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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 ...


23

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 ...


23

(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 ...


21

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 ...


20

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 ...


16

The Bad As you stated, it's not as creative as doing it yourself. Some may scoff at that. Many are the GMs and Players who have taken a character wholesale from other media without any effort to adapt them. "Anime characters? In MY D&D?" Them's fightin' words, so to speak. The Good So what if it's not as creative as a DIY job? Do you make the pizza ...


16

This guy sounds like a Warforged, from the Eberron setting. It's a sentient machine, doesn't sleep and "my only duty is to the ship" along with "I'll stand watch 24/7 without getting bored" is right up their alley. Of course, it does mean your "guy" is built from wood and metal.


14

Using other characters is a great way to save time. The key to doing it well is the adapt the character to your setting. You want it to feel like Saul Goodman belongs in the story, even if you are fighting an interstellar war or casting Magic Missile. Give your character a new name. Depending on how cheeky you feel, it can be a name that's a clear ...


14

Devil's Advocate Answer: Treat this as a high DC ability/skill check, not an opposed check. For all intents and purposes, it is simply much easier to set DC checks by the handy guide reference (in PHB, p. 174) and then have the party/PCs try to make that check, rather than spend the time and effort to workup NPC skills and then spend more time doing ...


13

Release the Wombat of Discourse! This is my default strategy for the first time a group starts talking over each other so much it hinders play: I bring a stuffed animal to the session, and name it The [Animal] of Discourse. The GM may speak at any time, but only the player with the Animal can talk. They pass the Animal amongst themselves however it suits ...


13

The standard monsters that I could find in the Monster Manual with the ability to cast dispel magic are: Death Knight (pg. 47) Glabrezu (pg. 58) Drider with the spellcasting variant (pg. 120) Drow Priestess (pg. 129) Lich (pg. 202) Mummy Lord (pg. 229) Pixie (pg. 253) Androsphinx (pg. 281) Gynosphinx (pg. 282) Mezzoloth (pg. 313) Nycaloth (pg. 314) ...


12

You're trying to railroad the game when the players are telling you very loudly where they want the campaign to go instead. Take them there. If the NPCs are boring you, that's a different problem. Be sure you're making NPCs that engage you and not just your players. You have to enjoy the game too. To run an interesting socially-focused game, you might need ...


12

So, let me get this straight - you've created a setting and characters that your players are so immensely invested in that they're helping you build it themselves? What exactly is the problem again? Kidding. Sorta. Anyway, I'm kinda seeing this in the Marvel game I'm running now; the players are assuming anything beyond purse-snatchers are beyond them ...


12

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 ...


11

The helmsman could be weird... Neither constructs, elementals, oozes, non-native outsiders, plants, nor undead need to sleep, therefore the helmsman could be a creature with any of these types or take feats or prestige classes that transform him into any of these types. However, a helmsman could also take... The general feat Tomb-tainted Vitality (Libris ...


10

All of these factions are trying to stay secret, that doesn't mean they leave no marks upon the world or cannot be interacted with by outside factions like the PCs. Know What's Going On First, it's important to keep track of characters within the secret societies, what they are doing, and what they know. GMing often involves some degree of abstraction and ...


9

Refer to the DMG. Chapter 4 of the DMG has lots of tables and advice for creating NPCs both as party followers and and villains. Focus on fidelity of character and power level over slavish devotion to matching details. Statistical and racial bonuses are going to be very different between the two. You should aim to keep the power level of the NPCs roughly ...


9

In general, no. In a game with a realistic tone players shouldn't have access to the hard statistics of NPCs. I'm not familiar with the Dragon Age pen-and-paper game, but from what I know of the video game the tone is realistic with leanings toward human drama. What I'm getting at is that it's not very realistic for a character to have specific and ...


9

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 ...


8

God is a being central to all creation, whose will, mind, and power are absolute and unrivalled, and yet so subtle that His existence and intentions are subject to doubt. Use that to your advantage: Be vague. Your players are dealing with an incomprehensibly complex being; They can't really expect to understand the true depths of His psychology. That ...


8

This really depends on the type of game you are trying to run. Most GM's that I've interacted with (myself included) don't give exact numbers on stats for NPC's. Many only give descriptions that can help to glean close to the stats of the NPC in the scenario. Health is a bit of a grey area compared to the rest. Some GM's give a complete tally, some only ...


8

In recent editions of Dungeons & Dragons, players virtually always won every encounter they joined. This is has been a trope of the game. Fifth edition is developing a different playstyle, and it's important to get your players on the same page about this. It sounds as though you intend to play a game more in line with older editions, where there is a ...


8

The duel isn't meant to be deadly, it's meant to be impossible. A CR 4 creature would be a deadly encounter for a single level 5 PC. With that in mind, you need to know that your players fight this NPC again towards the end of the 3rd chapter. At that time, they would usually be 4 level 3 PCs, so a CR 4 creature would be a hard encounter. He has other NPCs ...


8

There is no guideline for this. D&D doesn't contain the idea of spending years in training to improve, and lacking any such training rules there's no way to guesstimate the power of a character based on their years of experience in a given role. You really don't need a guideline for this, anyway. D&D hands the DM the job of determining non-player ...


8

One option would be to change the character's subclass to Oathbreaker from the DMG pp.97, which seems to be tailored to a situation like this. An Oathbreaker is a paladin who breaks his or her sacred oaths to pursue some dark ambition or serve an evil power. The paladin replaces the features specific to his or her Sacred Oath with Oathbreaker ...


7

You have two options (and hey, they're the ones you mentioned in your question!), and it sort of depends on what exactly you're wanting to do. First and foremost, most likely the advice I give here is only any good until we see the full NPC creation rules in the DMG where hopefully there will be much easier shorthands than what I'm going to suggest. The ...


7

Make the NPCs a vital part of the story. Earning Trust Perhaps the NPC is there for the PCs during tough times. Receiving a "get out of jail free card" once in a while from a prominent NPC can go a long way into the PCs caring. Also, increasing the amount of dialogue and feedback between the PCs and the NPCs also go a long way into developing a ...


7

The decision as to whether to make an ally an Extra or Wild Card depends on a number of factors. The first and most straightforward consideration is how tough you want them to be. Making an ally a Wild Card significantly increases their capabilities, and you need to make sure they don't end up overshadowing PCs and stealing the spotlight. Another question ...


7

In the campaign I'm DMing right now, I have a bunch of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic characters scattered around the area. Except for the librarian at the Arcane College (Twilight Sparkle), the rest of them are all inconsequential background characters that are doing their own thing and aren't really involved in the story. My players find this pretty ...


7

I'd say all of Bruenor's major deeds and some of the minor ones, but only up until he left the throne for his final adventure with Drizzt. So I'd say for a guideline the stuff that happened in the crystal shard. The story about Bruenor and the black dragon when he first returns to Mithral hall. The war with the dark elves, and the war with the orcs and the ...



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