Questions tagged [player-agency]

For questions about the players' essential ability to make choices, and take actions, that have a meaningful impact on the game world.

Filter by
Sorted by
Tagged with
24 votes
13 answers
4k views

How to make a NPC intimidating the party more effective?

TL:DR; My players don't act as though they find intimidating NPCs intimidating. How can I make NPC intimidation more effective while maintaining player agency? My Issue I have a recurring issue across ...
  • 28.1k
40 votes
7 answers
6k views

As a DM, how can I address players' frustration with in-game decision-making?

After last night's session, my players and I had a long after-action discussion in which they expressed frustration at how their own in-game decision making has led them to circumstances that they ...
0 votes
2 answers
356 views

My players have become determined to kill the dragon who has been helping them throughout the campaign - how should I handle this? [closed]

The dragon in question used to be a God and has been helping the party work up to defeating the BBEG (note that they still need him to complete the storyline at this point, but I can find a way around ...
20 votes
7 answers
4k views

Did I overstep the players' agency by forcefully resolving conflict between one player and the rest of the group? [closed]

In my last game, conflict emerged between one of my players (let's call him Bob) and the rest of the team. Finally, I (as GM) stepped into it and forced the player to give up. Backstory A session ...
2 votes
3 answers
362 views

New PC possessed/contacted by dead PC during campaign, am I missing any problems?

Background We are currently running our third DnD campaign in this group. Each campaign has a different DM but the same adventure group. This time I'm DM (first time DM, but 5-6 sessions in doing good ...
  • 23
6 votes
6 answers
1k views

How do I handle my possession mechanic fairly?

In my campaign, the goal is to find ten major god-level artifacts, each linked to a specific god in the setting. Each artifact has a part of the soul of the god it’s linked to, and that soul has the ...
12 votes
2 answers
909 views

Am I being unreasonable with my role playing of a cursed item?

If a player from my campaign sees this, please don't take any offence to it. It's just I'm really not enjoying the item and can't RP it in a way that other players will care about. My character ...
27 votes
9 answers
3k views

How can I limit crafting and material-searching without limiting player agency?

I'm a new GM. Several of my PCs really enjoy crafting/potion-making/resource-farming and have builds that are well-suited to it. In the past I wanted to reward their enthusiasm for searching for new ...
  • 1,194
29 votes
8 answers
8k views

How can I convey my disappointment in players ignoring huge hints

Yesterday's game was nice and intense, but at some point my fellow players disappointed me, heavily. We're not allowed to say technical things about the game. Basically we had this dragon that was ...
10 votes
2 answers
584 views

Broccoli games: or, how do you deal with unfun sessions before you get to have fun again?

This may be a silly question, but I'm still quite curious. How do deal with unfun game sessions that you feel are still kind of required? The context of my question is, our group just had, effectively,...
21 votes
10 answers
5k views

How can I limit (but not outright ban) exotic races? [closed]

Systems which offer a race/ancestry/lineage choice for character generation often feature both ordinary races (human, dwarf, elf, etc.) and exotic races (tiefling, shardmind, genasi, etc.). As should ...
  • 786
39 votes
9 answers
8k views

As a DM, is telling your players what their characters conclude a bad practice?

I, a new DM who has run around 10-15 game session so far, am in the process of watching Critical Role Campaign 2 (currently at Episode 23). We all know Matt Mercer and his famous quotes like "You ...
  • 1,526
5 votes
3 answers
283 views

Was I right to leave my rp group after feeling like my player agency was violated? [closed]

I was apart of a discord RP group, but I recently left after this incident. To give some background, I was being repeatedly belittled out of character by other members, and was being made to walk on ...
7 votes
1 answer
566 views

When a spell that clouds the target's judgement is cast on a player character, how can I make sure they act accordingly?

If an NPC spellcaster, or any other magic source, magically clouds the judgement of a PC, how can I make sure the character acts according to the spell's nature? Is there anyway to do this without ...
32 votes
5 answers
7k views

How can I handle a PC wanting to be a "twist" villain?

My group has been following a premade campaign that has a decentralized plot structure that relies mainly on adventurers "finding their own adventure". This means that while the campaign ...
  • 11.2k
37 votes
5 answers
7k views

How do I engage someone who is playing his character poorly?

I am DMing a game where one player has never quite seemed happy. He regularly questions rulings and gets quite hurt when he tries to do things with his character and they don't succeed. He is playing ...
  • 2,366
44 votes
5 answers
5k views

How do I handle kids' conflicting goals?

I'm playing Amazing Tales with my two daughters (an even simpler version, actually-- we don't really make characters with specific skills, I just let them be whoever and we make up a story while ...
28 votes
8 answers
5k views

Using succubi as villains in a low-sexuality game

Question I'm seeking expertise regarding using iconically sexual creatures without leaning on that nature. Specifically, one of the players in my group has a backstory that prominently features ...
  • 4,652
25 votes
8 answers
6k views

How to deal with low agency players?

I have a group of four players who meet in-person and are very intent on playing "Dungeons & Dragons" specifically, but suffer from astoundingly low agency. In discussion, the group very ...
1 vote
0 answers
135 views

What's the point of things like intelligence/wisdom scores, when those are the predominantly characteristics of the player? [closed]

While I understand the role of things like strength (you can/can't lift that), dexterity, constitution, etc. as character attributes, I really can't make sense of intelligence/wisdom scores. If a ...
24 votes
4 answers
5k views

How to deal with a GM who favors other players

I have seen plenty of GMs write about how to deal with problem players, and I suppose I should ask about a GM who favors some players over others. It's only natural if you have a more rich backstory ...
0 votes
1 answer
115 views

How can I write up interesting filler for my campaign? [closed]

At the end of the fourth session, just yesterday, I actually ran out of content for the session almost an hour before I thought I would. So I'm going to employ the old 'Adventurer's Guild' trope to ...
  • 315
26 votes
5 answers
3k views

How to deal with different levels of initiative and propensity to overtalk in a large group?

I recently started playing with a large group of about 7-8 people. I noticed that, in our group, a couple of the people are very active: whenever there is a chance for the group to do things, it only ...
  • 439
13 votes
5 answers
1k views

A Rogue dilemma: to roll for Stealth, or not to roll?

I need some guidance about how to best use Stealth checks for a campaign. When it comes to Stealth, say of a Rogue*, would it be better to allow players to roll for their own Stealth skill check, or,...
  • 1,855
15 votes
3 answers
1k views

As a DM, how can I ensure that everyone feels involved when only a single player is driving the story?

I've ran into a bit of a dilemma with a 5e campaign that's soon coming to a close. It's been running for about a year, and one of the primary goals that I had when I started the campaign was to focus ...
  • 11.2k
36 votes
6 answers
6k views

How can I communicate feelings to players without impacting their agency?

As a Game Master I'd occasionally like to communicate premonitions or sensation to my characters, as a benefit of their backstory, or as a means to give them opportunity to be deeper tied into the ...
  • 23.5k
18 votes
2 answers
819 views

How do I encourage my GM to relax her grip on the story and let the players have some free will?

I've been playing a number of different games with the same core group of friends for years now. We meet once a week with the occasional exception. For the last few months, one of our players has ...
  • 403
20 votes
9 answers
8k views

What are the uses and limitations of Persuasion, Insight, and Deception against other PCs?

Yesterday, I was in a D&D 5E group. Today, I am not. We were playing Out of the Abyss, but that's redundant to my issue, I think. Basically, the DM and I are interpreting Insight differently. He ...
  • 239
7 votes
0 answers
133 views

How to deal with a DM who pointedly ignores important details? [duplicate]

The campaign was intended to be difficult. We knew and accepted that up front, and it sounded like a fun challenge. But we never knew until we were already a fair ways into it how much of the ...
17 votes
4 answers
4k views

How do I handle a table mixing up the DM and the players' roles too often?

So, after some time I came back to playing live (not online) RPG because a friend of mine, who is used to D&D 3.5, asked me to help him with a 5e table where almost all the players are new to D&...
  • 36k
11 votes
5 answers
591 views

How to Prevent Player Apathy Despite Cosmic Retcons?

In the cosmology of Awakening, some entities - primarily Archmages, but also some more abstract forces - can retroactively rewrite huge parts of the world as we know it. We're talking about changes ...
0 votes
2 answers
171 views

Gameplay-to-cutscene ratio: how interactive should I make the introduction to the campaign? [closed]

I'm planning a campaign with a specific backdrop-the characters are employees of a certain organization and this is their first day on the job. The organization and the job will no longer actually ...
21 votes
7 answers
3k views

Does asking a player to not to do something violate their agency?

This is something I am rather conflicted about as I have met with several gamemasters and I was told that asking players to not to have their character do something breaks their immersion and violates ...
  • 18.7k
14 votes
4 answers
3k views

Is it feasible to let a newcomer play the "Gandalf"-like figure I created for my campaign?

I'm writing and DMing a campaign based around members of a nonprofit organization in a province of a decaying empire undergoing a civil war. The premise The player characters are new members of the ...
41 votes
11 answers
7k views

How to roleplay my character's ethics according to the DM when I don't understand those ethics? [closed]

Recently in a Pathfinder campaign I encountered the following in a combat situation, after our group made an ambush on a castle inhabited by a small Gnoll clan. Our group clearly had the upper hand ...
  • 3,951
66 votes
7 answers
11k views

Is it a violation of my player agency if another player is allowed to wish away memories from my character?

A situation occurred in a recent game in which one PC ended up in control of a being of power from the outer planes via their true name. The being confirmed that they would attempt to "slip the ...
  • 766
6 votes
2 answers
903 views

Encouraging piety in classes besides Paladin/Cleric [closed]

As a DM who has almost always played with inexperienced or casual players, I find many or most of those players trend towards homogeneity. They choose a patron deity and alignment when they roll up, ...
  • 1,604
38 votes
7 answers
10k views

How can I, as DM, dictate the emotions and actions of the players (magically)?

(Some of) my players are trying to role play in a meta-gaming sort of way. For instance, I had an array of weapons in a dungeon, and when they took them, they had to make a Wisdom saving throw, else ...
  • 4,055
22 votes
5 answers
4k views

How do I keep a published adventure playthrough "on rails" without removing player agency? [duplicate]

Split from: How do I deal with players who make friends with goblins? I want to run a campaign "from the book" for a group of new players (played RPGs before, but stuff much much lighter then D&D,...
10 votes
5 answers
356 views

Does skipping an ability check for a hazard needed to advance the dungeon remove player agency?

I'm currently running a sort of mega-dungeon made of other dungeons cobbled together. I know most of my players browse here frequently so I'll keep the description brief. At the end of the current ...
16 votes
4 answers
6k views

In Tomb of Annihilation, how can I run the Orolunga ziggurat pyramid challenge with a little more player agency?

I'm running the Tomb of Annihilation adventure, and my players are about to come to Orolunga. There's a particular "gateway" challenge there: The text says "It might help to think of the whole ...
  • 28.8k
51 votes
6 answers
11k views

NPC casting Suggestion on PC: who decides it's reasonable?

A simple scenario: The DM wishes to break a cleric's concentration on their bless spell, and a foe uses suggestion to tell the cleric to cast silence on an enemy spellcaster. The rationale is that ...
  • 31.2k
12 votes
3 answers
3k views

Should I request an ability check only when the player asks for it?

I am struggling with something in my sessions: should I ask for an ability check only if the player attempts to do something? For example, the players stumble upon a stone door with some symbols on ...
  • 121
24 votes
6 answers
12k views

How can I politely explain to a DM that removing player agency is usually bad?

Playing D&D 5e. I asked a similar question on reddit, so I will copy the summary of events from there: Okay; I admit that part of what I am about to say is fairly absurd, because we do ...
8 votes
3 answers
493 views

Running an Unstructured Narrative

What measures and pitfall should I consider when running an especially unstructured narrative in Pathfinder? In the campaign I am running that has started recently, I am attempting to run a fairly "...
32 votes
5 answers
3k views

How can I narrate Charm/Fear/Rage/etc effects in a liberating manner?

Or, How can I implement behavior-centric status effects without giving the players a sense of having lost their autonomy? It's something I have found to be a personal agitant as a roleplayer, and ...
  • 283
7 votes
1 answer
601 views

How can I deal with a DM I feel is over-exerting control over our characters?

I play AD&D 2e and we rotate DM's every few months. Each one runs a different campaign. When we reach a good point we pause one campaign and switch to another and eventually come back to the ...
13 votes
2 answers
758 views

How do I add player agency to a canned adventure?

Our current GM is going to be out of town for a few weeks, so I have decided to try my hand at GMing our group using the We Be Goblins module from Pathfinder. The module is short and has good reviews ...
  • 2,683
24 votes
4 answers
6k views

How do I get my players to be more decisive and take the initiative?

I've been running HotDQ with a group of people for about 9 months now (about 20 sessions; we're on Ep 6.) My current frustration is that things go along OK as long as I'm narrating and asking ...
  • 16.1k
3 votes
2 answers
524 views

How much should I limit a plot-driving GM 'avatar'?

I am GM for a group of (mostly) new Pathfinder players who are extremely off-the-rails in their approach. This is fun, but made it nearly impossible to prepare for a session — they are as likely to ...
  • 341