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1

There are many good nuggets of information above. One thing I would like to add that I haven't seen is Use Pre-Builts/Templates. Spend half of the points for them so it steers each character in a certain direction, but allows them some freedom to make it their own special brand of "weird". I've found this especially useful in games that require niches to ...


0

Before character generation, communicate to them clearly what theme you are going for. They can not make characters when they aren't aware of what to expect. Give them restrictions on character creation. Give them a list of properties their characters must have or must not have. The most extreme restriction would be to design some player-characters yourself ...


4

The Same Page tool is often wheeled out as the solution to this type of problem, and it is extremely good at what it does. However, I wanted to talk in more general terms about what needs to happen here. If you have decided on a tone and theme to the game you want to run, you need to... Communicate this as clearly as you can to your players before you do ...


7

Talk to your players and ensure that everyone is on The Same Page Your players may be creating characters contrary to your setting because they may not realize that your style of GMing is not the same as another game they have played in. Making a Socialite Noble bard in a kick-in-the-door style of game, or a Lich Wizard in a Good aligned campaign are going ...


2

On achieving immersion: If you can find a movie that mirrors your setting, show a 10–30 minute excerpt of it at character creation to "set the tone". Allow players to specify that things are being done IC or OOC — and allow as many OOC questions as needed. Make it clear that nonsensical actions will be disallowed but not punished. Incentivise ...


2

It sounds like your players are inexperienced with sandboxing. Instead of letting them march to their deaths, divert them. A terrible rain comes up, and a nearby river goes out of its banks. The Evil General moves his camp a half-mile to higher ground. "Well, if you can start your plan, but first you'll have to wade 200' through mud up to your hips while ...


5

Passing time is a useful technique. Time should always be passed when no one is interested in a given period of time and no result of the time period will matter later. Time should not be passed if anyone is interested in the events of the time period (usually because they want to act in it) nor should it be passed if any player's understanding of what is ...


3

I do this all the time in my campaigns. I play with my group during the school year since we are in college. So running my game is more of a Cinematic feel. If they need to travel 200 miles from one town to the outskirts of where the adventure truly lies, I deem it unnecessary to "waste" our limited game time on random bandit attacks on the road. That said, ...


19

Yes, Absolutely. In any circumstance where you're trying to shoo in a sense of urgency and you need to be at the castle to rescue the princess as soon as possible, and you're sure that the princess is acutally at said castle after performing divinations or using your information and contacts to confirm her location, fast forwarding keeps the emotions at the ...


2

I do stuff like this for things like retreading through cleared dungeon floors, but for stuff like exploring the dungeon itself it's kind of expected that you at least give them the ability to search through the map and try out all the different paths themselves- if you just strip away the map and skip right into the necessary encounters one after another ...


1

Remember, you are playing a game - you may be trying to make it "realistic", but that doesn't mean it has to be completely true to life! So, there's a simple solution to your problem: Let the players die. Then resurrect them. Maybe they make it to the banks of the styx, where they are met by [god of the dead] who offers to bring them back to life if they ...


0

Ok, I have a short answer with what I would do, based on my experience as a DM. I would have the general throw a lot of force at the weakest part of the plan, capturing/killing that one PC. I would have him use enough force that the other PCs can't be pursued too hard without sacrificing the defense of the general. This way you send the message to the ...


4

If there is a loremaster type character in my group I focus more on lore as a central part of the game plot. If the only lore in the game the group need to progress is for example some historic event you either know about or you don't there is no way to make a loremaster mechanic interesting no matter the method of knowledge transfer you use. Instead I try ...


-1

There are many things you can do to give a loremaster archetype something to do that they choose. Others have already discussed the 'player as GM' and 'loremaster must choose specific questions to ask' solutions, so I will mention a 3rd. Games can range anywhere from groups where you make an assumption that all the characters and players, will be working ...


5

If the information is solely limited to things the GM has decided - then yes, you are stuck with the mouthpiece issue, as tabletop RPGs are played through conversation, and if only one person can declare facts, then that is what you end up with. However, allowing players to make input can vary greatly in scope, and maybe one of these will work better for ...


6

Option 3, All the Way! You act like option 3 is a joke, but it doesn't have to be. In my campaigns, most of my players write 2-3 page backstories (of their own volition), and I try to help each of them determine how their background fits into the current campaign. I also end up writing 1-2 paragraphs about each important location, event and NPC for my own ...


18

I'm going to take a slightly different tack here, because it sounds like the question is about games where the GM doesn't want to cede the authority to the player to "just make stuff up." And even in games where the GM does, sometimes it's not appropriate. The method I've used, with reasonable success, goes something like this: Keep the information per ...


2

Disclaimer: Which tactic is best depends, as always, on the style/theme of your game, the scope of lore being discussed, and the players involved. Empower the player to alter the setting: Defer to Jadasc's fuller answer: let the player improvise, and treat anything they say as fact unless it contradicts a previous fact/event of the campaign, or a major ...


6

There's not a lot to be done here in the general case. The three options you listed are pretty much definitive. You need to push information from the GM to a player, and it's unlikely that you'll know what information needs to be pushed in advance. You could do something crazy, like write up a comprehensive wiki of your campaign world and give the ...


30

Let the loremaster improvise. Start with the premise that "loremaster" doesn't mean "omniscience" or "retrocognition." There are many things that are not written down, not on the grid, were never recorded in lore, or have simply been forgotten or altered with time. Make sure the player has a solid grasp of the themes of the game. When it comes time for ...


4

I prefer (iv), give the loremaster an overview and then make them ask for more details. For example: GM: "You know this and that about <some corporation>, you also have more details, feel free to ask." Player: "Do I know who is the head of that corporation?" GM: "Yes, you do, it is <that guy>" Player: "And do I also know the ...


25

there was a spy present at the meeting where the plan was hatched and discussed If you want to warn the players off their plan in a plausible way, the existence of this spy offers some options to do that. Have the spy change allegiance and come to the players with a warning, for a price. "Get me/my family/and a sack of jewels out of the war zone and ...


12

Some of my rules of running a sandbox: It is better to spoil surprises than to appear unfair. Do you best to ensure you have given them all the information they should have. When things do go wrong, provide opportunities for retreat. While you know more than the players, you also know more than the NPCs. The NPCs aren’t perfect, and their countermeasures ...


5

When the players come up with a bad plan, I would look at their character sheets, and see if the bad plan is in character or not. I'd start by looking for relevant special talents. Any character who is supposedly a talented spy or tactician would detect any clear problems, and have a chance (I'd roll) to detect less obvious problems. I'd pass a note (or ...


5

Capture them alive, rather than killing them. The assassination fails, but the target has a reason to want to keep the PCs around. They wake up in prison. Of course, the daily logistics of prison life does not make for a very fun RPG, so you need to offer the PCs some opportunities to get out. The simplest option is to just have their captor use them in a ...


5

You don't need to change the world, you just need to change the outcome. Depending on your players just letting them all die might be a valuable lesson. For many groups though that would not go down well, so a better approach is to give them advance warning that their plan is flawed through in-game agency. In fact you have the perfect case here. There was ...


8

Whose plan is this, really? Do the characters have a plan that will get them killed? Or do your players have a plan that will get their characters killed? There's a subtle difference, and your response should hinge on which of the two it is. The players made a terrible plan Players only have fairly limited information about the world and are often not as ...


56

Let them fail - miserably! But don't kill them... A lot of good stories start out like this: You have a bunch of over confident wanna-be heroes who want to kill the evil general with a stupid plan. So of course it is doomed to fail, they will never kill them and they will surely get caught. But why should they all be killed? The evil general probably has ...


27

Let's simplify this scenario to what it amounts to: there's a button, and the players want to push it, and they're not sure what will happen, but you alone know that if they push it they die. Right now, you only see the option that they die. It is inescapable that character death tends to suck. You could explain they had no way of finding out — that ...


9

While life is a sandbox you can still inject direction What you're looking for here is a lifeline for your players so they don't all get themselves brutally murdered. What you also know the players need is more information about their enemy, in the great tradition of unknown unknowns what the players don't know is the most dangerous thing about a sandbox, ...


83

What you are trying to create in a sand box is player agency. My definition of this is: Players making informed decisions that have reasonable consequences It is important to remember that there is an inherent information imbalance in RPG: you have it, they don't. It is your job as DM to give them information that is relevant, reasonable and ...


1

It sounds like the annoying things the player does are all in-game and characterization related rather than meta-game related. What I mean by that is that the player isn't having his character stop the other party members from doing anything or even engaging in manipulative behavior to minimize the importance/screen time of the other PCs. The player is ...


1

Some great answers here. I'd like to add that anti-authoritarians have their place, I've DMed for parties that were basically composed of nothing else and I've played one or two myself. My answer to DMing them was to run my campaigns with a "I fought the law but the law won" philosophy. Hilarious barbarian misunderstanding in a shop leading to the store ...


0

The first question you have to ask yourself is - is everyone having fun? If not, find a way to handle this, ideally with the whole group. But if they are, it might just be something interesting to work with. As part of the character background, you really need to answer a few questions: How did he manage to survive up to the point your guys got together? ...


4

Don't Let Fear of Metagaming Keep You From Playing The Game When you have knowledge that your character doesn't, it can be frustrating. You'll often feel like you're helpless to deal with a challenge that would be trivial if your character just knew one stupid thing. If you're frustrated, you're not having fun, so the solution here isn't to just tamp down ...


2

Bob's authority problem goes beyond the game, and extends to the game master. The player is attempting to exploit their plot armour. A simple example I have is this: the players had arrived at a city under shaky military rule and frequently raided. At the gates they were asked what their business was. They had a fine cover story, and no affiliation with any ...


2

The problem crossed over to my domain when one player started issuing in-character death threats. He tells me he was only joking, but he continues to make them regularly although I've asked him to stop. The other player approached me and asked me to kick the first person out of the group. I understand that they don't get along, but how can I stop them ...


4

I'd like to suggest a completely different way of handling this. The Party Needs to Manage The Crazy Ok, you're on a mission with Rambo and last time you had to deal with an authority figure he damn near nuked you all into oblivion. He's borderline homocidally/suicidally insane. So now you need to talk with another authority figure - what do you do? If ...


0

Ride the chaos. Handle them more like partners. It is a different style of gaming, not always useful if your GMing style is more authoritative. Probably he doesn't have a strong wish to challenge your authority, he only has a strong imagination about the world around his character. His goal is not to force this to you, his goal is to integrate it with your ...


5

Go bowling with Bob Presuming you have talked with Bob (you say that you have), and that this is an intractable problem (it appears so), and that you have attempted to curb this behavior, and don't want to play with that kind of character... Don't invite Bob to the game table anymore. Go bowling with Bob, or do other friend-things with Bob. I have had no ...


13

There are many damaged RPG players out there, who have been damaged by DMs who consistently railroad them. They have been taught again and again by DMs that the only way to maintain any kind of control over the plot and what your character does is to have a character that is a master at violence, and be willing to use the combat subsystem to impose their ...


1

1. Map their dislike into the game. Maybe there is the possibility, that they will enjoy the game better, if they have the possibility to confront with each other in the game. Despite that most games are focusing to a party of adventurers trying to reach some common goal, more or fewer internal conflict between the player characters are quite common. 2. ...


7

Suspend disbelief, harder You're already suspending disbelief to buy into your game's setting. You put yourself into another person's mindset to play your character. Extend to techniques farther in order to omit relevant metagame knowledge from your roelplaying. Ask you self "If I didn't know X, what would my character do here?". That's what you should ...


0

Are the two odd players out just playing with an unnecessary amount of apprehension? Are they playing in character and the way the game of heroic adventure was designed to be played? If not, encourage them to join the fray. If they're playing "well", then you may need to find a part of the game rules that rewards any good playing that the more cautious ...


3

One tip that can be useful, when this is important, is to give up some of the control. This is especially useful for situations where your character might know/figure out the information that you know, or might randomly decide to do the advantageous thing. Assign a probability to either figuring out the information, or doing the beneficial thing. "Yeah, ...


7

Find out what's going on The behavior is a symptom. It's not the problem. The problem is that there's a mismatch of expectations between you and this player, and you need to get to the bottom of this before you can fix the problem. Really, the first step to resolving this is to sit down with the player and say something like, "Hey, I noticed you went a ...


2

Your player had me feeling okay, up until he pressed the button to his thermal detonator, and literally nuked the campaign in a hissy fit. As I said in my comment, playing a character accurately is good RP, but playing a character in such a way that is detrimental to the party, suicidal to himself and those around him, and destructive to the campaign as a ...


2

The scenario you describe is text-book GM 'railroading', which may be what Bob is really rebelling against. Some players simply don't enjoy having their characters blackmailed like that, and it will show in how their characters react. If that type of situation is a common 'motivator' in your campaign, consider changing it. For example... why did you not ...



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