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38

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 ...


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 ...


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

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 ...


17

Dungeon World encourages GM improvisation, but does not discourage preparation Dungeon World discourages an on-the-rails style of campaign where the players are simply there to work through the GM's plot. In the GM section they are all about improvisation, and indeed to run Dungeon World you'll need to adapt to the decisions your players make as they move ...


15

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 ...


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 ...


15

without which material your game won't feel authentic, just a bad copy, an alternate universe of an alternate universe. I started writing an answer about how to narrow down and use a small, immediate bit of setting to get a small, immediate situation, and I came back and read this part again. That's your problem. You have a strong commitment to ...


13

Evil? We're SAVING the world! No one thinks they're the villain. Outside of a few very adolescent power fantasy type cults, nearly every other cult is based in imagining it's doing something for either the greater good or at least the good of it's members, and has rationalized all the things it has to do in that regard. Sacrifice a baby? The baby was ...


13

Short answer is start from the bottom and advance upward. That is instead of jumping into a massive open sandbox campaign from the start you set the game in a very small and narrow sub setting. Now I don't know Shadowrun but if I'm allowed to use Forgotten Realms as an example that too is a huge and massive world with lots of information. However, if you ...


12

There are Many Approaches Ask any group of DMs, ever, and they will each have individual ways of making a campaign. I've listed just a few here. Other people here can and likely will post other methods. The important part between having a string of adventures featuring recurring individuals and a campaign is the cohesiveness of it all. What you did last ...


11

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 ...


10

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 ...


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

Cards! Seriously, I printed out a bunch of “cards” for my players: one for each dragonmarked house, religion, nation, class, and race (two for warforged, to cover that sidebar about warforged souls in Eberron Campaign Setting). Each card was a half-page, front-and-back (so a full-page total in text), with a description of the faction, race, ...


10

As a fan of the Suikoden franchise, I also like creating basic NPCs that follows the players (the Smith is a common one). You seem to already avoid the pitfalls of most GMPCs: disliked by PCs, and abnormally strong and awesome. That's great. Since your problem is mostly related to combat, I would suggest an option I use when NPCs become good enough to be ...


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

Ecosystems Material plane creatures reproduce normally, how we would imagine - planar creatures, mostly, reproduce by being created - not all, but elementals, angels, demons, devils and the like all do. Most things with the Outsider type reproduce in this manner. Therefore, any Outsider found on the material plane has a reason for being there. Planar ...


9

You can try a giving the GMPC a "combat mode setting" similar to how it's done in some video game RPGs. For example, your players set the GMPC to play a defensive combat role—meaning the GMPC will defend a given player—or an aggressive combat role—meaning the GMPC will always attack the nearest monster. Allowing the players to set these ...


8

I'm currently struggling with this because I'm getting into Glorantha, which is one of the Big Three settings (Tékumel and Hârn are the other two). The Big Three dwarf even settings typically considered huge, like the Forgotten Realms, and it's daunting to try to figure out how to eat this aircraft carrier, let alone how to prepare some of its most choice ...


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 ...


7

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 ...


7

Microscope is an rpg that, over the course of play, generates a history. You can use it to create a shared world as a group, and then bootstrap into using it as a setting for a different rpg.


7

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.


7

It seems to me like the problem you're actually having is Player Knowledge vs. Character Knowledge, except in this case it's GM Knowledge vs. Character Knowledge. Using GM Knowledge You say you "pretty much avoided having monsters attack me". This might mean your character maneuvers in such a way to avoid being attacked, which would be reasonable, but I ...


7

When I am overloaded with too much setting material, I head online instead. Normally in the various play by post forums, or other forums and wiki articles online, I'll be able to find a summary of the important information. Here is what I look for when skimming: Adventure introductions in PbP game advertisements such as those on Myth-Weavers. These ...


6

There are several types of mission archetypes that are common to P'n'P games in my experience (and this is not an exhaustive list but it's pretty close to it): Extermination A simple kill-job that has the player characters violently eliminate a particular group of enemies or as many enemies as they can until the mission parameters are satisfied with the ...


6

While it is true that 4e does center around combat, not all conflicts are about combat. If you find some good resources on RPG plots, like S. John Ross' List of RPG plots, it can give you some ideas about running exploration adventures. Especially what he calls the Safari, Any Old Port in a Storm, and Uncharted Waters plots are good starting points to work ...



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