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56

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 ...


55

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 ...


33

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 ...


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 ...


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 ...


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

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, ...


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 ...


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 ...


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 ...


8

You would be overreacting. The reason players gather together to play is, of course, wanting to have fun. This should be true for every person in the gaming group including the game master and it should be everyone's responsibility to work towards this goal. If people are entertained they keep coming to games and they positively contribute to them. If not, ...


7

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 ...


5

Killing them off is just asking for problems. They like what they're playing and they probably don't have a problem with it. Throwing him into an unfair combat with the express intent to kill the character might not be your best option. Ultimately you want this player to play a character that is more in the guidelines of what you expect at the table. You ...


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

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 ...


4

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. ...


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

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

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

Personally, I would not kill a PC on purpose. In my current campaign, there is a cleric of a god whose desire is to be the only god on the world, which involves total extinction of every non-believer. There is also another PC following a different diety in the party. Instead of telling the first player that he should play a different character or follow a ...


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

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

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 ...


3

As others have said, killing him is probably a bad move (and in general, trying to railroad your plot too much will probably be frustrating for your players at other times). I'll focus on one part: I have a Warlord PC who does not work with my overarching plans. His backstory also makes no sense as to how he would be level 1 — he's supposed to be a ...


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, ...



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