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20

Have everyone make notes, and keep a copy of everyone's. Likewise, take a photocopy of everyone's character sheets. Put them all in a folder. Keep that folder safe. In the process of reopening, have everyone read their notes, and share some stories of past character deeds. If you have time before hiatus, wrap up or tie off a bunch of loose ends, but not ...


17

Does it have to be D&D? My go-to game for introducing anyone to roleplaying is Fiasco, a game in which you create and play out a Coen Brothers-esque scenario. You’ll play ordinary people with powerful ambition and poor impulse control. There will be big dreams and flawed execution. It won’t go well for them, to put it mildly, and in the end it will ...


17

Absolutely. Apocalypse World (AW) is tonnes of fun to play for a single session, but it was actually designed for long-term play. The full possibilities of the character-development mechanics require several sessions to unfold. There are three common lengths of Apocalypse World games. Single session. These are fun, as already mentioned. This is a good way ...


16

If possible (you haven't left off the game on a very intense cliffhanger), move forward the campaign world by one month for every week that passes IRL. Write updates on what happens in the world, ask the players to sum up their characters' reactions to the events. Example: "With the coming of spring the King falls quite ill, which gives rise to talk about ...


16

Finally, I had also thought about some kind of virus which would make robots turn against humans, in a society were security bots are the norm. I find that the best plots are engendered by taking elements of current events, exaggerating the causal themes, and inserting a unique twist, then time adjusting it and inserting it into your baseline campaign ...


16

Your level is about how much experience you have so far. It says nothing about where you are in the story. Consider the Lord of the Rings. At the beginning of the adventure, Frodo is a beginner, level 1, just starting his career. Aragorn, however, has been in many stories so far (even if we don't see them ourselves). When he joins this adventure, the ...


13

I think it depends on whether your family members have the interest and attention span required. Neither of my parents would play an RPG, but my brother would. I think there are several important factors for this - especially if you don't want to ruin your holidays! It's got to be a fast game. You have to have a short, simple scenario ready to go. You ...


13

This might be a good time to flesh out your setting and characters by collaboratively typing up a mess of details online. You can set up a wiki, share some Google Docs, or just start a big email chain. Then, ask each other questions. You can ask your players questions about their characters' goals and histories, and they can ask you for details about the ...


11

The Dying Earth RPG, set in Jack Vance's Dying Earth. Dark Sun, for D&D, where the world has been dried up by destructive use of magic. Ravenloft, also for D&D, which is a dystopia, being the private hell chunks for 20+ über-evil individuals. Several published settings for EABA. Greg's got a pretty dark streak showing.


11

It appears from your example that you've been playing the adventure with a group of 3 characters, without tuning down the encounters. If you do so, faster leveling is expected. Rationale D&D 4e's adventures use encounters that have been balanced against a party of 5, which is the expected number of players. If you have a party of 6 or a party of 4 (or, ...


9

Really an important question here is how much you expect to get through per session. I ran a group of new players through the Sunless Citadel a couple years ago. Technically, it's just one adventure and only one dungeon. In practice, in the four sessions that the game lasted, they explored less than half of it. If your beginners are about as fast as mine ...


9

I wouldn't call it a campaign, but I'm a fan of Gorgoldand's Gauntlet as a low-level adventure. It was a published Dungeon adventure from May 2001 (this obviously makes it 3.0 and not 3.5, but I don't expect it would be difficult to update). A quick search turned up this PDF version: ...


8

There's lots of good answers here. I particularly like the first one of using stories from the news as inspiration. Here's some ideas that are still relevant, but perhaps were more obviously cutting edge 8 years ago: widespread use of drones, widespread use of mercenaries by both governments and corporations, and the use of child soldiers. For something more ...


7

First make sure you write down where you are ... the last thing you want is to go to restart the campaign, and realize that have no clue where you left off. Depending on where you are currently at in your campaign, you may want to wrap things up over email, to bring the "open chapter" in the campaign to a close. This would allow you to be more flexible when ...


7

I normally follow this process: Check with the existing group Get everyone to meet somewhere neutral (coffee shop/pub) for lunch/dinner Check again with the existing group Sleep on it I think it is important for everyone to have a say because the game does not belong to the GM but the whole group.


7

Cyberpunk is about a fast world overwhelming and crushing people. Pick a technological or social advance that occurs too fast and destroys the lives of a lot of people while catapulting a few others beyond humanity. Ideas: A new affordable and safe source of energy (practical fusion power at last, maybe) threatens to upset the balance of power(=oligopoly) ...


7

Quickly, I thought that my DM wrote this question, because we were in that exact same scenario. What helped us was: The experienced players knew the material, and each took a pupil to help guide the new players. We're still having trouble actually "roleplaying" as a group. Most still treat it as a series of battles and not as an interactive story. We're ...


7

I almost invariably run sandbox games, what the players do is entirely up to them and the plot advances through NPCs no matter if they interact or not! Before organising a big sandbox campaign where there are strategic targets I'd advise the following: Talk to the players; see what they want from the game and enjoy. Do they like exploring? Fights? ...


7

This question really heavily depends on your groups style of play, frequency of moves and duration and frequency of sessions. Frequency of sessions: the more often you play and the shorter your sessions are, the more often you will use the End of Session move and thus earn XP at a faster rate. Frequency of moves: the more often a move involving a roll is ...


6

Seriously?... Film Noire: Pick any of them, move the story into a cyber punk setting. Any 20/30 police thrillers will do nicely as well. It's gritty, dark, and contains corruption going sky high. Instead of prohibition, use forbidden technologies -- maybe nanotech would fit nicely making all that cyberware obsolete. Instead of corrupt politicians, use ...


6

The answer to all your questions starts with don't worry about your players guessing anything. I'll explain why you don't need to, and also why it will solve the rest of your problems. Really, don't worry about the players figuring it out. There are so many different possible reasons for a culture to have rituals about fire being dangerous, that it's ...


6

This is pretty vague, probably too vague to answer - people will suggest just about anything given those parameters. Having said that, your minimal one-line description sounds like the overall plot of the Curse of the Crimson Throne AP from Paizo.


6

The CRs in 3.PF are wildly variable in their accuracy (which makes sense, considering that the power level of parties of a given level are also wildly variable), so don’t put too much faith in CR. No matter what the numbers say you’ll have to tailor the encounters for the party based on their power, even if their level says it should match the encounter’s ...


5

In Glorantha's (north) west are the Malkioni, who are a family of cultures with knights and priests, which is the part of Glorantha closest to mainstream medieval fantasy. One of the strongest and most dominant cultures is the Rokari of the land of Seshnela, who provide a number of dystopic features: They do offer peace and salvation to their peasants, in ...


5

The non-cliche would be to build up stories about a neighborhood or sub-culture that the player characters can care about. When you get down to it there aren't that many things to do: get some(thing/one), protect some(thing/one), discover some(thing/one), escape some(thing/one), or affect somechange. Rather than looking for some new fresh idea, build on ...


5

All the resources you mention are good. You should also have a look at the Adventure Paths from Paizo, which are complete adventures that will take your heroes from level 1 up to high levels. And there are many to choose from!


5

The rules here are perhaps not the best written, but the intent seems to be clear, so I'm going to try to help out. First, though, I suggest reading this other similar question; I'm not certain they're duplicates, but they're certainly related. Still got questions? Alright then, let's go. The GM still exists. These rules very specifically say that the ...


4

I have been preparing my group for a game of Dread, and I thought it merited a mention here. It is by default a horror game. The gist of the game is that each task requires you to pull a block from a Jenga tower and place it on top. If you cause the tower to topple you die. Each character is defined by a questionnaire that the GM creates (the at least one ...


4

You, sir, want Lady Blackbird, which almost precisely fits your description. By default it's not grim and gritty, but you could easily add some darker flavour to it. It comes with pre-generated characters, a starting situation, and a simple yet elegant ruleset, all taking place in a setting that's a mash-up for Skies of Arcadia, Firefly, and World of ...


4

WHile not having actually played BoL... I've played many an equally simple game engine. I've seen reports of campaign play. I've read BoL. BoL has character advancement options, and sufficient flexibility, to be able to sustain a 10-20 session campaign. Assuming each session is a story¹, that's 2-3 Advancement points per session. (p. 40) Which means ...



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