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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 ...


25

Communicate. Let the players know what kind of campaign you're running. How relevant is combat? Will there be social encounters at all? Will they be frequent? Even better, listen to the players to find out what kind of game they would like to play. They want a game of brutal dungeons and challenging combat to gain ever more powerful items? Then they ...


20

Siloing "Siloing" is a design term for sectioning off powers or points to be used for a subset of things - thereby limiting how much min-maxing can happen. Usually in point build games, the problem is that people pour ALL of their points into combat and ignore everything else. The simple house rule is to silo the points: "You can spend 100 pts on ...


15

Figure out how relations are between the orcs and the ogres in the camp. Give these two groups tribal names, flags, distinctive armor, etc. Are there members of more than one clan within either tribe? If so, give each clan a name and a flag, and figure out the relations between the clans. Is there tension there? History? Pride? Think about how labor is ...


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 ...


11

What level PCs can manage a horde of 300+ orcs & ogres!? Challenge I think their biggest problem will be the infighting/challenges for leadership from their followers! Other civilized cities & adventurers attacking your horde (even if you've been friendly, I'd take you out before you become a threat) Engaging I think you'd only need a few ...


11

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 ...


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, ...


11

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 ...


10

There are several types of mission archetypes that are common to P'n'P games in my experience (and this is not an exhaustive list but it's pretty close to it): Extermination A simple kill-job that has the player characters violently eliminate a particular group of enemies or as many enemies as they can until the mission parameters are satisfied with the ...


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

Yes, you can. But that doesn't mean you should. I'm not aware of any mechanic in Pathfinder by which a shifter can change classes when they change form, and I'd be very surprised if there was one - it defeats the purpose of a class-based system. However, you're the GM. Your primary responsibility is to make a game that's fun for everyone. You can ...


9

Use a dynamic amount of content. You can't know how long that 3 page long dungeon will take to play. Instead prep the games in small chunks. Add more chunks as necessary during the game session. When you're approaching the end point, run the final segment of the game. As requested, here are some examples. I held off from posting them when I first ...


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

First of all, you need to choose a game that allows you to do that, which comes with the usual implications of making your group buy in. If you already play one of those, no problem. If you don't and your group still wants to use that system, then maybe someone else will write an answer about how to shorten combat encounters and create short missions. This ...


8

Confirm Characters Can Perform Tasks Beyond Murder The primary issue in a point-based game is not that players make characters that are combat monsters but that players can't make characters that are anything but combat monsters. Champions is a great, highly detailed cinematic combat system. GURPS is a great, highly detailed mostly realistic combat system. ...


8

Mundane Villainy Is More Interesting than Magical Villainy If the villain uses magic to create problems, then magic is what'll be used to solve those problems. However, if the mundane is used to create problems, magic and the mundane can be used to solve those problems. Further, the players don't feel as though you're cheating if the villain's just ...


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

One simple way for sandboxy games: Explain to the players that they need to get back to base by the end of the session. If they don’t, then you’ll roll on a table you’ve made up to determine what happens on their way back to base.


7

Different flows of time can effectively happen in your D&D game, across a portal between two planes or across the surface of a Planar Shepard character's bubble. What really happens at the boundary is never specified by the rules. The most common interpretation you can find on forums is that a creature can either be at one side or the other, because ...


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

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 ...


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 ...


6

So long as you borrow from 3.5, you're set. You're looking for the Chameleon PrC from Races of Destiny. First, it's fairly easy for a higher-level wizard to impersonate a fighter, all they need to do is cast mages' transformation on themselves. But, in order to do this from a lower level, things become quite interesting. The Chameleon, at sufficiently high ...


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

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 ...



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