like The Gathering and Isles of Darkness (LARP systems with thousands of players) the latter of which I ...


7

First, a word about some mechanics: I strongly suggest that you only create “LA +0” races, that is, races in line with the usual choices presented in the Player’s Handbook. If your interested, I’ll explain what I mean below, but feel free to skip it if that’s what you intended all along. 3.5 has a rule called “level ...


7

Besides of the ingame mechanisms that spring to mind, it actually helps to discuss expectations about your game in your group. After some of our campaigns failed miserably due to in-party conflicts, we talked about what we wanted in games – and subsequently all had more fun. It's just a simple truth that different campaigns work better with different styles ...


6

Shadowrun style campaign to me is defined by players taking advantage of conflicts between parties that have a lot of resources and power. Shadowrun on its own is not restricted to one city and you don't need to restrict to one city at all. A campaign like this can be boiled down to the following elements: Characters working in the grey zone Contacts and ...


6

Keep discussions to a minimum in length and number, lest they become arguments. In our group, for achieving that, we follow this procedure: Establish the question or problem to solve Brainstorm time: Everyone interested write down his proposals in a really short draft format (post-it are ideal for the task) Each proposer is allowed a brief time to be ...


6

The simulationist computer game Dwarf Fortress (http://www.bay12games.com/dwarves/) has a 'legends' mode that is, in essence, a world history generator and will also provide an (evolving) map. It is noted for its depth in culture/world details, so it might be a good fit; and our gaming group has used it for world map/location/NPC generation.


5

Let the "campaign development" happen in play Improvisation makes play better. When you improvise, you're free to focus on what's going on right now, in play. That's much more natural and responsive than what happens when you try to forcefully steer events towards your prewritten content. Almost all RPG designers, across a broad range of game styles, will ...


5

Accidentally Do something innocuous - eat the wrong thing, say the wrong thing, unknowingly open pandora's box, trip over the wrong wire, press a red button, mispronounce a magic word, etc... Intentionally Raise a demon with every intent to kill it. Try to strike a bargain. Make a wish with side effects. Under deception Possessed by a demon, sent in by ...


5

Something I've found that helps generally is to ask for a little more information during character creation. Specifically I ask for... 5 key things that have happened in your character's past 2 secrets about your character (one they know and one they don't) 3 established relationships (two friendly/neutral and one enemy) A long term and a short term goal ...


5

I prepared a grand campaign, and when I publicized it, I got many interested, initially 18 people wanted to play in the campaign, So I decided to split that into three groups of six. Since then (as with almost any game I have tried to organize) some players dropped out before we started, citing time-restrictions, distance problems, or plain just changing ...


5

A rule I've found very useful is to hand specific players/GMs veto power over a given area. Anyone who wants to create a plot point in that area has to run it by them. An area need not be geographic. Example Areas: "The Church of the god of War", "The City of Cordine", "The Dwarf-Elf War", "The Desert Lands"


5

Dawn of Worlds is a collaborative narrative game in which two or more people portray the "gods" of a fantasy world and create the world's history in three "ages". It's free and fun. In your case, I would simply start in the Third Age. It's possible to play it solo, although it's more fun if you get someone else involved.


4

I've tried my hand at developing plot arcs and...failed. Here's what I can tell you from my failures. Make sure you group has the time for it. My group met once or twice per month, and developing personal plot arc one session at a time is too slow for me and my players. Even if you are engaging in a character's personal plot arc, make sure it is still ...


4

I've only briefly seen a copy of the game at a con, and though I had the chance to flip through it I don't remember too much about its metaplot. From what I do remember, the focus of the game's situation appears to be on the continued Union-Confederate war on Dino Planet. Even if the only things you know about the setting are American Civil War + dinosaur ...


4

I've dealt with this in a way that's been rather successful at my table, and may help you too. Essentially, a lot of players had been picking up followers/apprentices/hirelings, and they had become powerful too (though still well below player levels - the players were 15+ and the NPCs were levels 1-8 or so). What I offered was for the players to pick any NPC ...


4

D&D 3.5e isn't quite Pathfinder, but Pathfinder's Advanced Race Guide might be a useful tool to roughly spec out and balance your new races. You can compare the core races as-is to races you build from scratch using their race points system.


4

While I agree that at some time, characters get too high to play with anymore, I strongly disagree with your planned method of retiring. To me, it feels like a bad ending. My character would be gone, you left me no choice but to pick one evil. That's not very satisfying as a player. In real life, shit happens, but at the gaming table, I want to be able to ...



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