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31

Tell Them Your Goals If you haven't already, I would start by telling them essentially what you just said here. That there is no "one true plot". Tell them that introducing an evil person / problem does not make it the overriding campaign unless they want it to be. Tell them that you are willing to follow along with their character's background goals. ...


30

In a world with mixed levels, the party should follow a simple rule: 1) Low-level adventurers should avoid the attention of high-level villains. This rule leads to a common trend: 2) High-level villains have no interest in low-level adventurers. High-level villains participate in the high-level world. Their enemies are other high-level people: kings, ...


27

There are many ways to give treasure to players that you can activate/deactivate depending on how the players overcome the encounter. If you tie the encounters to the story, and if you tie the equipment to the story, there are plenty of opportunities for reward other than looting. Make random encounters not quite random - For example, instead of stumbling ...


24

The best approach, I think, is to separate the players and the NPCs by Plot! The NPCs get kidnapped, detained, lost, side-tracked, bogged down, diverted, or called away, but in a way that is meaningful to the players. They are not just “put on a bus” in the TV Tropes lingo, but somehow the plot separates them and reuniting becomes a major ...


17

I played D&D solo with my dad as the player for almost six years as a kid. We ran AD&D and 3.5 D&D. Frankly, it surprises me that more people don't play the game this way. It makes for an extremely good bonding time, it's a lot of fun, and two people with a good relationship can create some very great campaigns together. Here are a few party ...


16

As others have mentioned, this is a play-style issue that needs to be worked out amongst the group to avoid hard feelings, misunderstandings, and frustration. However, if despite prior discussions/agreements you find you're about to face conflicting character reactions, there are steps the GM can take to reduce players ability to dominate such scenes and ...


14

Why is the existence of high-level NPCs “logical?” The Eberron campaign setting, that is, one of the official ones for D&D, is set two years after a continent-spanning, hundred-year-long war. There are a lot of combat veterans around. But most of them are level 3-4, and those who are 5-6 are more like war heroes. The few NPCs who are in the 8-11 ...


14

Write places apart from their location You can make your dungeons apart from their locale. Perhaps you've written up an encounter in the catacombs of the sun god, but the party keeps walking around in the harbor district instead of the city center? Move it to the temple of the sea god! Thieves' Guild up to no good? Party has found another of their hiding ...


13

Problem: Too Many Toons This isn't really specific to summoners and their eidolons - this is a common issue with anyone who has "other people" along - followers, intelligent familiars or companions, even just random unaligned NPCs like adventure paths like to saddle parties with. I've played Jade Regent and am playing Wrath of the Righteous and in each you ...


12

Bypassing stress and forcing consequences is confusing and risky behavior. It's not a way the system was designed to be played, and will create problems. A lot of things in Fate were meant to be tweaked by you, but this isn't one of them. (See below for the Silver Rule.) One of the problems that arises, as you've seen, is the players' confusion. It's hard ...


12

Well, you've hit the crux of the problem for a lot of the hobby - there's a lot of different ways to have fun roleplaying, all of which can be "good", but not all of them work well together. Good roleplaying might be: Entertaining dialogue spoken in character Good narration/description of how a character does things Character defining moments of growth ...


12

Always a bigger fish The world that you are describing makes sense. No matter how powerful your PCs get there is always going to be at least one person (or monster) out there who will pose some kind of threat to them. If there isn't than the game would just get boring and stale. Its why things like the Terrasque exist, to give a challenge to characters that ...


12

You've run into a common problem - "Party RPGs with non-Party Characters". Same Page Tool can't fix groups who want different things, and it also can't fix game design that works against it's own game premise. You have a few options: Class Limiting "Hey, we're playing X kind of game and these classes/types in this game don't fit that. Can we just ...


12

One solution we used was to pick the date our campaign was set in and use a moon phase website (e.g., stardate.org) to keep track of what the phase was for any given day. As time passed in game, we could just look up the phase when we needed it.


12

The answer to this is going to greatly depend on your playstyle. I'm currently playing in a few groups. One of them has no cleric (but has a paladin) the other has no cleric or paladin. Another group has no arcane spell casters of any kind. And another has a cleric, a wizard, a fighter and a rogue. The group with the cleric, wizard, fighter and rogue is ...


11

So, let me get this straight - you've created a setting and characters that your players are so immensely invested in that they're helping you build it themselves? What exactly is the problem again? Kidding. Sorta. Anyway, I'm kinda seeing this in the Marvel game I'm running now; the players are assuming anything beyond purse-snatchers are beyond them ...


11

You're trying to railroad the game when the players are telling you very loudly where they want the campaign to go instead. Take them there. If the NPCs are boring you, that's a different problem. Be sure you're making NPCs that engage you and not just your players. You have to enjoy the game too. To run an interesting socially-focused game, you might need ...


10

If you have a Deathstab McMurderBaron amongst your players who cuts his way through the encounters like a Great Wyrm dragon through a burrow of kobolds, talk to them. Ask for them about what they want from a game, and what you want to do with the game. If all players are on the same page as you, great! If not, you can do a few things: Figure out what the ...


10

I play online almost exclusively these days, using MapTool. I DM two campaigns, and this particular issue comes up often enough. First, you have to keep things interesting. Try to design combats with more than just "attack roll -> damage roll". It's not a simple task, but it's really important to make combats interesting. Add some ranged enemies, healing ...


9

Give them shared or mutually referential aspects! There are a couple ways to do this, and Fate Core suggests one of them already, so I'll talk about it first. The default character generation guidelines have players creating relationships between their characters as part of establishing backstory. Although this is often difficult to do and I don't always ...


9

How to run this, procedurally Consider this - every week, the players show up and they manage to improvise and play, without having to preplan every "if this happens, then I'll do this". They simply look at their character sheet and improvise based on a basic understanding of their character, right? As a GM, you can do that too. Set up your characters, ...


8

Overviews Given that this is mostly political, instead of tracking all the trivial ones, I would summarize general overviews for a day, or week, or month, depending on the scale of time you're working on. Tracking all the minor ones seems like a lot of work for little payoff, and odds are just as likely you're going to end up with a lot of situations ...


8

Your players are not the center of your universe Well, I mean if you create your setting the way you described. For each evil, their is an opposite benevolent force, and the opposite is true. Think about it, there are indeed 2 lvl6 rogues and 2 lvl4 rogues, but they are probably more concerned about the 2 lvl6 and 2 lvl4 paladin (or other good guy) than the ...


8

For question 1 what to do for places you have not yet written, there are two great options. Quantum Ogre: This means that you have some places defined but not exactly where they are. When the players adventure into an unknown place, you give them this predefined but unplaced encounter/plot hook etc. Random Tables. Prepare some random tables for your ...


7

I've seen this done in two ways: A) "I know good RP when I see it" The first method doesn't have any particular criteria at all. Just watch what the players do, and when you see behavior that you think is good play, reward it. The upside is that you're not boxed into what "good RP" looks like, as it can be anything where the players are engaged. The ...


7

There are a variety of ways to do this: Focus on the prophesy itself. If you cast doubts on the validity of the prophesy, the players may be more likely to leave it alone. For example, well-respected representatives for the forces of good declare that some of the named parties in the prophesy couldn't possibly be involved in something nefarious like that. ...


7

You can, but there is little sense to do it. As you noted, the individual creatures are often too weak to fight individually. That is the reason for them to group into swarms to attack. Also, the 1 hp-per-creature in the swarm is not necessarily true. If 3.5 definitions can be used as reference here, a swarm of tiny, land based creatures have 300 or so ...


7

My first response would be to question whether the players know every single thing about their characters, even after the number of sessions that you have played with them. I find it very difficult to believe that there are not gaps in their backgrounds that you can use this as an opportunity to flesh out. Looking at the list you've provided, it seems clear ...


7

Anything your players like, including NPCs, is more important than your presuppositions of the plot. The reason for this is simple - the goal of the game is to entertain the group. If they like something, they will be more invested in it and thus more entertained. If you set up a dichotomy between "things you want" and "things they want," well, there's a ...


6

... Clearly, your players will try to experiment with their new found powers. Can they first reproduce the effects they are "familiar" with? If so, they will probably start developing training regimes to increase both power and control over their respective abilities. This, in and of itself, is a good plot seed. Now, would this approach work? That ...



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