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1

Microscope describes itself as "fractal" in the sense that the players can "zoom in" forever adding more and more detail anywhere in the storyline. It's an analogy to fractal images, which have a similar property of allowing zooming in and discovering more and more detail. The real differences in Microscope compared to the typical way someone might create a ...


8

Fate Core, and other Fate-based systems, seem to do exactly what you're asking for. Since you're asking specifically about character backgrounds, I'll skip the part about collaborative game-world creation, which is also present in these games, and skip straight to the characters. Chapter 3: Character Creation (FC30) opens with the header "Character Creation ...


0

Technoir immediately sprang to my mind. The core scenario mechanic involves a list of 6 contacts, places, objects, organisations, something I can't remember and threats which are randomly combined with the GM inventing the reasons for their connections. This could probably be modified to do what you want.


3

It depends on the playstyle (as decided by the GM, and/or agreed on by the players), as there are trade-offs depending on how much one prefers things such as: Players liking to roll dice for their own actions. How much game jargon is desired in the game narrative. (Some players enjoy talking about and playing with the numbers and turns and game terms ...


8

Microscope works fine for this. The two problems you note aren't actually problems Microscope itself brings to the table: Microscope focuses on historical events and questions. This is the usual focus of Microscope, but it's an effect of the type of history the group has chosen, not the game itself. Choosing the history of a group of people will result in ...


4

First, we need to understand what a fractal is. Then we can see how that applies to a story generating system, for this I'll use Microscope as an example since I'm familiar with that game already. Wikipedia: A fractal is a natural phenomenon or a mathematical set that exhibits a repeating pattern that displays at every scale. If the replication is ...


2

You could for example how the character suddenly is plagued by a looming dread, his thoughts betraying him/her in that doubts come up much more frequently, in effect he/she starts to second guess themselves thus the two rolls and because second guessing is time consuming he/she always gets the worst of the rolls. As a aside, explaining game mechanics ...


20

With most tabletop RPGs there is going to be a certain level of disconnect between the mechanics of a mysterious effect and its, well, mysteriousness. Here are a few ways to handle this kind of situation sorted from most player knowledge to least. Describe the effect, explain the rules This is probably the simplest option and the one I would recommend ...


-1

Betrayal is always a good one, too. One of my players played a character that he designed to betray the entire group. Of course, with the gaming style of my players, they all had a part in helping design the character (they all love a good story, instead of just hack n' slashing... they save all that energy for FSPs). The whole time the character ran with ...


0

While another answer had a great deal of helpful advice, I have found a better solution to the problem. Call for Less Rolls In my group, the group for which this question was originally asked, I have discovered that de-emphisizeing the game system, and focusing more on role-playing, have caused the split party to keep themselves occupied. While the bad ...


0

First consider: There's no "best way", of course, as it's a creative problem with varied circumstances, and depends on the players and their tastes. It's certainly not best to try to control other people and make them treat anything with respect. It doesn't work, can backfire, and isn't an effective way to get what you want. Not all players want to play a ...


7

This answer assumes that one of the things interfering with the memorability of your character deaths is disrespect and looting from peers. We have done a few things in our campaign that address this, which you may consider in yours. Our campaign features occasional character death. One of my concerns as Game Master was that looting the corpses of one's ...


1

I have nothing to offer in terms of how to stage a death memorably. It's a difficult task because so much of the circumstances will be beyond your control. But you've already got some good advice on how to make the best of things. What I've always found to be a more important moment in making a death memorable is what happens afterwards. What do the players ...


34

What can be done to ensure that even a random death down a pit trap is handled respectfully so the player will remember their character well, rather than the rest of the players gathering around to loot their still-warm corpse? Honestly? There's not really much you can do (in the general case). In order for a death to be meaningful, there must be ...


6

I've found 2 ways that really work for the groups I've run with. But first thing's first: random die rolls, and things they really couldn't avoid are a no go. That would only serve to annoying the players. Make sure it's early in the campaign (so rerolling isn't such a chore). Make it seem kinda obvious that fighting here would get you killed. "This giant ...


1

This one can be difficult because a character can die to so many things... The pit fall trap gave me an idea, which you might be able to homerule it abit. (For keeping the character memorable.) You could have the character roll a reflex save to use his weapon to try and latch onto the wall, the unfortunate thing is that he fell to far for the others to grab ...


3

Make them really excited for the new system/setting Our group was in a similar situation several times these last years. On some rare occasions it actually worked out for someone to introduce new systems and/or settings which were then very quickly picked up by other players in GM roles (if not in the very first session they still got into GMing the new ...


5

The Angry DM has a good article about non-combat encounters, generally. Speaking to dialog with NPCs in particular, his advice (which I've started using, to good effect) is to give each NPC a(n): Incentive: why might they help the PCs? Objection: why might they not help the PCs? Alignment (even if the game/system doesn't use alignments; they're more ...


2

As a new DM, this has been a learning process for me as well. Here is how I personally have improved (and am continuing to improve). Spend longer before the game than you think is necessary. Approaching this like a writer has helped me significantly- make sure you write down the NPC's motivations, recent history, personality, and other details. Anything ...


10

I think of this as a two part issue: "How do I work out what NPC expresses with their answer?" and "How does the NPC express themselves in that answer?" Given that you're only worried about major NPCs, the first part is the easy one: At all times, bear in mind your NPC's motivations, both localised and general. Which is to say, have in mind a rough idea of ...


2

Since the players are primarily focused on each other and their new romance, allowing the romance into the quest allows the romance to enrich the game play instead of distract from it. So instead of watching them ignore the world around them You can draw their intense emotions for each other into their characters making the game richer, and having ingame ...


20

I'll never claim to be the greatest GM, but here's a few things that I've come up with after a couple of years running a game: Describe how instead of just saying what Sometimes all you need to do is give the players the gist of the NPC's message if you add in a description of how they say it. Say something about the nervous tick, the furtive glances, the ...


4

I'm an introvert, but not shy by any means. My struggles in RPGing is when I DO want to say something, and I can't get a word in because the other players forget I'm there, or are just being their boisterous selves. Both of the guys who GM our games have noticed this. GM 1 is less diplomatic about it - and sometimes I'm bothered by how he deals with it. If ...


6

Even aside from the detail that they're making out, your question mentions that they're distracted from the game sufficiently that the GM is having to repeat things for them and that the rest of the group is having to wait for them to catch up and get with the program. This is an issue regardless of whether it arises from them making out, getting lost in ...


16

Before giving ultimatums to anyone, try a little gentle prodding. Depending on your age and social norms, that could be as simple as snickering and saying “Get a room, you two!” when they start up, or you could ask them politely to refrain, or even just say that it makes you feel uncomfortable. That may solve the problem completely and immediately, or it may ...


0

Get him to try and incorporate that into the character's personality. The first game I played, I had a character that was highly paranoid due to him secretly being a political refugee. He had a fake name and didn't talk a lot because he was afraid that people would ask too many questions about his origins. I also set his alignment to true neutral so he ...


8

Run short demo games If people are only willing to play or GM in familiar games and/or systems, try running one to three session introduction games. This will take some of the burden of off you in running a full-scale campaign for every new system you want to try, and will give them a chance to experience a "preview" of the game that might get them more ...


24

I've had similar challenges, both with getting group buy-in to try new systems and with getting people to feel comfortable GMing anything at all. My solution was a long-game process of changing the "landscape" of how people at the table viewed their role in the game. I didn't set out to deliberately address the challenges you're facing, but it's ...


3

You could try having them watch others play a new system. As a player this has given me a taste of how the systems work and the tone of the game. There are a few twitch channels where people play RPG's, I've watched most of ITmejp's games which include quite a few different games/styles, most of which have been posted to his youtube channel as well. I'd ask ...


1

You probably can't... they seem like they're all resistant to change. If you want a plan to try even though it might not be advisable: Find a system that your group hasn't played, and one of the guys that GM'd before would be interested in. If he's a horror western buff, Deadlands. If he liked Bladerunner, Shadowrun... Something that really jibes with what ...


41

Someone has to take the player who invited his girlfriend aside and talk to him one-on-one. (I'll address that to "you", for the moment, since I hope you'll get your GM to read this.) Make it clear that it was OK to bring her, but not OK to turn game sessions into makeout sessions. Then lay down the unfortunate reality of the situation: if they can't cut it ...


23

I'm this kind of person quite often - A quiet, inexperienced RPer, who is happy to sit back and let the other players/characters 'drive the game' as you put it, while still interacting with NPCs and engaging with the story when necessary. I believe I have just as much fun as everybody else at the table, in any case I have as much fun as I'd like to. I was a ...


15

A friend of mine is the epitome of silence. It's absolutely normal for him to speak about 5 sentences in a whole evening. Wasting three perfect sentences on greetings, ordering pizza and goodbye; you barely notice him being around, if not for a very small group. Yet he's always around and seems to enjoy the company. For him roleplaying seems to be a lot more ...


38

You've already covered it, let him contribute the level he wants to, even if that's less than other players. Different players want different things out of a game. Don't drive your player away by forcing him to RP if he isn't up for it in every scene. I myself love to roleplay, but this is not a constant from session to session and my energy and emotional ...


-4

Warhammer player here. You roll 40 dices, then quickly sort them.


0

If you've got a head for statistics (or programming), this is where a set of FUDGE dice can come in handy. They're specially marked six-sided dice: two sides have a + sign, two sides have a - sign, and two sides are blank. If you don't have them, you can easily simulate a FUDGE die with a standard d6: 1 and 2 are -, 3 and 4 are blank, and 5 and 6 are +. For ...


0

The "Big dice-small dice" approach This gives you really close to the right distribution but saves a lot of rolling; I'll only describe how to deal with d6's here, and only by using d6's. You can do way more than what I cover here, but what I cover here is easy to remember. Method 1 -- Tripling for 10 dice: Take some large d6s (the big dice) and the same ...


4

Let 'em roll. Part of the fun, excitement, and suspense was always watching and counting the results. Rarely did a player have enough d6 to make a roll such as that, so we'd group them into a reasonable number, say 10d6, four times. If the total damage by roll 3 was enough to kill the target, then you're done. As DM, I'd declare that all that was left was a ...


-2

As others have suggested, you will get easiest results if you accept a slightly different distribution of results or a slight approximation. For instance, the two following are pretty close 4d6 min 4 ave 14 max 24 2d12+1 min 3 ave 14 max 25 Or for 10 d6 min 10 ave 35 max 60 6 d10 + 2 min 8 ave 35 max 62 Using bigger dice results in slightly more ...


7

I'll add one more to the list: Fast Counting Bulk Rolls As has been pointed out the biggest problem with this number of dice is the addition. You can make this easier by grouping the dice into sets of 10 points after the roll. Even with a low number of dice I have found this to speed up counting. 1) Roll your huge pile-o-damage. 2) Sort your dice into ...


10

There's really 3 solutions: Skip rolling entirely, and use the expected result (similar to DnD's "Take 10" mechanic). In the long run, this should not produce any statistical advantage or disadvantage for your players. However, in the short term your players will act differently since it is more deterministic. Approximate the same distribution with a less ...


2

There are a lot of great solutions already, but I have one more to add: Roll Them Beforehand The problem is counting dice while playing, right? So roll and add up the dice 20 times between sessions, writing down the results. No fudging! When it comes time to roll damage, roll a d20 and use that result to pick from the list. That way, the player still gets ...


3

If you are willing to enter the dark domain of digital dice rollers, and have an iOS device, I cannot recommend RPG Roller enough. It is completely free with no in-app purchases or advertisements of any kind, and it is very high quality software. I've used it many times and the author seems to be very serious about making a good dice roller. It randomizes ...


11

There is a way to make a single roll and keep the probability distribution, more or less. It will require some preparations from you, though. For example, let's convert Rogue's 10d6 Sneak Attack into a single d20 roll. Go to anydice.com, put "output 10d6" and it will give you statistics for the roll. Select At Most and Table (or Export). You will get two ...


4

Count 4,5,6 Counting dice with a specific result is quite fast, even more so when you group multiple results together. So instead of adding up all results, quickly count the number of dice greater or equal than 4. Statistically, rolls of 4, 5 and 6 average out to 5, so count every such result as 5 (which is a very nice number for doing math with, ...


3

Share it out If you have 40d6 to roll; have yourself and three others each roll 10d6 and add them up, then add the totals. Saves some time I've found, only really used this for D&D fireballs however; otherwise I use a phone dice roller.


1

If you are really strapped for cash, this isn't a good option, but you could simply buy more dice. You still need to add up all the numbers, but at least you can roll 5, 10, or more dice at once. And if your whole group pitches in, the cost wouldn't be that significant. For example, you can currently get a pack of 100 d6's for only $10 on amazon. You can ...


20

At the moment I can only see two solutions to this particular problem. The unfortunate thing is that both solutions offer their own challenges and difficulties as well. I agree with you that rolling a bunch of dice and adding it all together is tedious- let's see what we can do about that! Let the Robots take care of it For large sums of dice getting ...


30

The more dice you roll, the more the outcome focusses on the average, as the high and low rolls start evening out. While there's a reasonable chance of getting a 2 on 2d6 (1 in 36) there's no chance in hell you're getting a 240 out of 40d6 (1/6^40, vastly less than one in a trillion, I don't even know how to describe this number) The copout The easiest fix ...


4

Groups of tens In Starwars d6 we sometimes deal with dice rolls of 10-13 d6 (extreme cases) - adding these up is fairly easy I think. What I do personally is quickly grouping them in sums of 10. E.g. I'd group a 6 and a 4, two 5s, two 3s and a 4, ... and eventually add up the rest. For me this method is quick and reliable. Huge numbers of dice > go ...



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