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50

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 ...


43

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 ...


36

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 ...


32

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 ...


30

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 ...


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 ...


25

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, the authors emphasize improvisation (to run Dungeon World you'll need to adapt to the decisions your players make as they move through ...


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 ...


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 ...


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 ...


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 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 ...


14

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 ...


14

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 ...


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

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 ...


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

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 ...


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 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 ...


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

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

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

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 ...


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

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 ...


8

I second Scrollmaster's answer of letting them play the GMPC mechanically if not in roleplay. You could even switch who plays the GMPC each session. This may lead to some players discovering classes they usually avoid, or let them sporadically play as these classes without being stuck with them for an entire camapign, too. If the players are not up to this ...



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