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128

Reward the PCs with attention A group of level 2 PCs with a staff of the magi will soon find that everyone wants it. Many of these will be bad guys, but a few of them will be good guys. The GM can reward the PCs for their superior play by having the good guys contact the PCs and offer to take the staff off their hands for their own safety (instead of, for ...


102

You I'll deal with your issues first: you are an angry 14 year old. Don't sweat it; everybody was, is or will be. Maturity can in fact be summed up as learning not to punch the face of someone who richly deserves it. You have to remember that you have no control over the way other people behave; you only have control over the way you behave. And ... you ...


98

What you are trying to create in a sand box is player agency. My definition of this is: Players making informed decisions that have reasonable consequences It is important to remember that there is an inherent information imbalance in RPG: you have it, they don't. It is your job as DM to give them information that is relevant, reasonable and ...


95

No, it's not fair to punish a player in this way. But it's not okay for this player to take an unfair share of control over the game, either. You are the DM — you are in control. You are in the Big Chair, and the group put you there to be responsible for pacing and mediation. You have that job because players striving for the benefit of their PC is fun but ...


85

While a lot of the other answers are perfectly valid and good ideas, I'd like to offer an alternative solution that hasn't been mentioned yet which can also work in some situations: deal with the problem out-of-game, not through DM fiat, but rather through admitting you made a mistake. DMs shouldn't be expected to be infallible. If you can explain to your ...


71

When things like this happen, I always give my players this chance to clarify/confirm, just like you've shown in the examples. My reasoning for this is simple: the game world and what is happening there is closer and more important for the characters than it is for the players. No matter how immersive your storytelling skills and how much everyone around the ...


68

You say "Before he or any of the others had a chance to pick it up, the controlling player snatched it up and refused to give it back (Even though she had no use for it)." I feel like I can identify 2 problems from this sentence. First of all, how are you allowing her to pick it up without anyone else being allowed an "action"? Just because a player says ...


67

There's no "right" answer, there are major playstyles that hit the two extremes and then there's compromises in the middle. The ENWorld post Combat as Sport vs Combat As War illustrates two different end state playstyles - in "combat as sport" the GM never makes "level inappropriate" encounters (no matter how hard you have to twist logic to get there), with ...


63

Let them fail - miserably! But don't kill them... A lot of good stories start out like this: You have a bunch of over confident wanna-be heroes who want to kill the evil general with a stupid plan. So of course it is doomed to fail, they will never kill them and they will surely get caught. But why should they all be killed? The evil general probably has ...


59

You've run into one of the dangers of pre-planning a plot. I'll give some ideas at the end about how to plan campaigns so this doesn't happen as much in the future, but first we have to deal with the current situation. Other answers have dealt nicely with the "stay on the rails" and "take a short detour" options, so I'd like to talk about a third choice: ...


59

How do the Kobolds remember which parts are trapped? Basically, this answer is about weaving the Kobold's own marking system into the narrative. It does assume you draw your own maps and don't use Dungeon Tiles or anything. Obtain 6 or so pretty looking symbols (they don't need to have meaning, but if they look Draconic it's bonus awesome) Mark every ...


59

To be clear, he's asking for details on these samples he's collecting? I would say if he's that interested in a detailed list, then have him make it up himself. You would have to approve, of course, but just say something like, "You collect a variety of samples to help with your research. Go ahead and make a list of samples that you think would be ...


58

The problem The problem I had was: What do I do with all the "useless" rolls? Other answers on this question attempt to give these useless rolls a not-so-useless purpose. My answer attempts to help you reduce the rolls which you think are useless. The useless rolls are a result of the players picking up the dice and start rolling for checks that ...


58

You could say to your players, "Y'know, in this campaign, not all problems can be solved by punching them. And some problems that could be solved by punching could be better solved by not punching, or by punching with strategy instead of with no real plan. What I mean to say is, punching things in the head is a good solution to a lot of problems, but it's ...


58

The rules as written for this, as taken from the DM DnD Basic Rules version 0.1 say: Typically, XP is awarded for defeating the monster, although the DM may also award XP for neutralizing the threat posed by the monster in some other manner. It doesn't specify how much of the XP you should award, so it is reasonable to interpret it as meaning you may ...


55

It's up to you There are two play styles (with regard to this question at least), with their own drawbacks and advantages. The first is to keep the realms of the world (DM) and the player characters strictly separate. I use the term "Golden Box" to describe this. In Golden Box gameplay, the players cannot define anything about the world, including who an ...


51

If your players are playing their characters then you are a really lucky GM, and you should be proud of them. But yeah, I understand. We've spent ages preparing an encounter for the group. We've gone over all their possible approaches dozens of times and put stuff to gently railroad them into the right places to cover every eventuality. And yet still, the ...


49

Make it be cursed. A very powerful item will make many adventuring parties suspicious, but if yours are just happy to go forward using it, they are in for a surprise. I would pick an "interesting" curse that makes them wary of using it but still leaves them (technically) with the option to do so. For example, every charge used could alert some extraplanar ...


47

1. Get a cheatsheet into each player's hands. You know that godsend player, the one who always has the notecards? Key thing there: the notecards. You've spoken to the group, and they got upset, but you know they cared enough to get the books in the first place. It's entirely possible that they do just forget, or maybe they're having a difficult time with ...


47

How to get players to play “Team [Class]” campaigns Get buy-in from the players. There is no step 2. Return to step 1 and make sure you've completed it if you think you need a step 2. If someone is always going back on the concept and trying to wedge something in, then they didn't actually buy into the idea enough to follow through. There was a lack of ...


46

The Brinks Job, The Italian Job, Willow, or Charlie Varrick? the players worked their way through a series of fiendish traps into a high security vault, where they recovered a Staff of the Magi. Your low level PC's broke into a secure storage site and stole something extremely valuable. Hollywood is packed with this trope, a big heist and the ... uh ...


43

Well firstly, you need to behave in a mature manner, which is sometimes tough, even for us middle aged guys. The best way to show your maturity is when you go in, apologize to each person as they walk in, including the guy who acted like an arse. Take it on the chin and share how disappointed you are in yourself for reacting the way you did, but conclude it ...


42

A very good practive for running RPGs is to make sure that you always know what the players intend to accomplish with the actions they announce they want to do. The reverse is also true: Make sure that the players are having the facts right on which they base their plans. If you think the players are acting on the basis of false assumptions or ...


40

Take charge, respectfully Treat your players' action declarations as statements of intent rather than a completed part of the narrative. Feel free to slow things down to insert details and intermediate steps when needed. What they are doing isn't always a problem. When a player says: "Ok, I go there." ...treat what they said as: "Ok, I intend ...


40

The best solution I think is to talk to the person that is causing the issue. She might not realise that she is causing a problem. She might think that because that is what chaotic character would/should do, therefore it is her job to do it Then ask her as one person to another to please find another action that is equally plausible for a chaotic character ...


39

You've only talked about retaliatory responses to players who step out of line. Have you tried a group conversation before the game, so everyone can set parameters and know what they are? That works a lot better than punishing them for crossing lines they didn't know existed. This is especially important with horror games. Suspense, dread, terror, and the ...


36

It sounds like they're having trouble because they can't figure out where the plot is. Their actions make it clear they would like to fight chaos, but in the absence of chaos to fight, they're filling time by lining their own pockets. You've already made some progress toward the solution by giving them criminal organizations to destroy. It sounds like they ...


36

The Wizard doesn't know how dangerous those adventurers are. There is no implicit "I will only face people who I am able to defeat, yet find challenging" agreement the wizard can rely upon. In a typical D&D world, there is a huge power range, and it isn't easy to tell if a given bunch of people are weak or strong. All she knows is that her base was ...


36

Talk with your players Your players are here, presumably, to play a game. They aren't out to get you. Remember that it takes two players to make a conspiracy. Politely ask them not to send whispers containing relevant in-game information. They probably aren't doing this to be malicious or trying to trick you - they maybe just don't see why it's such a big ...


34

Firstly, you should talk to all your players about the issue outside of a session. You can get some personal impressions first with one-on-one conversations, but ultimately the entire group should sit down to discuss the problems. Make sure the discussion is democratic in nature, though. JohnP points this out in a related question: "The group setting can be ...



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