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 ...


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 ...


37

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 ...


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

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 ...


26

As a designer (third-party), I assume that anything that works with “allies” works with “anyone the player wants it to, and no one the player doesn’t.” That seems to be the safest assumption, when designing things, and many tables do play that way. From my reading of official material, I think it seems that Paizo has the same practice. This means that ...


24

Learn from Toyota and institute a just in time delivery system. A relationship between two NPCs is meaningless until either the players learn about it or the relationship impacts the world in a way that the players will notice. Making the world come alive and populating it with interesting NPC is not about knowing every last detail in advance, but rather ...


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 ...


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 ...


15

You are looking for Contingent Spell. It comes in both a feat (CArcane) form and a spell form. You can place another spell upon your person so that it comes into effect under some condition you dictate when casting contingency. The contingency spell and the companion spell are cast at the same time. The 10-minute casting time is the minimum total for ...


14

Is it necessarily a problem? If everyone's fine with it and you don't have that many characters so there's no confusion having people say "I want to talk to the guard commander" then that's ok. People forget names in real life. If it is a problem, then it's probably because you either have many people with similar, possibly overlapping roles, and/or many ...


14

While it might be brutal I think it is appropriate. They chose their course of action and failed to kill all of his henchfolk. I would subdue the party rather than kill them. This opens up new RP and adventure options: Maybe the Wizard needs them to do something for him or wants to know how they found him, giving them a chance to escape and come back ...


14

The last paragraph of section 12. Glassstaff's Quarters, provides you the out. He was tasked with managing the waylaying of a town of villagers and delaying things; engaging in an drawn out battle with a party of adventurers is a step above that.


13

Make the nasty details of a troup of armed allies visible. They are loud, they are not sneaky, they stink, they have conflicts, they doubt the decisions of the party, they are hungry, they are bloodthirsty, they want gold; ok, not every aspect is useful for a situation like the one you have described - but in general I have made good experiences with this ...


13

The most likely reason to need the PCs to go on these missions in the first place is that either the soldiers are too busy with other tasks, or aren't up to handling the missions the PCs are being given. If the former, it's easy for your general to say something like "I'm very sorry, but because of the raids on the outlying farms and the bandit threat on ...


11

When I was an Israeli paratrooper a general stopped by to give us a little speech about strategy. In infantry battles, he told us, there is only one strategy: Fire and Motion. You move towards the enemy while firing your weapon. The firing forces him to keep his head down so he can't fire at you. (That's what the soldiers mean when they shout ...


11

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 ...


11

It's one step, not one. It doesn't make sense otherwise. Say you want to design a Turtle (for someone's familiar) with low HP and high AC. HP doesn't get lower than 1 (1d4-1) and you decide to give it AC 15 to represent its hard shell. Taking it through the calculation process, the HP says it's Defensive CR 0, but because the AC is 15, you should add 1, ...


11

First talk to the other players, determine how you would like to see this resolved, then talk to the DM one on one. What this NPC is doing is taking control of the story and making it all about them, rather than the party. This is anathema to roleplaying, because players want to star in their own story rather than watch one unfold between them. And when ...


10

Only bother tracking characters that there's any reason to track. Just because someone exists in the world doesn't mean they are relevant to the PCs, and you only need to track people relevant to the PCs that they will be meeting. In most campaign settings you'll have a large number of these NPCs - leave them in their books, or if it's a homebrew world, in ...


9

There are some real-life hints to remember names you could use. Repeating the name many times when your players are meting the NPC is a good tatic "Hallo, my name is Alabelardo, Alabelardo Billocalal, but you can call me only Alabelardo. Also, he could give a nick name to ease the remembering process "My name is Alabellardo, but you can call me Lard". A ...


9

There are a number of ways that you can do it within the rules. The most obvious one that could be done around that level would be a scroll of raise dead (or similar) read by one of the other clerics (assuming they don't die before the officer). Higher level options include contingent spells of raise dead/resurrection/reincarnation as a flying ...


9

You can make this Goat part of your world's Folklore What you can do is create a new monster, per DMG p. 273-283, with a twist. What you are doing in this case is, since you are interested in this goat moving up as the PC moves up, is creating an "evolving" monster. You can grow the goat in the same way dragons increase in size and power as they age. ...


8

Borrow Icons from 13th Age Here's what Icons are and here's how they're used. The actual 13th Age rulebook goes into a bit more detail. A summary: Icons are entities powerful enough to influence the world (like the patriarch you mention). Characters start out with 3 points of relationships with any of them, positive, negative or conflicted. At the start of ...


8

As a former sailor, I will offer that military personnel, ideally, know which one of a set of roles they are filling at the moment. It's a system of abstraction designed to simplify decision making when complex, fast moving situations arise. Each person knows several roles, and each role has a scope that it concerns itself with. For instance - sniper teams ...


8

It's a subjective question, but here's how I would handle it, based on decades of GM'ing and almost always using a fair-but-dangerous "realistic sandbox" style: First, I like how you've handled it so far. Like I do, you're keeping track of what's happening outside the PC's immediate area, and thinking about what the NPC's are doing with their time and ...


7

There are a few corpse references we can look at that might help you make an informed decision. First is the Animate Dead spell, PHB pg.212; Choose a pile of bones or a corpse of a Medium or Small humanoid within range. [...] The target becomes a skeleton if you chose bones or a zombie if you chose a corpse. In this case, a pile of bones does not ...


7

According to the page 110 of Dungeon master's guide, creatures built with non elite ability scores array get HP equal to the 1/2 HD on their 1st HD while those built with elite array get full HP. Creatures in Monster Manual are typically built with average ability scores because they are average creatures of their race/type but pregenerated NPCs in Dungeon ...


7

I use 150×100mm index cards. When the players are interacting with an NPC, I take the card out and clip it to the GM screen. On the card I write some or all of the following. NPC Card - Front Side Description: Race, gender, age, physical description, the things the PCs can observe. Role in the world: What interactions does this NPC have with the other ...


6

The problem you are facing is a common one: the NPCs are adding extra baggage to the game that slows the game down and dilutes the spotlight on the players. The solution is to only use game mechanics to resolve the important stuff: actions by or against the PCs. If you want the players to still feel that they are benefitting from the NPCs without having to ...



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