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46

Don't run a World X game. Run an alternate universe World X game. Sure, your players are expecting a World X game. But you don't know enough details to run one. An alternate universe game lets the players enjoy the genre they want while you still retain control of the details. Three basic steps: Introduce some elements that are definitely wrong. When ...


40

Just to add to something others have been saying: If there is any secret information in the game, then Pass notes to every player, constantly! Occasionally scribble random gibberish like "Look at this paper and smile knowingly." and pass it to a random player. Make sure everyone gets used to it as "one of your GM quirks". Mix this up with meaningful ...


32

Kick him out. No, really, kick him out. Just because he says he wants to play doesn't mean he wants to play the same game you all want to. You are being too kind to him. He is doing to three people exactly what you are trying to avoid doing to one person. He is: Preventing your group from enjoying the game. Being selfish and wrecking a game when he ...


30

Run that dungeon with the weird clockwork. If the players like it, treat that dungeon as foreshadowing and continue with your clockwork invasion theme plans. If they don't like it, relegate that dungeon to a one-time "weird old place" and throw that theme away. Trying subtle things and observing how the players react is a valuable skill for a GM who wants ...


25

OK, I don't have time to answer this as I want to. My background is in psychology, and I fell into Roleplaying games when I turned 10 in 1976. So by the time I was in college, understanding where the term Roleplaying game really came from, I understood the critical nature of immersion, how it is the most important ingredient for game success. And to be ...


25

This entirely depends on your game, and your gaming group. What you are referring to (acting as yourself instead of your character) is called "meta-gaming" and involves making decisions that are outside of the purview of your character's personality or knowledge. Whether or not this is an acceptable practice depends in part on your group and in part on the ...


25

I thought about making up an excuse to talk to all players in the bathroom during stuff like the assassination example above so everyone will be suspicious of each other but it sounds like too much hurdle. Unfortunately, that's your answer. Metagaming in this case isn't going to be deliberate, but it's going to be hard to avoid. If you constantly ...


23

Consider Partial Cooperative Storytelling Many DMs engage their players more deeply in setting the story elements for their adventures. See the article Worlds of “OUR” Imagination and GM-less games like Fiasco and Microscope for inspiration. Since they know more about the places, history, and people of the world, ask them why they think your crisis is ...


23

Erik Schmidt's answer is probably the better one to go with (as it'll help you find the root cause), but I'll contribute a bit based on what I see from your description. From your description, you have a player who enjoys: Building and optimizing new characters. Participating in combat. And who doesn't enjoy: Long-winded intrigue. And yet, this ...


22

Dungeons & Dragons Basic Rulebook (1981, Gygax & Arneson), pg B60 Your character doesn't know that A player should not allow his or her character to act on information that character has no way of knowing (for example, attacking an NPC because the NPC killed a previous character run by the player, even though the NPC and current character ...


21

From the player's seat Offer something the other character wants. The player knows what to do here, and she just needs an excuse to do it. Supply one. A little bribe or rationalization is all she needs and you'll be off and running in no time. Get the GM's permission to figure stuff out in-character. That means more than just knowing yourself, but rather ...


20

From the DM's perspective, it mostly comes down to obfuscation and training your player base. Don't force your players to resist metagaming if you can reasonably help it. Going down your list with some concrete examples: Make truly trivial random encounters a regular (but not necessarily frequent) occurrence. If every encounter is non-trivial, then a ...


17

I like to work like this: I give the basic information to the players. One single page of 8.5 x 11 with all the info they certainly know. I tell them everything that is outstanding. How many moons, color of the sky, name of the main constellations if they are relevant. Any info about the basic religion, main genesis myth everything relevant for the first ...


17

Try it out in-game and if it doesn't work then have a back-up plan for the campaign. I grapple with the same ideas as you - inevitable players will implement that knowledge and it would be so worthwhile to surprise them. I'm a fan of the crazy guy in the bar who talks about his days of spelunking or out at war and encountering what I'd ask my players about. ...


17

As someone who has been GMing primarily since 2001, the answer is "Yes, but not disasterously so." The skill sets for being a player and being a GM in a game such as Pathfinder/D&D/White Wolf are entirely different, which means if you spend a lot of time doing one set of those skills (GMing), then the other set will get rusty, like any set of skills you ...


16

First off, it is the responsibility of the player of that character to not kill the plot. It's known as a "no-yes" where they vehemently oppose the progress, but continue to allow the plot to move in that direction. They are the "voice of NO" loudly dragging their feet even as they come with the rest of the party. Its their job to oppose the direction ...


16

Not an easy question! What I try to do to enhance immersion while lessening the effect of metagame considerations includes: Leading from the front. If I hope to make it easier for my players to immerse themselves in their roles, I must also be willing to immerse myself as much as possible in the NPC cast, and provide as much interaction as I can which ...


16

It sounds like a discussion away from the game table is in order, preferably between just you and him. Some day when there is no gaming going on, ask him what he dislikes about the campaign. Then ask him what can be done to make the game better for him. It's important that he not feel ganged up on or picked on, and that you get his honest opinion. If he has ...


16

Aside from the Same Page Tool already listed, I'd say two things would be worth considering: 1. Emphasize difference in expectation If the group is used to playing one kind of game style, you have to explicitly point out the differences in what you're trying to do. Something that flags me as a potential problem is this: [T]he party meeting each other ...


15

There is no smooth, gentle way to introduce players to a truly alien setting. You have three choices as a GM who wants to successfully run an alien setting: make the players aliens to the setting, and let them explore it. (gentle means of introduction) make them study up prior to play. (smooth play, but heavy handed) Play with people who already know the ...


15

I've run games with strict information compartmentalization like this, it really aids the immersion. Here's what you can try to do in order to not give away too much. Take other people aside too, not just for "super secrets" but for experiences they have outside the rest of the group. So if someone gets sent to the library to research, take them aside, ...


13

I'm sure everyone who is new to RPGing struggles with this question. The gaming answer is (IMHO) that you should act as you think your character would choose to act, not as you, "the gamer" would act. It is a "role playing" game, after all. The more you manage to play the game in character, the more realistic, dramatic, and enjoyable (not to mention ...


13

A lot of good answers, but I haven't yet seen on point addressed: stance. Some background on stances. There has been a lot of more-or-less academic* study of how RPGs work and how roleplaying works as an activity. One of the concepts that's been defined is stance, which is roughly defined as your (the player's) relationship to the character you're playing. ...


13

I think the thing you need to do first and foremost is remind them of the cardinal rule: What the DM says goes. They asked you to be the DM for a reason. If they wanted to run the show, they should've DMed instead. That said, you don't have to make this point in a rude or confrontational way. Just gently remind your players of it and, if they're any ...


13

I wouldn't say GMing detracts from player experience. I will try to use a parallel example. Do you know TV tropes site? They dissect every piece of fiction into tropes that are like boulders that are used again and again in other works, like "Lonely hero", "Redemption of the bad guy" or "Holy villain" (those aren't the actual names, but they're clearer for ...


11

I advocate for an out-of-game solution to such problems. Remind the player in question that the old mantra "It's what my character would do!" should never be allowed to lead them into anything that's less fun for them (or for the group at large). What their character "would" do is entirely within the player's control, and both can and should change if it ...


11

Embrace meta-gaming! It will always be there, and it's really just a matter of perspective on the shared fiction of your gaming world. The executive summary for my post: let the players have their way. You don't lose much from it, and you can spend your time challenging them in other ways. The Too Easy Encounter So your players roleplay their characters as ...


11

What's fun? Do that. This excellent question doesn't have One Right Answer, because the hobby of roleplaying doesn't have one right approach. Some people want to tell a story, while others are trying to beat the game mechanics somehow, and still others are enacting complicated daydreams. And then yet another group is just there to hang out. So, if nothing ...


11

Are you familiar with the Same Page Tool? It sounds like you had expectations that you tried to convey subtly to the group in-game, but this wasn't overwhelming enough to overturn their existing expectations or the conflicting messages being sent by your campaign kickoff's dominant tropes, so you weren't on the same page. Getting on the same page is the ...


11

Be unpredictable The reason that the player can do this is that the rules are well-known. In order to avoid this problem, introduce some mystery. When the player rolls a skill check where the quality of the result shouldn't be known by the character, you should also roll (in secret of course). If your roll is in the high half of the die range, then treat ...



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