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54

Firstly, the assumption you're making is well-meaning, but wrong: as DM you shouldn't feel like you can never “break character” to just speak as a person to the other people at the table. You're playing a game, and sometimes you need to pause playing and just talk about the game directly. It may seem counter-intuitive, but games work much better when you've ...


14

Understand what Player Agency is This is my definition: Players making informed meaningful decisions that have reasonable consequences that can be foreseen To have agency in the first place there must be: a decision of consequence to be made. A T-intersection in a dungeon with no other information is not a decision of consequence and no agency is ...


13

There are lots of different ways. It all depends on your preference as a GM, on preferences of your group, on the system, on your particular game and so on. But before I give you examples, let's get one thing out of the way first. I know I'm not supposed to take away player agency or narrate their actions for them Wrong. You, as a GM, are supposed to ...


6

An offer they can't refuse... In a game where the player has total agency, the best way to force them to do what you want is to make the offer too good or bad to refuse. So for your situation at hand, you would have the thieves take an item from each character that they cannot possibly go on without. For example, a wizard may have his spellbook taken, or ...


6

It's pretty much up to you. Players won't like to feel like they're being forced down corridors, but it's hard to craft a coherent day's play on the fly (especially if you're just starting out). For now, I'd recommend being honest with your players and saying "Guys, I'm new to this, cancelling the mission will mean me winging everything and it probably won't ...


3

As a GM, Never Decide A Correct Course of Action, Only Decide Consequences As a GM your calling is to create a great story. Stories are about conflicts that arise as characters with motivations make choices. Thus, the best thing you can do as a GM is to structure the 'adventure' to be about the story and the conflicts, and not about something concrete being ...


2

One approach is to think about how stories generally tend to work. There may well be moments when a hero has a moment of doubt or uncertainty but the existence of the story (in hindsight) mean, by it's very existence that they went ahead anyway. As a GM you can have a certain role as 'fate' to keep the heroic story ticking over, obviously there are serious ...


1

When I'm planning an adventure, I try to put myself in the PCs' shoes and determine what the next likely course of action for them is, given their motivations and knowledge. I then spend the most time planning for what they're likely to do. I'm not always right about what they plan on doing. Sometimes I overlook something that was important to them, which ...


1

I'd like to share a story with you about how one of my campaigns began to illustrate how I handled a situation like this. “Shopping, some bandits, and an execution gone wrong” At the start of this campaign, the party found itself in the hometown of one of the party members. They were made aware of an execution which was scheduled to happen at noon, but ...


1

First, don't assume the players are ever going to do things the way you expect them to. You've taken away your options. Now, you have a few options. If you need them all to meet up at a certain place, either start the adventure at that place or, if this is mid-game, place the spot right in their tracks so they won't miss it. Place it inside a narrative. ...


1

So how would you deal with this situation? And more broadly, how can I stop something like this happening again? I would have thought of the problem you've created for yourself, sooner. You set up a problem by wanting the players to join together in the same cooperative adventuring party, but starting them not knowing each other and only happening to be ...



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