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27

Same Page Tool There is such a thing. It's called the Same Page Tool. It does require you to talk to the players, but gives you a structured set of questions to work from that can guide that conversation. There's really no way to do this that doesn't involve talking to them in some way, short of running campaigns and watching what they react to & what ...


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 ...


13

Not Very The cold truth of planning is that you will plan things that don't get used. That's just how it goes. How much of your planning goes to waste depends on how far out you try to plan. The trick I use is to divide my planning up into higher level ideas, and low level details (like stats). High Level - Far Out If your campaign has an overarching ...


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 ...


12

If you are fine with an online solution, Obsidian Portal is one I could recommend. Some people have had bad experiences with the interface being clunky, but I think the site looks quite fresh and responsive (I think they have had a design overhaul in late 2013). Some key selling points: Wiki pages, which you can interlink quite easily, allowing you to ...


12

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 ...


11

Enter the cranium rat swarm (the linked monster is on Wizards’ website, but I don’t know how official it is; there are official printings of it in Fiend Folio). You’ll note it’s got a base CR of ⅛ per rat. In a swarm. The swarm gets smarter and more magical the more rats are present, and they swiftly become very dangerous, ...


10

I use graph theory. All you need to do is to have NPCs (and/or places) as nodes and plots as arcs. You can even use something like GraphViz to visualise the graph you created. In general, the more complex the graph, the more potentially complex the plot. Each link could have a cost associated with it that depends on how hard whatever the arc represent is ...


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 ...


9

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

I use index cards with index card storage boxes. The cards and boxes are color-coded. I can keep notes on the cards even adding post-it notes for temporary information (like attitude toward the PCs and plans for that NPC in the future). When I no longer need to keep the NPC information at hand the color-code allows me to quickly put that card back into ...


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

Have done this numerous times myself, so here are my thoughts: Check everyone is going to be happy with the new campaign. This first one is hopefully obvious - ensure everyone is happy with the choice of new system and genre, and indeed with the fact there's going to be a change. Sometimes that character investment will leave them wanting to hang onto the ...


7

When I am overloaded with too much setting material, I head online instead. Normally in the various play by post forums, or other forums and wiki articles online, I'll be able to find a summary of the important information. Here is what I look for when skimming: Adventure introductions in PbP game advertisements such as those on Myth-Weavers. These ...


7

New answer for a renewed question. The old one is here I'd say that a hidden move is quite against the grain of *World games'idea of moves. It robs the players of their agency in determining their characters' story. And in your case, the intra-party conflict that may occur if the infiltrator is exposed seems to be more important than whether the ...


6

Dungeon World performs excellently with conflict in the open, either visible only to the players/audience, or also visible to the characters. (In Dungeon World, metagaming is often OK or even encouraged, since acting on metagame information must still go through the fiction and moves, which adds to the dynamism of the game; and often metagaming will spark ...


6

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, ...


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 ...


5

Firstly, if you can you should wait for the conversion guides which will be free. If however you are anxious I suggest the following pointers. Replace all monsters from the old module with monsters from the DM basic rules. Same with common magic items. Use the xp budget guidelines to reduce or increase the number of monsters, though normally you can keep ...


5

When I use heavily developed RPG settings like Shadowrun and the Forgotten Realms, I deal with setting fidelity in a couple of ways. Use an underdeveloped part of the setting Even the richest, novel-laden settings have thin spots. Some regions just aren’t detailed as well as others. Some parts of the metaplot lie fallow for ages. Often, all you need to do ...


5

I find that the opening session or two tends to center on feeling out the characters in general. The players, once interacting with each other for the first few times and being tossed into how your world and NPCs work might shift from the expectations. Think about almost every TV show you've seen - the pilot is usually more focused on making the characters ...


5

Here's how I usually do: I create a new Word document and start filling it with a precise scheme. You may want to add/remove some lines, and I usually do it too if i need some more/less. I usually use cities' names as an index, in alphabetical order. Every city is in a different Word page (no problem if you exceed the page - you probably will!) Here's an ...


5

I like your list but I think you're missing a factor. Common or ambiguous elements of plots. Let's take one of the standard simple plots in a game. Somebody went missing and the party has to find him or her. Okay, you can spin off as much complexity as you want but the plot itself is basic. Now let's run two of those at the same time. It seems that ...


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 ...


4

"Complexity is how difficult the plots are to follow" My experience is that difficulty in following plots depends on the following factors: Clarity on the goal and role of the PCs Clarity on the goals and roles of the NPCS Anything that is superfluous to the above Anything that casts doubt on #1/#2 Play expectations about how play works and how much ...


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 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

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 ...



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