Questions tagged [system-agnostic]

For questions that are explicitly not restricted to any one particular system or rules, where the asker wants solutions to the question that are not directly tied to a game's mechanics.

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20 votes
7 answers
3k views

How can I help players who have trouble interjecting into conversations and roleplaying?

After recently starting a new campaign with a group of players that I've had for separate groups before, I noticed that one of the players often struggles with the ability to interject when they want ...
  • 970
3 votes
0 answers
105 views

What are some alternative methods for running encounters where a PC loses control of their character? [closed]

There are a number of spells and monsters in various fantasy and sci-fi RPGs that can significantly influence a PC's behavior, take control of a PC altogether, or even replace a PC without the ...
  • 5,853
4 votes
2 answers
132 views

How to make a good height and weight table? [closed]

I am wondering how I would make a good height and weight table that has balanced ranges across a range of around 6-8 feet. When I have tried making a table, it always ended up being too light for ...
24 votes
11 answers
2k views

In session 0, how can I indicate that I'm not interested in a heavily optimized game without denigrating it as a play style?

This is a question about how to scope out prospective games where I'm a player. "Casual" isn't really accurate as a description of me as a player, since I'm very invested in story elements, ...
  • 1,194
8 votes
5 answers
2k views

Should I postpone Session Zero, so an irregular player can attend?

I am currently trying to start a campaign with a group of friends and our Session Zero was scheduled for next week. One of my players has now told me, that he is unsure, if he will be a part of our ...
  • 1,526
10 votes
1 answer
648 views

Translating in-game between player characters without breaking the game's rhythm

(I struggled to find a "decent" title that encapsulates the issue at hand, so if you have a title idea that fits the question better, I'll gladly take it over the current one) I recently had ...
  • 4,482
21 votes
6 answers
2k views

How to best take notes as a player in an ongoing campaign?

I'm a player in years-long campaign. I'm also a GM in a (different) years-long campaign. I noticed that even though I tried to take extensive notes, I'd often miss important things (volume != quality ...
  • 9,225
2 votes
2 answers
178 views

How do I prevent a teleporting artefact from splitting the party? [closed]

During my campaign the players will find a magical diary. The diary is an artefact that, when read, transports the reader into the time period described therein. They can interact with the people and ...
  • 433
8 votes
3 answers
631 views

What's the typical dice size? Or how big should the channel of a dice dispenser be?

I need some help. I'm trying to design a dice dispenser / tower where dice will slide or roll thorough a channel with a square cross-section. Many sources show that a typical d20 has a "diameter&...
  • 20.7k
13 votes
2 answers
938 views

Are aftercare/feedback techniques for play by chat different to in person play, and how does it work when we all have a tight schedule?

I regularly play in a game via real time chat. We all have tight schedules, and can only make a two-hour slot. Recently I've been interested in the concept of aftercare techniques or other ways of ...
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
0 answers
119 views

Dungeon Mastering: How to dungeon master a game about non-heroic peasants living in a village [closed]

How would I engage the PCs? Say, I announced to them that a hurricane was going to blow over the village and destroy all the crops, kill a bunch of livestock, and ruin the whole thing. What would the ...
17 votes
8 answers
2k views

How can I introduce twists to a heist when the dice always succeed?

I think it's pretty well known that the best heists are those where the party gathers information, makes plans, gets their gear together, and then in the middle of executing the plan something happens ...
4 votes
2 answers
267 views

As GM, how to implement an enemy that erases the PC's memory [closed]

I like the idea of an innocent-looking enemy, or even just a zone, in some dangerous place, that slowly erases the memories of anyone near it, whether randomly or starting from the newest memories. ...
6 votes
2 answers
2k views

Is there a way to blend hex and square grid for battle maps?

I'm new to hexes and not too experienced with map-making in general, and I want to expand my understanding of them. While I was figuring out how radiuses would work for things like spells on a hex map,...
  • 61
7 votes
5 answers
2k views

How can I bring up mental health in session zero?

I've recently started playing role-playing games again, and my current group are excellent in that they are very conscious of eachother's mental well-being. We openly discuss what we are and aren't ok ...
12 votes
3 answers
392 views

How to improve the variety of narration in my text-only game of D&D?

I, and one of other players in my play-by-chat group, have expressed a desire to improve the narration of our character's actions. When they brought this up, I noticed the sort of unvaried ...
11 votes
0 answers
124 views

How was loot sold historically? [closed]

Looting and selling valuable equipment is a key revenue generator for PCs in many RPGs, but how did this work historically? I have a vague idea from fiction that when armies brought home large amounts ...
  • 1,309
12 votes
1 answer
431 views

As a GM, how do I build a complete group of players that fit my style and preferences?

I've been GMing for some years now. During that time, I feel like I've developed somewhat of a style/preference with the kinds of games I like to run. While I feel my games can be enjoyed by a variety ...
  • 1,211
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
15 votes
3 answers
713 views

How do I roleplay Prejudice/Xism?

The world is not always nice place, and typically neither are our pretend ones. There are plenty of times in games where Characters may come across others who are prejudiced in some form. Perhaps ...
  • 2,911
55 votes
4 answers
7k views

Dealing with a Repeatedly Cheating Friend

I'm the GM of a long-running online Vampire: the Masquerade campaign. Three years ago, we had a new (and young) player who cheated on dice rolls. I kicked him out. A while later, he messaged me to ...
  • 503
50 votes
6 answers
9k views

How can I deal with a 'soft' alpha gamer player?

Alpha gamer is a type of player in cooperative games, who effectively makes a decision for another player. In this question I am asking how to deal with a 'soft' version of this player archetype, who ...
22 votes
5 answers
5k views

How do I deal with this very annoying teammate who engages in player versus player combat?

I am playing with some friends over Discord, and one of them makes characters with a bit of a light temper. Not that bad, right? Wrong. If you do something or say something he doesn't like, he makes ...
  • 245
41 votes
4 answers
4k views

What does it mean for a word or phrase to be a "game term"?

These two questions use the phrase "game term": Is “a special melee attack” an actual game term? What does 'ally' mean, as a game term? Both answers seem to make a distinction between game ...
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
19 votes
3 answers
3k views

My gaming group can't agree on play-by-post or scheduled games

I'm currently helping out as one of the DMs of a larger gaming group that will periodically see two or three players plus a DM go on a mission, usually handled in play-by-post format. Right now, I ...
3 votes
0 answers
162 views

Where can I find experiential-based resources for West Marches/Open Table games? [closed]

I'm currently getting ready to run an Open Party/West Marches style game with a pool of about 16 players. We'll be using 5e, but my question is system-agnostic. I of course started with Ben Robbins' &...
10 votes
5 answers
2k views

How do I DM for this group when we can't handle a large group properly, but also can't count on any smaller group all attending?

I just concluded an online game with my players. (We played 5E, but I want to move to Dungeon World.) I started with four players, and that has since grown to around ten people wanting to play, which ...
3 votes
0 answers
397 views

What is the first game with explicit fluff/crunch distinctions? [closed]

I find myself involved in discussions frequently where one person will claim that a piece of text in a rulebook is "just fluff" or "pure flavor" and can be "refluffed" by ...
10 votes
5 answers
1k views

How do you determine what action belongs to who in a modernist GM-based game? [closed]

Lets say we have a game. The group playing the game accepts the following modernist1 conventions: GMs control the in-game world, except the PCs. They have final say over what happens (and has ...
15 votes
8 answers
2k views

Can conflicting descriptions of the recent past be handled better than GM fiat?

I've been having a problem in RPGs lately where participants, myself included, have radically different ideas about what just happened on a basic factual level. For example, in a recent Pokémon RPG ...
16 votes
5 answers
3k views

How can I handle a player who seems to utilize skills their characters don't have?

Well the tag is slightly misleading as these players do not cause problems. However I have encountered several players who exhibit skills their real life counterpart has without actually metagaming. ...
  • 18.8k
17 votes
1 answer
2k views

What is the origin of the term 'quantum ogre'?

As I understand it, a 'quantum ogre' is a piece of game content that the party will be unable to avoid encountering. It's a way of saving on prep time for the game master but that subtly removes ...
  • 24.6k
13 votes
2 answers
2k views

Are there any problems using a mix of hex and square grids on a map?

I'm creating some maps with a 5ft hex grid and hoping to keep them system agnostic. There are some rooms that have a shape that doesn't fit the hex grid well and would fit a square grid much better. ...
  • 131
34 votes
7 answers
5k views

How would combat work without opportunity attacks?

Opportunity attacks have a long history in the world of tabletop games and D&D in particular. 3.5e/PF both had an exhaustive list of actions which can or can not trigger an OA. Various games have ...
  • 62.3k
31 votes
11 answers
9k views

Is it possible to emulate common polyhedral dice rolls using just a d6, and if so, how?

This is a question that I've asked myself numerous times, but I've never gotten a really satisfying result. The issue is this: let's assume we only have one or multiple d6 dice (arguably the most ...
4 votes
2 answers
524 views

How much should I as a GM adapt the rules of my world to suit my players?

I'm DMing a DnD 3.5e game with some combat but mainly focused on narrative and building towards interesting moral themes. I told my players this in session 0. In the game for our last session the ...
21 votes
2 answers
443 views

Strategies for effectively running a temporary online game

Other questions have done a good job of outlining where to find online players and some of the tools available for ongoing virtual games (Roll20, Fantasy Grounds, etc). Many of those tools have a cost ...
  • 1,958
4 votes
2 answers
650 views

Sources for Benchmarks of Prices in the Star Wars Universe

I am planning to run a Star Wars campaign, and I would like to get a better feel for the setting's economical 'realities', such as approximate relative prices of things and services. I understand that ...
24 votes
3 answers
2k views

How to ask for useful critiques?

As a GM, I strive to make the best experience for my group and adapt and improve my style and skill. I usually do this by live observation and asking for inputs after the session. My problem lies in ...
  • 31.2k
10 votes
2 answers
568 views

Save a dying PC without being too obvious

In my last session a PC left the party and engaged a one-to-eight fight. He is dying alone in an isolated place without many chances of becoming stable and the other players will probably need some ...
  • 334
35 votes
4 answers
5k views

How can I help my players make meaningful choice during dungeon navigation?

Foreword: I run a D&D 4e campaign, but I think that this question is overall system-agnostic. Recently I've somewhat shifted my D&D campagin towards a more traditional dungeon crawling style. ...
  • 1,816
34 votes
10 answers
3k views

How does one track/incorporate errata in relation to printed rulebooks without having to memorize, or constantly check against, the errata?

I bought myself a shiny new rulebook for a relatively new system and, of course, there's already a full document of errata! In order to make this easier for myself, I sat down with a pen and sticky ...
  • 8,133
0 votes
1 answer
1k views

Is it possible to wield a 'greatsword'? [closed]

Whenever I play a fighter or barbarian wielding a greatsword, I imagine them wielding a sword like this: Later I discovered that a greatsword is not that big, but it's more like a longer sword. The ...
  • 31.2k
4 votes
3 answers
356 views

How can I encourage a good role-player to be more creative? [closed]

I'm currently GMing for a new group of people, and I have introduced them to a new rule that I've had success with before. The rule basically states that if you give a cool or interesting description ...
  • 578
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
3 votes
0 answers
127 views

What makes a convincing mafia? [closed]

I am currently in the process of creating my own world, in a Victorian Era/Industrial Revolution/Steam Age setting. It's not overly steampunk but light elements of it are acceptable, as well as some ...
  • 39
1 vote
1 answer
275 views

Are there any RPG systems that don't require a DM to narrate the adventure? [closed]

Are there any RPG systems that don't require a person narrating the adventure?
  • 21
6 votes
6 answers
286 views

Improving Lie Detection and Credibility Assessment Rules

Many systems have two or more skills/traits/other numeric values that can be pitted against each other in situations where side A tries to assess side B's credibility, where side B may or may not be ...

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