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152

It's pretty reasonable you're annoyed. One of your fellow players secretly plotted to kill your character for revenge (and it worked), the DM - the one guy you pretty much have to be able to trust - was in on it, and your fellow players offered you no emotional support at a point when you clearly needed it and instead made things worse for you. People have ...


141

Reward him. Your player is playing his character smart, not hard. He's being clever and resourceful. He's considering what his character would do in character. I wish I had players like the one playing your Bard. He stops to think about what he can do, instead of just mindlessly deciding you expect him to attack and attacking. You can do so much more with ...


88

Historically speaking, your players aren't doing anything wrong. Incendiary weaponry has a long history in europe stretching back to the early middle ages and "dark" ages. Fire was and is a psychologically powerful weapon and all sorts of things from flaming oil to bursting clay pots were used against enemies. See Greek Fire as an example from as early as ...


71

I don't think it's anything to really be dealt with, unless you object to the idea of torture in your games. Of course, there are detriments to using torture, which is why it's a case of last resort (or no resort) for many intelligence agencies. What detriments? People will say anything to get out of pain. You end up with a lot of dross to sort through, ...


71

Understand what makes the game fun for your players and then try not to back yourself into a corner where you feel pressure to fudge rolls in the first place. If character death is acceptable to your players then you should feel no pressure to erase a crit. If it is not then you should have death or resurrection mechanics which allow for the player to take ...


70

The Obvious Answer The pat answer is that the player is clearly signalling that they aren't interested in simulating time spent in town with any degree of granularity. They want to show up, hit sell, and get on with the adventure. The sense of time compression may be a result of their minimizing the importance of the tasks. It could be because they feel ...


68

Don't ask your players to roll the dice unless failure has a consequence. This mantra isn't particularly obvious in the rules of D&D as many times the checks are relatively pointless and failure at those checks doesn't really come with much cost. Failure is an opportunity both for you as the DM and for your players. Here are some ideas as to how to make ...


66

The game you want to run is not the game they want to play. Fundamentally, gaming is a consensual activity. You clearly have very strong views about what kind of game you want to play, strong enough to trump your annoyance with the rest of the players not playing that game. While it's not "wrong" to require justification, it will leave you without players ...


64

Speaking as a Rules Lawyer (I try to think of myself as a good guy, i.e. "how can the rules let you do what you want to do"?) and the occasional TD, I've found a couple simple rules work out. No checking the rules on your turn. Look it up while you're waiting. That includes the DM - if you ask the DM if you can do something, you get their best guess; we're ...


64

I strongly advise you to at least involve the player whose character is temporarily to be replaced. There are at least two good reasons: you betray the player in question by replacing his character with a replica just like that. He won't notice until the surprise and I wouldn't appreciate a revelation like .. and look, there is .. yes, you! And the ...


63

Sometimes, clever and creative players are a pain, because you planned for something very different. Yet, it is the clever and creative play that makes the game so rewarding. Instead of getting the player to adapt to your plans, I suggest you adapt your plans to the player. Make going to the authorities interesting If the authorities are always helpful, or ...


62

This is not a direct answer to your question, but a suggestion that I feel is worth noting. Don't retcon past events, expand upon them. Instead of saying this never happened, say that it has. Exactly like it happened. But not because the player was drunk. Assuming your players are not omniscient, you can write things into the past, present and future of ...


59

This is a brief answer not really based on roleplaying games, but on living in corrupt societies, however briefly. Namely, USSR/Russia. The thing about institutionalized corruption is that it's not subtle. Everyone knows about it. Depending on the rest of the social organization, it may be illegal to speak about it openly, but everybody still knows. And once ...


58

A witchfire sometimes spawns upon the death of a hag, when one of these savage crones dies with some terrible plot unfinished or simply proves too maliciously tenacious to succumb to death’s grasp. (Source) You say "TPK"; I say you have just been handed the perfect opportunity to invent a terrible unfinished plot that just so happens to require the ...


58

Probably the easiest way to avoid forgetting a few key things is to use a physical prop. When you have an important bit of information or a "quest item," write it down on a notecard and physically hand it to the players. You're not "giving away" anything if they've already identified the thing as important by themselves. But now they have a handy reminder ...


58

Find better friend(s) From what you said, Bob is a douche bag. Do not role play with him and ditch him as a friend. Life is too short to waste on this. I get that you want revenge but really it's not worth it. Act like the grown up in the room and go do something fun instead. As a side note, racism or any other form of abuse should not be tolerated if ...


57

Explicitly define "What's at stake?" Well, it sounds like part of your problem is that you two don't necessarily see eye to eye on the meaning of that roll. In my experience, the best way to approach this is to actually explicitly define the "stakes" of the check before the roll. That means you spell out the consequences of success and failure, then give ...


56

Here's a technique I've used. When I invite people to a game I tell them that the game we're playing is a homebrew system called "Valadil's Game" which is loosely based on D&D. This does a couple things. Firstly, it scares off rules lawyers who want to play RAW. I figure those players aren't compatible with my games anyway and I'd rather just nip ...


56

It sounds to me like an expectation problem. You should easily be able to resolve it by asking the player why they feel the need to say those things. Once you figure out why, you can do something about it. Although my suspicion is that the player is used to a GM vs Players style of gaming and thus covers all his bases because otherwise, they get picked on. ...


54

Never ask your players for a skill roll you don't want them to fail. (Credit to @Rantar in the comments.) While passive perception isn't a skill roll, it is still a check against a skill. Is there a reason to not spot the bird? Failure is boring when it does not advance the plot. Mechanically speaking, if we look at the rules of hidden club, the only time ...


54

There's a two step process needed here. Say to your players what you just said to us Then mind your own business Have they not noticed that imbalanced loot is throwing off their party balance? Or is it that they don't care? If they do not care and are having fun, it is not a problem. If they haven't noticed, then just telling them "Hey gear is ...


54

One of the things I say first when I'm about to start running a game for a new group of players is that it is not my responsibility to come up with increasingly convoluted reasons why a disparate set of characters with nothing in common should adventure together. I've been there and tried it, and it is stressful, frustrating and simply not fun. I'd much ...


53

I'm working on the assumption that D&D alignment is an objective mechanic: in a world where alignments can grant magical power and create planes of existence, and a spell can tell the difference between a man who saves babies for Pelor and a man who eats babies for Pelor, alignment must be objective and intent counts for very little. This is a social ...


53

A candy filled doom pool with players taking variable amounts of candy every action. In our 4e game, we faced a countdown timed by a bowl filled with candy. Since you've obviously ruled out mapping out the entire ship and having them move through it, instead, start the timer by pouring candy into the bowl. For every action each player takes, have them take ...


53

Corruption isn't obvious in "liberal" societies. This answer is firmly situated in the western idea of corruption, best illustrated in House of Cards (BBC 1990). Obvious corruption tends to get corrected, as it has no shadows to hide in. The best signs of corruption are the fact that everything is too polished. An effective corrupt institution will operate ...


52

Railroading is forcing the characters into the prewritten story that the master created. It's generally frowned upon, because it disrupts the free-will oriented nature of roleplaying. In some cases however, some railroading is required. A typical example is the following. Suppose the characters enter a city, and find a riot or similar event. The most ...


52

The Road to Hell is paved with good intentions In the Screwtape Letters, Screwtape toasts at a banquet stating that all the best sinners were failed saints. Men and women with a powerful will and a strong virtue, such as justice or defending the natural world, whose zeal crossed the line or had their virtue perverted. Villains should have goals that, at ...


51

I would probably have told him he couldn't do that. As an Organized Play DM, you're trying to make sure the entire table has fun; you are not required to indulge any single player if it causes problems for everyone else. So actually, I'd have made it a table discussion. Something like: "Hm. OK, I'm gonna be honest; that kind of bugs me, because Batman isn't ...


51

The single-most overlooked, in my experience, is evidence of deaths. It's a dragon? What's it been eating? Few creatures actually eat EVERYTHING, so what's left by the dragon? Oh, there's an owlbear's beak and claws... there's mangled bits of what used to be +5 plate... (see those runes, there, there and there?) A broken longsword. Dead mind flayers. And ...


51

Unless this makes the game boring for you as a GM, don't make it a goal in itself to have the players vary their characters. The players won't like being forced into roles they don't want to play, and the game can be a lot of fun even with a homogeneous group. Draw your inspiration from westerns and other action movies where all of the characters are ...



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