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45

First, the generic advice: Plan for it. [You do this.] Set aside the first 30-60 minutes for chat. Hold your players' interest with an exciting game. [You are doing this.] If they're chatting, frankly, then they'd rather be chatting than playing. Make them more interested in playing than chatting by making your game more interesting. Is there a lot of ...


30

One of my all-time favorite solutions for this was a DM who would have NPCs react to OOC conversation as if it had been directed to them. Generally at very inopportune times. Or the party would miss an opportunity because game time would continue to pass while the chatter went on. He impressed upon us the concept that the OOC chatter had a cost, and we ...


26

After years of being plagued from the same problem, we started to keep all the characters in a single folder, which is either kept by the DM or where we usually play. My backup option is: "wing it". it's not really a problem if your skills are a bit off for a single session :) On top of that, I always keep a "character cheat sheet" for all characters with ...


22

I allow them to reconstruct it during play. To a degree, this depends on the game, but even in the more complex games it's the end results that matter more than the formulas. For example, if I know that my energy blaster in Champions has a big energy blast with a bunch of different options, I can probably get away with saying I do 12d6 with a single-target ...


19

My groups have the DM hold on to the character sheets, plus any notes the players have made (loot, etc.)


19

Here is something a little different to try. Give the 3 most vocal players each a task. The least vocal of the 3 should be the keeper of time. It is their job to know how much time has passed 'in game time'. i.e. "That combat and the short rest that followed took our party 40 minutes of character time". They should keep a written record of this. They ...


18

One thing we did was lead off each session with dinner. Currently we meet at a local restaurant and we take about an hour before going to our host's house to play the game. This serves to get a lot of the OOC chat out of our system. Previously, we've gotten pizza or other food delivered. It was clearly understood that while we were eating, there wasn't ...


13

All character sheets for my games are posted online. No chance of losing them.


13

Actually libraries and pubs are both good choices. Our local historical mini's club routinely uses the library and The Escapist sponsors Terra Libris, a project to play RPGs in libraries. A local group plays in a 24/7 McDonalds on Friday. We have a local university sponsored club. I've played quite a bit in coffee shops. Just keep buying refills and the ...


10

If you have a good gaming store, they may be willing to host your gaming group, especially if you are good customers of the store. It depends on their space--but I've managed a Saturday game at a local game store for several months. This is usually a better option if your game is open to new players, but it can be useful in all cases.


10

1) Ask them to stop. They might not be aware that you think it's a problem. For some folks (I'm one), the social aspect of the game is often the best part. Others could just be coasting on habits from other games. Make your expectations clear - you're the GM, after all. 2) Give the adventures more/less social content. Your GMing style probably leans toward ...


8

There are a few things that you could do to help prevent this sort of thing from happening in the first place, and to mitigate the damage when it does occur. Have the GM keep the sheet. This is probably the simplest solution. If the GM keeps the sheet with the rest of the campaign notes, then whenever the game is run, everyone can be assured that they ...


8

At my table, we developed a catchphrase. During a game of L5R we were having a training scene in a dojo, and when anyone (even myself) got sidetracked and it was realized, I would say "Back to the dojo." It was both hilarious and effective. Nowadays, I still say "[Back to the] Dojo" if any table is being particularly noisy/tangential/sidetracked, and it's ...


7

This is an answer that tries to do a summary of all other answers, and to add something new Solution 1: Reconstruct it When you did nothing to prevent it (or something went wrong with your prevention), you'll have to rewrite the sheet. 1.1 The player has lost his sheet The advise is to rebuild it before the session. All players should help the guy who ...


6

If the DM has a photocopy of the sheet, and the player forgets theirs; then they can borrow the DM's copy.


6

I have a DnD insider subscription and require all players to enter their character in to the character builder. This way I can print off a spare copy if it is ever needed. However, this does not take in to account their inventory, however, it's usually good enough for us to get by, or have someone else take control of an absent player's character.


6

Lots of great answers to the main question, so I won't elaborate on that. However, I am the lone smoker in my group, so I thought it might be useful to hear some advice from that perspective. First, as one person commented above, be proactive about the smoker's breaks. If a situation is coming up that will require everyone's, or just my, attention for a ...


4

Another option, talk to your smoker and see if (s)he'd be willing to cut back to just one or two smoke breaks instead of 5. If the disruption in the game caused by the smoke break is leading to the excessive chatter, reducing the number of breaks could help.


4

We print out a new one. If we weren't using electronic methods of generating sheets then I'd be very tempted to keep photocopies for some of my players!


4

I keep all of the Char sheets on Obsidian Portal. Then we simply print up our char sheets before the session. That way there is no way to forget it. When the players leave, any notes written on the sheet I update on the digital copy. Nice and easy. Hope it helps!


4

Libraries and public universities often have reservable private spaces that members of the community can use. Pubs and restaurants similarly often have "private rooms," if you are going to be spending money on food and drink and not just freeloading. Many privately owned public spaces (malls, etc.) will tolerate you depending on your behavior, especially ...


4

Unless the character is specifically made to move between campaigns, the character and its sheet are tied to a specific campaign and the GM can justifiably insist on keeping the character sheet. This is especially true when forgetting a character sheet can seriously impact a session.


4

The player's sheet makes a great memory aid, a place for notes, and a way to track progressive things like XP and damage, but the character sheet "of record" is the one that the game-master has. It's the responsibility of the player to make sure that any changes he or she wants to make are reflected on your copy.


4

What I did in one campaign (which admittedly might be a bit of a specialized answer) was spawn Kobolds. This particular part of this particular campaign had the players sneaking/running through a forest infested with Kobolds; their goal was to get out quickly and quietly. Every time the game bogged down (either because of OOC chatter or IC disagreements ...


4

For me, I'd ask myself the question ... are people enjoying the game ? If they are, then I'm tempted to go with the old adage ... if it ain't broke, don't fix it Past that, maybe have a talk with people on what they want from the game, are they happy with the "non-game" time, etc.


3

For my group, we keep one copy on gDocs and the other with whomever is DMing the game. That typically removes the lost sheet controversy.


3

I (as the DM) usually hold onto the character sheets. It's a lot easier when the guy who's got to be there has all those easy-to-lose papers.


3

Back in school, my group occasionally ran into this situation so we made use of the picnic tables at the public park when the weather cooperated. Of course we always went for the tables that had a good amount of shade to avoid all that healthy and nurturing sunlight.


3

I'm currently running D&D 4e at the moment, so if someone shows up with a character sheet fail I can just stick them in front of the D&DI Character Creator software to re-create and print their sheet while we get on with the game. The only awkward bit is keeping track of their inventory, but we can normally piece that back together from the notes I ...


3

Some people are interested more in socializing than gaming or vice versa. First thing you need to do is discuss it with your players. "I feel like we're not enjoying the game as much as we could because we never get into the groove of it without disruption. What do you all think about trying to stay in character and not chat about other stuff when at the ...



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