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67

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

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 ...


60

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 ...


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. "..." ...


41

Describe in the abstract Roleplaying a socially adept character is extremely difficult if one doesn't have those skills in real life, but that doesn't mean you can't run one as NPC, or play one as a PC. RPGs ask us to use our imaginations to fill in many things, like character appearances, settings, and descriptions of action. We try our best to roleplay ...


40

Take charge, respectfully Treat your players' action declarations as statements of intent rather than a completed part of the narrative. Feel free to slow things down to insert details and intermediate steps when needed. What they are doing isn't always a problem. When a player says: "Ok, I go there." ...treat what they said as: "Ok, I intend ...


39

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 ...


34

This system seems arbitrary to the player, because it is. There are no objective criteria to be met, and all the decisions are being made by the GM who already has huge power over the game. It's hard not to see not getting the highest reward as being snubbed. Which is not to say you can't or shouldn't ever award things this way: without trust in GM's ...


31

As intelligent NPCs, dragons will have a range of personalities and motivations; however, since your trouble is with separating them from ordinary humanoid NPCs, I would recommend playing up the stereotypes a bit to add some distinction. I will draw mostly from Draconomicon here, since the specified system is 3.5. It has some advice on roleplaying dragons, ...


27

Unless you and the players speak Elvish, you have three options: Say that they're speaking another language without saying what it is. Say that they're speaking Elvish. Say a few Elvish words for flavor. To decide which option to use, think about the effects of each: The party only knows that this language is one they themselves don't speak. The ...


27

I think you're metagaming. You, the GM and player, know that continuing to pursue the truth will lead to madness. Your characters don't know that. They don't know the risks yet. Your characters are just finding out (possibly for the first time) that "magic" or something like it is real. If you, in real life, just found out that magic was real, wouldn't you ...


26

Split the Difference Unless your table has an "always in-character" attitude (and even if they do) chances are you've developed some understanding of when something is in character and when it's out of character. You could always try something like: I'm using my fascination ability on the dog. Good dog. Gooood dog. Goooood Doooooog. As a bonus, ...


25

I do. I'm so competitive I managed to win a game of Fiasco (a very non-competitive game). Luckily, I know why you feel this way and where the source of the problem is. Unfortunately, D&D 3.X is more often than not the cause of this dicothomy. There's a thing game designers call reward cycle: encouraging the players to behave in a certain manner by ...


25

Ask Them The most important question here is why they aren't engaging with you on this. We can't answer that. They can, but you have to ask them. If you do that, be calm and polite. If someone says something that you don't agree with, DO NOT ARGUE WITH THEM! Trying to argue with them about their opinion on this matter will just make them turn defensive, and ...


24

Be the wiser character. If you think that all humans are an inferior threat to nature but you need their help, your character shouldn't be surprised when they verify your assumptions. You "knew" they were problems going in and you still chose to work with them, so seeing evidence of it shouldn't change your approach. Someone calls you an idiot? You're ...


23

Not necessarily I've run about a dozen games in the last four years, and in each of them the roleplayers come out on top. Some of them happen to do a little min-maxing on the side (like the troll in Shadowrun who lived up to his race's namesake), but the truth of the matter is that it doesn't really matter. The rules encourage it D&D is one of those ...


23

(Background: I am also a Christian, along with several of the people in my gaming group.) tl;dr -- The fictional god of your fictional world is not the God of our universe. Make the fictional god clearly distinct from our God. Figure out how much of what the party knows about that god is true. Define what you mean by "God" in your game world. Your game ...


22

It's pretty simple: don't be a murderous angry jerk. If you reach the point where you're going to threaten people, or kill them, or kill the entire party, the simple way to handle that is... not do it. If you feel you must do it, you're probably falling victim to My Guy Syndrome, where you think "well, my guy would do it" as if it remotely limits your ...


21

I'll never claim to be the greatest GM, but here's a few things that I've come up with after a couple of years running a game: Describe how instead of just saying what Sometimes all you need to do is give the players the gist of the NPC's message if you add in a description of how they say it. Say something about the nervous tick, the furtive glances, the ...


20

Use out-of-character discussion to let the other players know you're engaged and not bored. This is more important in online gaming because you don't have any body language, eye contact, or other social cues to work with. In particular, tell them that you're playing a loner. Engage with the group in-character privately, when NPCs aren't around. Keep your ...


20

You need not be your class(es) You are playing a character, who has a certain skill set. That character may self-identify as a rogue, and then may recognize a distinct switch from being a rogue to following the way of the monk. Those are options. They are not the only options. Consider Miko Miyazaki: Elan: So Miko, did you take levels in the old ...


20

Unfortunately there's nothing within the rules that dictates how a Druid must act. Though, the introduction to the class clearly states Druids are also concerned with the delicate ecological balance that sustains plant and animal life, and the need for civilized folk to live in harmony with nature, not in opposition to it. (PHB, pg.65) Druids are also ...


20

Firstly, it sounds as though your players are doing a lot of the heavy lifting for you in that they are being very easily manipulated without much effort on your part at all. But let's talk about manipulation. Pa-pa-pa-poker face Manipulation relies on getting people to do something without them knowing exactly why you want them to do it, or even that you ...


19

Roleplaying games don't expect people to be good at combat, but simulate it. We then apply a double standard to social things because most of us are familiar with them. For political machinations, in abstract sense, you can get away with "tell, not show." Influence: Science and Practice is an excellent reference for techniques that influential people can ...


18

The closest I can find to relevant RAW is in the rules for monster races: .. creatures with an Intelligence score lower than 3 are not playable characters. But this doesn't necessarily mean that a PC with temporary int damage should be made an NPC. I'd definitely allow any feats they haven't lost the prerequisites for. (Animals have feats, after ...


18

Evil? We're SAVING the world! No one thinks they're the villain. Outside of a few very adolescent power fantasy type cults, nearly every other cult is based in imagining it's doing something for either the greater good or at least the good of it's members, and has rationalized all the things it has to do in that regard. Sacrifice a baby? The baby was ...


18

"My character would do that" should never be used as a "justification" (more likely excuse) for game-wrecking behaviour. It's not a simulation, it's a game. Everybody wants to have fun. One thing is doing something that will make the in-game situation difficult while still providing a positive gaming experience. But good role-playing should never lead to a ...


18

It depends on a lot of things: The Skill For some skills, you logically should be able to tell. A few of them (like Disable Device) actually have different outcomes if you fail by a lot vs fail by a little, so you can use that to guess how far off you are. Open Lock lets you tell pretty easily if you succeed or not, since in one case the lock is open. In ...


18

As you say, this house rule works well for your group. A new player objecting to a house rule they don't understand is no reason for you to change it. And they don't understand the point of the house rule. They've observed their fellow players and seen the rule's results, and are trying to adjust their actions to fit what the rule is meant to encourage — ...


17

Bluff Works - In Character (IC) Only So long as Elan and Human are indistinguishable at a glance, Bluff will do what you need. If they're obviously different just by looking, you'll also need Disguise or magic. The harder part is keeping it a secret Out of Character (OOC). If you don't want the other players to know, then you'll have to take some extra ...



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