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19

You could always learn from real life. The US Army has some field manuals available online. For example, FM 3-06, Urban Operations might be of interest to your specific needs. There are countless other sites that will sell you training manuals of varied usefulness. I do not recommend any of them, mostly because I am no expert there. History would be your ...


10

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. ...


9

To answer your second question first, Yes. AC/DC (not the band) is exploitable. Here is how. If they know the target AC they can try to game the system by knowing the target score and playing the fine line. Technically it will still be up to the dice (those can be fudged) but they might know whether or not something is a threat to them and it takes the ...


8

When I was an Israeli paratrooper a general stopped by to give us a little speech about strategy. In infantry battles, he told us, there is only one strategy: Fire and Motion. You move towards the enemy while firing your weapon. The firing forces him to keep his head down so he can't fire at you. (That's what the soldiers mean when they shout ...


7

It can improve narration, but not in and of itself. I am a big one for playing sim games with narrative elements and letting/encouraging people to describe their action, the environment, etc. (I credit the game Feng Shui with pulling me out of the D&D DM-control-freak ghetto on that). Letting players know target numbers has minor gamist effects - for ...


4

A few RPG-specific resources are GURPS SWAT and GURPS Cops. Both of them are available over PDF, and they focus on procedural and tactical situations.


4

It sounds like you would like insight into small unit tactics (team, squad, platoon). One book I recommend is 'The Bear Went Over the Mountain' (link limit, this is on Amazon), it discusses Soviet combat tactics in Afghanistan. This book is a series of stories about specific encounters that reveal tactical successes and failures of the Soviet Red Army ...


4

As a former sailor, I will offer that military personnel, ideally, know which one of a set of roles they are filling at the moment. It's a system of abstraction designed to simplify decision making when complex, fast moving situations arise. Each person knows several roles, and each role has a scope that it concerns itself with. For instance - sniper teams ...


3

The military calls for balance. It's strange but its true. On one hand, the military needs people who can lay down their life for a greater good. On the other hand, one cannot squander trained soldiers, human lives. Combat teaches you to balance things like that as best as you can in an environment which is constantly shifting. Accordingly, there are a ...


3

Another option is to make this the big twist of the campaign. The heroes go through with poisoning, get to the treasure chamber. Once at the doors, they find all the gaurds all ready dead. A note is attached to the door. "We've been watching you. Thank you for destabilising the city. It advances our plans too. Take the removal of these guards as a thank you ...


3

If I might indulge in a frame challenge. You say: My players aren't narrating ... as much as I want them to. ... it's exhausting to come up with ... narration. Who are you seeking to benefit from this narration? You or the players? I suggest that you talk to your players and find out what they want from their combats. Perhaps they care about your ...


2

This can be done, and does not have a long-term effect. This is because people can fairly quickly work the targets out anyway. For example if you hit AC18 and hit but your friend missed with a 14 then you know the target is AC15<->18. The way I would handle this is make sure the player has said exactly what they are doing and what modifiers they are ...


2

MOP Every NPC needs a mop. Motivation: Why is the character here in the story? What motivates them to act? Objective: What does the character want to accomplish as a goal in the story? What is the character's overriding goal they must achieve? Personality: How the character acts as well as their personal appearance. These three traits help define an ...


2

No. I GM 5E. If your players' party lacks a healer, you can make up for it by giving the party better access to healing consumables (healing potions, wands, whatever). They will likely rest most often and not be quite as "I rush into the room and stab the dragon!" as they might be when dedicated healers are present. The DM Guide also has an excellent ...


2

While you have received great answers which work in real life, remember that this is still a game. I don't know much about Shadowrun, I presume it is still turn based (without opportunity fire and stuff) and characters have loads of HPs and are therefore fairly confident of charging someone even if that means taking few bullets. If you are tight on time, ...


2

If I were you, I would take it in bits and pieces. You might learn some basics to start, if you're really a fish out of water; perhaps Murphy's Laws are a good, digestible place to start that at least will help you understand the mindset of your average experienced grunt. Then, if you're worried about combat tactics, read up on the specific tactics (like ...


1

A tricky problem, especially when players know more than their characters should. The BlackEagle/BlackEagle Operative's kit has some nice small unit tactics. However ultimately this is what the dice are for. The GM has to describe events to the player's satisfaction but the players can't use their own skills for the character's benefit. Fixing a ...


1

You are not forced to play it as it is written If a published adventure turns out to be boring, and to me it happened a lot of times, you can always edit it as you want without telling your PCs. Keep in mind that if their characters are interested in the story even their players will be. So how can you edit a story to make it more interesting? Don't ...


1

I don't worry about character alignment. In many cases it doesn't matter, either the world punishes the bad (e.g. they are arrested, killed etc by the authorities or those that oppose them, or if you're in the mood to share the pain, if they do destabilise the city kill their loved ones in the turmoil :)) and rewards the good. As you may have noticed the ...


1

It is important to bear in mind what makes the PCs different from the NPCs, aside from the obvious fact of player vs non-player. In short, the PCs are the protagonists, and the NPCs aren't. In my games, even if the PCs don't start out in this position, and even if the plot does not take on epic world-spanning dimensions, the PCs are Luke Skywalkers, the ...


1

Play the NPCs as characters. Give them motivations, goals, principles, and so on. Not every NPC has to be very detailed, but you should be able to make up something on the spot to give depth to NPCs. Be ready to take notes - maybe on the spot, you have a secondary character say that they're a refugee from the valley to the east - write it down. Make the ...


1

I tend to run a good number of one shot games, so I have quite a bit of experience with it. A known setting or genre It helps a lot if you start with a setting or genre the players are familiar with. For this reason, in the US at least, superhero games are pretty easy to use and pick up and play - most people are familiar with superheroes and the genre ...


1

Keep it simple. Avoid a long, complex series of events; that's not to say it cannot be witty, but try to avoid convoluted solutions. Keep it focused. Aim for depth, not breadth. There is no need to explain every aspect of the world and all of its politics. Explain in detail the setting the characters are in. Try to keep details that do not add to the ...



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