Hot answers tagged

20

Decisions are engaging This is true on every level: encounters (both combat and other wise), dungeons (or other local-level areas), campaigns, and adventures. Descriptions of settings and characters and the environment contribute to immersion and bringing the game to life, yes, but to be engaged with the gameplay your players should be making decisions. ...


19

If the minutiae of labyrinthine legalese doesn't sound like fun to you, and it doesn't sound like fun to the players, then don't use it. Your player is right -- it's not fair to agree to a contract without getting to hear the details. Instead, offer deals that are tempting, but dangerous. Let's say the party has a question for Mr. Mephistopheles -- they ...


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 ...


16

The most useful way to create a Fate Accelerated pregen character is: just barely, and then jump into the game immediately and let people fill in the blanks when they need to. Aeon Wave (which is pay what you want, including free) does this to great success, and is a sci-fi game based on six premade characters. It's for Fate Core, but you may want to adapt ...


15

Answers in order followed by some discussion: Out the gate you don't need to teach them anything. As they encounter things that require rules, you inform them of them. So when they first want to try scaling a wall you inform them of how skill checks work and have them roll. You introduce the rules of combat piece by piece. Just ask them what they want to ...


14

This is a very fun idea. Here are some of my thoughts, which you hopefully find useful. Feel free to use one or more ideas, or none if none suit your campaign. Your Co-GM's Character Has Other Things To Do You may both know the major things that affect the world, but your characters have much more immediate things they have to take care of; and that ...


14

There are many tricks that will help you remember, but most of them boil down to two things: Focus on the important stuff and write things down. That being said, here are a few more detailed pieces of advice that might help you. 1: Get rid of clutter I don't know anything about the Death House, but it seems to be a large mansion with a lot of rooms. The ...


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 ...


9

A megadungeon is simply too large to feasibly represent during play at 1in=5ft scale, even if you were wanting to, without a lot of work. I find that drawing out every section either beforehand or during play in battle-map scale is a lot of work for very little value. It's more effective to save miniature-scale maps for where they are most effective. So ...


9

Wing It This may not be the most technical answer, but I have exactly the same problem as you do. My group can be so erratic when it comes to doing what I think they're going to do as well as the time it takes. I elected to do what you've already mentioned, and write in between sessions, basing what you think off of their last decisions. It helps to keep ...


8

I've participated in a campaign in which we had alternating GMs on successive sessions, and I've played storytelling games in which multiple players had GM-like authority. I have suggestions! Learn to say Yes, And... This is an improv principle that has made its way into storytelling games. You have to be OK with other people having authority over "your" ...


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 ...


8

In general, I've found the solution to this problem is to prepare too much, rather than too little. It's easier to say "We'll pick this up next week" rather than "Well, that's all I've got for tonight; who want to play Xbox?" Since you indicate that your strengths lie more in planning than in improvisation (mine too), some specific techniques to help the ...


7

One thing I do may get at the desire to have old/far past portions 'fall off' that you mentioned in your comments: I laminate 8-1/2 x 11 sheets with 1" grid printed on them and use them as "battle sheets." You can draw up many locations ahead of time and do other ones on the fly, keep them in a binder and lay them out (overlapping) as party enters new ...


7

Let the players' (and your) imagination do the work. While the Devil might be in the details, he's irrelevant here. Paint with big brush strokes. Let the imaginations of the players fill the gaps. And let the players add to the environment! For example: You enter a kitchen, the smell of cold roasted meats and fat permeates the place. Over in a ...


7

As a fellow DM that has a twice a week schedule where I can run a game (more because it is hard for me to find free time every week than the prep time) I can feel for you and your group. My whole group wants me to run a weekly game instead, but that's difficult for various reasons. The problem you are stating is that you do not have the time to prep ...


6

The CR calculation for an NPC with class levels is the same as the CR calculation for a custom monster. DMG, p92: Challenge Rating An NPC built for combat needs a challenge rating. Use the rules in chapter 9 to determine the NPC's challenge rating, just as you would for a monster you designed. It is referring you to the section in Chapter 9 entitled,...


6

Since modules don't scale at all, your best bet would be to run the mod with a large table, with as many of the characters as you can manage at the top end of the level range. Most modules have a 3-level range for PFS, so try encouraging players to be at the top of that range. Also, try and encourage players to play a group of characters that work together - ...


6

If you have time to spend on this, you can ask the players to write the contract themselves. As neither your players nor their characters are in-real-life lawyers you can bet there will be plenty of loopholes the devil will be able to exploit. They can make checks if they want, and it could give them clues like "you mentioned you didn't want you soul to be ...


5

Perhaps you can try out GMless games. Fiasco is a great example. No prep, fast action, bad things happening all over the place. Cheat your own Adventure also has no prep. It's whole style is based off of those silly/goofy/awesome choose your own adventure books.


5

Run one-shot games that improve your group’s roleplaying skills A lot of high quality, cheap (or free) independent / one-shot RPGs require little or no preparation time, and the rules can be learned together within an hour. These games typically last one or two sessions and can convey techniques and skills which will be of benefit to your main campaign. In ...


5

Dungeon World works great for smaller groups (Though it probably wouldn't be as much fun with just one player.) for exactly the reasons you cite. Things tend to happen reactively - monsters don't, strictly speaking, get "turns", but rather, act when a PC rolls badly or doesn't act to stop them. Similarly, the game isn't nearly as 'party synergy dependent' ...


4

Similarly to your commenters I have a feeling that you may be looking at it in a way that will take much more of your time than perhaps it's required. :-) Nevertheless: I know not of such a tool or pre-gen already existing that meet your criteria (but see update below thanks to @Ahriman) Have you tried the forums? If anyone made something like it, most ...


4

Some starting points you can find on the SRD: For the citadel: http://www.d20srd.org/srd/wilderness.htm#wallsAndGates; http://www.d20srd.org/srd/wilderness.htm#guardsAndSoldiers; and a google search led me to the DMG Web enhancement: Building a City. You might want to use thicker and higher walls and larger number of soldiers than the size of the ...


4

The following spring to mind: Is there a particular film, book or genre they have expressed particular interest in? Most people are much more comfortable handling game worlds they are most familiar and happy with (the exception perhaps being people who like winging it, creating worlds as they go along). For instance if they really liked Lord of the Rings ...


4

This isn't strict rules as written, but here we go: The purpose of APL is to determine appropriate CRs for encounters the party faces. The experience point awards table goes below 1, but not to 0 - it goes 1/2, 1/3, 1/4, 1/6, and 1/8. It seems sensible that you could put your party on the same scale, so that three level 1 characters have an APL one step ...


4

It seems from you question that you may not have read Hoard of the Dragon Queen because most of that stuff is covered in there. Specifically, the book starts with the players overlooking a town that is under attack - they can either leave, in which case you will have completed the shortest adventure in history or they can go into the town where there a ...


4

The biggest thing that helps me with remembering areas is visual factors. Instead of trying to read it from the book, you could create a simple map, set of dot points of important items, or have a page of "reminders", or even combine all three. Before the session, set out what you want from each area. Are there X amount of key items they need to find? A ...


4

Different groups have different standards, but generally speaking, all you'll really need is their passive Perception and Defences. You'll be using those a lot, but you can easily ask for anything else you need in play. I've had GMs that ask for a full list of all skills, in case they need to roll secret checks of various kinds, but passive Perception and ...


4

I will give you just one method that will work for any issue where you need to give information to your players: Use handouts. It may seem silly at first, but that's what I do when I go to events in my town and want to try a new system, which, obviously, nobody know the rules. When it's not a game that comes with a beginner box of some sort (such as ...



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