Tag Info

Hot answers tagged

105

I disagree with the suggestions that game mechanics will solve the problem. Things like XP penalties, and increasingly tough authority crackdowns may help; but, the real thing that drives empathy from players is good roleplay from NPCs. Think about the things that make you not want to go around killing people in real life: Killing is wrong. If your PC is ...


87

Don't Make Killing What the Game is About D&D laid this trap for us ages ago when XP became about what you could kill, not what you could accomplish. RPGs in large part followed suit, and became The Great Big Game of What Can I Kill? Asking players in a game like that to not kill everything they can is folly. It's like asking Monopoly players to not buy ...


50

As with anything, usage varies, but usually when people say "sandbox" today they mean a campaign that does not have a specific prescribed storyline, but one where the GM sets up a world (or at least a small section of one) and the PCs are free to wander where they will and find adventure where they will. It's about freedom of player choice. Pure sandbox ...


50

coming back to this after some time... How you reward play choices Mechanics are the answer. Specifically, the mechanics involved in reward. I've found that, fundamentally, it's all about the reward cycles encoded in mechanics. And especially when players have read the mechanics, they will tend to do what's rewarded most. Rewards come in about 4 basic ...


37

My Background I have played just about every edition of D&D after the white box, and I play 4E. I'm currently running a 4E campaign that intentionally breaks the Gamist expectations of the rules. I occasionally play in a "Western Marches"-style Darksun 4E campaign that very much adheres to the Gamist expectations of the rules. Gamism as I define it is ...


27

I think it's important not to "double-deal" at times like this; if you've established that some adversaries are there to be mown down like wheat before the scythe in pursuit of gold and XP, it's disingenuous to then put them forward as thinking, feeling beings worthy of respect and negotiation. If you want to have your PCs show a respect for human life, make ...


25

OK, I don't have time to answer this as I want to. My background is in psychology, and I fell into Roleplaying games when I turned 10 in 1976. So by the time I was in college, understanding where the term Roleplaying game really came from, I understood the critical nature of immersion, how it is the most important ingredient for game success. And to be ...


23

The key concept to understand the difference between RPG's fiction and written fiction is that of authority. In a written story, trivially the author has authority over main characters and the environment, so she can optimize the sequence of events (the plot) to hightens the emotional impact for the reader (if she knows what she is doing). But let's not ...


19

One way to implicate the players is to offer them horrific, impossible choices. (Let me go back a bit to explain this.) Conventionally, in horror games, we present players with horror. We show them something horrific, usually a monster, and expect them to respond. Instead, try giving choices. For example, do you kill the person who's trapped inside the ...


18

I GM, play, design for, and blog ("At-Will") about 4e. Been published in Kobold Quarterly, getting published as an author in a book coming out in April (Lost City). I've also been roleplaying for about 23 years and have played every edition of D&D to date (yes, even the old beige books, which I inherited from my brother). I play (and have played) tons ...


18

Murderous cretins? Love the term. You, as the GM, are totally in control of this. Creating the setting and the cultures is purely under your control. I will tell you from experience, if you create and use cultures with certain values, most players will work with it; and those that work agaainst them will do so from that position of their own volition. ...


16

For various in depth takes on this, see The 12 RPGs Every Gamer Should Play Before They Die (Gnome Stew), Ten Games You Have To Play Before You Die (Geek Related, me!) I remember going through the process of breaking out of the D&D Ghetto (tm) into other games, and certain games did a lot to expand my understanding of what you can do with the field. ...


16

Not an easy question! What I try to do to enhance immersion while lessening the effect of metagame considerations includes: Leading from the front. If I hope to make it easier for my players to immerse themselves in their roles, I must also be willing to immerse myself as much as possible in the NPC cast, and provide as much interaction as I can which ...


16

The reason that constructing plots (for a GM) is different from constructing plots (for an author) is simple but profound: The GM is not in control of his protagonists. A game is not a book, even more than a book is not a movie. The players are in control of their characters. The Conflict / Rising Action / Resolution structure is still at the core of ...


15

Metagame Rewards: The Different Kinds of Fun The most useful classification scheme I've found is about the different ways that people find roleplaying games satisfying and rewarding to play. It's best expressed† in the article "Metagame Rewards, or the Different Kinds of Fun": [M]etagame rewards are a form of reward that encourages the players to keep ...


14

I've had this problem before, and often the PCs would hunt down fleeing opponents as they wanted their XP. I usually award combat XP for defeating opponents - turned undead are defeated, fleeing orcs are defeated, and shaking off a hunting bugbear pack defeats them. This helped curb some of their worst excesses. However, this doesn't actively discourage ...


13

I don't agree with RMorrissey's answer. If the player of a lawful neutral cleric thinks it's justified to frag the kiddies to beat the goons, you are not in a good place if you have to argue about the theology of the limits of pragmatism in the PC's religion. The player should be the expert on their PC, which means you need either to appeal to rules and ...


12

The term originated in computer games and it's meant to describe a game where its playing field is wide open for the player to do what they want. Around 2005 with the release of Necromancer Game's Wilderlands of High Fantasy Boxed Set, its authors—I am one of them—used it to describe to people what made the Wilderlands different from other settings. It was ...


12

If players pick up on subtlety, give them a subplot quest from the town's sheriff to go find an adventuring group and bring them back to the town for trial. The charge? The fighter hadn't washed in a few weeks, the stableboy made a comment under his breath that the fighter smelled worse than the rest of the poop-filled stable, and the fighter killed him in ...


11

In RPGs, you can have it both ways. Some FRP games designate certain races as creatures of vile and irredeemable nature (e.g. any race defined as inherently capital-E Evil). A fundamental escapist principle of such games is the simple fun of stealing these creatures' belongings -- i.e. treasure -- and their demise is a perfectly acceptable concurrent ...


10

My Advice to Try... Rolemaster, Spacemaster: classes as determinant of how much it takes to learn something, but without forbidding anyone any particular skill... And for table-driven mechanics. Great fun, but a good bit of work. Tunnels and Trolls: the GMing litmus test... If T&T falls flat, it's almost always one of three issues: the GM isn't good at ...


10

Apocalypse World The general rule of thumb seems to be, "If you want to have your mind blown, have all your preconceptions about RPGs shattered, rearranged, and reassembled into something strange and new, read Vincent Baker's latest game." Right now, that game is Apocalypse World. We're talking about more than, "Oh, that's an interesting way to handle hit ...


10

When it comes to correcting PC behavior, the first thing I do is answer the following question, "If I 'correct' this, will the game be more fun for the players?" It turns out, usually not. After all, these players spend 162 hours a week being law-abiding citizens in the real world. I'm fine to give them 6 hours to go on what is in reality, a murderous ...


9

The key to a sandbox is to give the players the choice in what challenges they tackle. "Adventure module" isn't the opposite of "sandbox", either. It's completely possible to use purchased adventure modules in sandbox play. In fact, purchased modules make things a lot easier, since they provide a lot of focused material to populate a sandbox quickly and you ...


9

The two pillars of traditional roleplaying (at least in my experience), are class-based and point-buy systems. As you already have experience with a couple of the main class-based games, you might want to try out some of the point-buy systems. A couple of my favorites: The D6 system by West End Games. An extremely simple system, which allows you to easily ...


8

Burning Wheel changed how I think about, run, and play roleplaying games. Like D&D, it's a fantasy system. Unlike D&D, Burning Wheel has completely different character creation, combat, skills, advancement, and GM/player interaction. Concepts like Beliefs, Instincts, Traits, Circles, and Let It Ride will make you rethink what you want from a game ...


8

I GM 4e. My group plays in what I consider to be a narrative manner with a side of gamism. We've done several sessions without combat and once we went a whole session without rolling dice. Basically I tell a story and we treat 4e as a rules light system. I don't really do traditional skill challenges because I find them too structured. Even a well ...


8

It's aimed at slightly different audience (game designers), but Mike Holmes' list in this thread is probably worth your attention, if only because Mike has played more games than most people. Leaving out the ones he mentions more as warnings than inspirations, and focusing more on the games that would make a contrast with D&D, and adding a few from the ...


8

Some basic thing you can do to improve immersion are not game based but environment based. If possible turn off or silence cell phones so no one interrupts the flow with a unneeded phone call If you allow food and drinks have snacks set out ahead of time so players don't have to go get them when they get hungry If you are not on a time schedule don't have ...


8

In a lot of games I play, metagaming is the result of poor GMing, for example: Every encounter boils down to combat, instead of providing any alternative solution (treaties, escape etc). Each combat is too difficult for the characters. If they can only hit the enemy on a 19 or 20 (about 1 in 10 rounds), it isn't fun - they'll attempt to find ways to ...



Only top voted, non community-wiki answers of a minimum length are eligible