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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 ...


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

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 ...


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 ...


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 ...


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? ...


4

This can be difficult in many games, since while it's all very well to tell people they have some sort of moral obligation to separate player and character knowledge, feeling obliged to compromise your character's safety or the party's goals in the name of "good play" can be an unfun catch-22 for some players. And of course acquiring all that player ...


4

Here's a range of options, suited to different playstyles. Also you can mix-and-match. "You Don't Know": If the player fails a roll, the GM says they don't know. This is probably the simplest approach. What about "botching?" Shouldn't you make it more than just "You don't know." Enh, maybe they still don't know. Even in games that feature special ...


3

Add something to it. One idea: The room provides no hint of being a chessboard (i.e. no dark and light squares). Players fall though the floor when making an illegal move (there is a path allowing the fallen characters to quickly return to their comrades). Players can use some kind of skill check (e.g. arcana or dungeoneering in DnD like system) to detect ...


3

Save your Mechanics Changes for Experienced Groups You're a first time GM, and you had a lot of difficulty getting your group together. Do you really want to risk adding a broken mechanic to your newly formed group? An easy way to lose players is to have a power imbalance, because certain players will feel that their contributions are nonexistent, and lose ...


2

Too much is if the players say it is too much The only limit to customization is what the players will accept. Although I don't play 3.5 much, I ruthlessly customize in other systems. It helps create exactly the type of game I want. I have never actually had any player object to the ammount of customization (though there are sometimes discussions about ...


2

Unintended consequences. Lets take your example of the brigands, and spreading the rumors for a lord to take them out instead of the players doing it. The brigands may not have all the wealth and not be as bad as made out, but one thing they did have in their possession was a certain book/map/manuscript that the party really needed to be able to get from ...


2

My take on this would be the following (though I'm not sure whether the RAW dictates the same): Roll an initiative for everyone - including those in C23 and C21, in this specific situation - at the beginning of the fight. (To speed up combat, roll a single initiative score for any and all "unexpected combatants" as well, and use that for anyone/everyone ...


1

There was a chess variant called Battle Chess where the pieces moved as usual on a chessboard but upon entering a square with an opponent's piece did not automatically capture. Instead there was one round of battle with each piece having different combat attributes, and generally unable to defeat each other in one round. During the next 'chess' move ...


1

The chessboard could just simply be a theme. Show the players a game in progress with a map. Pick a color and the pieces of that color need rescuing. The party can be the "king" only able to move one room at a time, but they are the only piece that can move for their side. When the other side moves to take a piece, a (one-sided) battle takes place where ...


1

Give them the old Twist McGee Have it be a really obvious chessboard pattern, magically dress them as their pieces, etc. But allow various rules and illegal moves, and have the enemy pieces know and use them, leaving the PCs always 'one step behind'. Additionally, force them to move by having their square light up and one round later get hit by fire, and ...


1

The core of the problem is that when this happens, the player has two choices: a) make their character act particularly ignorant about this thing b) connive some way for their character to figure it out Neither of which is fun. Another option, is to use your GM powers, and modify a small aspect about the monster. "Yes, you remember trolls are generally ...


1

I'm taking @mxyzplk's word that the official rules for Pathfinder offer no solution to your case and I'm going to cover the "what's the non official but good way to make this happen?" question. D&D 3.5e (which PF is based upon) had this rule where people joining the fight later got to act at the initiative count they would have acted if they had rolled ...


1

OK, with that cleared, let's dive in, shall we? Descriptions are everything One of the best ways to give the players the feel that their in someplace that is different from what they've been used to is to describe it differently. There are no more those descriptions of "A 10 on 10 feet room, with an orc in the middle". It's not this game. Not any more, at ...



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