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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 ...


37

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 ...


31

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 ...


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 ...


25

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 ...


22

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 ...


17

The two questions you should ask are: whether it's the player or the character that's uncomfortable with your proposed shift in mood, and if it's the latter, whether your players would be OK with the kind of intra-party conflict the shift would generate. Is the player really OK with it? If your player is uncomfortable with the campaign turning evil (or ...


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 ...


15

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 ...


14

D&D4e does not support PVP Regardless of how you ultimately decide to settle the issue; You should know that 4e does not support and was never intended as a Player vs. Player combat system. Why not try a Gray Morality game instead? Games work best when everyone one is interested Rather than seeking to make the new, evil campaign work/force it on the ...


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 ...


13

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 ...


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 ...


11

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 ...


11

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 ...


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, ...


9

Beware of bait-and-switch Did you invite players to a campaign with a particular pitch ("save the world, noble-kinda purpose"), and are now wanting to play something tangential or opposed to the game everyone signed up for? Even if the majority of players are willing to make this switch, you should be very cautious of delivering something different than ...


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 would recommend using the Monster Vault maths, found summarized on Blog of Holding; or, Monster Maker is a handy app that helps create monster cards, and will work out the maths if desired. Set out which roles you wish the monsters to take - from the sounds of things it seems like you'll have a mix of Lurkers and Skirmishers, with Soldiers and Brutes ...


8

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 ...


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

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 ...



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