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0

You are not forced to play it as it is written If a published adventure turns out to be boring, and to me it happened a lot of times, you can always edit it as you want without telling your PCs. Keep in mind that if their characters are interested in the story even their players will be. So how can you edit a story to make it more interesting? Don't ...


0

In my experience (that is mostly on D&D, not SW), it is the players that determine which NPCs are memorable or not. Your role as a GM is mostly to notice which NPCs they like more, and find out why they like it. In general terms, you should remember that the NPC roles are to complement the party abilities, not to overshadow them (that would be the mary ...


1

It is important to bear in mind what makes the PCs different from the NPCs, aside from the obvious fact of player vs non-player. In short, the PCs are the protagonists, and the NPCs aren't. In my games, even if the PCs don't start out in this position, and even if the plot does not take on epic world-spanning dimensions, the PCs are Luke Skywalkers, the ...


1

I tend to run a good number of one shot games, so I have quite a bit of experience with it. A known setting or genre It helps a lot if you start with a setting or genre the players are familiar with. For this reason, in the US at least, superhero games are pretty easy to use and pick up and play - most people are familiar with superheroes and the genre ...


1

Play the NPCs as characters. Give them motivations, goals, principles, and so on. Not every NPC has to be very detailed, but you should be able to make up something on the spot to give depth to NPCs. Be ready to take notes - maybe on the spot, you have a secondary character say that they're a refugee from the valley to the east - write it down. Make the ...


2

MOP Every NPC needs a mop. Motivation: Why is the character here in the story? What motivates them to act? Objective: What does the character want to accomplish as a goal in the story? What is the character's overriding goal they must achieve? Personality: How the character acts as well as their personal appearance. These three traits help define an ...


0

perhaps each magic item fits into the next, and when all are combined, they take the form of a key. this key opens a dimension door and releases a certain creature or allows access to a sanctuary or cache of some sort.


1

Keep it simple. Avoid a long, complex series of events; that's not to say it cannot be witty, but try to avoid convoluted solutions. Keep it focused. Aim for depth, not breadth. There is no need to explain every aspect of the world and all of its politics. Explain in detail the setting the characters are in. Try to keep details that do not add to the ...


0

so, you have a mind-hacking puppetmaster holding the party in a hallucination land. Very doable. You seem to be going with a modern-sh setting. Cell phones not working is the first thing. so the party will look for a landline or to get help. Given the need people have for interaction and to give your players a base, you might put a small crossroads town, ...


1

HoL is perfectly playable as an ongoing campaign. It is one of my favorite all time inspirations in roleplaying, if in nothing else, how bizarre sourcebooks can be. There is a certain dystopian nuance to HoL that can be woven into other systems and campaigns. They can go two ways, one is light hearted, the other is very, very grim. I second the ...


0

NPCs are a myth! Try GM controlled Characters. These are your characters, make them and play them as such. NPCs, truly minor characters, such as shopkeepers, barmaids and the man pushing a broom in the warehouse you are breaking into, can simply be a one line entry in your notes. However, people the Player Characters interact with regularly, such as ...


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You have it slightly harder than me, I have just 10-15 players (changes over time), average number of player in a session is four. I run my campaign for almost seven years, so no problem. Disclaimer: I run GURPS, not DnD, but I think I know the latter enough to address main system issues. My experience is quite similar to sobrique's - he already explained ...


0

I'm in a group that's been running a campaign series for 2 years now and we are quite frequently missing a player. We have the agreement of all players that, should they not make the meeting, their character will be an NPC/mainly passive character. They don't make any decisions, but provide their skills where necessary, eg. healing, scouting or ...


0

I've got another answer that is specific to the Gothic horror Ravenloft Campaign setting for Dungeons and Dragons, but perhaps it has potential in general. In the setting there are inscrutable godlike 'Dark Powers' who control the ubiquitous 'mists'. In published adventures, the mists are usually what has mysteriously appeared and whisked PC's from ...


1

Summon individual heroes based on participation Have each of the people who has the ability to participate in your game roll up a character and create a small one-shot campaign whenever any of them choose to show up to the club to play the game. Normally dungeon crawls are best for this. Heroes are summoned as mediators in a conflict by a group of summoners ...


2

Having run a fairly long running gameworld that involved ... lots of games with 'whoever turned up' and GM swapping. The most satisfactory method we found was to set up a game world that was suited for short-ish adventures in said gameworld rather than an ongoing dungeon crawl We could - and did - develop ongoing plot, recurring characters and themes ...


0

To start off then I have no experience with the Ars magica, but I believe my experience would work as a charm. I have been playing a little with the company rules for my games, what I have done is to add positions within each company for each Quality then connect there main attributes/skills to the ability to get the "Temporary Raises" on the Qualities. ...


2

I ran a campaign in a large, tough city where all adventures could begin and end at the tavern, so whoever was available to play in a given session would go adventuring. For long field campaigns this doesn't work. The solution we use is for the DM to have a copy of everyone's character sheets. If a player is not there then their character is treated as an ...


0

A slightly left-field answer that I've found fun, but which requires you let the players get behind the curtain a little bit: fill in details that are important to your current (and future) story arcs1, then let the players help you fill in the rest. I don't like to do this in-game, as it tends to bog down adventures, but rather set up separate ...


0

One of my friends suggested that I should create a template for the journal and have the same sections happening every issue. The sections that he did mention... Summary of last session action. Upcoming conflict that is happening at the start of next session. World events News of organizations that the players are connected to.


3

I ran a campaign where they were on a boat. Anyone that didn't show up was considered to be staying on the boat when the party went inland or they were below deck when stuff happened on the boat. It required the players to overlook instances where an absent member would be perfect for said encounter, but overall it worked rather well.


3

There is of course the option to just ignore the fact that you have some continuity issues. The story is about the players who are there. You don't have to explain why another player is not there if you don't want to. If it bothers a player, allow them to come up with their own theory as to how to solve the mystery. Perhaps they were too focused to ...


1

My personal experience was making it a school where the PCs attended. Certain people would get exercises that took them far off, and some would be the main focus. It helps to have a crew of NPCs to use as back-up and/or cannon fodder.


5

You might try running a West Marches campaign. Quote from the ruleset: 1) There was no regular time: every session was scheduled by the players on the fly. 2) There was no regular party: each game had different players drawn from a pool of around 10-14 people. 3) There was no regular plot: The players decided where to go and what to do. ...


5

The easy way would be having every session be a one-shot*. No issues with XP and loot-sharing, no issues with having to deal with PC left "mindless" because of absent players, no issues with several people having to catch up on the story every now and then because they missed the previous adventure, and many more problems easily resolved. Inconsistent ...


1

I personally work the missing characters into the story. Example: In my Hoard of the Dragon Queen campaign, we had a session where half of the group was gone. The other half played through the Dragon Hatchery successfully. As for the 3 who were missing, I had them take the Greatsword Hazirawn and find a way to destroy it. That way the three had a task ...


17

Disclaimer: I actually play in a campaign that is now 1 year old and where it is frequent to have one missing player regularly (if more than one, we do not play); I would actually say that we have had more sessions with an incomplete attendance than sessions with a complete attendance. It is possible to have a long running campaign with spotty attendance, ...


2

This may or may not help you, based on your overall situation. But I run a fairly large (too large, honestly) group of 7 players and this is what I do when someone can't make a session when we're in the midst of an adventure. I have a collection of standard characters, and a number of flexible "one shot" adventures. The character sheets are passed out ...


42

Megadungeon All sessions start in the village. At any time when not in peril and the party knows the way back the party can declare that they return to the village - this ends the session. If the session time expires before they return, roll on the "What really bad thing happens to my PC while returning to the village" table. Shamelessly nicked from ...


1

If you expact a flexible player base, you could turn the setting flexible aswell. Something like: The PCs work as mercenaries and are part of mercenarie buisness. With that the contracts they have to do change and therefor different PC join in, depending on which players are around. The problematic part will be XP/loot. Either you give every player ...


13

I always prefer to solve this problem inside the story. Just an example: The PCs are all bound together by a magical tattoo they each bear. They are the Chosen agents of an unknown (or known, for that matter) powerful entity. For reasons only clear to this entity, a PC may just disappear in a puff of thick smoke. Sometimes another PC appears in his/her ...


0

A strong point of GURPS as an introductory system is that it is both very concrete and very broad scoped. GURPS game mechanics tend to map fairly clearly onto real world concepts, and they cover just about everything. It's also very permissive about action so anyone can try just about anything and the traits of their character just tell you how likely they ...


-3

What do you mean you can't run a silly Chthulhu plot? Please consult IOU (Illuminati "You are not cleared to know what the O stands for" University), also from Gurps. An ancient tome of evil that speaks with the voice of Dr. Ruth and advises the players to do unspeakable things to improve their sex lives? An object that warps the very fabric of reality by ...


2

I had a problem coming up with an area in Faerun that I could confirm wasn't already detailed in some other publication, not wanting to conflict with canonical lore that has been previously established. To work around this, I decided on using the current events of the 5e game to my advantage. The Sundering, that is the joining of Abeir and Toril, has ...


2

Plan a single, coherent session that has the tone you want. Treat this a trial run session and be ready to either forge ahead with your horror plot, or let this fall by the wayside. After the session is over, talk with your players and ask how they felt about the session. Did they enjoy it? Would they be happy if the chronicle as a whole moved in that ...


3

Just Start It Start introducing the new stuff - slowly - and see how the players react. This is similar to Erik's suggestion, but the main difference is that rather than dropping just hints about the new tone, you instead simply start to move the game in that direction, complete with appropriate plot elements, characters, and narration style. Narration ...


11

Hint it and measure enthousiasm The general approach I take when I'm not sure what my players like, or whether they'd enjoy a specific thing, is to hint to it during the session and see if they bite. This works best in an open world or if you've already taught your players that they can say "no" and the story will go on, but even if they're used to being ...


1

What I'd suggest is, omitting actual details, discuss with your players whether they'd be open to a tone change to a "more serious, horror-oriented story arc." That would leave things open for you to revert to your existing semi-silly tone afterward, depending on reaction, but be sure they're on board for the kind of change you're considering -- and not ...


4

What went wrong Looking at your three examples: Was this really a campaign, or just a series of adventures linked by common characters? If the latter, there is nothing wrong with that but the rewards you get are the fun you have at the table; not the thinking and planning that you do between sessions that a good campaign generates. I have been playing ...


7

In my experience, by the time a person takes the plunge and actually runs a campaign, they want to write their own stuff. The problem is that writing your own stuff is tough, and knowing what to focus on, and what your players want to focus on, and getting the pacing right, is impossible without running a few games. Solution: The DM runs a smaller pre-made ...



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