Hot answers tagged

67

There's no "right" answer, there are major playstyles that hit the two extremes and then there's compromises in the middle. The ENWorld post Combat as Sport vs Combat As War illustrates two different end state playstyles - in "combat as sport" the GM never makes "level inappropriate" encounters (no matter how hard you have to twist logic to get there), with ...


49

Start every character with at least one relationship to another character: The blacksmith is opposing the baron and that's why there is a white rose in his window. The apothecary joined the cult of Orcus and will sell poison. The guard is in love with the girl selling apples at the southern market. The beggar hates One-Eyed Tim for destroying his marriage ...


46

He's in a booby trapped iron safe. He's safe. He's also trapped. His situation has a number of upsides: He's in an iron safe. The same walls of iron that kept him out, keep everyone else out. If people can attack him through the safe, it's not particularly safe, is it? His situation has a number of downsides: He's in an iron safe, The enemies don't need to ...


41

Give the NPCs a title or nickname. Your example already has one built in, rather than referring to him by his full name, Introduce him as Captain Rastafi ibn Halum, but have other NPCs refer to him as The Captain or Captain Halum. You'll give your players something they can grip easily and there is a better chance of them remembering the title and their ...


38

You can't quickly create depth. Depth is the result of long-term development. What you can do is create interesting, memorable and dynamic characters who will be more likely to feature in the story long enough and prominently enough to develop depth.Your best bet to develop rich and interesting NPCs is to come up with a lot of simple "NPC seeds" who perform ...


36

An interesting villain has: Motivations for doing what he does. There's this cliche, "nobody thinks of themselves as evil." That's not true for all settings, but I think it is fair to say that very few villains are just evil for the sake of cackling. So you should figure out what's driving your bad guys. Shades of grey. The degree depends, again, on the ...


36

The Wizard doesn't know how dangerous those adventurers are. There is no implicit "I will only face people who I am able to defeat, yet find challenging" agreement the wizard can rely upon. In a typical D&D world, there is a huge power range, and it isn't easy to tell if a given bunch of people are weak or strong. All she knows is that her base was ...


31

I've been on the receiving end of a bunch of bad negotiations in RPGs. Real life negotiation training helps, but there's also some RPG specific aspects to keep in mind. Often, the problem is that there's some adventure hook that requires the PCs to do something that's totally stupid. "Hi, you're level 10, would you like to go on a fetch quest for 100 gp?" ...


29

Usually speaking (without going into specific systems, where it might differ) what you share with the players regarding the character sheets and information of NPCs is roughly the following: Anything that any person would notice These are things that anyone should understand about their current situation. Yes, the Dragon is bigger than you are. Yes, it has ...


29

If the NPCs are a significant asset in combat, include them as members of the party for the purposes of dividing up XP. The desire to keep all the XP (and loot!) to themselves will encourage the players to do your job for you, working out reasons to leave the NPCs behind. If the NPCs are not relevant enough in combat to keep up with the PCs, then the ...


28

There are many reasons why NPCs built as PCs work differently than those built as monsters. 4e is carefully balanced and designed to make encounters interesting, and PC-class NPCs disrupt this design. Some reasons: They have far fewer hit points, but have more ways to regain hit points They do less damage with at-wills and have the potential to do much ...


28

You could always learn from real life. The US Army has field manuals available online. For example, FM 3-06, Urban Operations might be of interest to your specific needs. There are countless other sites that will sell you training manuals of varied usefulness. I do not recommend any of them, mostly because I am no expert there. Erik Scmidt recommended FM ...


25

(Background: I am also a Christian, along with several of the people in my gaming group.) tl;dr -- The fictional god of your fictional world is not the God of our universe. Make the fictional god clearly distinct from our God. Figure out how much of what the party knows about that god is true. Define what you mean by "God" in your game world. Your game ...


24

Firstly, it sounds as though your players are doing a lot of the heavy lifting for you in that they are being very easily manipulated without much effort on your part at all. But let's talk about manipulation. Pa-pa-pa-poker face Manipulation relies on getting people to do something without them knowing exactly why you want them to do it, or even that you ...


22

Execution is Key This is a cliche because a lot of stories do it. A lot of stories do it because done well, it can add something to the story. Done poorly, it just becomes silly and makes the players feel like they don't really have any impact on what's going on. So, think carefully about what you intend to use her for before bringing her back. Don't do it ...


22

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 ...


22

Setting Expectations Whenever I as GM am dealing with multi-PC/NPC conversations, I first remind my players that I am a single-thread processor and can therefore only handle one conversation at a time, then proceed to deal with them one at a time as appropriate for the configuration of speakers. 1. One-to-Many Conversations The easiest way to handle this ...


21

One quick way to do this is to give them a single defining characteristic. It's easy to remember and record, so you (and the players) will be able to identify them quickly. Stuff like: Sniffles when talks Overly obsequious Nervous Pompous Dictatorial Unassuming Distracted Lecherous etc. Visuals can also work, if you describe the person as having some ...


21

Creating an alien mindset is a matter of contrasting them with our own (else what are they "alien" to?), so what informs us? Social – we break down in isolation Tribal – we have a monkeysphere that limits our ability to grasp (or care about!) the scope of our actions' impact Hunted – we are prey who just happen to have brained our way to the top of the ...


21

Cut Scene If it is truely a detailed narrative, I consider it a "cut scene" - as made popular by video games - I: Pre-record it, sometimes using family members for other voices Include background music and sound effects Provide a written summary after playing the scene for the group Interactive Fiction If the scene is important has several NPCs and the ...


21

The problem with in-game solutions to out-of-game problems is that the players can as easily catch the whiff of metagaming as the GM can (and there are more of them to "roll Sense Motive"), whether it's actually metagaming or not. If it is an out-of-game problem, them detecting subterfuge by the GM to bring them back in line can make them resentful of the ...


21

I think you're looking for the Craft Contingent Spell feat, from Complete Arcane, and the Revivify spell, from Spell Compendium. Revivify must be cast within one round of death, but brings you back with no level loss and no other adverse effects. It does bring you back at -1 hp (stable) though, so you likely want to follow it up with Heal (likely also ...


19

You can, but you can use other audio quirks too. Quirks define an NPC or a character and if you are sufficiently gifted to be able to impersonate a libertarian communist monkey juggler's voice (or whatever is required) then go for it. The problem is that more than likely unless you're a talented voice actor your array of voices you can do is likely to be ...


19

The standard answer to your question is to make the character obviously too powerful to touch. If the players and characters know this is an Ancient Silver Dragon, and know in advance what its breath weapon can do, and still attack like unruly children, then let the Ancient Silver Dragon overpower them with his breath and, while they're paralyzed (conscious ...


18

You've already given the answer I would have: summarise conversations between 2+ NPCs. I'd add that summaries can end with or be interspersed with spoken (not summarised) exchanges where the PCs have an opportunity to interject. If the spoken lines are obviously things the players would want to respond to, you don't have to do anything special to prompt ...


18

You shouldn't do something just to conform to what you think is realistic, if it's detrimental to the game. I'm not saying that having the wizard find out that the minions are alive is unrealistic, just that it's not the only realistic outcome. It seems (to me) more likely that the wizard would know that the minions are alive before leaving - but it ...


17

Warn them in-game. Have the PCs overhear chilling stories in a bar about what happened to those who made fun of the sheriff. Have them encounter a man with half of his face badly burnt, and have this burnt man tell them he should never have made that joke about that wizard. Reinforce these stories by showing these unfunny people take a joke very, very ...


17

The Silver Dragons tend to be good. This ancient Dragon might quickly overpower them even almost killing one of the characters and then say: "Choose! Let your friend die and keep fighting or stop this non sense and accept who the superior being is for you are no more to me than a mosquito is to an elf" or something like that. This is supposed to be a ...


16

Creatures' skills are listed at the bottom of their info sheet/card. Creature sheets have ability modifier + half level, which is what you should be using, already calculated at the bottom of the sheet. For example, a level 14 lich necromancer has the following ability stats at the bottom of his/her monster sheet: Skills: Arcana +18, History +18, Insight ...


16

Actually, the Leadership feat would work well for this. Leadership grants a cohort (a single high level follower) and followers (several low level ones). You could take the cohort and simply never claim the low-level followers.



Only top voted, non community-wiki answers of a minimum length are eligible