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88

Historically speaking, your players aren't doing anything wrong. Incendiary weaponry has a long history in europe stretching back to the early middle ages and "dark" ages. Fire was and is a psychologically powerful weapon and all sorts of things from flaming oil to bursting clay pots were used against enemies. See Greek Fire as an example from as early as ...


30

The Molotov Issue Don't punish or limit your players, Challenge them! Your PCs may be great at coming up with incendiary devices that'll wreak havoc on their enemies, but once those enemies foolish enough to fall into the trap are dealt with, it stands to reason that the next foe will come prepared. Indeed, the might even pick up on the idea of using ...


20

Technically, @Joshua Aslan Smith 's points are correct, and in general they're good maxims for a GM to follow. However, @BESW 's comment on the dangers of escalation of brutally effective battlefield tactics is spot on. Even for more mundane applications, occasionally someone comes up with something unbalancingly clever, and while you definitely want to ...


17

In a word Don't. You have smart players that like to take advantage of putting together common things to solve unique problems. They have just made life for you very easy by showing you exactly what they want in a game. My actionable advice is this; Design challenges without a solution. Not all of your challenges, but enough to sate your player's ...


17

The problems with your approach seems to be the problems with MacGyver: People don't just instantly invent super technology that works extremely well and immediately solves problems and defeats strong opponents, except rarely and in extremely limited conditions that usually involve one-time surprises more than it's that their invention is a new uber-weapon. ...


17

There are two ways of doing it: Open Simply speak the information aloud. All players must trust that the others are not going to use out of character information to make decisions. That is, everyone's characters must act as if they don't know that the rogue has kept gold to himself. Closed Pass the information only to the player that knows it. In old ...


16

@RobertF 's post with its pictures of Djoser's pyramid were intriguing... after looking more into that, I found that the pyramid itself is part of a larger funerary and religious complex. So, while the areas under the pyramid (the "tomb" proper) are relatively small and simple, the entire complex consists of large open areas, tight maze-like corridors, big ...


15

In addition to excellent examples provided by Robert and Wesley, I think it bears mentioning that it is worthwhile to make the distinction between "realistic" and "realistic in a fantasy setting". Most real-world cultures would build their tombs on the assumption that the stiffies are not going to get up and walk away on their own (barring some resurrection ...


14

I think we have similar lines of thinking. Looking to the real world not only is a great resource that can be inspiring, sometimes drawing a map lends itself to grid-based 2-dimensionsal thinking. D&D maps are also grand in scale and as you and others have pointed out, with the focus on what's fun. I too think this can backfire when suspension of ...


12

I have absolutely no problems with PCs being smart, creative and inventive while solving problems. I have a problem though, when the players are smart/inventive in ways which don't fit the setting or their supposed PC knowledge. It seems to me that this is not an in-game issue, it is a social contract issue. The same could be said if the players ...


12

Are We Overthinking This One? This is a classic game balance situation. On the one hand, no DM ever wants to hear themselves say, “stop playing so good” or “in the middle ages everybody was dumb.” On the other hand, player improvisations can get, well, out of hand. Believe it or not, there is a really easy fix for things like this. It’s not in the ...


12

What you've got here is a player who seems hell-bent on wrecking your campaign for grins... and, more importantly, a group of players who, in your own words, are tired of his antics. I postulate that there really isn't any way for you to channel his "violence and strangeness" constructively, as the appeal to him is figuring out how best to be obnoxious. I ...


12

This player sounds ripe for being the Badguy's Dupe. He can be the one who's offered a simple scheme that involves betraying the PCs at the right moment. His character can profit and advance from this betrayal, and whatever it is will set some Big Evil plan into motion. Why a Dupe, and not the Big Bad himself? Dupes have choices to make. They can try to ...


6

Most "gadgets" are surprisingly difficult to get right. I know you don't want to focus too much on the Molotov, but it's actually a very good example on how to challenge the feasability of the gadget invented. Molotov: Put flamable liquid into bottle, stick wick to it, light wick, toss bottle. Sounds easy, does it? Getting the right container. It's easy ...


6

In some game systems, you can remind them that they are playing a character, not themselves. Have them roll against their intelligence, idea, luck, education, wisdom, etc to discover if their character is capable of coming up with the idea, then against other attributes to find out if they actually carried it out successfully. You don't need to make it ...


6

So, it sounds like this guy is playing Richard from Looking For Group. In the comic, Richard is a gleefully evil warlock that pretty much gets his power from slaughtering innocents. So he kills random bystanders, cute animals, and children. Heck, he has a little coastal town full of undead minions. This works, because the group is largely composed of ...


5

The other posts have great comments about in-game and meta-game ways to limit this. I'd like to address another reason why MacGyvering may not work, namely that MacGyver had a team of writers inventing the scenes and a team of prop-makers and set-builders making the scenes work. Things that look easy on film are not necessarily easy in reality. For ...


5

In the past, I have passed notes or taken players into the next room, depending on the complexity of the situation. However, I don’t recommend any of that. In my experience, most RPGs work best as cooperative games, especially D&D. It’s best if the characters cooperate, but it’s absolutely crucial that the players do. Thus, in the scouting example, I ...


4

I usually pass them notes. So do most GM's I have played with. If there is some complex information I can anticipate someone maybe getting, I can write it up in advance, to speed things up during play. I may even write a few versions of some notes, or some notes that are useful in a variety of situations that may come up, possibly even will "fill in the ...


4

One strategy, if you want to base your dungeons on real tombs, is to use more than one tomb. Imagine an ancient culture that buried its kings in a single complex for many generations. Rather than using a common crypt as other noble families might, each king expanded the complex, carving out his own separate tomb from the others. A single tomb might look much ...


4

I'll try to cover some ground that hasn't already been well-trodden. There are two things you should keep in mind about the characters that will make for a more immersive game: They are almost certainly not the most powerful group of people in the game, and PCs do not exist in a vacuum. (Unless you're playing a space game, but I digress...) One of the ...


3

Why so stressed about the molotovs? I'm not familiar with the setting(s) in which you're GMing these games, but I know that even regular old D&D provides explicit rules and damage for throwing a burning pot of oil. It certainly isn't anything game-breaking. I also don't know what the circumstances of these characters crafting these molotovs are, but it ...


3

(There are some very good answers here, and I realize it's a two-year-old question, but I can think of a few things to add, which might be useful to other GM's.) Some reasons I dislike PC's using torture ... and especially "too much" torture, is that it can tend to dehumanize the attitude towards game characters, and dehumanize the PC's. The players can ...


3

I just learned of this today but feel like sharing it immediately: Metagame rewards survey http://d7.pipemaze.com/files/metagame-rewards-survey.pdf Created by member @SevenSidedDie inspired by this blog post (thanks for sharing!). I will definitely print a bunch of them and bring them to our next session. I feel our group can profit quite a bit by just ...


2

With a 99 cent spiral notebook. No, I'm serious. Any campaign that's goign to take up more space than a spiral notebook is going to be too complicated for you to keep track of in the first place, and with a physical spiral notebook with campaign notes in-hand, you can refer to any campaign-based rule by reference with ease. Just as long as you keep the ...


2

You may consider thinking outside the tomb. Why does the tomb itself have to be the maze? Can it be located somewhere treacherous and hard to reach? You may have it centered in a winding, narrow canyon, which presents its own dangers. Perhaps half of the task is finding out where it is, or its entrance. Perhaps there's some artifact required to breach its ...


2

Most tomb designs these days are for solely the remembrance and housing of the dead, but that has not always been the case. In the 18th and 19th centuries, doctors had recognized the value of dissecting cadavers as an aid to learning, yet the practice was illegal, prompting the advent of body snatching. This led to competition between body snatchers trying ...


2

This depends in part on the design of the rest of your world, but a sufficiently complex set of ruined buildings -- possibly buried, possibly not -- would correspond pretty closely to the classic halls-and-rooms dungeon. I know of one college campus, for example, which is mostly connected either on upper floors or at basement levels, and which has something ...


2

Man, MacGuyver had it easy. Focusing first on improvised weapons LIKE the Moltov (but not exclusive to it), how effective do they expect an improvised weapon to be, exactly? Sure, if they in fact have the talent to create it (with whatever weapon-crafting technique they want to use in the system you're using) they can give it a try, but it's not ...


2

I had the same issue few times, and I couldn't solve it much better than you - once the PC's invention became known, a lord sent assassins to kill the PC and prevent spearind of air guns, which could one day endanger armored knights and thus break the dominance of chivalry (just like crossbows were forbidden for a long time in Middle Ages). Now, years later, ...



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