Tag Info

Hot answers tagged

48

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 ...


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 ...


22

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 ...


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 ...


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 ...


10

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 ...


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

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

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 ...


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 ...


6

I'm also a guy who likes to play/run a LOT of different games. What I've done is instead of planning superlong campaigns, I plan short runs: 3-6 session game arcs that folks can play, and finish, relatively quickly. We'll usually play a game, finish, then move to the next game, and come back later if we want to pick it up again. This also works better as ...


5

I like your list but I think you're missing a factor. Common or ambiguous elements of plots. Let's take one of the standard simple plots in a game. Somebody went missing and the party has to find him or her. Okay, you can spin off as much complexity as you want but the plot itself is basic. Now let's run two of those at the same time. It seems that ...


4

"Complexity is how difficult the plots are to follow" My experience is that difficulty in following plots depends on the following factors: Clarity on the goal and role of the PCs Clarity on the goals and roles of the NPCS Anything that is superfluous to the above Anything that casts doubt on #1/#2 Play expectations about how play works and how much ...


4

Combat doesn't need to be a simple group vs group contest of survival. It can have other objectives, and is often much more interesting if it does have these. Here are some examples: You surprise an enemy scouting party. They attempt to flee to their army to warn of your presence, with some enemies engaging in delaying tactics to cover the escape of the ...


4

Plot Issues 1. Play out the sidequests anyway in the back burner In a way this feels like a Shadowrun situation, and quite frankly if the players are chasing their own (maybe literal) ghosts, the factions are going to hire someone available to do it. Let the party handle their own stuff and a rival party gets the job. You can resolve the quest any way ...


4

Most of the 1-shots I run are 3-4 hours in length and go well. Probably the three biggest hurdles for time are this: Managing conflicts/combats and how long they take Playing a game where fight is resolved in 5 minutes vs. 90 minutes determines how many fights you want to fit into the game. Although I'm thinking of combat as the usual time-sink it could ...


4

Above, mxyzplk has already commented on a lot of points. Here some more. And although they are only indirectly linked to how your stories and plots will develop I still think they are important in the sense of making sure you spend your precious time where it is actually needed -- driving the story and advancing the plot. Character creation I would ...


4

Bind together as many of the sidequests together as you can (without it being ridiculous). Think Heroes - dozens of characters and stories, somehow they combined to create a single thread. To do this requires some brainstorming, and is highly dependent on the details of the side quests. However, a lot of quests have a key requirement of being in the right ...


4

First, tell the players that you want to end your current campaign but want to give it a proper conclusion. Wrap up your current campaign quickly. You've got an ending in mind; massage the rest of the plans to bring that ending sooner. If necessary, change the final challenge to be more appropriate to lower-level characters. Don't toss in a total deus ex ...


3

Sounds like an amazing idea. I'd say the best way to make sure it doesn't cause any undue friction with your players is to make sure they know in advance that the lich has these abilities; maybe they've heard stories about people who "ventured into his realm, and emerged decades later, utterly unchanged..." If they are aware that he has the ability to do ...


3

In my view, the big thing here isn't so much the time-skip as what it represents — a series of large, unexpected changes to the world the characters are in. Instead of returning to find the "timeline" advanced a few years, it could just as easily be a fantasy apocalypse, or the PCs getting flung into another plane of existence, or even a smaller-scale ...


3

This was actually the plot for my very first game (Eberron). What I did was have them going under an umbrella goal of good. In this case it was to help the more minor races of Eberron (warforged, shifter, goblinoid, etc. which they were already playing) gain more respect and power compared to the "normal" races. This was reinforced by the fact that they know ...


3

Although I agree that setting expectations about PC death is important, in recent versions of D&D, the main reason that players choose death before dishonor is that the reward system of those editions of D&D penalize retreat. In editions like 3.5e and 4e (IIRC), you get XP by defeating enemies. If you don't defeat them, you don't get XP, period. ...


3

From my personal experience with the same problem... Being a gamemaster can be very rewarding. Plotting, creating a world full of life and death, and knowing where all of the bodies are buried. It can be intoxicating. But I've also found that it can be stifling. My cure for it was found quite by accident, when I started into narrative style gaming. ...


3

I'm currently running a mostly-sandbox game in the post-Apocalyptic midwestern United States, although I don't intend to restrict the players should they decide to up and drive to Los Angeles or something. So, I've had to address this issue very recently. Here's how I did it. Plan for where they are The players were new to the world, which is a bit of a ...


2

Take a look at Azura's Wrath, a game for Xbox 360. It have a fantastic plot with a twist on what a daeva actually is. Demon: The Fallen is not exactly about Divs but can be easily adapted to your needs. It's the closest to what you need that I can think of. Aion is an MMO with two angelic factions that have some solid lore, and their schemes can be ...


2

Have one of your players be a confederate for the villain. Many players enjoy secret knowledge, even if it's that their character has been body swapped with a pod person or that they are a covert agent for a shadowy organization manipulating events while everyone else is in the dark. The confederate can manipulate the rest of the party into destroying ...


2

Instead of imposing your will on the players, go with the flow. Try tying in what the PC's want to do with what you want them to do. Maybe this secret technology is the key to stopping the zombie hordes. Or maybe this corporation is the cause of the zombie apocalypse. The PC's in my campaign once stumbled into a tapestry shop. The pictures in the ...


2

This is an addendum to the existing, perfectly good answers, but I wanted to point out a crucial fact: You ARE allowed to say no. Remember, you're playing the game too. If you're feeling overwhelmed and overworked, it's totally fine to go with a path of lesser resistance. The improv rule about not saying "no" is meant to stop you from shutting down the game, ...


2

Treat it like a serialized, ensemble Drama. Everything you describe in your question makes me think that the best approach would not be the traditional, heroic arc, but rather to treat it with the story telling approach a series like Mad Men or Deep Space Nine. Serial dramas have season plots, that tend to be the major developments overtime (main quest), ...



Only top voted, non community-wiki answers of a minimum length are eligible