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56

So, how do I get out of the vicious circle? Stop doing the thing that's causing it. You diagnosed this yourself: It's probably the worst issue I have as a Game Master, I think of a Game, I write a campaign plot for it, End, Beggining and Middle, get Hyped, Hype my players, and after 2 months I want the story to end, and it's usually too late to make ...


41

How about an Aboleth? These aberrations are distinctly inhuman (to the point that they can be terrible to behold for the unprepared), vastly powerful - both physically and mystically; and they are aquatic, usually residing in deep oceans - which allows you to introduce either a single creature or a whole city of these horrors into your campaign without too ...


39

The way I've always seen this done is to simply let everyone look over all the characters, and then let them decide among themselves who plays what. I guess this could lead to problems if there were two players who absolutely insisted on having the same character, but I've never witnessed that being an issue. More likely, one of them will just say "I ...


35

Behold the Beholder Classic fantasy based, preferably Western culture originating. The Beholder is a staple of Western fantasy gaming, one of the few creatures Wizards of the Coast and its predecessors have almost always considered to be Product Identity. They can't be a standard biped race, humans and elves are so last millennium. Oh, the beholder is ...


27

Sphinxes. You've got an imposing physical form combined with a mind suited to riddles and stratagems. Everyone knows that if you can't outsmart a sphinx, you're as good as meat. They are prone to discussion and monologue, so they can be negotiated with. They're even good spellcasters, some of them. Originates in Western culture, and though they may have ...


24

There is a really awesome example of how to do this, right in the classic Fantasy canon: Frodo and the Ring. Frodo holds the One Ring, and it has what is - for the setting - an extremely powerful magical effect. And yet the Fellowship of the ring still feels powerful and important. I'm going to try and break down why that's the case, and hopefully this will ...


24

Same Page Tool There is such a thing. It's called the Same Page Tool. It does require you to talk to the players, but gives you a structured set of questions to work from that can guide that conversation. There's really no way to do this that doesn't involve talking to them in some way, short of running campaigns and watching what they react to & what ...


15

Phoenix Though considered primarily in modern context as large birds of prey and not denoted to a particular level of intelligence, in ancient societies they were a symbol of prosperity and good rule, only appearing for good and virtuous leaders. Its immortality makes it a special point, as reasoning may be the only way to deal with it. In the Eastern ...


15

I believe that each person at the table is a player. To make this response easy to follow, one of those players will be called the GM, but I just wanted to make this aspect of my response clear up-front. "What is going to happen?" is a big part of play for every person at your table... except you, it seems. With your approach to pre-planning the game, you ...


14

Get feedback from your players. Set aside the last five minutes (or more) of the session to talk to the players: how do they think the game is going, what do they think will happen next, what can I do better, and what went well? Between the lines, you can determine what the players want (if they don't come out and say it). If the players aren't interested ...


12

A living, lonely, extremely powerful creature that can be reasoned with. Well, you have plenty of options. I will suppose that Outsiders (angels, demons and their kind) and Undead are out-of-bounds. If they are not, you have almost unlimited options, so leave a comment and I will expand this answer. Mind Flayers -> Those aberrations grapple your head and ...


11

To answer your two questions in backwards order, but easier context: Scene Framing Splitting the party is easy and fun when you don't let scenes drag. Just as much as movies and TV cuts to relevant points, you should aim to start scenes as close to the important action as possible. Don't spend long on the set up, get to the interesting point of the scene ...


10

The reason the rolls seems unfair is a problem called Goblin Dice. When talking about combat, d20 decide if a goblin lives or dies - but we all know sooner or later he will kick the bucket. When we use d20 to determine the success of one-of-a-kind events (like making a bluff check, a diplomacy check or a riddle-solving check), the high variability of the ...


9

I think maybe you are overthinking it a little. In the past, when I did this, I have assigned each player the character that I thinks he's going to play better, or I think will be more interesting to him. That's because I have very mutual trust with my players. But that way you can assign the simplest characters to the more novice players (e.g: leaving ...


8

Refer to the source If you want to create a campaign close to Buffy feel, you must watch or re watch Buffy, paying attention to get ideas for the game you want, and how they implement them. You must understand why they make the things they make in the way they make. In my opinion, Buffy as a (comedic) supernatural teen drama has the best balance between ...


8

I can understand switching to a different character once, like, you didn't understand the system or the campaign, and you didn't realize what kind of character would be a good fit for you. But repeatedly doing it, after just a few sessions? It's time to sit down with the player and have a hard talk. "What do you want from this game? Here is what ...


8

When I've engaged in this, it's usually because I've made a series of NPCs. When not thinking, I tend to form character requirements for maximum conflict-safety. (Not to say invulnerability within the mechanics of combat, but boring characters who don't want anything and thus have no reason for drama or narrative engagement.) Thus, because they are boring, ...


7

I have two systems and one book to recommend. PTA is a great game, as is Apocalypse World, but if you are interested in supernatural soap opera, there are two even better fits: Monsterhearts Monsterhearts is an amazing game - it's based on the Apocalypse World engine, but focuses on the teen relationship drama piece of Buffy. I have used it for a drop-in ...


6

Generate a random and empty dungeon. Roll some dice for page numbers and get monsters from those pages, then place them in the rooms. Now think about what makes all of this monsters live together in the same place. This is my recipe for making and/or creating random dungeons. I used it a few times back then, and we all really enjoyed it, but being 3 years ...


6

Give the item a support effect Give the artifact a support power which doesn't make (just) the wielder more powerful, but which buffs the whole party. That way everyone becomes more powerful and the wielder doesn't stand out that much. This can either be a passive effect, or an active effect the wielder has to activate manually. I would recommend the ...


6

How can I design investigative challenges that use a wide variety of abilities and reward teamwork? Do not even bother. Even if you come up with twelve really smart things(TM) the players can do, they'll got with option thirteen! This is the no plan survives contact with the enemy. Instead, I would focus on what has happened: How did the traitor do his ...


6

I'm also a guy who likes to play/run a LOT of different games. What I've done is instead of planning superlong campaigns, I plan short runs: 3-6 session game arcs that folks can play, and finish, relatively quickly. We'll usually play a game, finish, then move to the next game, and come back later if we want to pick it up again. This also works better as ...


6

If you're just starting out, I think it's best to start with the easiest measures of what's going on. What were the most fun parts of a session to you? Why? Did any parts stand out as having the other players really excited? Was there any points where you didn't know what to do, or the players seemed at a loss? Was there anything that was really ...


5

Decide what constitutes an investigation. If you design an investigation to be purely socially interactive, you're going to be left with the party face on a solo mission. Interview The standard Q&A of investigations. You ask questions, you get answers. Either they tell you or they don't, either you believe them or you don't. This is The Face's job. ...


5

Are you worried that some players will be twiddling their thumbs? Keep their hands busy! Your plot seems to me perfect to make it simultaneous with another plot. So, if you have another in mind, start it and that way there will be work for anybody. Speaking of job, there's plenty to do in a pirate ship. If you don't have another plot to keep the ...


5

I find that the opening session or two tends to center on feeling out the characters in general. The players, once interacting with each other for the first few times and being tossed into how your world and NPCs work might shift from the expectations. Think about almost every TV show you've seen - the pilot is usually more focused on making the characters ...


5

That you mention Concorde places this scenario in 1976 or later, probably before 2003 when Concorde was retired from service, though your scenario may vary from this. You mention a hijacking, and while some trains can be quite luxurious (e.g. the Orient Express), they are literally railroaded and are practically impossible to hijack. This leaves only ...


4

A World/Leviathan Turtle Classic fantasy based, preferably Western culture originating. Oh heck, yes. They can't be a standard biped race. Check. Not a dragon or a dragon clone. Nope. Living. Breathing. Consuming... just imagine how much it would take to feed such a thing. Lone being. Almost by definition. An intelligent being that can be reasoned ...


4

As the person who wrote the GM version of this question, I can tell you the things that I hope for from my players: Be Patient As a GM, the most stressful part of splitting the party is watching the players who aren't in the current scene drift off and lose interest. If your GM allows it, you should definitely stick around, pay close attention to the ...


4

Please keep in mind this answer is not supposed to replace any of the other or to be a complete answer to your question, but I'll try to outline my approach to handling the similar issue. I've been Storyrelling (GMing) a few similar campaigns in World of Darkness system, which is I believe perfect for this kind of premise. The idea of each one of them was ...



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