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67

Speaking as a Rules Lawyer (I try to think of myself as a good guy, i.e. "how can the rules let you do what you want to do"?) and the occasional TD, I've found a couple simple rules work out. No checking the rules on your turn. Look it up while you're waiting. That includes the DM - if you ask the DM if you can do something, you get their best guess; we're ...


63

Powerful drama requires powerful motivations. When everyone at the table agrees that they want a Horror game, they must craft their characters around these motivations. If they don't buy in, then you get the kind of power-fantasy where the heroes do the quite sensible thing of feeding Cthulhu a couple cases of dynamite and legging it. That isn't horror, ...


62

On Going Beyond Stereotype One of the ways the authenticity of female characters in movies are judged is called the Bechdel test. Essentially, if a movie has only one female character, or if it has more than one but they only talk to each other about men, it fails the test. This is a good lesson to keep in mind when trying to fairly portray women in a ...


61

As a gamemaster: Cheat. Use out-of-character knowledge. If the players surprise you with a plan, have a contingency plan for the NPC materialize even though you hadn't actually thought about it beforehand. Just make sure that you hide the "seams" caused by these cheats, and that you don't make the NPC seem smarter than they're intended to be. As a player. ...


59

Here's a technique I've used. When I invite people to a game I tell them that the game we're playing is a homebrew system called "Valadil's Game" which is loosely based on D&D. This does a couple things. Firstly, it scares off rules lawyers who want to play RAW. I figure those players aren't compatible with my games anyway and I'd rather just nip ...


59

What you're experiencing is a mismatch in what you all expect the actual game to be. As such, a boon will likely not make up for the confusion — at best it will be inexplicably ineffective at altering the players' choices, and at worst it will exacerbate the problem. Different games, same name You see roleplay and adventure in a believable world as the ...


58

It sounds like your fellow roleplayer just wants you to be verbally clear about what exactly you're doing, mechanically, without just pointing to a thing on your character sheet. It doesn't sound like their problem is necessary that you're roleplaying at all - I'd be pretty surprised if they disliked flavourful descriptions of how people do things. It's ...


55

There are several ways to approach a drunk and disorderly player. Standard drunk person handling techniques. Not really on topic for this site; Google it. Wheedle them, redirect them, you know, like you'd do with a kid. Go with it. "Roll the die, you get to take a shot!" Probably best if you're all drinking and just farting around. Some RPGs are called ...


51

Play more. Read more. Watch more. Expand your library of tropes. Once you have dozens of different innkeepers bouncing around in your head, your next innkeeper will probably be a collage of these tropes. Another idea is to take a page from creative writing exercises. Take a bunch of adjectives - tall, fat, jolly, glum, one-eyed, nervous, red-haired, ...


49

Everyone in my gaming group has gone through this gaming evolution at some point. Finding the joy in playing a dumb character is all about getting into your character's mindspace (or lack there-of) and not taking yourself too seriously. Make sure you are willing to make mistakes. Part of not being very bright is that your character can be confused, taken ...


48

There's no such thing as senseless violence, according to the one who commits it. Characters who kill or torture without at least an internal justification are crazy, not evil. You don't have a reason to kill people in the party or at random, so you don't. This doesn't make you nonevil. Also remember that just because you're Evil doesn't mean you're a ...


44

Check This Part Thieves and gamblers, fast talkers and diplomats, bandits and bounty hunters, and explorers and investigators all might be considered rogues, as well as countless other professions that rely upon wits, prowess, or luck. Although many rogues favor cities and the innumerable opportunities of civilization[...] Class fluff is, for the most ...


44

When I've played (or joined in others playing) these quiet characters, the best way to run them is have an almost noir style internal monologue. "I looked at the wall, and frowned. I wasn't certain, but there might be something behind it. Best not to mention it though, I'd look like a chump if I was wrong." is much more interesting than. "..." ...


42

If your character is truly Intelligent, then the DM should help that character by offering INT checks and challenges that your character can solve with a DC check (or however that works in your game system). You should collaborate with your DM and have him/her feed your character solutions to puzzles or extra information that your character can share with ...


40

I've used several techniques to make my improv a bit more random; these are: Preparation: Names always get me so I always make several pages of names with personalities, brief schick or quirk, basically a whole page of one line NPCs, the names are randomly generated along with the description, I just add in the quirks onto the page. Cross the streams: ...


37

I don't know about bushido, but in Rokugan, the answer of what they should do is "nothing", at least by themselves. Now, let me explain: Direct approaches are bad The brother of the Empress is way too high in the social scale for most samurai to be able to deal with him in any honorable way, at least under normal circumstances. Possible outcomes of doing ...


37

This is a place where you should probably revert to descriptive GMing rather than reciting the character's lines. Say something like: The Elf approaches you (the dwarf) and says something in a language you don't understand. It sounds like elf talk to you, but you don't have any idea what he's saying. Your player can then react to this situation. If ...


35

Alignment is a mess, particularly Law and Chaos I am almost certain that you will never find two people who define Law and Chaos exactly the same way. The books definitely don’t; there are actually different definitions of each such that the same action or person could be equally described as Lawful, Neutral, or Chaotic, because the different definitions ...


33

Don't play with drunk people. Seriously. If she's so blasted that she's being irrational and uncooperative, then--sorry, sister, thanks for playing, go sleep it off. I have a very low tolerance for the inebriated, so I avoid hanging around them. Likewise, the OP might wish to define his/her tolerance for drunkenness at the table and say, in no uncertain ...


33

Sure, here's a concise differentiation. In computer RPGs, every course of action that is allowable must be specifically coded for, potentially at great expense. At the single scene level, in a fairly open world game like Fallout: New Vegas, you can go into a shop and attack the shopkeeper, or buy from him, or conduct a canned discussion with him. You can't ...


32

While I think it's awesome to award experience for in-character behavior, it's also very hard to quantify role playing into experience (how much gets you 100exp?) On top of that, in DnD, exp translates very observably to combat prowess - so it also makes sense to give other types of benefits. Good role playing should give good role-playing benefits. If the ...


32

I play female characters about 25% of the time (and about 100% of the time as a GM), so this is something I've worked on/thought about over my gaming career. Depicting Your Character First, there's the general "How do I depict anything different from myself at the gaming table?" This is often a problem not just with crossgender play. I remember an ...


32

The Players May Not Want To Part of fantasy role playing for a lot of people is being able to be larger than life for a bit. They may not want their characters to feel fear at all. Now, in a novel this may be a bad thing, since a character that isn't believable can disrupt the suspension of disbelief. But in an RPG its not necessarily a bad thing to ...


31

This is a system transition issue, not a creativity issue. 4e is a very different system and that's okay, but it's not for everyone. There's a gap between the player and the system and your job as GM is to help facilitate bridging that gap. Your goal in this should not be to make the player conform to the system, but to help the player understand the ...


29

Welcome to roleplaying! I know it can be daunting; there are literally thousands of RPGs on the market as well as out of print ones that people still play. What is roleplaying? Many a roleplaying game has a "What is roleplaying?" section in the front, and they all have different takes on it, but the most common summary is that it's a formalized version ...


29

Based on the Turkish proverb "Pinch yourself before you punch the other guy" 1 Upset player's perspective You mentioned that she thinks that particular die roll is a no-win situation for her character. She may be protesting that she is getting robbed of her agency, and being railroaded into your story against her will, and that roll is just there to ...


29

The successful dumb characters I've seen aren't just dumb. Develop the character as much as you would a character that's not supposed to be dumb. I find that characters who use one syllable words or weirdly bad grammar but seem otherwise unimpaired get boring pretty fast. Your character can often follow his friend's lead most of the time, but when he is ...


29

I've been on the receiving end of a bunch of bad negotiations in RPGs. Real life negotiation training helps, but there's also some RPG specific aspects to keep in mind. Often, the problem is that there's some adventure hook that requires the PCs to do something that's totally stupid. "Hi, you're level 10, would you like to go on a fetch quest for 100 gp?" ...


29

Geniuses are Hard It's easy to play a person stronger or faster than you, since we have an objective sense of how to scale up stats. A really agile character is just that- like you, just more agile. But mental stats are a lot trickier. We know what it's like to encounter a smarter/wiser/more charismatic person, but that doesn't tell you how to think or act ...


28

There are a couple approaches. First option - don't. Make real sure your group is on board with this, because many people find scenes like that at the table unacceptable (and it's not just binary, there's also the depth to which you go into it). There's a lot of related topics (loss of control, permanent effects on a character, squeamishness, other psych ...



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