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57

For your players Use other solutions Intelligence is only one of 3 mental stats, and the one that refers mostly to book-learning, puzzling, connection-making and thinking stuff through. However, lacking it doesn't make you a bumbling fool; it makes you someone who solves problems in other ways. For example, if it's crucial that the characters know who ...


51

This might not be as much of a problem as you think. Why? Because munchkining, minmaxing, optimising, whatever you want to call it - is severely limited in 5e. The main techniques for it in previous editions of D&D involved things which are significantly less effective in 5e. Multiclassing has been crippled by the all-important ability score ...


46

I've played in and run evil campaigns of various sorts in both 3.5 and 4e (though not 5e, I think my learning will transfer), and run into a lot of problems: My Guy Syndrome comes up a lot, as does a tendency to default to a regular D&D storyline only with more stealing of spoons and kicking of puppies to remind ourselves we're evil. Sometimes an evil ...


46

Let me start by saying that this is a well-known potential "fallacy" in the settings/rule interaction Human Level 1 Fighter: "Let me get this straight. You're a hundred and twenty." Elf Level 1 Fighter: "Right." Human Level 1 Fighter: "And I'm sixteen." Elf Level 1 Fighter: "Right?" Human Level 1 Fighter: "And we're equally skilled even though ...


37

Elves don't get their first character level until age 120. That means they spend a lot of time until then doing... well... something. If we look at humans and what they learn in their first 15 or so years, we can come to quite a range of different subjects. As toddlers, we learn to communicate. This takes quite a few years to do proficiently. Making ...


33

Option One: Start Closer To The End It's not actually cheating to start at a higher level, and that's a weird expectation that games don't bear out. The inclination to "make those bastards work for it" is not a helpful GM attribute. I really enjoyed playing Feng Shui for the first time when it came out because by specifically allowing the players to be ...


26

As a roleplayer who dislikes playing for stats, I loved it when the GM introduced an eggtimer. Players only got a limited time for rules discussions, swapping spells & checking/discussing rules and had to just plough in there and get stuff done. Oddly, the more munchkin-esque members of the party seemed to consider this a part of the crunchy numbers ...


21

There's no definite one way to go, though I prefer to have characters know each other. Here's some options and what you get of it: Total Strangers How well does this work? Well that depends on whether your players are all willing to buy into "a group of strangers will work together as a team in life and death situations". It's a trope that makes up a ...


18

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 ...


18

Arcanist, Sorcerer, and Wizard are three of the most dominatingly-powerful classes in the game Each of these classes, built right, can do just about anything, and in many cases can do very close to everything. The spell list they have access to is the best in the game, and spellcasting is the best class feature in the game. These three can nullify a huge ...


17

The most important thing for an evil campaign to work is to give the players a goal or objective. In a good-aligned campaign, you don't need to necessarily start with a clear goal, and often you don't want to, as often the player's role is reactionary; someone does something bad and the players have to stop them. They do good for it's own sake, because ...


16

Here are the things I'm planning to do in my upcoming campaign to get the characters involved in the story. Emphasize BIFT (Bonds, Ideals, Flaws and Traits) and hook it right into your plot. This is 5e's gift to your style of play. It's not as emphatic about it as other systems, but it's really given mechanical weight to backgrounds. Backgrounds are ...


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 ...


15

I get conflicted intentions here. You want to start "low-level" (which can mean many things) and you want to see the heroes reach this epic ending. So you want both the epic journey and the super cool finale but you're impatient. Forget the "low-level = beginning" paradigm of video games (and usual games) In Star Wars, no major character on screen is level ...


15

I'm going to offer a suggestion contradicting one of your requirements, as in my opinion it can still benefit you. Naturally, you may not find it useful after all. Some stories come to an end, others change. Your characters have transcended being adventurers and carved out a place for themselves. Good for them! It is a great example of worldbuilding if you ...


15

Erik's answer is a great general solution to your problem, but there are a couple of specific tactics you can use here as well. Put Your Eggs in More Baskets Right now, you're relying on a single skill or small group of skills in order to give your players information about the game world. This is naturally going to lead to situations where nobody has the ...


14

I get the sense that you have a very specific story you want to tell. I do hate giving this advice, but if you have a beginning, middle, and end in mind, perhaps you should write a novel instead of running a game. It will be more artistically satisfying for you, in those cases. However, if you really want to run a game that meets a particular end, some ...


14

I can't say whether this, on its own, will change your players reactions (at the end of the day, gold is just another number on their character sheets). Certainly, I know it wouldn't interest most of mine - They'd just think "Oh, hey, our riches are 90% easier to carry, now," because assuming easy access to money-changers, the only thing you're really ...


14

Devil's Advocate Answer: Treat this as a high DC ability/skill check, not an opposed check. For all intents and purposes, it is simply much easier to set DC checks by the handy guide reference (in PHB, p. 174) and then have the party/PCs try to make that check, rather than spend the time and effort to workup NPC skills and then spend more time doing ...


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 ...


13

Probably the only "true" answer here is that it's handwaved because the rules are there to create a game that makes sense for the players, but that's not a very fun answer. So... ...elves stay among other elves well into their second century and don't go out adventuring; in fact, like humans, many never go adventuring, so even elves nearing their 700-year ...


11

Edits to the question since this answer was first posted have made it clear the the asker is using a simulationist approach to managing coins. By this I mean that the number of each specific type of coin is tracked, rather than the aggregate value, that the weight of the coins is taken into account, and being able to exchange currency is dependent upon your ...


10

Lead With the Cool Stuff You don't have a system tag and you're posing a question that spans genres, so I assume you have freedom to choose a system. So choose a system that empowers your choices and start with awesome. Systems like Fate Core and GUMSHOE assume competent PCs from the get-go. Some systems let you scale your PCs to the plans you have, like ...


10

You seem to have found all the contenders. The only undead in 5e which are intelligent, independent, and you can deliberately become are liches and mummy lords. To be a vampire requires another vampire, and you would then be subservient to the original vampire anyway. There are other kinds of powerful undead (such as wights or revenants) but none that you ...


9

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 ...


9

GURPS is a pretty good ruleset for the kind of game you describe. It's got good rules for pretty much everything, and the pointscale that the system is built on works pretty well for a game where it's assumed that people will have guns. I'll go through each of the requirements you list, and how well GURPS deals with it. "roughly equivalent to earth ...


9

Politics most of the time don't involve simply staying in one place. To be a good governor you often have to keep good relations with your neighbors and rising powers, so that you don't end up trampled between one war or another. Due to that, going and throwing balls, feasts and parts are an important aspect of maintaining the land. Court politics on the ...


9

There are no published 5e Forgotten Realms supplements as of yet, and they have changed the Realms a good bit with each new edition. If you don't care about "keeping up with the new timeline," the most supported classic starting location is far and away: Shadowdale Sourcebook and Adventure Coverage This town in the Dalelands is given some detail in the ...


9

It’s purely up to you and your players; there is no “should” here. Many campaigns start with a “session 0” where people discuss their characters, and whether or not any of them know any of the others. Typically DMs merely set a time and place, and tell players “make sure your character has a good reason to be here when the story starts,” or something along ...


8

Savage Worlds is certainly capable of playing in a world and genre-hopping campaign (I suspect that's partly because Torg, which is all about this, is Shane Lacy Hensley's favorite setting of all time). However, there are a couple of things that you need to keep in mind. First, character content from one setting is generally not created with the intension ...



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