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23

Choose 1 of the following: Individualized Plot Decisions, 4th Ed Party Cohesion, Respect Characters Ideals1. At the end of the day, your system and your goals don't match up well. You can: Present challenging decisions Prevent PC conflict Respect different ideas and ideals. Run a game designed for murderhobos to have colourable excuses to kill everything. ...


16

Abstractions Before you tweak the combat system, make sure you understand how its abstraction works. A single attack roll is not necessarily a single swipe of a character's sword. Rather, it represents your character trying hard to kill his opponent for the round. It could be a single slash, or it could be a lengthy clash of steel-on-steel coupled with ...


15

Enlist the help of your Creative Player to involve the others. CP is very creative and he is clearly motivated with the game. Explain him you have to focus on the other players and use hooks for them, so he could help you creating those hooks, being in character (he ask the other PCs favours that involve them) or totally out of character (he makes up that ...


14

You're right that the basic initiative rules just kinda assume everyone's in the fight at the beginning of the battle and don't say more than that, so the addition of late arrivals requires some interpretation. In general, as new arrivals become aware of and desire to participate in the battle, they should just roll initiative for the first round they're ...


13

While there are mechanical methods of inducing a moral dilemma, they universally lack punch or any kind of real agony without a really really strong story and setup standing in front of the numbers. I would say that this is, in fact, system agnostic. In real life, and in a game, no team can stay cohesive without a unifying goal. Under less challenging ...


13

Either through high mortality rates, copious amounts of backstory, or actual force of personality, some characters become more "main" than others. This is something you should be taking advantage of. There are a few things you can do: Ask for more holes in backstory to make a common backstory for other characters. ("We both defended the City of ...


11

Everyone should advance Note how all the advancements in the the milestones chapter are shared equally. If I have a total epiphany after I finally confront my treacherous half-brother, that's not a significant milestone for my character, it's a significant milestone for everybody. Thus, my advice to you is that, by default, "absentee" PCs should advance ...


10

I disagree that there's a tradeoff between keeping your PCs together and making the moral dilemma real and weighty. You can present a dilemma, but in a context where your characters can't split up, or where it would be excessively costly to do so. One option is to make them choose between positive options, rather than choosing between polar opposites. If ...


10

Assuming you're referring to D&D 3.5 or similar, "fumbling" a skill check on a natural 1 is a house rule only - by rules as written a natural 1 on a skill check is not even an automatic failure, much less a fumble. http://www.d20srd.org/srd/skills/usingSkills.htm#skillChecks: Unlike with attack rolls and saving throws, a natural roll of 20 on the ...


9

I say, go for it, but with two important caveats: Get player buy-in Make sure the players are on board for the tweaks you're planning. Are they veteran players used to playing a certain way and might resent it? Do they have certain expectations you'll be breaking? Make sure you don't make unilateral changes to the system. Be prepared to rollback This is ...


9

Be unpredictable The reason that the player can do this is that the rules are well-known. In order to avoid this problem, introduce some mystery. When the player rolls a skill check where the quality of the result shouldn't be known by the character, you should also roll (in secret of course). If your roll is in the high half of the die range, then treat ...


8

The fundamental trick is to ensure that the PCs have more reason to stay together than they have to (immediately) commit to any one of your three paths. The most obvious way to achieve this is making them family. In real life families can easily kill each other or separate over ideological differences, but for the purpose of fiction it doesn't require much ...


8

First of all, there's no right or wrong in here. The do's can be in some groups don'ts to a certain extent and vice versa. What I'm trying to say here is that what really decides what works and what doesn't is your group. These are merely things that I've used and they worked or didn't work for me. I'm hoping, still, that it may help you. DO's Use the ...


8

Making large changes to mechanics is a difficult and rewarding process. Most of the time, the problems that your designs will have won't be obvious until your players have banged on them a little bit. Messing around with mechanics is one of my favorite things to do in tabletop games, so here's a few things to keep in mind as you do it: Make sure you're on ...


7

I think you've got some great ideas there, and should use them all in different situations. They're all believable, depending on your campaign. "Easier on the GM" is a relative term, but you probably don't want to use the same method twice. The most interesting question we can ask here is not "How do the characters get the ship", but rather "What sort of ...


7

Push your PCs together. You can do this several ways. Your excitable player is going to be the most vocal person at the table no matter what, so to involve the other players, make his vocalizations be with them. Call for a scene. "This is going to impact Simon the Mage, let's see the scene where you two talk about it." If your excitable player's new ...


7

In addition to Yosi's excellent post: playing in familiar (in real life) setting is unsafe. Players will be much more interrested in the setting, in the characters, in the game - they will invest more emotions to the game and risk more as players, even if the characters will be extremely careful. This is not a bug, this is a feature, and a feature which ...


6

The typical way to do this is to roll for the player where only you can see the result (such as behind a screen or your hand). Any time you are rolling for hidden information, you're justified in making the roll yourself. Looking for secret doors? You roll, and tell what they do or don't find. Racking their brains to remember something useful about trolls? ...


5

Find another group, because these people are not your friends. So, let's recap: Old DM puts you in a situation where you are forced to sacrifice Bob's NPC to save your character's life. Bob, rather than being annoyed at Old DM for hosing him, decides that it's all your fault. Bob and Old DM arrange to not only kill you, but to do it in a cutscene. And the ...


5

Use a PvP conflict as a cliffhanger for next session, make the minority group NPC enemies and allow their old PCs to make new characters to be immediately included. While my previous answer stated that it's not possible, this answer uses "4e" and "intraparty conflict" as a given, and then posits the campaign that would result. While this is from my personal ...


5

1. Create a loose team structure like famous superhero organizations. Not all the members of the JLA, for example, go off to fight one bad guy together, they usually split up and tackle different missions concurrently. A simple way to deal with rotating GMs would be a similar system where each of you have a character that sits out for the missions you are ...


5

Beware of friends-of-friends and relatives As you're "playing" for all the NPC's, you'd do well to avoid places, people and events that your players know much better than you do - otherwise you'll run into misunderstandings about "obvious" things, and it'll be very hard to do that convincingly. For most things that'd be just an incovenience, but ...


4

If already using Rotating GM's why not also use Rotating Characters? Create One Set Of Characters That Everyone Will Play My first instinct is to suggest that during the game creation process the four players will create three characters together. Each character will be designed by all the players, giving the game a very familiar feel to it, since each ...


4

For legal ship acquisition that doesn't involve dropping MCr on a down payment and taking on a loan, you could have a Patron hire the party and provide them with a suitable ship. The arrangement would be similar to a scout getting a detached duty Scout/Courier, but you should use the setup to provide missions to your players. Due to the slow travel times of ...


4

If you want to keep the PCs together, you should give them a reason to stay together that trumps all reasons to split up or kill each other. Give them a really, really strong reason to stay together, and then they have to discuss their moral choices and come to some sort of compromise. Maybe they'll be surely killed if they split up. Maybe they're cursed to ...


4

The possibility of unpredictable, improvised consequences is actually something D&D 4e was designed to eliminate, so it's hard to implement on purpose. And not just hard—it's potentially game-breaking as well, because 4e can only afford to be so tightly balanced because it assumes that the rules work a very certain way. Adding "well, you could ...


4

Just to add to some very very good answers, here are my 2 pence. Talk with them RPGs are a group activity, an activity in which a group of friends come and talk with each other about fictional characters. The main thing here is the "talking" part and from here I believe that your solution should come. Talk with them after the session; understand why they ...


4

It doesn't always matter Long story short, I have played a Pathfinder campaign where my Ranger was mostly a support character, and I still really enjoyed playing the campaign. I intentionally didn't seek out the "spotlight", so to speak, so naturally - over the course of many sessions - one of the other characters got sucked into a conspiracy and my Ranger ...


4

Ask the other players what they think is cool about their characters. Have them explain why they made the character, and what matters to them about him/her/it. Ask them why their character is awesome. Look at their character sheets. You'll find flags there, details that directly tells you what they think is awesome, and what they want the story of their ...


4

Great answers all, but I feel a few words could be said in relation to the post-ap setting. Use emotional artifacts common to the group Artifacts can be anything. Perhaps the only vehicle to make it is your common friends beaten down station wagon you always gave him a hard time for. Perhaps the soup kitchen in the old hotel still features that weird ...



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