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27

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 ...


25

Based on having run several sessions of the playtest and the fact that little of the standout features have changed since, here are the things that stood out to me on the first pass through the Basic rules: The Inspiration mechanic. We saw from the previewed character sheets in the starter that there are traits/flaws/bonds/ideals, these can be selected, as ...


21

Random advice from a Paranoia GM Plan one to three sessions. Too much longer is not easily sustainable, at least not without toning the violence and craziness down and getting buy-in from the whole group. Make sure that each PC has good reasons to kill at least two other PCs. Ok, maybe not good reasons, but reasons. PCs' agendas will be defined by their ...


18

You have to keep the players on their toes. Tell them in advance how wild and insane everything is. Use every word the players say against them. Be merciless. I aim for one clone per player killed per evening, or more. These tools are at your disposal: Break their spirits. Turn them onto each other. Disallow "out of character". Have them fear the ...


16

The systems have very little to do with one another. They are both trad games (as opposed to indie) and are both printed on paper. That's it. You won't be porting anything crunch-based from one game to the other (you can crib plots and characters, just not the stats). Combat Pathfinder has a complex D&D/d20-derived combat system with hit-avoiding ...


15

I think the answer to this question depends on what you mean by "requires a thorough understanding of a language to fill the world with life as well as adequately explain the surroundings". I don't believe a particularly broad or elaborate vocabulary is required to do either, unless there is for some reason a major mechanical difference between, for example, ...


15

Play a session or two of Roll For Shoes. Like an improv exercise, it will shake out your narrative muscles and make you stretch them a bit in a gaming context where it's ok to do the "wrong" thing or take the game in absurd directions. This is the game that did the most to transition my old group from a D&D context to a more player-driven context. We ...


13

First bit of advice - be unfair. Be completely unfair. Give some of them snacky items, give others enhanced security clearance on the slimmest of pre-texts, let others get support from their secret societies, who encourage them to backstab their comrades for the most insignificant advantage. Secondly, if possible have a big blackboard (or whiteboard) ...


12

Class Restrictions: 2E: has restrictions based upon race, alignment and stats. 3E: has only restrictions based upon alignment and stats. Core Rules Classes: 2E: has no NPC classes in core rules; normal people are 0-level. Fighter, Ranger, Paladin, Thief, Bard, Cleric, Druid, Magic User, Specialist Mage. Prestige classes do not exist. 3E: Fighter, Ranger, ...


12

I remember reading somewhere that one GM created a power card of sorts for one of his players having the analysis paralysis issue. He wrote out a few things the character could do (attack, block, etc.). After the first couple of sessions the player started asking questions, and he'd have her write out a new power card. After a while the player caught on ...


12

First things first. There are two different Dungeons & Dragons. There is Dungeons and Dragons the brand, which is what the marketing materials are about, and then there is Dungeons and Dragons the TRPG. Dungeons & Dragons the brand is the stories of Dungeons and Dragons. Such as the Tyranny of Dragons, or the Sundering, which existed in books, games, ...


11

Do not look at systems but at settings. If the setting is interesting enough, if the lure of the story to be told is captivating enough, and if each player can see a protagonist they would like to play then you have won them over. Then, if you must, find a system that match. There are several ways you can do this: A commonly known setting: say Conan or ...


10

Zero: Make sure everyone understands that paranoia is a PVP game where characters are destined to die over and over. People who do not understand what's going on will be upset. One: The mission doesn't matter -- it's just an excuse to get people who hate each other and are highly armed together in a dark room. It will probably not be completed. Then they'll ...


10

There is a fantastic encounter building design philosophy that is fairly agnostic for most D&D systems called 5 Room Dungeons. This philosophy is easily implemented into 4th edition encounter design and doesn't really have much of a learning curve. The only real learning curve with it will be actual encounter design for each room, but thankfully due to ...


10

You will have to pause the game to explain mechanics as needed, but this is far better than trying to explain everything up front! (I learned that lesson the hard way.) Don't remove things from the game. Instead, run the game such that new mechanics are gradually introduced over the course of play. Here's what I do when I'm running Mouse Guard at a ...


9

If you want them to experience combat as a individuals first I would say that running through the character creation scenario that is published in the new Red Box would be a good idea. If you would rather introduce them as a group there are several solid L1 adventures already published by Wizards. Either the Red Box (goes through L1) or the Keep on the ...


9

Gygax wrote up a sample in the 1st Ed DMG - Pages 96-100. There is also some lead-in and outline discussion that sets the scene for the sample play. It narrates, multi-voice in the first person, an initial exploration and beginning combat in a low level dungeon. You only get the voice of the DM and the party leader. Apparently Gygax's method involved ...


8

Many of the systems I like, GURPS, Harnmaster, Champions don't a lot of players familiar with them in the rural area I live. So I rely on the following to get them up to speed. I ask them what kind of character they want to play in general terms and then go back and forth until we define it in the system that we are playing. I run a single combat encounter ...


8

I'm running IaWA every other Sunday right now. During the phase where your friends are picking their characters from the oracle elements, if you can get away with it -- based on the oracles that you've drawn, consider not choosing any NPCs to stat up. If the player-characters are compelling enough, they don't need you to have NPCs with their own Best ...


7

Have you heard the voice of GLaDOS in Portal or Portal 2? This is the computer in Paranoia! To prepare for a game session I would maybe pull up a few clips from You Tube of this game where you and your players can hear GLaDOS speaking. Another idea to try for getting into a Paranoia frame of mind would be to play a couple of those word games where all the ...


7

For the first time running any system, especially for a one shot I would recommend pre-gens. If it were an extended campaign, the first session of the game should be everyone sitting together and making a cohesive party, however you don't want to make them get invested in characters that won't matter (and waste the night you could be making the one-shot ...


7

So, as requested, I'll try to expand the concept, I never tried anything like that though... The idea came from some situation in films and other media, where the characters are puzzled to discover/deduce riddle in ancient/mythic languages or hieroglyphs. (Say Friend and Enter). They tend to be challenging from the characters in the movies, but 4-5 players ...


7

The AD&D manuals are awful to learn from in an efficient manner. They are wonderful for long, meandering explorations of the game (probably sitting in an overstuffed leather chair in front of a crackling fire, with a snifter of brandy or somesuch signifiers of studious leisure), but when you're just trying to get up to speed for the first time on how the ...


6

Having played both versions, 3.x got rid of my 2 big hatreds. 1) THAC0 (defined below), and 2) no more "do I want a big or a little number?" Task: Lift the portcullis to escape the castle. 2e: Roll a d20, if it is below your Strength (and the portcullis's weight is less than your Strength's bend bars/lift gate stat), you succeed. 3e: Roll a d20, add your ...


6

Be sure to explain the concept and theme material of the game. Make sure they understand it's totally over-the-top; explain the naming convention, for example, and the fact that they have nine lives (it's nine, right?). Read them the descriptions of the individual roles (the team leader's insignia, for example, is the bullseye). Make sure they understand ...


6

It's just a game. Don't make a big deal about it. Don't regale the merits of indie games. Don't point out all the differences between D&D and your indie game. For godsake, don't talk about game theory. It's an awesome game. Presumably you think this indie game is awesome, or you wouldn't introduce it to your friends. Be enthusiastic without being ...


6

I have started people in a couple of fiction-driven "story games" and the greatest issue they have is being unable to choose an action. To help them with this I generally start the game in medias res which means that they have to respond to an imminent threat of some kind. With my last group I started by saying "OK, you are pelting down the steep hillside ...


6

The first thing that comes to mind when I read this question is the Quick Start Rules that they released. This is an official and free document as far as I'm aware and should at least give you a frame for what to do. Because this is designed for comprehension from the uninitiated the setup is a little more intuitive and a lot less spread out than the core ...


5

I've found that Paranoia works better if you have 3-6 players. The players need to be aware of roughly what is in store for them. Having your clone killed in the first five minutes, before leaving the briefing room, is a disaster in most games. In Paranoia, it's relatively late in the game. Keep tabs on what the players let each other get away with. Then ...


5

I haven't played Mouse Guard or Cthulhu, but I can comment on how the game plays out. Understand, however, that you can play it however you want once you get to know the game mechanics. Focus The focus of the game is less on acquiring treasure or experience points or even getting political respect. It's much more about living from day to day on meager ...



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