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1

What's wrong with just letting them use the skill? Even if it just happens once or twice in the entire session, give them an opportunity to have their skill become useful. Often, allowing a story to go in this direction becomes a memorable experience for the player. For example, one of the characters has a "Boating" skill. Perhaps the players could normally ...


0

One possibility is to handle those "background.skills" a little broader. This depends hugely on the specific system involved, but if it's open to interpretation reflect on what those skills could represent. For example Basket-weaving. a Basket weaver needs patience, concentration and has a firm grasp on complex "structures". So give him a bonus when solving ...


2

I believe that if you have a definite plan for a genre/setting for your campaign, you and your players have to work together to make it work. This includes character creation. It's going to be tough to fit a pacifist, privately educated art historian into a campaign based around the mob and violent crime. The first thing I do with any campaign is to present ...


4

Give bonus skill points for a good backstory! If someone writes up a good backstory, and the character should logically have certain skills from that backstory, that aren’t actually useful (or, at least, unlikely to be useful) in the campaign, turn those skills into rewards for writing a good backstory. Since you have players who don’t abuse the ...


0

Generally, when I player picks a skill that is to help flesh out his background, he doesn't expect it to come up very often (if ever). You could treat knowledge skills as passive in the sense that the character knows a little more than the others at appropriate times. Telling them that they know something interesting or relevant when describing a scene ...


0

I like to play both sides screen. So I have a PC for when I'm a player and that PC becomes an NPC party member when I DM. I do this so I don'thave to roll a new character everytime someone else takes over as DM and so there isn't a huge level gap as well. When you create a villian make sure you are willing to let him/her die. Think of a villain as parts of ...


1

I know that you mention your players are against the idea of someone else taking their turn. However, if the issue is spoiling the fun for people at the table then something has to be done. The players need to acknowledge that they are part of the problem and work with you to fix it. There are some good answers here, but one Savage Worlds specific option ...


1

Question don't specify what type of games are you willing to play, so I will assume genre is not a problem. I would try to play something that is not hack & slash, but other forms of roleplaying. You can make a lot of things to speed up combat, but it will always be slow. If dungeoneering and combat is a pain, keep it to minimum and focus on ...


2

They take 5 to 10 minutes to think and decide what to do and soon they start losing interest in combat. This seems to be the core of the problem. It shouldn't be necessary to take 5-10 minutes for combat, especially Savage Worlds where combat turns are relatively quick and can be done in a minute or less. You didn't say whether or not this delay was ...


2

A purely urban campaign was one of the most memorable 1st edition AD&D campaigns I ever played in and would share these tips from that experience: What you haven't planned for: as a dense concentration of humanity (or demihumans), a city is an impossible canvas to plan for entirely. But that is its greatest strength as well. All things are possible at ...


12

I play online almost exclusively these days, using MapTool. I DM two campaigns, and this particular issue comes up often enough. First, you have to keep things interesting. Try to design combats with more than just "attack roll -> damage roll". It's not a simple task, but it's really important to make combats interesting. Add some ranged enemies, healing ...


1

I ran into this issue a lot when my group was running purely in text. In combat, you have to urge players to think about their next move before their turn comes up. Players who take a long time to act may cause others to alt-tab and browse or otherwise get distracted. I had to keep a sense of urgency in order to maintain order at the table and keep the ...


3

In DW failure means consequences, even DEATH When a character rolls 6- you make a hard move. That means a move that has immediate and irrevocable consequences. In my opinion (I'm unsure on the exact rules) a hard move always comes after a soft move, and the soft moves shapes the hard move. Soft moves cause danger and prompts players to act and therefore ...


1

One of the big changes when going to a base-building campaign is shifting your mindset from offensive to defensive. Going on missions puts you on the tactical offensive, in classic D&D terms it's going to someone else's place to kill them and steal your stuff. Even village defense scenarios often involve the offensive approach of hunting the attackers ...


-1

Kill the distraction in a plot-relevant way If the players get too attached to something that distracts from the adventure, have the plot kill it. This doesn't have to mean the actual death of the NPC (though that would be very dramatic), she could also be abducted or otherwise in need of PC action to put things right. Though personally I like death, ...


2

How about The "base" is an abandoned ruin that may or not be a large piece of alien technology. Most of it is perfectly liveable but in some areas there are large devices of unknown purpose, and in others there may be doors (hard to distinguish from wall decoration and ancient crystal machinery). Traitors! Have a bunch of NPCs join, but there are quickly ...


1

Involve NPCs. The NPCs hire the heros to chase away the unNamed horror. Because no one had actually seen it, the NPCs ask the victorious heroes what they saw. "What would you call something like that?!" Then let the PCs fight over naming rights. :-D


6

You wait Your players will name it, most likely. If they don't, the Horror remains unNamed. That's fine! Nothing ever goes as planned.


7

Anything your players like, including NPCs, is more important than your presuppositions of the plot. The reason for this is simple - the goal of the game is to entertain the group. If they like something, they will be more invested in it and thus more entertained. If you set up a dichotomy between "things you want" and "things they want," well, there's a ...


11

You're trying to railroad the game when the players are telling you very loudly where they want the campaign to go instead. Take them there. If the NPCs are boring you, that's a different problem. Be sure you're making NPCs that engage you and not just your players. You have to enjoy the game too. To run an interesting socially-focused game, you might need ...


0

Building off of the answer @Bobson gave, I would give your players a chance to drive their favorite NPCs. However, I wouldn't necessarily make it a permanent switch. Instead I would suggest doing it as a break from the normal session every once in a while. Down a player or two? Let everyone else run an NPC game. Only have time for a really quick game? ...


11

So, let me get this straight - you've created a setting and characters that your players are so immensely invested in that they're helping you build it themselves? What exactly is the problem again? Kidding. Sorta. Anyway, I'm kinda seeing this in the Marvel game I'm running now; the players are assuming anything beyond purse-snatchers are beyond them ...


3

The other answers are good for moving the focus off of the NPCs, but there's an alternative way to go: Make the NPCs into the PCs. Turn your players and say something like "You seem to like these allies... how would you like to play as them?" Let them each choose who to take over, and go forward from there. You can either alternate between the ...


1

NPCs should act as mentors to low level adventures, but should not become a crutch Maybe they have important information to give the characters, maybe they help out in a clutch combat, or maybe they just act (within the story) as an example of what the PCs should aspire to; Regardless an NPC should always be 2nd fiddle to the actions and stories of PCs. ...


24

The best approach, I think, is to separate the players and the NPCs by Plot! The NPCs get kidnapped, detained, lost, side-tracked, bogged down, diverted, or called away, but in a way that is meaningful to the players. They are not just “put on a bus” in the TV Tropes lingo, but somehow the plot separates them and reuniting becomes a major ...


6

If your goal is to come up with great stories together, I would recommend a combination of all three - have your wife make a 'primary character', and then each story arc, she gets a new set of NPCs. It's kind of like Conan the Barbarian / Sinbad the Sailor / The Doctor - as you travel around having adventures, you have 'local party members'. So say your ...


6

All three methods work quite well, and it doesn't depend on experience. (There is a classic actual play report of a dad running D&D for his 7-year-old who played five PCs, and it was not only not a problem, but the kid was awesome-creative with the roleplaying.) Ask your player which she likes the sound of! Then do that.


17

I played D&D solo with my dad as the player for almost six years as a kid. We ran AD&D and 3.5 D&D. Frankly, it surprises me that more people don't play the game this way. It makes for an extremely good bonding time, it's a lot of fun, and two people with a good relationship can create some very great campaigns together. Here are a few party ...


0

Like some of the others, I support the multiple player character model. No matter what campaign you are playing or what rules you use, there will be times when a certain character doesn't fit. This is not always because of "class" but can also be because of role-playing aspects. Some knights will refuse to take missions where they need to hide or hide who ...


4

The first answer to questions like this is always "Talk to your players." Are they bothered by this? If not, then it's not a problem. They may in fact be relying on Violence McGee as a running gag to get them out of their endless negotiations. That said, the fact that this is happening may point to some problems with your campaign design. I ran the World's ...


0

This is a classic problem for many games... but not all games. No Social Resolution System So, you're playing D&D. It gives you rules for fighting, running around, light sources, a lot of things. When it comes to player characters solving arguments amongst themselves... you have nothing. So what happens is that players become used to "Let's do X", ...


4

The answer is: It deppends on the game you are playing and how you handle the challenges. 5E isn't a "tactical minis" game as 4E was, but there is still a certain degree of "role balance" on it. You're deffinitely gonna have a harder time without a Paladin and Cleric that can use Healing Powers (even with access to Hit Dice mechanics), or a Bard or Druid ...


0

This is probably not suitable for the setting you play in, but for those who start a new campaign and make their setting for scratch, or play in a setting where this is possible (I'm sure the question title will attract some of them): make your calendar lunar based. That's what I do in my campaign: I take account of the date, it's not so difficult (how many ...


5

The answer depends greatly on your DM. You can be effective with any group and setup, provided you actually focus on the group's strengths and avoid it's weaknesses. This means you need a DM that allows those opportunities. Published adventures are railroading. They have a very narrow focus and can only accomplish so much without knowing what the party will ...


2

No, but it helps slightly, numbers count for more. My experience in running two different groups through the Starter Set adventure has revealed to me the following. outside of specific class abilities all characters have similar capabilities. there is just enough non-clerical healing for a group to recover. Cleric and other healing classes greatly extends ...


16

As others have mentioned, this is a play-style issue that needs to be worked out amongst the group to avoid hard feelings, misunderstandings, and frustration. However, if despite prior discussions/agreements you find you're about to face conflicting character reactions, there are steps the GM can take to reduce players ability to dominate such scenes and ...


0

There can be character conflict in game, I have even had players with conflict between their own characters. While sometimes it may feel like a free-for-all, this is a turn based game and the characters need to act in turn in any conflict situation. I encourage communication between characters, talking within the team is free and does not have to follow ...


12

The answer to this is going to greatly depend on your playstyle. I'm currently playing in a few groups. One of them has no cleric (but has a paladin) the other has no cleric or paladin. Another group has no arcane spell casters of any kind. And another has a cleric, a wizard, a fighter and a rogue. The group with the cleric, wizard, fighter and rogue is ...


3

Yes, based on the starter kit... I'm both DMing and playing the 5e starter kit and it seems a cleric is necessary to avoid party member deaths or party wipes. That said, clerics are not healbots and can be harder to hit than certain fighter builds, but they do have to balance using spells for attack and keeping them in reserve for heals. Wizards also seem ...


4

When DMing, you should more consider yourself as telling the story of a movie or a video game than of a book. Because unlike writing a book, you have a budget. In our case, the budget is the time your group of player (and you) allow to the game. So, since the group is giving the budget, the group should decide how to use it. If they want a lot of non ...


10

If you have a Deathstab McMurderBaron amongst your players who cuts his way through the encounters like a Great Wyrm dragon through a burrow of kobolds, talk to them. Ask for them about what they want from a game, and what you want to do with the game. If all players are on the same page as you, great! If not, you can do a few things: Figure out what the ...


1

I think you should not restrict the players decision in such a way as forbidding an individual decision (as long as they make sense). It feels pretty natural that while people are trying to discuss, some might cut short any negotiation, without the consent of their peers. Then all the PC will react differently and create an interesting situation (distrust in ...


1

Pace dropping is often related to players role-playing mundane details of everyday life, like the haggling over prices you mentioned. That indicates a lack of urgency with whatever the main story of your adventure is. One possible GM technique to resolve that is considering the actions of NPCs, especially villains. If the players waste time, what will the ...


0

I GM'ed a game of Scion and one of the PCs had the power to watch a scene from aerial perspective IF the moon already rose. So I searched the web and finally found http://www.timeanddate.com/worldclock/moonrise.html The only thing you have to do is keep track of the date.


3

In the past, I used one of several methods for moon phases. I've almost always tracked time in play, at least to the day. Method 1: Tide Table Books I would pick up (usually for free) leftover out of date tide table booklets picked up at the end of fishing season. I then used that, despite being the wrong year, as the "official" tide and moon phases for ...


12

One solution we used was to pick the date our campaign was set in and use a moon phase website (e.g., stardate.org) to keep track of what the phase was for any given day. As time passed in game, we could just look up the phase when we needed it.


2

Your main problem seems to be that the player is basically playing the eidolon as an extra PC. Thus, in effect, you don't really have a six-member party — you have a seven-member party where one player is playing two of the characters. Further, by hiding the nature of the eidolon and pretending that it's human, the player is, in effect, depriving the ...


1

That's a matter of personal taste and your group dynamics. We usually make a slow immersion. If I am the GM, after a reasonable social time, I start distributing character sheets (it's a good signal, and generally forces players to think about their characters), and asking questions: "Do you remember what happened last session?" or "Your character didn't ...


1

Use Music. I have been running with a group of people and what we found helps bring out the story and get everyone into the mood, is to play related music in the background. Don't get me wrong, there is no such thing as a perfect gaming group that does not get distracted, and you may have to say "Okay guys we're starting now" but atleast this way your 'magic ...


1

It might be worth focusing on developing bits of background (and associated plot elements and adventure hooks!) that can be expected to met at various parts of the city, for example: the thieves guild, that is actually funded by the Coral Empire, for which it does spying and sabotage the Brothers Of Brine, a cult located in the sewers, whose members will ...



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