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3

For my first (and, to this date, only) non-published adventure campaign, I used a slightly unusual method of introducing the PCs (because I couldn't think of and didn't look up any other way). Here's a slightly doctored version. (the truth would take several paragraphs of setting information to understand) The PCs were all going to a TED talk. (Note: ...


0

This idea might need tweaking for each situation, and I think this has already been answered, but still, how about combining the capture idea and side plot aspects? Have the creature make characters unconscious, then using some as hostages to manipulate the others to perform some quest for it in return for there lives. There is nothing to say it is truthful, ...


0

Make the Riddles Really Hard! Use vocabulary that no one knows, or leave out parts that are almost necessary for the solving of the puzzle. Then characters can roll Knowledge skills for a chance to get hints. The hints would be fairly large ones, depending on the roll, and give enough information for GREEN to solve it, but without them, BLUE has very little ...


-1

True using this information would be metagaming and poor, and I'm not preventing my player from reading VtR, but it feels to me a bit like telling them things that might allow more metagaming. Key Points: If you trust your players, then trust your players there is little point trusting your players not to meta and allowing them to read the books, ...


0

It depends heavily on how likely people are to know this information. While the players may know the game involves vampires, would their characters be surprised to learn they are real? So if vampires are unknown by most of society, then no, don't say a thing. If the party meet NPCs who are more versed in the ways of vampires, they can ask the NPCs these ...


8

Tie it into Role-Playing Since the answer is yes (out of game), you as the storyteller, should enable that player to gain that knowledge in game. There are many methods he can come about this. Perhaps using his computer skills on a Hunter database. Or perhaps there is a Hunter meeting/gathering and he can use his perception skills to come across a ...


-2

This is not an optimization answer, because it's not about how the character is built but how the game is played. Many GMs ignore or misinterpret some key mechanics the proper use of which make Monks far more effective. First is READIED MOVE ACTIONS. You can ready a move action to move next to an enemy character doing any act that would provoke an attack ...


1

Everyone else already covered it that tumble and jump are extremely important in order to bound about the battlefield. There are actually ways to make a monk do good damage in a fight and have decent AC. First off, you can try using the Half Minotaur template. Basically, this increases the size of your base race by 1 (makes your unarmed attacks do a ...


0

rule of thumb is: when doubling the monsters add 2 EL/CR so one 8th level monster is a 8 EL/CR and two 8th level monsters is 10 EL/CR four 8th level would be 12 EL/CR


2

Would you expect a fighter to be played only but someone that is good at fighting? We use dice and numbers to get around this problem. The same is true of smart characters. If it is an real in game problem use dice. If you want the player to sort out a problem then you have to let them all do it and just say the smart character actual solved it in the game ...


3

I usually pass them notes. So do most GM's I have played with. If there is some complex information I can anticipate someone maybe getting, I can write it up in advance, to speed things up during play. I may even write a few versions of some notes, or some notes that are useful in a variety of situations that may come up, possibly even will "fill in the ...


15

There are two ways of doing it: Open Simply speak the information aloud. All players must trust that the others are not going to use out of character information to make decisions. That is, everyone's characters must act as if they don't know that the rogue has kept gold to himself. Closed Pass the information only to the player that knows it. In old ...


5

In the past, I have passed notes or taken players into the next room, depending on the complexity of the situation. However, I don’t recommend any of that. In my experience, most RPGs work best as cooperative games, especially D&D. It’s best if the characters cooperate, but it’s absolutely crucial that the players do. Thus, in the scouting example, I ...


7

First, figure out why the puzzle exists in your game in the first place. If the goal of the puzzle is to challenge or entertain the players directly, then focus on that and don't worry about their character resources so much — those are secondary to the experience you're going for in the moment. You may be thinking, "But what about game balance?" Most ...


-4

In this case I'd let them roll a bunch of times over and over until they succeed if there is no consequence, but you still want them to roll. You might want to make them roll just to spook them. You might want to trigger a trap if they fail. Historically this has been treated with the wandering monster approach, whereby they will be interrupted by a random ...


10

If you're into it; you can write down the riddle in multiple descriptions and give the appropriate one to each player. The description for a character who is dumb as a door might be little more than "you see weird symbols on the wall" without even drawing them in the image (thus not even allowing the player to figure it out unless the others talk him through ...


1

Two methods come to mind, and they are not mutually exclusive. First, provide a "Good Roleplaying" bonus. Maybe it's an XP multiplier at the end of a session based on player votes for best RP, or a spot award of a handful of XP at your discretion. Maybe it's a Force/Fate/Luck/etc point. This may help more for Blue. Second, allow relevant checks for ...


5

I've run into this problem a few times at my table. I found that the two most effective ways to retain the realism and our perception of character are either to explain it with fluff or make both player skill and character skill important. Explain it with Fluff You have to keep in mind that the characters in most parties most likely think in very different ...


3

There are 2 sides to this argument. Player's ability to solve problems are independent of stats and should be treated as such. Good roleplayers should roleplay problems, independent of the player's ability. both of these are valid arguments, but this is where "GM Identity" kicks in. Each GM will have a different answer to this problem, and that's why ...


2

The Mythbusters technique When players fail the first attempt at a skill check, give them a choice: Try a different approach, or Tell you how far they’re willing to go to make this approach work. In the latter case, don’t roll the dice again. Just determine whether the approach is feasible within the players’ parameters. If so, then let them “fail ...


2

Before you ask for a roll from a PC, have stakes in mind. (In some game styles, you actually communicate the stakes to the player). For a combat roll, the stakes are easy. If they swing a weapon and miss, and/or don't kill the monster, the monster gets to attack the party back. When climbing a cliff, having making a downside to failure is perhaps too ...


2

One possible consideration is that the roll is not to see if the rogue lucked into opening it, but into whether the rogue found that the lock was the kind of lock he knows how to open (or, the internals are in such a way that he's able to manipulate them). This is effectively in the camp of 'fail once, don't reroll', but a rationalization behind that. Your ...


-4

For me keeping the target number hidden from the players works. They still feel in control when I tell them to roll the dice, even though the outcome could already have been made up. If they roll low I could still tell them they successfully picked the lock, because it was fortunately very easy to pick. This way I keep control over the outcome, while the ...


1

The simple answer is not to set them up as a "kill or be killed" adversary. For example they can be hostile but have them do it in a gesturing way rather than an actual attack - they signal him to back away. They beat their chest and roar, etc. You could even have him run into one that's injured and trapped so it's clearly no threat to him but also not ...


12

Most normal creatures don't fight to the death as a matter of course, except in D&D. Most creatures will, when confronted with a threat (note, not food nor a rock1), run away, as this is the cheapest way of preserving life. Only if they can't run away will they fight. If they fight, they'll fight until they can... run away (see a pattern here?) For ...


2

Five million dollars does not equal five dots of Resources. No amount of loose cash (or stocks or bearer-bonds or Marlboro Miles) equals a Resource rating any more than a pile of mana equals a Hallow. I fully admit the nWoD Merit system can sometimes seem problematic to reconcile with story, like with learning skills, I think it fair to let experience go ...


3

As others have already said, rolling the dice should be interesting. This means that the consequence for failure should be meaningfully different to the consequence for success. The issue you appear to be having is determining what that point of difference should be. And honestly? There's no "One True Way" to do that. Some groups love the idea that, if ...


19

Otherwise, it’s a failure, which means the character or monster makes no progress toward the objective or makes progress combined with a setback determined by the DM. In the 5e Basic Rules, the 5e PHB, or the 5e MM progress combined with a setback is not specifically defined. When this is the case, the first place to look for an answer is to look ...


11

I've been reading about this recently, both an AngryDM and in the XDM book by Tracy and Curtis Hickman. The short answer is as follows. Character attempts an action If there is no chance of success then the action fails and the character pays the appropriate cost. If there is no chance of failure then the action succeeds and the character pays the ...


67

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 ...


1

As a GM you have the power of plot. As a player I would find being put into stasis for 20 years or being transferred to a different plane for 20 years to be terribly cheap plot device. Arrest them, if they want to fight let them, as a GM you can avoid killing them, make them fall unconscious from blood loss or bruises instead. Depending on what kind of ...


1

I would suggest having a break in the middle of the session. For example, playing for two hours, then having dinner, then playing the remaining two hours. Having some players sitting down and playing for four hours is just too long. Having snacks on the table is good because it keeps everyone happy and not too hungry. Music is not a distraction and can be ...


-1

One answer may be to not have every action decided by a roll. "I try to unlock the chest." "Okay, it's a basic lock and you just jemmy it with a knife." or "I climb the nearest big tree" "The tree has lots of branches; it's not a problem for someone that's been exploring dungeons for four years" or "Do I think he's lying?" "Yeah; he's awful at it and ...


2

Have the main villain of your campaign frame the PCs for one of his own crimes, that will create a source of tension between the protagonists and the antagonist in your campaign which will give the Player characters a reason to want to get revenge. Of course this will require some planning to pull of, but the campaign will be given a powerful push in the ...


0

Hand them the dice. This has worked in small tables, especially for games that don't use lots of different dice. Whether you give them the dice in person or they are kept on a bowl in the middle of the table, have touching the dice be a part of the ritual. You may also want to reinforce their behavior with treats when they wait for your input to get the ...


2

This question has been thoroughly answered already, so I'm only posting to point you toward a resource that I have fond helpful for putting some of these suggestions into practice. You will find the advice here similar to that already posted by Rich, Martin Sojka, and Jakob. However, I feel that the extended explanation and examples will be worth your time. ...


2

Crazy idea: Try it the other way. Have them roll a dozen dice at the start of play... Those are their rolls. They can line those rolls up however they want, but they don't get new ones until they've used ALL of the old ones. I had this used on a character of mine as a result of consulting an oracle. Don't know if I liked it or not, but it certainly was ...


13

Flesh to stone. Then, after 20 years passed, Stone to Flesh (feel free to cheat on the saving throw. :)) But a truly evil regime might turn them back and forth regularly, giving them a day or two "off" and have some fun. (I'm not saying who's going to have the aforesaid "fun", and what they mean by "fun." Let's leave it to your evil masterminds.) For a ...


10

Don't I want to answer your problem, without actually answering your specific question. If this is not good, feel free to downvote into oblivion. If you need them to be occupied for a set amount of time for something to happen in the background, then I have two possible options for you. Time Travel: If you need them gone, just make something happen that ...


1

You could force them to plan faster. This will add another level of immersion to the game, speed things up, and even make the tactical guys in your session have even more to focus on. This is relatively simply. If they see the monster, and the monster is about to engage, they will only have 1d20 of words or so that each player can say. Or you can give them ...


13

Divide the boss encounter into sections that have a different feel. You can do this by time (at 1, 2, and 3 hours into the fight) or by in-character progress (when the dragon reaches 3/4, 1/2, and 1/4 hit points). At each transition, make something dramatic happen that changes the circumstances of the battle. At the first transition, maybe the dragon ...


6

In general, I feel that the main issue here is with your intended pacing of the session. With a four hour session, I don't think it is generally possible for the entire time to be intense and expect full concentration from your players. It simply isn't going to happen no matter what you try and do. I run sessions of a similar length, and always always plan ...


10

What I tend to do is to incorporate breaks in the game where everyone can stand, stretch, and talk about something else besides the game. The switch in contexts helps a lot. You are also experiencing "decision fatigue", which is the true reason for the blank looks and mistakes in the end. Playing the game requires an incredible number of decisions to make, ...


2

Choosing an action after you already know the result is a form of cheating. Any of the GMs I gamed with back in my college days would have simply declared the roll to be some sort of saving throw. (such as vs. DEX to see if you tripped over a root, or whatever was appropriate to the setting). Players got the hint real quick when their impatience caused them ...


9

Train them, or it will lead to bad habits Establishing a clear statement that you always use before a player rolls helps, I find. Saying "Roll them" (or ringing a small bell) before every roll is a bit tedious but it helps form a habit, so if the words haven't been said they know. If they roll before the cue then simply ignore the roll completely, don't ...


40

Whenever my players roll before they establish their actions in the fiction (my system is Dungeon World), I say something like: "Whoa whoa whoa wait a moment. What are you doing and how are you doing it? We do not even know yet whether a roll is even required for that." I then have them explain what they do and if it triggers a move (=rolling), I'll have ...


1

Trying to get players to do something they don't want to isn't gaming. The primary purpose of gaming is to have fun. The other answers cover this pretty well already, however, so the main reason I interject is to suggest that the question you are asking is the wrong question. I am a reluctant GM, who is GM-ing because no one else wanted the job. The ...


3

We had a situation like this in a previous game (where I was not the DM) with one particular player, and the DM was really pushing it. Afterwards, he mentioned to me not liking to fill in that stuff because he wants to see how the character develops in play, at the table. It wasn't that he wasn't into the game — he felt like the homework was adding extra ...


15

You Don't The problem here is the premise. This isn't school or work. You can't force people to do homework if they don't want to, at least not without creating bad feelings at the table. The single most important rule of gaming is to have fun. Are they having fun when you try to force them to do these things? I don't feel that most of what I'm asking ...


2

I'm not familiar with the system you're using or the game you're running, but traditionally I've used small bribes to encourage players to do stuff like this. If you come up with a detailed background that I can work into the setting I'll give you xp for it. Note that I got hit on the head and have amnesia is not a detailed background, neither is I'm an ...



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