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39

Let the Baby Bird Leave the Nest Having rotated a campaign through many GM hands, the least disruptive thing we found was to not worry about it. Your turn at the helm is over. Our group has multiple people that like to GM. We created a world we really liked and want to continue exploring when it is someone else's turn to run a campaign. We decided that ...


17

You start with a pithy campaign concept pitch ("Con artists in a Star Wars 'verse"). Then the players make trimmed-down PCs: a High Concept, a Trouble, and two or three skills with ranks assigned. Everything else can be filled in on the fly during play as it's needed/wanted. As they make their characters, the players should decide what small goal they share ...


15

Using The Lost Mines of Phandelver as an example, here's how I handle such situations. Map I frequently forget elements when going off published maps. So I take the published map, photocopy it, and mark it in a way that makes the key elements of each room impossible for me to miss. For example, if the room is dark, I outline the shape of the room using a ...


13

You've said it yourself: Go with the fiction If they decide they need to camp for a night then sure, ask them to mark off rations and decide their watch order. If they're spending the night in an inn and pay for food and lodgings (or earn them through heroic deeds), why would they consume rations or have to take watch? If they're in a situation where ...


13

Get a look at this tables I found and use on my games, it have all the necessary in 3 pages landscape that you can fit to your custom-made DM screen. All the credit for Mr. Stan Shinn, great work! http://swshinn.com/dnd-5e/rules-summary/ You can also use the DnD Free official rules as is very cheap to print and you have a simple booklet easy to use and ...


13

Here are the rules: Starvation and Thirst Characters might find themselves without food or water and with no means to obtain them. In normal climates, Medium characters need at least a gallon of fluids and about a pound of decent food per day to avoid starvation. (Small characters need half as much.) In very hot climates, characters need two or three ...


10

Playing short form requires several shifts in technique and approach. My group typically does 2-3 hour sessions. A 4 hour session is a marathon for us. Drop the Filler The first thing to do is let go of filler material. Filler material includes setting up adventures that are "clue to clue to clue to oh actually interesting development". This is the ...


10

I once played in a Low Life one-shot (written for Savage Worlds Revised, the version out at the time of printing) but used Savage Worlds Deluxe and there were no issues whatsoever, even when incorporating new rules (e.g. the new chase rules, new Incapacitation rules, the Rapid Attack combat maneuver). There are just a couple of tweaks you have to make ...


8

That kind of decay is probably best represented by ability damage. He's not "technically" starving, but he's not eating well enough to really support him, right? Poor health = Constitution damage; physical weakness = Strength damage; broken will = Wisdom damage. You could add others too, if you wanted. If he's forgotten how to deal with people like ...


7

SlyFlourish, producer of several books and tips for DM, noted that at level 1 it was a deadly grind. It might be intentional but I didn't like it that way so I've up-leveled or made them level 2 very quickly. It was a grind at level 2 but a GOOD grind. At level 1 it's deadly. Twitter Source With that in mind, consider leveling them up right away, ...


7

Method A: Do your research. When you are not an expert, you have to become one. According to the wiki rule, there is a specialized wiki for about every fictional universe ever imagined just a web search away. For Star Wars in particular, there is for example Wookiepedia where you can look up lots of trivia about Dantooine or Tatooine. When you have the ...


6

There's a bunch on SoundBible: http://soundbible.com/tags-zombie.html AudioBlocks also has some nice ones, and the site shows you a graph of each clip: http://www.audioblocks.com/search/?srch-term=zombie&srch-type=sfx I'd also recommend checking out the "horror sounds", which includes various ambient sound effects popular in horror films, and a few ...


6

D&D5 has only 3 levels: Dark, Dim or Light. In the absence of a light source it's Dark - take this as the default state for underground and nighttime. Start with everywhere is dark; If you are in the dark you are effectively blinded. To remember: Write "Dark" prominently on the map. To make an area Light you need a light source, blindsight or ...


6

If you use miniatures If you use miniatures, it might be useful to get some kind of small ring (like, cut out top of a cottage cheese or margarine container, leave just the rim) that you can place down around the light sources. Obviously: a) it's not exact, and b) you need to find something a close size for the actual light to your map, but it can serve as ...


6

Since you have "fairly extensive" written session notes, I would apply the principle that especially in a "make it up as you go along" campaign, if the players didn't see it then it wasn't real. Unless the new GM wants to know what you were thinking. There is no such thing as "something he doesn't really know about". There are things that have been defined ...


5

I have organized 5 LARP events of around 3-4 days length with 80-120 people each over the last years. The camp was set up in the style of a boy scout camp, i.e. tents etc. I just listed some points off the top of my head... Feel free to ask me anything I have not answered below. Kind of event Figure out what kind of event you want to do. The span goes ...


5

There are guidelines for increasing the difficulty of an encounter. Basically, you calculate the XP budget for 6 characters. So instead of 100 XP for an easy encounter at L1, the XP budget is 150. However I would not do anything at all with the encounters at first. Wait until your PCs are consistently breezing through them. Most groups need some time to ...


5

I have a similar problem, if not for similar reasons. The software that I utilize to solve it is The Keep, by NBOS. It's a bit pricey, which made me take while to get it, and it does have a certain idea in mind of how it wants you to keep track of information- but if you can adapt, it works well. First, from their blurb: Key Features: Organize ...


5

There is no "should" here. Cheat sheets are typically made one of two ways: A game designer makes educated guesses based on their inside knowledge, and arranges that material on an officially-published GM Screen product or download. Despite officialness, these are often not ideal, as limited designer time, graphic design considerations, and marketing ...


4

I print off custom maps from map creators, then lay an acrylic sheet over top. The hard surface is easier to place minis on and you can use dry-erase markers to augment the map with traps, AoE effects, etc. To add Fog of War to this setup, I use butcher paper in between the map and the acrylic then slid it out as the players progress. I have also used ...


4

Work WITH your players If I'm going to sit down and play a game for several hours, nevermind for several sessions of several hours, I want to know what genre I'm playing. The "gotcha" campaign doesn't make people as happy as folks think. Tell your players, "I'm planning on doing a zombie outbreak game, and the expectations are that your characters are ...


4

I think you have two potentially opposing goals here - introductory and campaign. Limited choice works great when introducing new players. In fact, this is often done with pregenerated characters ("here, play this guy") where there is no chargen choice at all (except for perhaps name). At conventions, I've run many games where someone shows up with no ...


4

I would add monsters until you are inline with the XP restrictions set forth on page 57 of the Basic DM Guide For example, with 4 people, the initial encounter of 8 kobolds is 500xp, or 25 XP * 8 kobolds * 2.5 for a group of 8. As a result, this encounter is pretty deadly at level 1. That said, the players should be helped out by the woman with the spear, ...


4

Having been running the Encounters version... You need a Cleric or a Paladin in the party. Bards simply don't have the ability to magically heal, and that is what's needed. Potions don't make up for the lack of magical healing. 0HP does not equal dead. If you're not running Adventurer's League play, then you can let them level up once they get 300 XP... ...


4

I am having the same problem, although my characters just reached level 3. However, I think that the best answer is for the party to better share the loot between each others. They, after all, are the ones who want to survive, not you. If you have one player who always takes it all, he will create the imbalance, not you as the DM. For what to ...


4

If you're using a game mat and you're drawing the map out as you play, any room that is dim has diagonal lines in one direction to signify that the light in that room is in fact, dim. If a room is completely dark, draw diagonal lines in the opposite direction and add curved lines in the corners of the room to signify that the room is dark. If a dark room has ...


4

I'm a big fan of clipping things to my GM screen for everyone to see. NPC pictures to remind them they have some NPCs along, a ship's mast to remind them "you are all on a ship," etc. For lighting, you could make little pieces of paper with a sun (light), a moon (dim) and just black (dark) and have the relevant one pinned up on the top of your screen ...


3

You Don't You are asking impossible, contradictory things. In essence, this question asks How do I get an impossibly rare and delicate social structure to occur spontaneously and persist in inhospitable conditions? Let's talk contradictory first: All members of the group should be roughly equal in value/respect The party must contain at least ...


3

I just learned of this today but feel like sharing it immediately: Metagame rewards survey http://d7.pipemaze.com/files/metagame-rewards-survey.pdf Created by member @SevenSidedDie inspired by this blog post (thanks for sharing!). I will definitely print a bunch of them and bring them to our next session. I feel our group can profit quite a bit by just ...


3

Yes, it's fine to make it up as you go along. You'll get better at it the more you do it. I have two bits of advice. First, prepare in as modular a manner as you can. Prepare rooms more than dungeons, characters more than residents. That way if your PCs pass through the Catacombs of Despair without finding that one secret room, you can throw it into the ...



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