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0

The core of the problem is that when this happens, the player has two choices: a) make their character act particularly stupid about this thing b) connive some way for their character to figure it out Neither of which is fun. Another option, is to use your GM powers, and modify a small aspect about the monster. "Yes, you remember trolls are generally weak ...


2

This can be difficult in many games, since while it's all very well to tell people they have some sort of moral obligation to separate player and character knowledge, feeling obliged to compromise your character's safety or the party's goals in the name of "good play" can be an unfun catch-22 for some players. And of course acquiring all that player ...


3

Here's a range of options, suited to different playstyles. Also you can mix-and-match. "You Don't Know": If the player fails a roll, the GM says they don't know. This is probably the simplest approach. What about "botching?" Shouldn't you make it more than just "You don't know." Enh, maybe they still don't know. Even in games that feature special ...


4

The typical way to do this is to roll for the player where only you can see the result (such as behind a screen or your hand). Any time you are rolling for hidden information, you're justified in making the roll yourself. Looking for secret doors? You roll, and tell what they do or don't find. Racking their brains to remember something useful about trolls? ...


6

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 ...


9

Assuming you're referring to D&D 3.5 or similar, "fumbling" a skill check on a natural 1 is a house rule only - by rules as written a natural 1 on a skill check is not even an automatic failure, much less a fumble. http://www.d20srd.org/srd/skills/usingSkills.htm#skillChecks: Unlike with attack rolls and saving throws, a natural roll of 20 on the ...


3

Save your Mechanics Changes for Experienced Groups You're a first time GM, and you had a lot of difficulty getting your group together. Do you really want to risk adding a broken mechanic to your newly formed group? An easy way to lose players is to have a power imbalance, because certain players will feel that their contributions are nonexistent, and lose ...


8

Making large changes to mechanics is a difficult and rewarding process. Most of the time, the problems that your designs will have won't be obvious until your players have banged on them a little bit. Messing around with mechanics is one of my favorite things to do in tabletop games, so here's a few things to keep in mind as you do it: Make sure you're on ...


2

Too much is if the players say it is too much The only limit to customization is what the players will accept. Although I don't play 3.5 much, I ruthlessly customize in other systems. It helps create exactly the type of game I want. I have never actually had any player object to the ammount of customization (though there are sometimes discussions about ...


9

I say, go for it, but with two important caveats: Get player buy-in Make sure the players are on board for the tweaks you're planning. Are they veteran players used to playing a certain way and might resent it? Do they have certain expectations you'll be breaking? Make sure you don't make unilateral changes to the system. Be prepared to rollback This is ...


0

Roll for shoes is the system I have used in this situation. It's very easy for you to game-master and it's very easy for muggles and kids to pick up and play without feeling like they're immersing themselves in some baroque super-geeky subculture. My kids enjoy it and we can pick it up and play at any time with almost no prep. I enjoy board games and even ...


1

I'm taking @mxyzplk's word that the official rules for Pathfinder offer no solution to your case and I'm going to cover the "what's the non official but good way to make this happen?" question. D&D 3.5e (which PF is based upon) had this rule where people joining the fight later got to act at the initiative count they would have acted if they had rolled ...


2

My take on this would be the following (though I'm not sure whether the RAW dictates the same): Roll an initiative for everyone - including those in C23 and C21, in this specific situation - at the beginning of the fight. (To speed up combat, roll a single initiative score for any and all "unexpected combatants" as well, and use that for anyone/everyone ...


14

You're right that the basic initiative rules just kinda assume everyone's in the fight at the beginning of the battle and don't say more than that, so the addition of late arrivals requires some interpretation. In general, as new arrivals become aware of and desire to participate in the battle, they should just roll initiative for the first round they're ...


2

Back in the day, I used initiative to determine what order things happened, and that included movement. (I did individual initiative each round, since I wanted a little more tactical feel.) I did a simple d10 roll, modified for Dex (Reaction/Attacking Adjustment, with the sign flipped) and for weapon speed (Speed Factor from PHB p. 38, divided by 3, ...


0

If there is one single thing that has made me a fairly good GM, it's... It's actually two things. I suppose I could boil it down to only one thing, but that would make things ridiculously abstract and unclear. Not very helpful. First, know thyself. I mean scrutinize yourself, the things you write and how you present it to the players. Analyze every ...


0

The time between adventures is commonly called downtime and how that time is handled is different from player to player. A way that works nicely for me is to let some time pass ingame between adventures so the characters have time to develop a bit. I ask the players what their characters have done in the meantime and I phrase it so that it's implied that ...


0

I've used a middle ground among these answers: I ballpark time when it's not critical, and when it is (in combat, or exploring a dungeon) I track time meticulously. Ballparking time is easy enough and doesn't require any paraphernalia. It feels somewhat awkward at first, but soon you get more skilled with estimates, communicating them clearly, and generally ...


0

Actually, I might be able to help you hear with a few techniques: Write down objectives for you and some basic character traits, but don't strap yourself into a given story. Players are unpredictable. They break your stories, rebel against any constraints, and they will always have a different mental image of the world than you do. The best way to combat ...


4

There are a number of different mechanics at work here.... Common Knowledge This is used to represent basic background knowledge a character may have because of where they were brought up, what they do for a living etc. This is not a skill, and is checked with a simple Smarts roll. Depending on the exact character background, a modifier can be added to ...


0

The idea of borrowing ideas from any other source to inspire your campaign is fine - as the other answers say it's a very common practice. After all even a completely new world such as the one I'm using for my current campaign borrows a lot of fantasy ideas like races, monsters, treasure, classes, etc from other sources. Having said that though I strongly ...


2

Borrowing Is Best When the Best Is Borrowed In general, borrowing the best available plots is a good thing. The problem with borrowing from MMO's is that many times, the plots are not that good. If you are going to borrow from an MMO, you need to borrow only the best plots. Be picky. But also, realize that not all MMO plots adapt well to tabletop play, ...


10

Sometimes a Creature's Remains Are Valuable It isn't often the case, and some DM adjudication's required, but dead creatures can be quite valuable. Material and Focus Components Some spells require creature parts to be expended (as material components) or manipulated (as focus components). Without these components, the spell can't be cast. Most creatures ...


2

My own party has done various things, such as making cloaks out of cloakers, armor out of dragon scales and so forth. Whatever creative things we can come up with.


3

Yes, they count. I think this question and many of your other questions can be answered by the general rule of RPG systems. If the game doesn't say there's an exception, there's not an exception. The way the game works is to lay out general rules, and then state explicit exceptions. If the exception isn't stated, then the general rule applies.


7

It Counts From the SRD: Encumbrance by Weight: If you want to determine whether your character's gear is heavy enough to slow him down more than his armor already does, total the weight of all the character's items, including armor, weapons, and gear.


8

Well, you could use some creativity in those cases. For example, the players could skin the wolves and sell the pelts, use the dragon hide to build armor, etc. They could use the bones to make makeshift tools, nails, musical instruments, etc. What they can do with the carcasses is only limited by their creativity. My players usually skin the creatures out ...


13

As everyone said, yes you can, and yes we all have done it at some point or other. Only two things to avoid, and one thing to prepare: Avoid too literal adaptations. When a story is adapted from a media to another, it should be changed so that it fits better in the new media. Change whatever is needed to better fit the game, the players, etc... Example: ...


2

Imho, as @Grubermensch pointed out before, most GM fall in the trap of always runing games, so no doubt that he really wants to play. If he's an experienced GM and a great friend of yours, he's likely to be patient and won't in any case his own "metagaming" screw your efforts to have a good time. How do you feel when you assist a lecture and the speaker ...


4

Only answering because I think the existing answers are 10x too long. Yes, it's fine. If you're new to GMing, stick with the system you know so you can focus on actually GMing.


18

Borrowing worlds from other sources is a perennial tradition among GMs who for whatever reason aren't building their own worlds. There's nothing wrong with this approach to running a game, especially for a new GM who would rather focus on learning to run. That being said, there are a couple of things to watch out for when doing this: The setting is a ...


19

One of the cool things about RPGs and GMing is that you can borrow from any media for your inspirations. I do it all the time, mixing and matching ideas to create something new and obscure (or lampshade depending on the genre) the tropes of the source material. The issues that I'd caution about: If you're going to publish your campaign on an RPG game ...


1

For a beginner GM it might be easier to go for a smaller system than D&D. Earlier editions of D&D can be difficult to learn at first, because there are so many subsystems and minor rules scattered about, and later editions have such a large amount of extra material available that it can be a major headache to learn it all. Since you say you know ...


14

Go Play! I haven't played a table top RPG before Do that. You have friends who according to what you wrote, want you to play. Ask them if you can be a player first, or at least watch them play. Being a player isn't the same as being a GM, but since the GM sets the game up for the players, if you get some experience playing you will understand a lot ...


9

You're right that GMing is not just about writing—in fact, "frustrated writer syndrome" is often a problem that bad GMs have, since roleplaying is a shared creation and sticking to a specific plot is often un-fun for the rest of the players, and doesn't really suit the medium. When writing you control the protagonists, but in roleplaying the GM by ...


5

I'm currently in a campaign that has grown to a ridiculous size (9 players, although one of them doesn't really show up any more). Because of some half-joking actions of the only Dwarf in the party early in the campaign, we all have dragons as mounts, now, including my Warden. The biggest pitfall to be wary of is to not turn mounts into another party ...


7

Some things to take into consideration: First and foremost, most Wardens are melee characters, their marks are distributed burst 1, they do have ranged mark triggers, but their actual mark punishment is a melee power. If they aren't in melee, they aren't doing their job. Second, don't forget opportunity attack rules, if the character exits a square ...


-2

There´s a rule here in Brazil regarding basically anything RPG-Related: Never, never, never punish your players for using something you gave to them. Don´t hinder the griffin in any way. Let them use that mount normally - let them fly over encounters, let them evade traps, etc. That´s absolutely normal when you have a griffin. Just remember that ...


6

Ask and listen, then give feedback What are your individual goals? What are the players' common goals? Each gamer (player and GM) has goals. It sounds like it's time for everyone to reflect on what their goals are, and then discuss them to try to reach a mutually workable plan. It sounds like you believe there is broad agreement that your GM is unfun. I'd ...


23

Talk "I don't want to discourage our GM by telling him so" is a strategy that won't help you change anything. Talk - first with the players to verify if there's a consensus and they really feel the same way as you do, and then confront the GM. The longer you postpone it, the more painful it'll get; it's better to deal with it sooner. Constructive ...


6

I don't think there is any better approach than telling him. Of course, how you tell him matters a lot. But its hard to provide good suggestions on that without actually knowing him. The most important thing is to make any criticizm productive. If you just say, "This is bad" or "I don't like this..." That can come across as insulting. If you say "It ...


3

Use time Wilderness is anything but static. As hours pass, the sun continues its course. Some creatures go to sleep, others awaken. The sounds change. The air chills or heats, wind picks up. Nightfall makes travel different (Will they stop to camp ? Continue with torches or lanterns and risk attracting beasts ?). Also consider fatigue. "Realistically", not ...


2

There is also some question of how the journey itself proceeds. Are the characters traveling to this dungeon for the first time? Are they journeying overland or is there a road to the destination? If there isn't an established route to the dungeon, then make the party actually navigate through the wilderness. Maybe they get lost. Maybe instead of walking up ...


3

There are really two questions buried in this one. 1. Should I try to mask the mechanics for immersion purposes? I've found that actively trying to hide mechanics like AC and initiative can actually be more distracting from than supportive to the immersion. Although I'm sure it depends on the mood of the table, in my experience keeping the rolls and ...


4

This may seem counterintuitive, but one thing I did that was both simple and efficient was to avoid getting too detailed about it when detail didn't really matter. If the scenario doesn't demand meticulous tracking of time, a ballpark figure will often work quite well and will save time and effort that you can put into more interesting parts of the game. ...


3

First off, you and your players have to be prepared to deal with a fair bit of description of a given encounter space (or you have to be willing to do a lot of "winging it" and allowing the players to invent details as you go). For some spaces, you can rely a lot on real-world experience (for example, if the encounter takes place in a bar, there are a lot ...


5

The simplest answer is to hide those things that cannot reasonably be known by the character, or figured out routinely by the player, and give such details as are necessary. AC is a tricky one. Some details can be figured out easily (the guard is wearing chain mail, so his AC is probably around X), but sometimes you'll want to lob a few surprises at people ...


1

I'd recommend this adventure from Dragonsfoot.org, which has the benefit of being free. It is designed for 4-6 players of 1st level who are of 'novice or intermediate' skill, so it's pretty much perfect for the group composition. The contents of the adventure are rather straightforward. A Meazle has secretly made its home in a small village and is stealing ...


1

Four hours is a pretty short requirement, and since this is going to be a learning session it's probably going to go more slowly and even further limit what you can accomplish. The one that comes to mind that might be most suitable is N1 (Against the Cult of the Reptile God), which was an interesting (if sometimes stereotypical) adventure designed for ...


3

Whiteboard Sketches. In my 10-year-plus AD&D campaign we rarely use tiles and never use minis at all. But we did find that simple maps are very useful. Not detailed records of the adventure, or complex cartographies of everything in the world, but just really simple drawings of the location a combat scene was taking place in, for instance. Throw-away ...



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