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4

How to run this, procedurally Consider this - every week, the players show up and they manage to improvise and play, without having to preplan every "if this happens, then I'll do this". They simply look at their character sheet and improvise based on a basic understanding of their character, right? As a GM, you can do that too. Set up your characters, ...


2

There are a variety of ways to do this: Focus on the prophesy itself. If you cast doubts on the validity of the prophesy, the players may be more likely to leave it alone. For example, well-respected representatives for the forces of good declare that some of the named parties in the prophesy couldn't possibly be involved in something nefarious like that. ...


12

Tell Them Your Goals If you haven't already, I would start by telling them essentially what you just said here. That there is no "one true plot". Tell them that introducing an evil person / problem does not make it the overriding campaign unless they want it to be. Tell them that you are willing to follow along with their character's background goals. ...


1

The simplest solution is to build them up over time and introduce them along with other conflicting requirements at the same time. For example my current sandbox campaign has a were-rat bad guy. He was only active on the full moon (at least at first) and I very deliberately never introduced him in person (they still haven't encountered him, although they ...


1

It strongly depends on what do you want the players to do on the first session. If you want them to wander around, fight things and have an almost normal session but with amnessia, you need them to have the objects. If you want them to be nearly naked, in an "awakening alone" style, and start wondering about everything and having even a medium-sized dog to ...


1

Combine the best out of both worlds! Make the world a static hurdle with a fixed strength, while their enemy can be an ever changing foe. For example: The groups goal is a magic artifact in a hidden jungle cave. They have to get a map with the location, where they fight against the henchmen of the arch enemy. When they have the map they need to cross the ...


0

I've played SR3 for some years. My group only recently switched to SR4. First thing I noticed in hacking rules is that they are providing hooks to better integrate hacking into the "real"-world action. What do I mean? In SR3 you had your Mage in/looking into the astral plane fending off enemy ghosts/mages/spells, which was less affected by other means. ...


3

Use both, but I would suggest not using an individual villain as more a group of people (who may or may not be led by a villain - the players shouldn't know that for most of the campaign). The Villain The Villain, group or individual, is the main antagonist of the group and the encounter them more often than other obstacles. She plots against the group and ...


-2

I would like to suggest just turn it up a notch. How about on top of the rival you have in place start adding a defending organization.


2

I don't know your group, so I can't say whether an archenemy or a variety of environmental stuff will work better. But what I can give you, is a couple of tricks to make an archenemy more interesting. Subordinate Triad If I have an NPC that is going to be an ongoing problem, I like to set up a "Subordinate Triad". You know how Captain Kirk had Spock and ...


9

Give them shared or mutually referential aspects! There are a couple ways to do this, and Fate Core suggests one of them already, so I'll talk about it first. The default character generation guidelines have players creating relationships between their characters as part of establishing backstory. Although this is often difficult to do and I don't always ...


0

This doesn't exactly directly answer the question as titled, but does answer the problem in your description, take it as you will. An alternate solution might be to ask the player to consider rebuilding with the Martial Artist monk-archetype, which need not remain lawful. Then he can play however he likes - if the problem is just that he's not being ...


2

Starting items are an important boost for a lot of RM classes, power point adders and multipliers particularly can stop spellcasting classes being pretty weak in PP. However if your whole world is going to be "item free" then these are not appropriate tables to use. So here are options I'd suggest. Ditch the tables entirely, don't allow anyone to start ...


0

How well does your group accept things not going their way? For example if someone buys a item at 3AM and wakes up to find it's useless would they quit the group? I think you have to consider the mental make up of the group before what you decide to do. If you have a group that doesn't like ambiguity, I would I would just let the players know before they ...


3

Starting a business, group, school or Order I sometimes present situations to the players where they might see a notice for a shop or building that's for sale...Or its inherited in some way. Maybe someone they meet is setting up a small mercenary school and needs people to teach the new recuits? - even these might have their own challenges. Where do you get ...


4

This should be both abstract and specific. Gaining or losing members can be presented as a problem of scale, in which case it should be abstract, but always followed up with a personal example. Remember your principle to make everyone human. To make the gang human, you don't need to name and act them all out, but you do need to put a human face on the gang ...


2

In the campaign I played in, we kept it abstract. Usually, the things that triggered a massive size shift were either someone getting a lot of new followers (someone got put up as a religious figurehead) or one of the really bad rolls/Harm effects for gangs where you get something like "Most dead, only a few survivors" kind of things. Aside from that, it's ...


0

Ask your player if he want to keep a track by himself, maybe he will enjoy it and you won't have to bother with that. If he don't, keep an approximate size and let him know when this size change significantly.


0

Get to the fun, right away Some games are very good at getting to the meat right away - they may have a team/mission dynamic, they may have a set scene structure/scene framing rules, or they might have a specific scene that starts every campaign. When I move to more traditional games that don't have this, I forget that you actually WANT to get things ...


0

If you want a simple, RaW way to up to to hit, saves and AC of randomly generated monsters, have you considered spells? Those spiders might be there randomly, or they could have been sent by a Drow raiding party. who cast Mage Armour and Bull's Strength on them before sending them off to do their master's bidding. Might start to seem unbelievable if you do ...


9

Three suggestions! People as threats You can keep monsters as monsters, but also include people as threats. People can be "talked to" but that doesn't mean they're reasonable. But what is fun and interesting about people is they can be cunning - they can adapt, and they open up a LOT of possibilities other than "fight to the death". I have a Big List ...


-2

Have you thought of maybe adding puzzle/traps elements? Why fight the monsters below if a Wizard can just make the ceiling collapse on them, or a Barbarian can use his strength to topple the pillar, or maybe the wall can be brought down so that the cavern gets flooded with water, making the monsters drown. Or why not poison the river so that the monsters ...


2

I'm not the hugest fan of introducing puzzles like this into games but I think the best way to do this is to solve them out of character and then, if necessary, roleplay the solution in character. So long as everyone knows that you're going to do this (announcing it beforehand might be a good tactic), it eliminates or at least reduces many of the issues at ...


-2

Leave solving the riddles to the players and create other challenges for the characters. Some examples for D&D 3.5 (using the giant example but it might work for any riddles or puzzles): Hints related to character knowledge - a riddle may contain a reference to a legend, local event etc. If the character makes a successful knowledge check (history, ...


1

I use a mini-mass combat system inspired by the mook wads of Feng Shui. It is mainly designed to simulate squad on squad combat that the PCs are involved in but it also works to amp up the threat of a host of little critters. The long and short of it is, that if you take a unit of e.g. 10 identical 1st level warriors, they have an AC equal to a single ...


10

The reason the rolls seems unfair is a problem called Goblin Dice. When talking about combat, d20 decide if a goblin lives or dies - but we all know sooner or later he will kick the bucket. When we use d20 to determine the success of one-of-a-kind events (like making a bluff check, a diplomacy check or a riddle-solving check), the high variability of the ...


17

The ways to make monsters more challenging is to use 'player' tactics such as flanking, ambush and aid another. Using giant spiders as an example. Round 1 Check for surprise vs stealth (with a +14 for the modifier 11 as the base and 3 for distance). Assuming spiders get surprised, nail the PCs with eight touch attacks with web (at +5 to hit). Round 2 PCs ...


0

Environmental factors Perhaps incorporate some environmental features that will balance the encounter in the favor of the cave spiders. For example, in your instance with the cave spiders, spiders are typically always found surrounded by spider webs that only they can walk on, so fill rooms full of the spiders with webs that the players have to roll saves ...


3

I am this kind of player. I know it all too well, and more than once my GMs have talked to me about it. In my case, I "grew up" with DnD power-gamers, the types of players who dedicate themselves to creating the most powerful character possible within the rules, often bending said rules all the way to the breaking point. As a result, that's how I know how ...


2

I would recommend figuring out what he wants from the game, instead of trying to make him play the game your way. Maybe he isn't interested in having plots revolving around him, or in building up a narrative around his character. Perhaps he enjoys being the guest hero of the week. In that case, plan around him changing characters. Let him know where the ...


8

When I've engaged in this, it's usually because I've made a series of NPCs. When not thinking, I tend to form character requirements for maximum conflict-safety. (Not to say invulnerability within the mechanics of combat, but boring characters who don't want anything and thus have no reason for drama or narrative engagement.) Thus, because they are boring, ...


0

Player Satisfaction Generally character remodeling is a symptom of either dissatisfaction or boredom, both of which indicate the player is not receiving what they wish to receive from the game. Talk to them about their expectations, and also look at your own GMing skills, especially in things like spotlight time and player agency. If necessary, do a quick ...


3

Inevitably the best solution in these situations is Talk It Out If you've been experience a common problem at your tables but haven't been actually asked the players what's up (as alluded to when you say "I'm guessing"), you're failing in one of the primary duties of the GM; which is to make sure everyone is having fun. Now, it might be that this player is ...


8

I can understand switching to a different character once, like, you didn't understand the system or the campaign, and you didn't realize what kind of character would be a good fit for you. But repeatedly doing it, after just a few sessions? It's time to sit down with the player and have a hard talk. "What do you want from this game? Here is what ...


1

I personally consider a monsters mental stats, particularly Int and Wis) when deciding how a encounter will play out. A monster with low Int and Will (i.e. vermin) will typically attack the closest threat possible. I use Wisdom to gauge how effectively monsters will use tactics such as flanking and surprise. When I am behind the DM's screen, Intelligence ...


0

According to the PCs knowledge, current goals and the game pace, you can use the empty spaces to either: Point the group towards important locations. Convey and strengthen the theme and atmosphere of the game. Control the game's difficulty by forcing them to use resources or allowing them to replenish them (or gain access to new ones). You can plan ...


1

Short answer: Make a series of random tables based on 1: Terrain, 2: World themes, and 3: PC motivations. Long answer: First things first, you'll want to identify: What do you want to achieve with these encounters? From your post, I believe that your priorities are: 1: They should be random (I assume, so that you don't have to plan out the whole ...


0

It would be possible to run this in game time without having the real-time element to it. Bearing in mind that you only have split seconds to react in different situations then you could introduce: Orientation Roles: The concept follows that the player must make choices based on something that is just out of his physical perception but may be impinging ...


2

There must be some successful, humane way of introducing the players to a setting they have no clue about. It's all about making that kind of translation a smooth and gentle. Take it in two parts. 1) The players need a rundown. 1a) .. of the things which local everyday people know about the region 1b) .. of the things which local everyday people know ...


-1

How can I make the adventure fun, tell both stories, and make the cleric's story relevant, without the rest of the party boring themselves in the time I play with the cleric? I don't understand why you think the party is split or why is there a separate story. Or should I play alone with him before the session? Or even make it in a way I tell both ...


7

When I read this I thought: Just don't. In "the real world" there is so much more random stuff that happens than meaningful stuff towards some goal that its the decision of the people on place to decide which dungeon to crawl and which to ignore. If one wants to explore every single house in every street then in how many of that houses you will find ...


1

You could try applying the following ideas to your sandbox: Mapping Use a 'small' physical map: this can give the impression that play is slightly restricted, especially if you implement some of the following... Include distinct map items: use roads and towns without any other features - this can give more control over what's going to happen and where ...


4

Character generation, world creation I read this on a series of sandbox articles, but don't remember where. Don't create all the world before the characters. Let empty space to be filled later. Then, when creating the characters, allow them to create part of the world. Example: A player creates a character who was raised by a cult who worship a powerful ...


1

Disadvantages as a mechanic can be a double edged sword. For one side, it is true that in some situations, seem natural for characters to have disadvantages imposed onto them as the results of their actions, but one the other side many players would think it is unfair that their characters are burdened with a disadvantage due sheer chance or bad luck. The ...


2

Zombie apocalypses range from a slug feast (Left4Dead2) to a vehicle for huis-clos building on the survivors' slow but assured spiral into inhumanity (Walking Dead). It seems that you are aiming more towards the latter. For me, Night of the Living Dead and Walking Dead and ... are all scary because they are all about the slow, methodical, and inextricable ...


3

I've played a bunch of 1st edition L5R and a bit of 3rd edition, so I don't know how much anything has fundamentally changed - but as far as I remember, and from the sound of your question there is zero system support of how/when to translate actual play events into disadvantages. L5R isn't a very realistic game when it comes to wounds and gruesomeness... ...


1

In my opinion, there are a bunch of possibilities : The cleric will stay for a long IG time, but short talking time (injured, and will return with the group soon after resting). The cleric will stay a short IG time, but a long talking time (healed fast, but discovers a bunch of things and PNJs before going back with the group) The cleric will stay for a ...


2

The Setting I've run zombie apocalypse adventures before. The tricks that worked for me were: (1) Start with a lot of low level characters, (2) Have them search for a defendable position, (3) Only hit them with small groups of zombies at first, (4) Let them get comfortable, then (5) over run them with a large "herd" of zombies, and (6) Chase them until they ...


2

In our campaign, my character always seems to be running off on her own, either because she's not interested in what the other party members are doing or she has something else she needs to take care of. The GM will spend the majority of his time working with the other party members and their actions, and then on occasion he will switch back to my character ...


20

Support characters We do this all the time. When one or more characters are separated from the group for a long time, the GM gives the other players characters to play with. The players must acknowledge they are playing secondary characters and most protagonism must be with the main character. In your case, give each player except the cleric a goblin. Give ...



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