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54

One of the things I say first when I'm about to start running a game for a new group of players is that it is not my responsibility to come up with increasingly convoluted reasons why a disparate set of characters with nothing in common should adventure together. I've been there and tried it, and it is stressful, frustrating and simply not fun. I'd much ...


49

You have the right answer in your choices. Being a DM isn't about writing a script and continually nullifying player choices to keep them "on script". If you want to write a story without much outside input, then write fiction. Nothing wrong with that. A DM is only one participant of the story when role-playing. Sure, typically the DM will set up the ...


38

Since he was wrongly convicted, you could use that to your advantage. Have the group argue the PC's innocence (in the flashback), and better yet, give them plenty of time to prepare the defense. Let them totally outshine the prosecutor. Then have the (corrupt?) "Judge" say something like, "well, we can't let him go because then it would encourage everyone ...


28

Realize it's not a dead end No storyline ending action is a dead end unless it also kills all the PC's. There is always a new direction to go. Sure, plotline #1 is over because they wiped out it's boss-thing and its psychotic killer henchwomen... and that leaves a power vacuum that will be filled. Remember that PC's don't actually have the big picture. ...


26

First off, all of edgerunner's answers are great. But I wanted to add some Dungeon World specifics: Check p.19 and you'll see that 6- isn't "failure" - it's "trouble". The GM will say what happens and the player will mark XP. You are attaching non-DW simulationist ideas to DW mechanics by your supposition that 6- means "failure." These principles can apply ...


24

Little By Little I am, in fact, running a Dresden Files campaign right now. We're nearing the end of our third "book" - we've arranged the game in books and I've got some things I've learned that might be of use to you. But as the title says, the way to do what you want to do is little by little. First of all, forget about plotting RPGs. The plot of a ...


24

In real history, almost no land except impassible mountains and deep desert wasn't settled, and there are exceptions even then. The population of the world during the European medieval age was much lower than today, but widely spread out in all the known habitable regions of Earth. Take that, and now add powerful, inimical monsters to the wilderness. ...


23

There are two broad categories of "fix" available to you here. The first is to work on preparation, the second is to work on failure recovery. Preparation From your question, the biggest issues you have are leaving out details in descriptions, and ad libbing NPC dialog. Your preparation should shore up those weaknesses: Organize your notes such that all ...


22

Keep it open-ended. Have a lot of loose ends. A childhood friend who dissapeared, a mentor figure who turned evil (supposing you are not evil yourself), an unsolved murder in the family, a power your character can't explain, an organisation having a bounty on your character's head...these are just ideas that the GM can play with, which are all bound by the ...


21

So, the question is: what have I missed? You've missed the idea that in a role-playing game, storytelling is collaborative and improvisational. Not the sole province of the GM, and not heavily scripted in advance.


21

Talk to the players Others have said it, but this can't be over emphasized. Most traditional RPGs are collaborative affairs and the GM cannot be responsible for making everyone happy. So talk to them plainly and see what they want. They may be highly supportive of ending this campaign and starting a new one or of working with you to change the direction ...


20

Would adventurers arise if treasure was about... To your first question, yes. Though it is more about "dungeons filled with treasure" then necessarily the magic or the monsters. People tend to seek ways to make profits, especially if those can be made quickly. People are willing to take on risky endeavors to do so. Today, in the "First World", we tend ...


20

Support characters We do this all the time. When one or more characters are separated from the group for a long time, the GM gives the other players characters to play with. The players must acknowledge they are playing secondary characters and most protagonism must be with the main character. In your case, give each player except the cleric a goblin. Give ...


18

Were either my expectations to "get started and wing it a bit in the beginning" or her expectations of "I want the whole backstory up front" wildly out of place? Either one is reasonable, as long as it is understood up front. I tend to go with the "wing a whole lot of it" version personally, but I make sure the group knows that up front. And yes, ...


18

This looks like a good spot to let them succeed with complications. Some ideas that come to mind are: He climbs the chain but drops his weapon in the progress The chain he climbed happened to be on the wrong side of the tower, so he must brave more of the tower's denizens to reach his goal. The chain also happens to ground the tower's lightning rod, and ...


18

I ran into this too, with the diverse characters and the hard first-session railroad. I became disillusioned because they wanted me to tell a story and I wanted a sandbox, but the result was the same: I had no desire left to run it. It's awful advice, but my conclusion was that not every game is made to be continued, and it's only a failure if it's pushed ...


18

When I have time to make a quality character with a player (rather than hashing out what will work for their first session because they just showed up ten minutes before start), I try to ask qualitative questions that players quite often forget. Where are your parents (and don't tell me you're an orphan) Siblings! Do you have them, what are they doing? ...


17

The first part, seems like a classic miscommunication problem which can be solved by just talking about it after it first appear but before it becomes a major issue. It is all about expectation and disclosure of what the GM and player want. The first part of your question would superbly server as an example of what you are trying to do. Making sure that ...


17

Borrow from the story of Walter White wikipedia Might I suggest watching the AMC TV series Breaking Bad? wikipedia It is the story of the transformation of a low-key high school chemistry teacher into a drug lord. American author and essayist Chuck Klosterman said that Breaking Bad is "built on the uncomfortable premise that there's an irrefutable ...


17

I wrestle with this myself, see the related question How do you help players not focus on the rules? There is a tendency among people to start Pharisaically treating any body of rules as the end in and of itself and not the means to the end. Combined with a sense of rules entitlement fostered by both computer gaming and RPG Organized Play campaigns, it can ...


16

Run a one shot during the "better days" you mention. Tell the players it's just to get them used to the system. Give them pre-made characters who actually do know a thing or two about their technology. Then it'll actually mean something to the PCs when the characters they make 200 years later are less skilled, less powerful, and wonder how their ancestors ...


16

There is no reason to have the PC do anything interesting while captured. He may look at the walls or if he's lucky they give him a ball like Steve McQueen in the Great Escape. There is also no reason why the PC should know anything about the NPC staging his escape. But there is no reason to have you player being bored 3 days just because his character is ...


15

Big List of RPG Plots Seventh Sanctum - Generators for lots of things Adventure Generator - Generates a very detailed dungeon Hope these help :)


15

The thing about racism is that you really can't portray it accurately without making it frustrating for the players involved. In most cases, there's nothing wrong with scaling it down to the point that you can give the players an idea of what racism is like and still make the campaign understandable and playable ... think about the standard Hollywood script ...


15

The GM takes on more work than any individual player in making the world and the game come to life. Obviously a GM without players has nothing, but the lynchpin of the game is still the GM. Having played in many games and GMed many more, I come into any game with the understanding that because the GM has to do so much work just to get the game going, that ...


15

I set a limited numbers of must, might and should rules for character creation. Those generally look like: Your character must agree to do X — plot of the game. For example, work for Black Mesa, help NPC X, need work because of repayment on space ship, yadda, yadda… Your character must have Y — linked to theme of the game. For example, be a known hero, ...


15

This is a non-starter. Paladins don't get their powers revoked in D&D 4e, nor are they granted by a god to begin with. If you have your PHB1 handy, turn it open to the Paladin class description and take a look at the paragraph in the top-left of the second page. In short, Paladins receive their powers through training, an initiation rite, their ...


15

Enlist the help of your Creative Player to involve the others. CP is very creative and he is clearly motivated with the game. Explain him you have to focus on the other players and use hooks for them, so he could help you creating those hooks, being in character (he ask the other PCs favours that involve them) or totally out of character (he makes up that ...


14

I prefer the other version of the question. How much plot guidance is too little. Aim for a smidge more guidance than the bare minimum and you'll have a party with plot without risking too much railroading. As everyone said, how much guidance is something that will vary from group to group. Even within a group it'll vary from session to session. I ...


14

Whenever a game I'm running gets this way (mostly D&D where alignments are unshakable without serious consequences) I sit my players down individually, and explain exactly what you said: "I like the character for a one person narrative, but it would really help the game if you could alter a few details to make them group/game friendly". Most players are ...



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