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67

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, ...


48

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, ...


29

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 ...


17

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 ...


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

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 ...


13

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 ...


12

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 ...


11

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 ...


10

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 ...


7

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. ...


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

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 ...


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 ...


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

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 ...


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

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

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] ...


3

I think an obvious answer is a metronome. This will LITERALLY increase the heartbeat of your player subconsciously. If you explain it away as something ticking in game(clock, gear, etc.), then they wont even think it is corny. A second, more precarious idea, is fire. If you can work a flammable object into the plot, and burn a prop version IRL, they will ...


3

My advice is: bring a hat. I just remember reading something about using rakugo style props, as a GM. I think it was in Instant GM, a bag of tricks. So the players are going to see a story unfold, or interact with different characters who saw a story unfold who each have their own point of view. In order to easily make the NPCs stand out, just wear the ...


3

This is the complaint I've seen from a house mate of mine with more experience at 4E, even with experienced players. They're solution was to give monsters 1/3 HP and make monsters to 3x damage. That, he said made everything much faster and bearable. Your mileage may vary however. One of the things I'm going to do if I run/play again is make 'power' cards ...


3

Non-Combat Turn Order I've used this idea a few times with my groups, either in situations like you described where everyone seems to have their own thing going on, or when I really need to know exactly what everyone is doing at that exact instance (cough Tomb of Horror cough). I find it helps keep things moving and prevents the group's antics from makes ...


2

In short: No, you did a fine job! About Character Creation: Character creation is notoriously long in most RPGs. I've spent entire evenings where we didn't even finish creating all our characters in time to game before everyone had to leave. Don't worry, it's normal. In time, when everyone knows the rules, character creation will be much faster. Planning a ...


2

I don't know if this applies to you, but it really annoys me when people play D&D for levels. If you want 'Level 30' written on your character sheet, just do it right now. Poof, you get +20 to every roll! But now all the DC's are increased by 20. All the monsters are bigger, the poisons stronger, and the traps harder to disarm. Sure, you can sneeze and ...


2

When my group tried to play 4e we had the same problem. It took us three game sessions of 5 to 7 hours each just to get through the first small dungeon! Things did speed up later once players were more comfortable with how the combat system worked and also were not looking up their powers constantly. However, I still thought the combat was too slow for my ...


2

Start killing NPC's one at a time with the deaths becoming progressively more unpleasant. Make the difficulty of keeping patients alive progressively more difficult the longer it takes to come up with a cure. For each unit of time increase difficulty by 5% - 10% Give hints that the people outside of the quarantine don't have much hope for the situation. ...


2

The story ideas are good, but I think you might want one or two stacks of tokens to really make it clear to the players that their characters are running out of stuff, perhaps health tokens or medicine tokens. As long as they have all 20 health tokens they're fine, but when they get down to 15, they show the first symptoms, etc. You could even take away ...



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