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32

Option One: Start Closer To The End It's not actually cheating to start at a higher level, and that's a weird expectation that games don't bear out. The inclination to "make those bastards work for it" is not a helpful GM attribute. I really enjoyed playing Feng Shui for the first time when it came out because by specifically allowing the players to be ...


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. ...


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

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

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 ...


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 ...


14

"Adventurers" in the real world Real-world "adventurers" engage in: Trade. A lot of human activity is based on the exchange of stuff for other stuff that you want more. Exploration. Mainly to open up new opportunities for trade. Depending on the era, an explorer might be motivated by the desire to stake out their own land claims, rewards from patrons, or ...


14

I get the sense that you have a very specific story you want to tell. I do hate giving this advice, but if you have a beginning, middle, and end in mind, perhaps you should write a novel instead of running a game. It will be more artistically satisfying for you, in those cases. However, if you really want to run a game that meets a particular end, some ...


13

Either through high mortality rates, copious amounts of backstory, or actual force of personality, some characters become more "main" than others. This is something you should be taking advantage of. There are a few things you can do: Ask for more holes in backstory to make a common backstory for other characters. ("We both defended the City of ...


13

I get conflicted intentions here. You want to start "low-level" (which can mean many things) and you want to see the heroes reach this epic ending. So you want both the epic journey and the super cool finale but you're impatient. Forget the "low-level = beginning" paradigm of video games (and usual games) In Star Wars, no major character on screen is level ...


12

You don't need to know all kinds of backstory detail. Where are James Bond's parents? How was James treated as a child? Who knows... that never matters to the story. The only things we know are the things that matter. So you have to ask yourself, "What matters?" What you want to know is the characters motivations as pertains to the campaign. What are ...


11

I think you've already answered your own question in your write-up: your character has lost his faith. Tragedy and self-doubt have shaken his beliefs and driven him to lose his devotion to his code and his cause. You don't need a god to punish him — the paladin is already punishing himself! Maybe he hates Pelor now. Maybe he just thinks of himself as ...


10

The Closest 'Real World' Equivalent to DnD Adventurers is the Noble Class One of the best, and only, ways to enter the Noble class from the peasantry was to be so ridiculously puissant at combat that you were given a command - and from that tiny band of men, achieved so much so prominently and notably that you were given a higher rank, and so forth. Saving ...


10

In some eras of Medieval Europe, there was a military unit known as a lance. It is like a squad, but also mirrors adventuring parties really well. This is especially true if you consider some of the attributes of lances: Everyone had a role or specialization within the lance (the knight, page, crossbowmen, the dude with the bill-hook, etc.) Basic lances ...


10

Here's a little tidbit that Microscope taught me: every scene has a particular question (or questions) associated with it. When that question is answered, the scene is over. You want to skip over scenes with questions that are uninteresting, and jump to the ones which are interesting, and that's exactly what you did. This is why nobody runs games with ...


9

First, maybe the player is not much into creating an entire back story beforehand. You don't need to know every details about the character before you start playing it. You can start by small elements and dig deeper but leave some space for the character to grow. I think you need only one generic question and then you build on the answer and ask more ...


9

Suggestion #1: The Cliche Ensure that your campaign includes frequent stops (that is, between dungeons - so to speak) at a common gathering place for adventurers. This makes it easy to accommodate players moving in and out of the game. This is aided by ensuring players understand that they are expected to stick with the game through the end of any adventure ...


9

Some more suggestions on top of Wesley's. Suggestion #4: Play a campaign where it doesn't matter If you run a very genre-aware, tongue-in-cheek dungeon crawl, such as Order of the Stick started out as, then you can just have people suddenly appear out of mysterious portals and get sucked into them. It doesn't break the immersion because there is no true ...


8

Burst Out Of The Enemy's Tribute Chest, Covered in Pork Chops This is not the only way to handle this situation, but it's what I always do. Always. You know that trope when the 'party is split' in a movie or TV series, where you follow one character as they uncover things or do things that affect the things the main party is doing? They see the secret, ...


8

Lead With the Cool Stuff You don't have a system tag and you're posing a question that spans genres, so I assume you have freedom to choose a system. So choose a system that empowers your choices and start with awesome. Systems like Fate Core and GUMSHOE assume competent PCs from the get-go. Some systems let you scale your PCs to the plans you have, like ...


7

Push your PCs together. You can do this several ways. Your excitable player is going to be the most vocal person at the table no matter what, so to involve the other players, make his vocalizations be with them. Call for a scene. "This is going to impact Simon the Mage, let's see the scene where you two talk about it." If your excitable player's new ...


7

For the simple reason: Because when you add dungeons full of loot, this becomes the 'gold rush'. The get-rich-quick that doesn't work for 95% of the people who try it. For the complex reason: Unless you're doing some house-ruled system with a lot of differences in how things work, fantasy worlds are not usually analogous to medieval Europe. Yes, it ...


7

I don't believe that there are some hard and fast rules about this. It's too much dependent on the situation, the context and the state of the players. But there are some ways that you can use in order to be better at spotting those "dead-meat" scenes. Know the genre you're working with No matter what game you are playing, it will fall to a certain genre. ...


6

Asmodeus is actively spreading lies about himself Everything we think we know about Asmodeus, we think we know because Asmodeus wants us to think them. All of the stories about his origins, deeds, difficulties, and triumphs, are heavily, actively, and constantly monitored, filtered, and altered by Asmodeus and his agents. Nothing known about him in AD&D ...


6

I have been called for, it appears. Canonically, of course, every origin or background of Asmodeus is a lie of some kind. While it's definitely accurate that he fell into Hell from elsewhere, and reasonably likely that his most well-known appearance is not the true nature of him, no one account best encapsulates the reality of what the Lord Below is. That ...


6

Your problem is that you have a certain end in sight, but don't have control over all the agencies that need to come together to reach that end. The exact same situation exists in much smaller scales, for example if you have an encounter where the players need to get past two guards. You plan out a whole back story, where they go and talk to the guard's ...


5

It's been a long time since I have looked into 2e books, so I'd rather go into the story aspect. If something does not fit rule-wise, you as a GM can fudge it, if it's not logical story-wise, being the GM will not help you :) A wizard has been used to infiltrate an organisation that in turn causes harm to the royal family. That's a devious plan, very ...


4

I have two suggestions: The One Ring: Adventures Over the Edge of the Wild published by Cubicle 7 in 2011 is a relatively new RPG set in J.R.R. Tolkien's Middle Earth. It emphasizes narrative and description and is light on magic. Very evocative of the mood of Tolkien's books. The One Ring has won several awards & receives favorable reviews. Lone Wolf ...


4

You might want to take a look at my Scourge of the Demon Wolf. It doesn't have much in the way of read aloud text, though I do write enough details in each encounter for a referee to run it with little prep. What prep there is thinking about how to roleplay the NPCs rather than preparing any type of mechanics. While statted out for Swords & Wizardry ...



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