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68

They did however love it and want to continue next week. I am afraid you have answered your own question. The first rule of playing RPGs (or anything) is to have fun, so just make sure you also have your share of it. Now, you are new players, so it is obvious you are going to spend time learning the system, learning how to play with each other, ...


58

Maybe I'm treating the question as more specific than it needs to be, but in your example it appears to me as though player 1's agency is being denied. Twice she stated her action clearly, and yet somehow she failed to get the results of that action back from you. You don't have to wait until all players are agreed before allowing a player to act. Now, OK, ...


47

You have two problems: an agency problem and a knowledge problem. Agency The likely reason why your players weren't all happy with the outcome of the situation you describe is because you took away their agency. Generally speaking in D&D, the players' expectations is that they control their characters, not the DM. By taking a suggestion from one player ...


30

To answer the primary point first: Sounds like you did a good GMing job, especially for a first time. The most important question is the one you answer yourself: Did your players have fun? (And the matching question, did you have fun?) If everyone's having fun then by definition you're all doing it right. With that said, some analysis of your more ...


26

When this happens in my games, I give a very clear warning: "Folks, the in-character lamp1 is lit. Anything you say is now considered in character. Anything you say you'll do, you'll do." By locking down conversation to in-character conversation, this sort of rambunctious chatter can be reduced, or at least immediately given consequence. On the other ...


25

The problem you have encountered was once known as the 15-minute workday. Since health, spells, etc are all things that are regained over time, the safest strategy is usually to do one fight, then back off to a safe distance and regenerate to full power before tackling the next challenge. SevenSidedDie wisely suggests ensuring that the world does not wait ...


20

There are two techniques that can go 90% of the way to making playing-initiated retreats like this not boring or tedious. "Time passes" Use your role as DM to control the passage of time. Skip the uneventful parts. Do you know that nothing will inconvenience them on the way out of the dungeon? Narrate to skip ahead then. You backtrack through the halls ...


20

Yes, Absolutely. In any circumstance where you're trying to shoo in a sense of urgency and you need to be at the castle to rescue the princess as soon as possible, and you're sure that the princess is acutally at said castle after performing divinations or using your information and contacts to confirm her location, fast forwarding keeps the emotions at the ...


16

You have several major options depending on your desired playstyle. Easy Game Mode - Either level them up so they overwhelm the dungeon, or sprinkle in more magic (especially healing), or just change the rules so they can recover everything with a short rest. There are infinite variations on this. No death penalty! If you kill an enemy you regain your ...


16

When you ask your players what they're doing, formulate the question in such a way as to suggest an obvious course of action other than 'nothing' as the default. When you ask a question like "So, what do you do?" you're implying that in order to act, players must declare that they act. (Less charitably, you're assuming that the default behaviour of player ...


14

Being in quarantine means scarcity, but to emphasise desperation it has to be brought home by giving the players hard choices: There's only two doses of drug X and three patients need it or they'll die. Who do they save? There's time and competent people enough to either fix the air filtration system for Ward 6 or to keep the diagnostics lab running for ...


14

4e is modeled on approximately 10 encounters/level. So if you are playing 2 encounters/session then you will level approximately once every 2.5 months. The experience point numbers in the game are built so that characters complete eight to ten encounters for every level they gain. In practice, that’s six to eight encounters, one major quest, and ...


11

Here's a little tidbit that Microscope taught me: every scene has a particular question (or questions) associated with it. When that question is answered, the scene is over. You want to skip over scenes with questions that are uninteresting, and jump to the ones which are interesting, and that's exactly what you did. This is why nobody runs games with ...


11

I will try my best to answer this question. I have somewhat limited experience as a DM, but I have conversed with some other DM's, whose games I usually play or watch, about a variety of hypothetical problems, solutions, and otherwise. In any event, I have here some options for you to take a look at when the game grinds to a halt. Plot Twist! Plot Twists ...


9

The players were discussing which route to take. While they may have been talking somewhat out-of-character (by discussing mechanics and whatnot), the players were discussing the situation. I would let them discuss what they feel the need to discuss. However I would also make a note of how long they are talking, and how loud they are talking. If they are ...


8

I don't believe that there are some hard and fast rules about this. It's too much dependent on the situation, the context and the state of the players. But there are some ways that you can use in order to be better at spotting those "dead-meat" scenes. Know the genre you're working with No matter what game you are playing, it will fall to a certain genre. ...


8

Assess the Needs of Your Group Where play styles and player preferences are involved, there's no "one size fits all" solution. Some groups do just fine if you present them with a sandboxy environment to interact with in any way they choose. They'll strike out because they're naturally motivated to do so. Others don't, and it sounds like your group needs ...


7

I don't know if this answer will be pertinent to your group and it doesn't strictly answer the question, but mine was once in a very similar situation and, as we learned to play the game (this was 2nd edition), we noticed that the problem eventually disappeared due to a slight change in our combat approach. We were somehow doing it "wrong", and it was ...


7

In addition to the suggestion of keeping the discussion in character, if the talk is taking too long ( and it's understandable that it will take a little while, but these discussions can run in circles and that's a good point to intervene ) you can take it a little further by reminding the players that while they talk time is passing in character. Maybe ...


6

Rashomon is one of my favorite movies, and it has several different themes worth exploring which are cross-genre. Here are a few tips to consider - Have the focus of the adventure involve multiple, self serving participants. In the movie, you had observers who are also participants (one way or the other), but not only that. Most benefited (except maybe for ...


6

"Am I doing something wrong or is this just how it goes when you're learning?" It goes exactly like that. If your question was "What are some of your greatest GMing failures" I could regail you with some real whoppers, but I digress. It may help you feel better about the work you've done if you define some goals. Popular goals may include: Having ...


6

Encourage your players to have goals Most often when a game gets bogged down like this, it's because there isn't a clear goal for the party to focus on. Your players will respond in their own ways, by arbitrarily aiming themselves at something, by focusing on some alternate point of interest that affects only themselves, or by checking out of the game ...


6

This largely depends on both you and your group. Do they want a lot of random encounters? Would they prefer to just play the module out? Do you want to throw things in the mix to interfere? Hoard of the Dragon Queen, and the Rise of Tiamat, both allow for a lot of flexibility. In addition, they use milestone levels instead of XP based levels. So encounters ...


5

I would like to give you a slightly different answer (at least from the others you received). They are not wrong, but in my opinion the whole thing can be seen from another point of view. You said: They did however love it and want to continue next week. Someone said that this is the answer to your question… but I have to disagree. Being a GM is ...


5

It may seem slow now, but you can't necessarily take the numbers from two battles and extrapolate them that far out. A couple things to consider: Skill Challenges and/or social encounters give a much higher experience-per-hour rate than combat encounters. You don't always have to fight! Just last night our group used a ritual to create a good disguise, ...


5

In Hoard of the Dragon Queen, the option is given to simply award levels at certain milestones in the story rather than tracking XP. In addition, you could combine both options for even faster advancement. This has worked just fine in my experience but with one caveat: if players level up too quickly they will often not get used to their new abilities enough ...


5

Passing time is a useful technique. Time should always be passed when no one is interested in a given period of time and no result of the time period will matter later. Time should not be passed if anyone is interested in the events of the time period (usually because they want to act in it) nor should it be passed if any player's understanding of what is ...


4

If they are ill, or they are caring for patients, quarantine means scarcity. The clotting drugs they need to keep the failing splenectomy in Trauma-A alive are not available and he's crashing. The last cylinder of O2 is about to run out for the old lady with ARDS. Scarcity can also come in the form of information - nobody on the outside is telling them ...


4

The key to both parts of your question is setting limits on the number of options. The lack of clear and effective limits is what causes the kind of Scooby-Doo chaos you describe, and the only way to fix it is to set and enforce such limits. As a GM, how can I design adventures to minimize these moments? Adventures which minimize stalls are adventures ...


4

Have the players develop party tacticals. "When we're outside, this is our marching formation, and this is what each person is doing." "This is our watch rotation. If someone is severely injured, they'll stay out, but otherwise it goes in this order... this is how we set up our camp and watch posts." "These are the spell buffs [if you have such things] ...



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