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51

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 ...


27

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 ...


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 ...


22

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 ...


21

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 ...


21

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 ...


19

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 ...


19

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 ...


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 ...


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 ...


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. ...


10

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 ...


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 ...


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

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 ...


8

What can I use to drive the PCs from petty theft to something more interesting from a plot point of view? Drive is another word for motivation, my friend, and like a few television commercials say "What motivates you?" I am going to attempt to lay out some basic motivators that correspond to the Human Psyche with that slight fantasy twist as evidence. You ...


8

How about a straightforward false-flag operation, where a discreet gentleman tells the party they have been selected as potential government intelligence agents? A couple of standard con-tricks (meeting in the genuine office of a senior bureaucrat who's on holiday, having the recruiter use his supposed status to gain instant obedience from a 'street cop' ...


7

You have a few options here to consider. While the answers will be geared towards your NPC example, it is not hard to extrapolate the style of each into other types of potentially miss-able plot hooks Let The NPC Live You could have ran into this issue if the PC in question had decided they had a problem with killing the NPC and went for more non-lethal ...


7

As a general rule, don't create plots, create people. If you focus on the plot, then you end up with things like how did the flag get on the mast. If you create people first, and then step through the events in sequence, the characters you have created will dictate what actions will be taken when and by whom. The additional advantage to this is that when ...


7

One solution is to have an enemy – the biggest, baddest, evilest guy – who can only be slain by whittling him down/taking out his protections, and then using the Stone of Slaying on him. Makes for a pretty epic quest to get the stone, get to the boss, and use it when the time is right. A pretty obvious candidate for this, depending on the ...


6

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 ...


6

If you weren't deliberately stealing ideas from Silent Hill already, I'd recommend you do that; while plagiarizing is a very bad idea when producing content you plan to sell or turn in for a grade, it's a huge time-saver for making home campaigns and settings. I recommend Silent Hill because you've got some major similarities to it already; I'm recommending ...


6

First things first, keep in mind that until it actually comes out in play, all plot elements are still in ether. Not only is this recoverable, but with a little flexibility and effort you can ensure that nobody is ever able to tell there was a lapse in the first place. From your description, the issue seems to be at least partially that your players are ...


6

Disclaimer: I am not familiar with the module you mention. I had a short look at a review, and apparently it's for a 1st level party... correct? Possible reasons to justify the plot weakness you outlined: a) The garrison can't leave town for fear of another attack by the hobgoblins (or maybe a completely different menace). b) Part of the garrison will ...


6

First, let players know what victory/failure looks like in a given scenario. It can be helpful to have list, I put together the Big List of Combat Stakes specifically with this in mind. Second, make sure the opposition in the encounter also behaves in an appropriate fashion - outside of zombies, magical constructs, and the most fanatical of people, it's ...



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