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Questions tagged [story]

For questions about the sequence of events that take place in the fictional environment within a roleplaying game.

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7 votes
6 answers
1k views

How to create creative plot hooks?

I am a pretty new DM, running Waterdeep: Dragon Heist for a group of also pretty new players. I am trying to expend the world of the campaign (especially since they are near the end of it) to also be ...
2 votes
0 answers
133 views

How to make a session that doesn't have combat, NPC's or dialog? [closed]

My group will be heading into a strange, alien wilderness that will have no NPC's, no dialog and no combat. Without the back and forth or dialogue, meeting new characters, etc. I'm having trouble ...
2 votes
0 answers
145 views

Which kind of evil will I should assign to an immortal character? [closed]

I've been playing a D&D campaign with some friends for a while, we made 4 sessions already and between these sessions, there's strange man who appears to aid or guide them towards an objective. ...
31 votes
5 answers
5k views

When should I tell my players that they have forgotten something?

My players have been operating out of a certain small town for my whole campaign. They've adventured around the area nearby quite a bit already (just finished Session 23). Recently, my intended ...
19 votes
6 answers
7k views

Important NPC needs to die in a fight - narrative or dice?

I hope someone can give me a good answer to my question: In my campaign there is a NPC, an important NPC. But for story reasons they should die. I want to do this in a big fight (with the NPC helping ...
1 vote
0 answers
123 views

How do I put my own twist on prewritten adventures [closed]

I am a new DM, and I am quite good at running encounters, making interesting environments to explore and creating compelling NPCs. I struggle with the storytelling aspects of the game. I know the ...
16 votes
3 answers
3k views

In the final act, how to drop clues without causing players to feel "cheated" they didn't find them sooner?

I'm a bit of an "on the fly" GM: in terms of writing a story, I prefer to sketch out the skeleton, and add flesh as the players move along the limbs. The quest to find the Plot Device, at ...
13 votes
3 answers
2k views

How to describe a scene that a small creature chop a large creature's head off?

So let's assume a halfling (small size) wielding a Vorpal dagger attacking a storm giant (huge size), and the Vorpal ability gets triggered. As a DM, how should I describe this scene? Would the dagger ...
54 votes
12 answers
6k views

How can a GM prevent growing disillusioned with their own game?

I recently began a new game in which I gave the players much more free reign in designing their characters than I might have in the past. What I wound up with was a very morally-diverse party, with ...
13 votes
5 answers
3k views

Pulp campaign - end game?

I've seen "pulp" used more and more to describe the opposite of the cataclysmic trope whereby a campaign has arch-villains threatening to destroy the world. It's not hard to see what a lot ...
1 vote
0 answers
80 views

Need help writing an ending for one of my player's characters [closed]

DM'ing a game where one of my players wanted to play a custom warlock with a demonic arm. I came up with a subclass that would fit the backstory, which was that the character went to hell and a demon ...
13 votes
7 answers
3k views

How to arbitrate climactic moments in which characters might achieve something extraordinary?

A common plot point throughout the kinds of fantasy literature that inspire D&D settings can be described as a central character growing beyond themselves, reaching a previously unknown peak of ...
1 vote
0 answers
123 views

Possible steps for a ritual to darken the sun [closed]

I'm DMing for a group, and the campaign will soon move on into homebrew (started with a slightly tweaked Lost Mines of Phandelver, and a homebrew adventure from the internet will follow). I wanted to ...
24 votes
5 answers
3k views

How to handle diverging expectations on "background density"?

After many years (try 15) of not GM'ing a group of my own, I recently made an attempt to return to the head of the table and shake off the rust. I have a gaming world of my own making prepared, which ...
22 votes
5 answers
4k views

How can I convince evil characters to save the world?

I made a homebrew campaign with some friends and gave them a more or less summary of what was to be expected of it. When they turned in their characters, all of them were either neutral or evil. If ...
19 votes
8 answers
3k views

How to transform a tragic hero into a villain? [closed]

First things first: let there be a tragic hero with some (yet undefined) personal characteristics. Let there also be a grim world, in which the stories take place (no fairies, knights in shining armor ...
275 votes
15 answers
38k views

Managing a Medieval Low Orbit Ion Cannon

Sometimes I hate my players. My table is currently composed of five diabolically inventive players. They come from a mixed IT/Engineering background, so more often than not, I have to deal with some ...
2 votes
0 answers
191 views

Good detectible magic sensor for low-level players [closed]

I'm planning a campaign in which the players stop a goblinoid host led by a wizard. The plan is for the players to help stop the host along with other conscripted adventurers. Along the way, however, ...
4 votes
1 answer
165 views

How to manage both high-strategy and combat encounters? [closed]

New poster here, so any help is appreciated. As a DM, I have 2 main groups of players in my game; the ones who like very, very high strategy (as in commanding armies on the battlefield), and the ones ...
7 votes
1 answer
338 views

What was this RPG from the 1980s that incorporated plot points and a flowchart?

I remember seeing some years ago a game aid chart from a game or supplement that made me think it was published in the 1980s or early 90s. It used something it called drama / story / plot points and ...
81 votes
16 answers
86k views

How do I get my players to form a party without just forcing them to?

I believe that it is generally a good thing that all the PCs travel together, as a "party". This way the GM has to manage one environment – not, say, five. The problem is how the GM can ...
3 votes
1 answer
143 views

What would be some good monsters to stalk the party like the Nemesis in Resident Evil? [closed]

As the question states, I’m looking for a monster that can stalk the party for the latter half of a campaign I’m running. They are only level 3-4 so it would have to be something way too strong to ...
9 votes
4 answers
1k views

How do I retrain myself to see characters as people and not systems?

Background Some of my previous questions (see What should I do when other players refuse to engage with my character's flaw? and Excessively clever characters vs. narrativist RP?) have alluded to ...
27 votes
8 answers
2k views

How to tastefully convey racism in RPGs?

I will use Eberron as my example: Eberron is a D&D setting that has a player race known as Warforged, which are essentially living constructs. At the end of the last war (2 years ago in game) the ...
13 votes
6 answers
1k views

What drives the plot for antiheroes?

I've been planning to run an pathfinder campaign of epic proportions spanning about a year in a high-fantasy world made by a friend. My original plan was: The PCs steal an artifact of value and are ...
1 vote
4 answers
356 views

How to get my players to open an iron flask [closed]

So my players have just found an iron flask and inside is a Lich. The Lich is going to be the next main plot driving component and I need the players to open it in order to begin this phase. How do I ...
30 votes
2 answers
7k views

How to make your players hate your villain, but not your game

How does one build the character of a villain such that the players (playing heroic characters) hate the villain as much as possible without detracting too much from the quality of the game? What ...
13 votes
1 answer
3k views

What story arcs does the Tomb of Annihilation adventure (as written) fail to resolve?

I have been brought in as a substitute DM to finish the last 2-3 episodes of an almost eight month campaign of Tomb of Annihilation spanning over 30 sessions. (I was chosen to help maintain continuity ...
8 votes
2 answers
771 views

How does a low Strength stat translate into the narrative?

I'm having trouble with something. In a ADnD 2e campaign how should a low Strength translate into the narrative/roleplay of the campaign? It's easy to figure out how high Strength would work when ...
1 vote
0 answers
51 views

How might investigating a prison break be accomplished? [closed]

I can't think of a way to concisely fit my entire question in the title, but here goes. I'm currently running Dark Heresy 2e for my group, as my second time GMing a game (the first time was short-...
5 votes
1 answer
338 views

Campaign in already existing world and story - fear of NPC domination

I am attempting to create a campaign utilizing a setting and lore from an already established series, World of Warcraft, but I fear my players may feel their story and characters overshadowed by this ...
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 ...
21 votes
8 answers
6k views

Is there need for messengers in DnD 5e, if spell Sending exists?

In my campaign (DnD 5e) I would like to send players on a quest to save a kidnapped person. The person has high value information. He/she was ambushed and taken prisoner. My question is: is there a ...
8 votes
4 answers
5k views

Preparing for so many quests on Dragon of Icespire peak

I am about to start Dragon of Icespire peak, and I'm a bit uncertain on how I should prepare for it: I read Slyflourish's tips for DoIP, and I'm aware of some of its pitfalls, including low leveled ...
35 votes
3 answers
6k views

What's the earliest instance of a "Beauty is in the eye of the beholder" reference to beholders?

Is there any recorded use of the phrase, "Beauty is in the eye of the beholder" being used in a commercially available D&D campaign or any rulebook of any edition, specifically to reference (...
57 votes
13 answers
2k views

How do I help my players not get caught up on smaller plot points?

I just finished having a conversation with one of my players, and was led to a question I'm not sure I know how to answer. I'm running a sandbox campaign (D&D 4e, if it makes a difference) where ...
41 votes
10 answers
8k views

Is there a plausible explanation for a large number of armed adventurers in a fantasy RPG setting?

I'm working on a Dungeons & Dragons setting. I'm looking for a comprehensive and logical explanation why, in a feudal society similar to Western Europe in the Middle Ages, there might be bands of ...
68 votes
13 answers
14k views

As a GM, how can I stop killing my games?

Probably the worst issue I have as a Game Master is that I think of a game, I write a campaign plot for it -- End, Beginning and Middle, get hyped, hype my players, and after 2 months I get bored with ...
13 votes
6 answers
481 views

Mind-maps conventions, best practices and approaches

I encountered this issue when prepping for a big arc in my campaign, let me explain: The players are entering a place where there are three main factions (A B C) and possibly minor ones (D E). The ...
2 votes
2 answers
1k views

What is the relationship between minotaurs and dwarves?

I'm creating a minotaur barbarian and I want him to be wielding a Mordenkrad that slowly increases in magic level (DM permissible) I read in the description that the mordenkrad come from dwarven ...
20 votes
5 answers
10k views

What do you do when avoiding railroading just gives you stuck players?

I'm seeking some newbie GM advice. I'm an experienced rpg player, but am much less experienced as a GM I was recently running an D&D 5e adventure, where the players would be investigating in a ...
8 votes
0 answers
2k views

How do I get players to care about the Lost Mines of Phandelver adventure? [closed]

I'm going to be running LMoP with a group mostly new to D&D. How can I get them to care about the hook enough to be interested in the story? I tried it previously with another group, but they just ...
11 votes
5 answers
1k views

How to follow up the adventure if the party split?

In the last session, the party I'm DMing got into a great fight against the spirit of the valley (a big dire wolf). In the heat of the fight the cleric was bitten to the point that he dropped to 0 hp (...
2 votes
3 answers
258 views

How to deal with tension created between characters after role-play session?

I am the DM for a long running game, we are going on 2 years, and while there was a rough start and a few changed characters, we have been in a good place. There was a Tiefling Barbarian (original), ...
3 votes
9 answers
1k views

PC in chains, planned myself into a corner

In a game I'm hosted, the PC (there's only one) has just gotten captured by the enemy. This was part of a plan to give his NPC buddy some major characterization by the way she rescues him, but I've ...
37 votes
5 answers
2k views

How to get players to be curious and ask questions?

I have recently noticed that my players don't really try to find out much about the world and story beyond the direct "what do we see?" I want to have them interact more with their environment and ...
22 votes
5 answers
6k views

How do I reveal the Big Bad only by foreshadowing, without the reveal being too early or late?

What I plan for my campaign is to drop hints about some greater evil, and whenever my players reach the natural point of realization, have them go off on a search to stop it. I wanna do it naturally, ...
18 votes
1 answer
5k views

How do I continue to progress the plot if the party kills the giants in chapter 10 of Storm King's Thunder?

The following question contains major spoilers for the Storm King's Thunder campaign. I'm currently running Storm King's Thunder for my party. This is for a home game (not Adventurers League). I just ...
8 votes
9 answers
3k views

How can a GM continue to progress the campaign if the player characters cause a plot-critical item or NPC to be lost/killed? [duplicate]

I'm not familiar with role-playing games so apologies if this question is poorly worded. As an example of what I'm thinking of, suppose the player characters are on a ship, which capsizes. While ...
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 ...