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1

I agree that there is little chance of solving the problem while you're GMing in this way and, sadly, if you keep doing this you won't be able to find anyone that wants to play the games you're designing. That said, I'd like to submit an approach that was used as the foundation for a campaign world that lasted ten years and at times had three or four groups ...


5

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, ...


0

Player Satisfaction Generally character remodeling is a symptom of either dissatisfaction or boredom, both of which indicate the player is not receiving what they wish to receive from the game. Talk to them about their expectations, and also look at your own GMing skills, especially in things like spotlight time and player agency. If necessary, do a quick ...


2

Inevitably the best solution in these situations is Talk It Out If you've been experience a common problem at your tables but haven't been actually asked the players what's up (as alluded to when you say "I'm guessing"), you're failing in one of the primary duties of the GM; which is to make sure everyone is having fun. Now, it might be that this player is ...


5

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 ...


2

The problem is you are creating when you should be game mastering. The creative itch pulls you into going way farther than is necessary, given the short time frame of your attention during gaming. I would suggest developing one campaign while running another. You can pull in concepts from the developing campaign without tying your development to an actual ...


0

Angel Angels are badass. They are always appearing to cause trouble and no one knows why. Angels don't have to be emissaries of God. They are alternatively represented as Half-bird/half-human things or occasionally as thinly-disguised demons. http://media.animevice.com/uploads/3/37524/677068-safer_sephiroth.jpg Classic fantasy based, preferably Western ...


3

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 ...


1

Really I have 3 ideas here. This has already been said, but make shorter campaigns. You get bored quickly and so build the campaigns in a way so that they will be shorter. This lets them get the feeling of completing the campaign as well as giving you less time to get bored. Write a very generic/open ended story. Come up with a solid start then make an ...


-1

First, kudos for a fascinating question. Game is DnD 3.5, not that it matters. Actually, it might. Another responder linked a newbie-friendly roleplaying question. It's possible that the mechanics of a game may get in the way of a player's expectations or such. I can see how the mechanics of, say, Hasbro's latest tabletop-"MMO"s get in the way of my ...


2

There must be some successful, humane way of introducing the players to a setting they have no clue about. It's all about making that kind of translation a smooth and gentle. Take it in two parts. 1) The players need a rundown. 1a) .. of the things which local everyday people know about the region 1b) .. of the things which local everyday people know ...


0

To me these are 2 different things. The rules 3E/3.5E/4E/5E are just rules for how things happen. The campaign and story is independent of these rules (for the most part). I would not throw out both at same time, if the campaign is not working fix it. If its the rules fix it or switch to a diff set of rules, heck mix the rules if you want. The biggest ...


2

I have two suggestions. First: Stop planning the ending. Seriously. What I'm hearing (and I could very well be wrong) is that you get ideas for stories and try to run people through a story - not through a campaign. Let yourself discover what the ending of the campaign is going to be, based on what the players are doing. Let yourself be surprised by ...


4

From my personal experience with the same problem... Being a gamemaster can be very rewarding. Plotting, creating a world full of life and death, and knowing where all of the bodies are buried. It can be intoxicating. But I've also found that it can be stifling. My cure for it was found quite by accident, when I started into narrative style gaming. ...


2

There is a cheesy way out that no one has yet mentioned. Switch to the new campaign, but work in a bridge from the current campaign and pretend they are the same. This can work even if you switch to a new system (you can upgrade the characters in place rather than start new ones). Of course, sometimes the new idea is really incompatible with the old one. ...


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 ...


4

First, tell the players that you want to end your current campaign but want to give it a proper conclusion. Wrap up your current campaign quickly. You've got an ending in mind; massage the rest of the plans to bring that ending sooner. If necessary, change the final challenge to be more appropriate to lower-level characters. Don't toss in a total deus ex ...


23

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 ...


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 ...


2

It looks like there are two interwoven issues here. The first is that you're attracted to a new game system. The second is that you've become bored with the campaign you're currently running, and are feeling like you could create a new campaign that would be more rewarding. The lure of a new game system can be difficult to resist. Our group shifts systems ...


54

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 ...


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 ...


-7

Mewtwo (from Pokémon The First Movie) = overwhelming power (psychic), but unfocused (amoral?). In the process of seeking worthiness, instead decides to leave upon witnessing selfless sacrifice. (The 1979 Star Trek movie with V'ger also comes to mind.) Probably want a different embodiment (less cute), but could be a source of inspiration.


1

Any sort of Chimaera, really, which I mean as an adaptation of the genetic sense (beings made from the parts of many creatures). In fact, this is essentially what the "dragons" in many cultures are. Classic fantasy based, preferably Western culture originating. There are a ton of examples from greek mythology. They can't be a standard biped race Even if ...


-1

How about some kind of parasite creature similar to Star Gate's Goa'uld, Star Trek's Trill or Heinlein's Slugs from the Puppet Masters. One of these parasite creatures could take over any host body and confront the players. They would likely be quite confused to keep running into the same personality in different bodies. I am not sure if that meets your ...


10

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 ...


13

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 ...


32

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 ...


38

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 ...


24

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 ...


0

When you're building a dungeon, you are designing a level for a game. A good starting place is to read articles and books about level design written by professional game developers. Here are some recommendations to get you started: Beginning Level Design, Part 1 Beginning Level Design, Part 2 Ten Principles of Good Level Design (Part 1) Ten Principles of ...


3

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 ...


3

Making things interesting during an investigation should be much like most other situations. First off, stay in character and play your character. Too often I've run or played games where people will drop their character and just play the stats. At that point they're either looking for rules to help them out or rolls to take over. If you're in a good sync ...


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 ...


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 ...


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 ...


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. ...


0

Actually, I don't think this is how knowledge skills work in Shadowrun. The knowledge skill is neither "exact details on every triad branch's lair including building plans" nor "investigate unseen about...". It is more of an abstract measure for the probability of a PC to know something related to a specific topic. In this case the dice system of shadowrun ...


3

Split the Magical doodad into Multiple parts Have each person in your group receive a piece of the Magical doodad. Each piece confers different benefits, when each person grabs it, it's locked to their character and they cannot change it for another part of the mystical doodad. Give each piece an effect that when wielded separately they don't do much ( ...


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 ...


2

Once every X usage "It can only be used once a year". "It can only be used once every 100 days" etc. Still gives the wielder an uber thing... but a limited uber thing. Given how limited it is, it becomes a party decision to try to figure out when to use it and for what best effect. Because the user can't just use it all the time, in every session, it ...


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 ...


0

I got a one-shot idea which is very funny and require virtually no-prep (but you have to have some rulebook with typical enemies stats if you can't improvise them): The nightmare dungeon (of laziness +5) Basically the players enter a strange dungeon and you just set some very strange and intriguing elements. The truth is that they entered some kind of ...


1

TSR wrote a how-to book for 1st Edition AD&D back in the 1980's: The Dungeoneer's Survival Guide. It includes specific guidelines for creating dungeons, and guidelines for drawing them. It's available electronically. Most of the content is applicable to any edition of D&D; about 1/4 is specific to AD&D 1E, and only about 1/3 is actually rules ...


4

Two possibilities that come to mind are an article from a series by "The Architect DM" and the AD&D book "Dungeon Builder's Guidebook" by Bruce Cordell. The first of those two is a series of articles you can find on the Critical Hits blog with the specific article being found here. The other I bought many years ago, but Amazon appears to have links to ...


2

Any books I could find directly related to dungeon design were outdated/out of print. As such I'm going to give you general tips and advice for dungeon design. Take inspiration from other Media Think about Moria in LOTR or an ancient temple in any of the Indiana Jones movies. These locations/setpeices were exciting and engaging to a passive audience ...


2

Here's what I do in my heavy-RP games to make the "everyday" engaging. Investment Warning, this does require PC buy-in up front - if they try to play the "orphan loner vigilante" angle like 90% of D&D characters, you're going to have a difficult time. Consider requiring them to generate two relationships with NPCs and one with a PC at character ...


3

You cannot be too mundane, or it will be dreadfully boring. So, what I'm describing is probably just a bit more than the mundane everyday. It's important to have a strong social context. Nobody grows up in a vaccuum. So, make sure that each PC has connections with interesting people, places, or organizations. Even in everyday life, there is always a ...


-3

You can not make daily lives seem interesting. If doing the dishes were interesting, noone would play RPGs. Witnessing a crime is not part of daily life. No wonder James Bond is never shown as he fills out ammo request forms, or files the receipts of his expenses.


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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