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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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46 votes
5 answers
7k views

How does "failure" work in Dungeon World? How does it move the story forward?

I am having trouble understanding the specifics of failure in Dungeon World. According to the rules, a GM should "make a move" against players when they fail, and that's alright, I get that. What I ...
Undreren's user avatar
  • 3,596
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 ...
Vorac's user avatar
  • 4,169
39 votes
5 answers
9k views

How do I keep a long-range plot cohesive and coherent?

I enjoy GMing but I much prefer to to have some sort of long running plot (or meta-plot) rather than having a series of unconnected unfortunate events afflict my PCs. For example, I would love to ...
YuriPup's user avatar
  • 707
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 ...
T. Sar's user avatar
  • 16.3k
8 votes
2 answers
647 views

Reward distribution and story continuity with rotating players/GMs

There are some people who like to GM, and maybe even like it more than role playing themselves. If you have one of those rare specimen in your group consider yourself lucky. Others are not averse to ...
fgysin's user avatar
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46 votes
15 answers
5k views

How to get out of a story deadlock

As with most of my questions, this is more of a general "how to handle a special situation" and not a plea to solve an existing problem. What is the best way to handle story deadlocks (as in: The ...
malexmave's user avatar
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23 votes
8 answers
3k views

What to do when your PCs skip an important part of the story line

In the earliest stage of my new duet campaign, I thought I had "rail-roaded" the PC into the first important encounter, one that leads to a major story line for the campaign. Specifically, the PC was ...
Lechlerfan's user avatar
  • 1,301
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 ...
Numenetics's user avatar
  • 5,620
39 votes
12 answers
2k views

How do I allow player agency in situations with predetermined outcomes?

One of the current members of our group joined a little later than everyone else. His character's history wasn't developed too well, so I am running a one-off session so that the group can play out ...
dpatchery's user avatar
  • 17.5k
37 votes
3 answers
7k views

How can I stress my players' resources while making the stressors feel natural without simply adding more combat encounters?

In a weekly campaign I've been running my players have recently reached levels where they are obtaining some of their core abilities. One of my players is a druid, who has chosen the wild shape-...
Conduit's user avatar
  • 5,455
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 ...
Antonio's user avatar
  • 5,959
35 votes
10 answers
2k views

What can I include in my character's background to help the GM build a better story?

Whatever the system or the world used, what can a player add to his character background that will help the GM make the game more interesting. Games are much more interesting with the addition of ...
Sardathrion - against SE abuse's user avatar
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 ...
Ashterothi's user avatar
  • 2,995
17 votes
5 answers
9k views

Are there any good websites which have story hooks and plots points for campaigns? [closed]

Are there any good websites which have story hooks and plots points for campaigns?
Präriewolf's user avatar
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14 votes
7 answers
1k views

How can I encourage my players to give me plot hooks?

Related: How can I help a player craft a backstory that gives me plot hooks? This question is about generating new plot hooks during play, rather than part of character generation, however. I prefer ...
Brian S's user avatar
  • 3,378
109 votes
14 answers
16k views

What do you do when your players guess your plots?

So I'm a new GM and am running my first campaign. I'm by no means running a terribly complicated game with Elizabethan parlor intrigue, but I do have a few twists that I'm excited to throw at my ...
SkippyG's user avatar
  • 1,053
47 votes
8 answers
9k views

As DM, how do I deal with PCs that expect everything in the game to be relevant to the story?

I've started DMing a new group. We've only had two short, 2hour sessions, and most players are new to DnD. I've been a DM before (though just a dozen or so sessions) but in those cases it was with a ...
Joren Vaes's user avatar
40 votes
8 answers
8k views

How do I get better at narrating/storytelling as a GM?

Personally, I've always had difficulty telling coherent stories, even from my own experiences. My wife has even coined a term (jokingly) for the type of story I tell, one that either makes no sense, ...
dpatchery's user avatar
  • 17.5k
32 votes
10 answers
6k views

How can I fool my players into being pawns for the villain?

Concept I want to get a generally benevolent party to unwittingly further the villain's motives. More than parcel delivery - I'd like to tap into their sense of right/wrong, justice, vigilantism, ...
LitheOhm's user avatar
  • 9,557
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 ...
Please stop being evil's user avatar
21 votes
10 answers
8k views

How do I tie episodic sessions together to make larger campaign arcs?

My D&D group only plays perhaps once a month and occasionally one of them won't be able to make it. I (the DM) home-brewed our last campaign and, whilst fun, the big story arcs and multiple NPCs ...
McMechanism's user avatar
20 votes
10 answers
2k views

How to determine how much plot guidance is too much? [closed]

I've played in many games that were extremely railroaded. There was basically only one feasible course of action and we, as players, were expected to take that route. (The GM would get very upset if ...
asteri's user avatar
  • 3,474
19 votes
6 answers
4k views

How to throw off suspicion for the big reveal in a way that it is not unfairly blindsiding them?

In my plot I have a big bad obvious "dark lord" type villain... who is the pawn of the hidden evil mastermind. Basically said mastermind created a threat to ensure that everyone bands together to ...
kleineg's user avatar
  • 675
19 votes
4 answers
1k views

How can I recognise when a Scene should be skipped?

There is a mode of thought that says RPGs should be like a movie or a TV show. We don't give screen time to the boring stuff. I had a scene play out where the players had to let a NPC know they were ...
Frames Catherine White's user avatar
15 votes
3 answers
2k views

How to make a great villain who your players hate more than anything else? [closed]

I'd love to hear from you guys what you consider to be the best way to make the motive that drives the players to defeat the villain to be something personal and even passional. I believe a villain ...
Davi Braid's user avatar
  • 4,399
14 votes
6 answers
1k views

Running a campaign alternating GMs every session

The group with which I usually roleplay has a consistent problem: someone will say "Hey, I want to run a campaign in X system with Y setting." Everyone will make characters (which can take quite a ...
scott_fakename's user avatar
13 votes
5 answers
1k views

A campaign based on a novel: Let the plot deviate or make the PCs' thread unrelated?

I want to start a Game of Thrones (d20) campaign. My idea is based on the first book of seven (which comprises the whole story). I don't want to change the course of the novel, but if my PCs are ...
apacay's user avatar
  • 2,558
13 votes
5 answers
595 views

When the rules bog you down, how do you see past them?

Humans have a limited amount of working memory, and each of us has a different set of mental aptitudes and processes. I'm finding, personally, that the rules are so detailed and all-encompassing that ...
LitheOhm's user avatar
  • 9,557
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 ...
Terry Windwalker's user avatar
9 votes
4 answers
5k views

Plot granted special ability standards?

For the campaign in question, I'm running one person through a dungeon inspired by Vagrant Story. Clearly some things from the video game can't be emulated, and many of those are integral to the game: ...
LitheOhm's user avatar
  • 9,557
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 ...
Shalvenay's user avatar
  • 11.1k
8 votes
3 answers
3k views

Can Asmodeus' AD&D and 3.5e backgrounds be merged without losing anything?

I was originally planning to make Asmodeus the ultimate bad guy of an upcoming campaign I am DMing, but when I discovered the background in AD&D's Guide to Hell I was immediately sold on the ...
Thomas Jacobs's user avatar
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 ...
Aldath Le'Carde's user avatar
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 ...
asteri's user avatar
  • 3,474
42 votes
15 answers
7k views

How can I help a player craft a backstory that gives me plot hooks?

I have a new player joining my game soon who has taken the place of another player. Unfortunately, the character's backstory is lacking. It doesn't tell me a lot about the character. Because I draw ...
Nameless Nick's user avatar
34 votes
7 answers
2k views

Using a Time-Skip as a Plot Device

In the game that I'm currently running, the PCs have traveled to the Realm of the Fae to gather information on their (im)mortal enemy, a Lich. When they emerge from the Fae Realm, I was planning on ...
Discord's user avatar
  • 7,430
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 ...
Andrendire's user avatar
  • 11.9k
32 votes
9 answers
4k views

How to add a player who joined after the campaign started?

I started running a game, and then a friend of mine expressed interest in playing, so I invited him to join us. He created a character and came along to the next session. As the rest of the party was ...
user2474's user avatar
  • 423
28 votes
14 answers
1k views

Story Arc vs. Player Creativity [closed]

I want to put the players in a challenging spot by putting them in a no win situation and having them captured and stripped of their equipment (assuming they might get it back as they make their ...
Jack C Buel's user avatar
  • 2,450
26 votes
10 answers
2k views

How do I hint at events outside the scope of the current quest?

I'm GMing a long-term game with some friends, and they are the sort who, as soon as I drop a hint about anything, go "Let's investigate that!" I want there to be an overarching story arc, but it's ...
Noah's user avatar
  • 261
23 votes
5 answers
4k views

Sometimes, losing a big conflict is the better plotline. For D&D, how do you encourage this result?

It is practically an old adage that D&D parties will never let a fight end in a loss (short of a TPK.) And that the game mechanics (especially later editions) encourage this thinking. But ...
F. Randall Farmer's user avatar
23 votes
5 answers
6k views

How should I go about stabbing my friend in the back? [closed]

I'll let that title sit there for a second while I explain my situation. So, first off - recently the DM let slip that his current campaign is loosely based on the Star Wars trilogy (which one though,...
Ben's user avatar
  • 23.1k
19 votes
14 answers
6k views

Is making characters who go off the rails unlucky a good technique for keeping the plot moving?

I will soon be the GM of a 4 players party. It will be my very first game as a GM, and one thing that terrifies me is to let players make the choices they want and lose them far away from the plot. I ...
Keker's user avatar
  • 329
15 votes
7 answers
730 views

How to I create material (on the fly) to support plot changes?

In both pre-plotted adventures and more story-telling ones, a lot of situations occur where monsters/npcs/magical items/geography appear, which wasn't thought of beforehand. I.e. I do not have the ...
c3038354's user avatar
  • 363
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 ...
Regress.arg's user avatar
12 votes
5 answers
2k views

How can I tell if my prep is right for a session's length?

Because I have a group that acts unpredictably, I stay away from laying out the whole adventure - let alone the campaign - beforehand. Instead I write each new session as a response to their actions ...
Weckar E.'s user avatar
  • 3,481
12 votes
3 answers
2k views

My PCs are getting distracted from the main storyline, focusing on their own ventures instead

Ok, I say PCs... but I actually mean PC. I am running a 1-player D&D 5e game for a friend (let's call her Jane), as a way of introducing them to the game. It was only meant to be a "non-canon", ...
Ben's user avatar
  • 23.1k
11 votes
9 answers
4k views

How can I avoid focusing too much on one player character?

Currently in the game I'm running, one of my players is constantly excited about the game. Outside of the game, he writes pages and pages of material about his character, and consistently adds new ...
Nameless Nick's user avatar
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 (...
Bomberclaw's user avatar
11 votes
3 answers
5k views

Is this a plot hole in the Lost Mine of Phandelver adventure?

I'm DM'ing for the first time with a group playing for the first time (Table of Noobs). In the 1st chapter of Lost Mine of Phandelver, the characters come across dead horses, are attacked by goblins, ...
Keven M's user avatar
  • 321