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57

So, how do I get out of the vicious circle? Stop doing the thing that's causing it. You diagnosed this yourself: It's probably the worst issue I have as a Game Master, I think of a Game, I write a campaign plot for it, End, Beggining and Middle, get Hyped, Hype my players, and after 2 months I want the story to end, and it's usually too late to make ...


56

Short answer: You do not. You say that he does not fit in with your plans as a DM. But the thing about being a DM is NOT that you tell a rigid story that your players walk through: instead you put them in a series of situations, see how they react and frantically try to fit your story to it. I understand that your story is your baby and the PCs all try to ...


55

Don't. This is something I started to do in my campaigns. When the players derail the plot, I build a new one for them to follow. If they want to focus on how the bad guys have tech that isn't public knowledge, they can. They're ignoring the larger problem of "oh crap, zombies" while doing so, however, so simply let the rest of the world go on into decay as ...


34

Being a Killer GM is just as bad as being a Murder-hobo player The only real way to frame this answer is to show it in a similarly inglorious light and hope to highlight why your initial instinct is wrong. As much as players have a responsibility to make their characters interact with the world you create; as a DM you also have a responsibility to actively ...


28

Personally, I think this is a great idea. My players would be absolutely taken aback by such a development -- and they would love it. I understand your being concerned about being unfair to the players. But I think the fairness of it has to do with what the players' expectations are. In other words, how story-driven is your campaign? How much of it is ...


25

You have an active engaged player. Run with it! I can tell you from experience that if you railroad them back onto the tracks, they are unlikely to ever be as engaged about your campaign again. If you want to tell a story without outside input, write fiction. Dungeons & Dragons is a Role Playing game, the player should be allowed to agency to control ...


23

Keep asking your wife :) Really though, that is your best option. You will always overlook things outsiders to the game will notice, simply because you might have an X number of ways of how the story could develop in your mind. So your best option is to work with someone who is outside the game and whose imaginations on things like that will not be limited ...


23

Well Lithe, I'll take a stab at your little problem as one of my favorite things to include in the game is a bit of moral grey area. 1) You have to remember that most of the time, people will automatically assume that those that work against them in anything but the most passive ways as the "bad guys" and usually even the good guys will do something ...


23

Be consistent: make tactical retreat a normal and important part of play First, Dungeons & Dragons, particularly later editions, has as the default assumption that a challenge put before players is intended to be one they can overcome, a combat they get in is one they can win. Particularly when that challenge or combat is perceived to be one the DM ...


22

Developing new products in secret is what corporations are supposed to do. If they have something and you don't, it might just be time to put more resources into R&D. Remind them of that. Also remind them that, in the face of the zombie apocalypse, this story would be a minor footnote in the media and ignored by nearly everyone... if there's even a ...


20

What if the technology were developed by the corporation as part of a black budget program that was funded by the Department of Defense? The technology was developed in secret, then for some reason the project was scrapped. The government stopped funding, but the corporation was 90% of the way to fully functional technology. As a calculated risk, the ...


18

The problem is not the character. That's just a symptom of the problem. Either: The player chose to make a character that didn't fit with what you communicated You failed to communicate sufficiently what the campaign was supposed to be about Notice that in either case, the fictional character isn't really the problem but one of communication and things ...


17

Have more than one villain - and develop all of your villains into full characters who, besides their "villaining" dark side, have neutral and good traits as well. Go for realism character-wise. Nobody's entirely good or evil. Every power player has some good in them (and they might turn out to be the father of one of your PCs as well. Especially if the PC ...


15

I believe that each person at the table is a player. To make this response easy to follow, one of those players will be called the GM, but I just wanted to make this aspect of my response clear up-front. "What is going to happen?" is a big part of play for every person at your table... except you, it seems. With your approach to pre-planning the game, you ...


13

Here are the steps I would take: Make sure you understand the group's current goals. Get together with just the new player and work together to design a character that has at least one common interest with the other characters. Still with the new player, design a scene where the new player meets the party. On your own, design a scenario where the new ...


13

There are two aspects to your question: 1. Character fit for your plans You haven't said much about how this character doesn't fit with your overarching plans. Depending on what that exactly that mismatch is, you have one of three problems: You've insufficiently communicated your game world to your players. Since the game is full of imaginative options, ...


12

Remember: no one is perfect. Your major NPCs rely on henchmen, contacts and contractors to do what they do. Things get messed up. This is where the PCs generally enter the fray and mess things up for the NPCs. Thus some plot holes are perfect there. Second, remember that no NPC know what everyone else is doing with perfect knowledge. Sure, Sauron ...


12

I don't see anything wrong on that approach. If you are fair and you base the amount of power the Lich has gathered based on the time your players spent on the Fae Realm, and you don't force the plot (that kind of "time-skip" is typical of fae stories), I wouldn't be upset as a player. As Jeff says, overcoming challenges is what provides a satisfactory ...


11

You answered your own question, I just think you need confidence enough to follow your own advice. I'll address your points a tad out of order. First off, you're going to have to write the protest scene. This is one of the downsides to red-herrings ... they're there to distract your PC's, and occasionally they do the job too well and turn into main-plots. ...


11

I am currently running a long term Pathfinder campaign (just passed three years) where the PCs are all pirates called Reavers on the Seas of Fate. Let me discuss how that campaign has been motivated. Survival At first, they were just random goons trying to make a living by working on board a merchant ship. They determined that sucked and that unlawful ...


11

1) Telegraph the danger of an overwhelming and impossible to beat situation This involves closely tying quests w/combat. Quite often combat itself is not fought to the death, but rather till it is obvious to one side that it's losing and they decide to cut their losses and withdraw. To get your players to do this you might need to describe, not so subtle ...


11

You're in quite a difficult situation. Your players don't have information, don't have many leads, have one dead party member, and have been launched into confusion. Slow down the overarching plot of your game - grind it to a halt for now, if you need to. Your players (and their characters) both are not ready for it and do not have the information they ...


10

I tend to run campaigns where everyone is morally dubious, since my main game is Shadowrun and that sort of lends itself to those sorts of things, but there's a number of things that I do to create the image that the bad guys are the good guys: First Impressions: Often, my players assume that the first people they meet are the people they're meant to be ...


10

I've run and written con games. I just ran a six hour one-shot of the Feng Shui starter scenario for my group. The biggest thing is making sure there's a fulfilling experience in the time allotted. Here's things to do and to watch out for to run successful one-shots, the "Five P's." Prep You want to either provide pregens or have people do chargen ahead of ...


10

I use graph theory. All you need to do is to have NPCs (and/or places) as nodes and plots as arcs. You can even use something like GraphViz to visualise the graph you created. In general, the more complex the graph, the more potentially complex the plot. Each link could have a cost associated with it that depends on how hard whatever the arc represent is ...


9

For me this is great opportunity to add something to the game. Here are a few off beat ideas: Aliens: The Umbrella-clone did find some remains of technology in several landing sites. They started to retro fit them and before they could go public, those pesky zombies ruined everything! Now, that opens up the question: are the zombies just advanced troupes ...


9

The fact that it can kill any one single person without exception (from my understanding by reading a little about the adventure), the best way to prove that this stone has significance is give them a vision that the target of the stone (the count, duke or whatever) has both reasons he cannot leave the area, but also is destined to have a great importance to ...


9

I am going to guess that you are running a more-or-less sandbox game. Sandbox games are great at giving the players the ability to write their own future, but are lousy since whenever they decide to go on a tangent, it's almost impossible to get them off of the tangents. I have found that using seed-sprout-bloom-fruit plot lines makes running sandbox games ...


9

The word that comes to my mind is 'ALLIES'. The ally is an NPC that wants (or needs) the group. They can help in three ways A) Offer themselves to the group as a wandering helper. A person who wants to travel to the city you are going to will welcome the extra security. B) Offer them equipment to help the part. It could be a character's parent (mum!) ...


8

Good question. There's usually a deeper motivation behind going out and stealing things. Your characters will probably fit into one of the following three buckets and this will give them a reason to start. Greed A greedy character often wants to use money as a way to keep score. Thievery is an easy way to get it AND bring somebody else down a level. This ...



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