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70

No, it's not fair to punish a player in this way. But it's not okay for this player to take an unfair share of control over the game, either. You are the DM — you are in control. You are in the Big Chair, and the group put you there to be responsible for pacing and mediation. You have that job because players striving for the benefit of their PC is fun but ...


16

Initially expect the group to mitigate his schemes rather than foil them. If they aren't actually preventing the big bad from getting what he wants, then he doesn't have to stop them getting what they want. So they can pull innocent bystanders out of the way of whatever terrible stuff he's up to, or they can be threatened by side-effects or after-effects of ...


15

You have stumbled on the issue (or a primary issue) that prompted the development of the gumshoe system. GUMSHOE is used for a number of games with investigative elements, including Trail of Cthulhu, a GUMSHOE implementation of CoC and Night's Black Agents, a spies-vs-vampires setting with a more militaristic bent. By extension, the solution adopted may work ...


14

First of all, you didn't follow the rules when creating characters. You say: ...he didn't take thaumaturgy, the sight, the soulgaze... But on p.86 of Your Story it says: A wizard must have a high concept that declares his nature (e.g., Wizard For Hire or Favorite Son of the White Council). In addition, the character must take the following ...


13

Little Hints Here and There Drop little hints here and there. Make it obvious there is more to their adventures than the guys they kill. Thus, your players get to thinking "there is something behind this as well." The important thing here is that there are little hints here and there. Expose something too big, your players will go Leeroy Jenkins on your ...


12

I would say yes, the CR should stay the same. Why? Let's say you had all encounters for the entire campaign pre planned, pre written, and already established. You have creatures spread out through your campaign with said resistance to non magical Blunt, Piercing, and Slashing damage. Just because your players have found magical weapons and can now pass ...


12

This reminds me of the saying; "When you have a hammer in hand, every problem begins to look like a nail". I can see two distinct possibilities for the cause. You said it yourself: The risk-reward ratio. Maybe the rewards of taking the risky route are not worth it. DF rules only specify the risks, the reward is up to you as the GM. Make sure that it is ...


11

Do you reduce the CR of monsters with resistance to Fire or Lightning when facing a party with no Fire- or Lightning-based attacks, since the resistance doesn't affect that party? I'm going to guess that, no, you don't, even though it doesn't affect play. Non-magical weapon resistance is no different. Some parties will be affected by the resistance. ...


10

-Beat- ...What? Comedy in a semi-serious campaign is often times, in my opinion, funnier than if you try to go full bore into slapstick wackiness, and that is due to one time-tested principle, the Only Sane Man (TM). Even in grim and dark fantasy, in RPGs there are tons of things that happen that either don't make a whole lot of sense or are great sources ...


10

I don't think it is a good idea to punish your players for anything meta gaming related. I think you should ask yourself why the player is trying to perform these instant actions: Does he feel this is the only way he can escape the impeding danger, i.e. a wall about to collapse on/near his character? (Possibly some experience in the past made him very wary ...


10

It sounds like your players are engaging with the NPCs, they're just not asking the questions you want so they can get the information you've prepared that will help them. Doesn't sound like disinterest so much as they interact differently than you would, or than you'd expect. It's unlikely that you'll be able to change the way they act, at least not ...


9

The scenario you describe is a perfect example of the Tiers of Play discussion on page 15 of the player handbook. This edition of D&D is divided roughly into four tiers, the first tier comprising the first four levels, and the second tier comprising levels 5-10. Upon reaching 5th level, characters gain access to 3rd-level spells, find valuable magic ...


9

You're trying to set a tone. This is an abstract quality that will inform and emerge from your game. To shape how it goes, you'll need to keep your desired tone in mind during preparation and play, and identify specifics that will help guide you. Gritty Drama vs. Lighthearted Adventure You're used to grit. Let's define some of the qualities that ...


7

Rotes are just better. They are safer and more effective. Harry Dresden relies on them a lot. The only reason a wizard should move away from rotes is if he has to. That is, there are things he needs to accomplish, and he can’t with his rotes (or non-magically). Dresden Files makes a big deal out of the fact that a wizard’s smartest and safest route to ...


6

You shouldn't. D&D 5e doesn't grant XP for dealing with traps, any more than it grants XP for "defeating" other environmental hazards like not falling into a lava pit or off a cliff, or not dying of thirst while crossing a desert. Disarming or cleverly circumventing a trap is its own reward — you get to access whatever it was guarding — just like not ...


6

The largest problem with Rotes is explained in the rules, i.e. from (YS257): A rote spell is defined as one specific application of evocation in a single element, such as a fire attack, a particular air maneuver, or a spirit block. It always manifests in exactly the same way each time, has the same power level, places the exact same aspect, etc. ...


5

Let it happen. Forced comedy rarely works, and is even more rarely actually found to be funny. The best situations arise out of misunderstanding, misinterpretation or just plain human error. One of the best stories in all of roleplaying, "The Gazebo" came about because someone didn't know the meaning of a word. Set the stage While forced comedy rarely ...


5

I think the crux of your problem right now is two fold. One, your players are still new at this and improving. Two, your players right now may be stuck in the "do what the NPC tells us" mode of play. Let's address both of those. Yes, sir. Thank ya, sir. For a new group with a new campaign, your set up of having an NPC faction (the government of your ...


4

On page 121 of the DMG there are two charts to tell you the DC's and Damage by Severity level. If you really wanted to find a way to apply a CR to them and thus, EXP to them, you could take the numbers from that chart and cross reference them to the encounter building charts on page 82 to come up with a CR by damage output perhaps. That's sort of an ...


4

Clear Narration Rules What are your rules for narrating? What are your rules for initiative? RPGs are structured conversations - when people know the rules of how the conversation is supposed to flow - who can say what kinds of things, at what times, it flows smoothly. When they don't, you get problems like you're describing. Are players expected to ...


4

Run a one off combat adventure. Get some experienced pre-gen (space marines!) character and send them into some combat situation: rescue ship Y from pirates always work as a simple combat adventure. The players should see that their character skills/states are good and they still get slaughtered. Make sure that each players has access to two or three ...


4

This is a reasonably common problem, and I can offer some general tips when it comes to change between systems and settings with different... standard handling. Firstly, just talk to the players about the difference. Honestly telling them is a blunt but generally reliable option. Explain that combat tends to be faster, deadlier, and with less undo buttons ...


3

Some things to think about: Does the party have to win all of the challenges? If not, what are the consequences of losing? Are the challenges for one character at a time? Can they help each other? These will help you design the difficulty of the encounter in a way that matches your objectives - if every character MUST succeed in ALL challenges, with no ...


3

At first the villain's intermediary agents, and then later the villain himself, hire the players to perform missions for him. They're in a position to get to know the villain while they're on his side, and to foil whichever of his schemes they're tasked with once they have their Heel Realization. ♪ You're one microscopic cog in his catastrophic plan, ...


3

If it is the table rules, and everybody know it at the beginning, and all players know and agree to the consequences, then in a sense it's all good. However, is it a good rule? What's the purpose of ruling against "instant actions"? What is your concern that you decide to penalize players about it? As it is a meta-game mechanic, what good does it to for ...


2

Advice for NPCs: don't have them be shy about asking the player characters to do things! If there's something the party should be investigating, those ape-druids should be asking them about it. "Hey, do you know where these ants came from? Do you know anything about their strengths and weaknesses? Maybe you could fetch us some live samples, or some ant ...


2

Call of Cthulu, and by extension Delta Green, are horror games. They're not about strong heroes overcoming evil, it's about getting by with your wits, luck, and the skin of your teeth (or not). Call of Cthulu is as much about failure as it is about success, and as the DM it should be your duty to simply resolve the player's actions, not send them down the ...


2

If you have access to the Hoard of the Dragon Queen campaign books, there are examples of non-combat XP values for traps and more in the Rewards section of (at least) Chapter 2 and 3. I think they are good examples of how you could choose to use non-combat XP effectively, given that the campaign is published by WotC.


2

You could always have the players acquire something of the villain's. This could either be by chance after defeating one of his henchmen, or they simply find a powerful artifact that he is after. This causes the villain to come and seek out the party and attack, or he lures them into a trap. Then the goal is to defend against the villain for a sufficient ...


1

There are quite a few ways to spin this, depending on how you want to play the NPC over the story arc. Give them a taste In on of their initial adventures, throw in a little vignette with the BBG (Big Bad Guy) to where they get shown his awesomeness, and maybe sting them a little to foster the "Oh yeah, we're gonna come for you one day" feeling among the ...



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