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72

No, it's not fair to punish a player in this way. But it's not okay for this player to take an unfair share of control over the game, either. You are the DM — you are in control. You are in the Big Chair, and the group put you there to be responsible for pacing and mediation. You have that job because players striving for the benefit of their PC is fun but ...


23

The first thing is: get a game that inspires them. Without that, you're sunk. Often, settings will inspire people: try Poison'd, Kagematsu, Prime Time Adventures, Mouse Guard, Burning Wheel or a specific Fiasco playset. If you can, get them to choose one themselves. Particularly, try a game with a GM. This does two things. Firstly, it gives them some ...


23

This depends entirely on what you're trying to do in the context of the narrative that you're creating. Certain stories lend themselves to certain means of presentation -- moreover, certain groups lend themselves to certain styles of narration than others. If your group has a significant problem firewalling player knowledge away from character knowledge ...


18

Some Strategies for 'Descriptive' descriptions: Write down the colors/textures/scents that would be seen/felt/smelt: The Crimson blood drips from the ceiling turning black as it splatters on the ground. The coarse rock cavern echoed your smallest whispers, distorting them as the sounds return to you amplified. The putrid decay assaults your nose, ...


16

The first thing to be absolutely certain of is how many of the rest of the group feel the same way you do. If you find that it is just you and maybe one or two others, then the solution becomes a little trickier, as presumably there are players who are happy with the way the GM is describing things. In this case, I find that addressing it as a group is the ...


15

When I run into a situation like this, I tell the GM / Table that the description is too complicated for me, and that I need a map or picture to look at. Or ask if they can simplify it. Normally, this results in them "dumbing it down" enough for me that I don't get bored.


14

Write places apart from their location You can make your dungeons apart from their locale. Perhaps you've written up an encounter in the catacombs of the sun god, but the party keeps walking around in the harbor district instead of the city center? Move it to the temple of the sea god! Thieves' Guild up to no good? Party has found another of their hiding ...


13

I have used two games to introduce resistant players to non-traditional roleplaying games. I can't actually say what it is about them that makes it easier for traditional, sit-back-and-let-the-GM-be-creative players to get their hands creatively dirty with them, but for some reason it has been true. I know it seems like putting the cart before the horse, but ...


11

From the description of the Shield spell: An invisible barrier of magical force appears and protects you. As you say, it doesn't block everything, so it can't be a perfect force field. You have a few options for description, though, since the rules don't give you any more than this. The way most people seem to think of Shield is that it is an ...


10

I don't think it is a good idea to punish your players for anything meta gaming related. I think you should ask yourself why the player is trying to perform these instant actions: Does he feel this is the only way he can escape the impeding danger, i.e. a wall about to collapse on/near his character? (Possibly some experience in the past made him very wary ...


9

You can also encourage everyone at the table to follow guidelines established by improv practitioners; these become less "rules of the game" and more "rules of play" (i.e. they don't really answer "what can I do next" as much as they address "whatever I'm going to do next, how do I do it?"): Accept every offer. During the course of play, other players will ...


8

Treat places like characters, and word your descriptions with that in mind. Have them act and do things, things that matter to and concern the PCs. Use verbs. When stuff gets animate(d), it becomes interesting, more meaningful, and usually also more open to engagement, be that positive (helping) or negative (an obstacle to overcome by the PCs.) Examples: ...


8

For question 1 what to do for places you have not yet written, there are two great options. Quantum Ogre: This means that you have some places defined but not exactly where they are. When the players adventure into an unknown place, you give them this predefined but unplaced encounter/plot hook etc. Random Tables. Prepare some random tables for your ...


6

Depending on how amenable you and the group are to house rules, you maybe try easing it in one mechanic at a time. I'm very fond of the FATE system because it plays very traditionally, but has some very unique twists (aspects, fate points) as well. Find a mechanics like that which you enjoy, and import it into the standard game as a bit of a meta-game toy. ...


6

I nearly always limit my narration to the perceptions of the PCs. They are role-playing specific characters, so the players' view of the world should be as close to their characters'. Omniscient narration would invite metagaming and spoil surprises and plot twists.


6

My personal favorites are: Rolling for determination of outcome choice defining truths spending fate or experience to define some setting truth Using skill rolls to define setting truths cooperative setting building. To detail these better.... Rolling for Determination of Outcome Choice You don't roll for success nor failure; you roll to take control ...


6

Combat can be slow as it is, don't bog it down with flowery language Your impulse to impart descriptive interest to your actions and attacks is well-placed, but you most approach it with the right mindset. When your DM is accurately describing the locals, an important and interesting NPC, or a new race of creatures you stumble upon for the first time they ...


5

Framing There's about a hundred mechanics like this; this is the main thing the indie games movement is into nowadays. On the far side where the players take on so much of the storytelling responsibilities that you don't even need a GM, you have examples like The Committee for the Exploration of Mysteries and Fiasco. There's a large spectrum of options with ...


5

I tried Omniscient for a while and the players found it annoying so I stopped. Definitely worth checking with your players. At the start of some game sessions I have used "News Report" where I read out a monologue that describes how the news reported what they did in the last game session. It helps the players get their minds into the game and shows them ...


5

I do similar things. I simplify the rules (which are usually pretty simple already when we're using Labyrinth Lord) and encourage my players to describe what they're doing. I'm also fairly flexible and encourage actions that are not typically part of combat by allowing them to directly aid those fighting with bonuses. While the number of the bonus may be ...


5

Most children do narrative story telling without rules or reservation. They (we) can come up with amazing story lines that us 'older' people envy. What happens is we become ossified into the type person we thought we would never become. We are afraid to do some imaginative inputting because someone may laugh at it. Also we don't practice it so we are ...


5

My quick and dirty rules on in-game description. Use all five senses Don't just "describe a picture." Not every time - but remembering to toss in sound, a smell, a taste, a feeling, adds a lot more. You want the players to feel like they are there, and "the sun is bright in the sky above a sandy beach" is less immersive than "the sun beats down on you as ...


4

Speaking from experience, you may need to accept the possibility that some players just don't want to try new things. Consider finding new players and making a new group. This does not necessarily mean leaving your existing group, especially if you're still enjoying the games you're playing with them.


4

The best device I've seen to do this organically is Beliefs in the Burning Wheel systems. By stating their current, short-term goals for their characters the players can drive plot development. When the players do this together, as group, it's even better. And they don't need to have similar or related Beliefs - in fact it can be better if they are at odds ...


4

Creative Fatigue Creative Fatigue is when you get mentally tired having to generate new, creative stuff, in the moment during play. Some game systems this is more, or less of an issue. Two things influence this: 1) Iterations vs. outcome How many times do you have to come up with creative descriptions for a given situation? If a whole situation is ...


4

The general rule here is that players should get the information that should be apparent to their characters - in the amount of time allotted. So if they get to size up the group for a minute before the combat, that's a different thing than if the other group kicks down a door and suddenly you're in initiative. Immediate Impressions - Players should ...


4

Clear Narration Rules What are your rules for narrating? What are your rules for initiative? RPGs are structured conversations - when people know the rules of how the conversation is supposed to flow - who can say what kinds of things, at what times, it flows smoothly. When they don't, you get problems like you're describing. Are players expected to ...


3

First off, it's important to realize not all players like all things. Maybe they're just not into it and that's fine (you'll find other people to play those games with, if that's the case). I generally prefer to give people 1 shots or maybe 3 session runs so they can decide if they like things or not and it lets them try it without having to make a major ...


3

Embrace their backstories. Yes, this means you'll have to convince them to write backstories, or at the very least verbally brainstorm with each of them. Take what the players give you and put that into the game. And I don't just mean devoting a session or two to Joe the paladin's sidequest. I mean focus the entire game on the story the players gave you. ...



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