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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41
votes
12answers
9k views

Randomly-generating weather for a sandbox campaign

I'm running a sandbox campaign and I've been looking for a method of randomly determining the weather for the day. Features I'm looking for: Low-to-medium handling time during play. Big tables are ...
17
votes
6answers
1k views

How can I avoid metagaming when I know things my character doesn't?

One common problem I run into, as a player, is having to feign not-knowing things my character doesn't but I do, be it rules about certain creatures ("Hmm that rock golem sure looks weak against [...]"...
76
votes
9answers
9k views

How to fix a terrible lapse in judgement

Trigger warning: sexualized violence In the gaming group I run, I said at the very first day that this was going to be a very "adult" campaign. I told them I wasn't going to pull punches, ...
15
votes
8answers
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 ...
10
votes
5answers
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 ...
20
votes
8answers
2k views

How can I motivate my fellow players?

Although I'm very much enjoying the one of the games I'm in, the other players seem to be flagging and losing interest. This is a bit disheartening as their lack of enthusiasm is bringing down the ...
58
votes
7answers
3k views

As an unreliable player, how can I lessen the burden on my group?

I'm often unreliable, in the sense that something always seems to turn up at the last minute that draws me away from our current regular game. (It's happened before as well.) Given that the reasons ...
3
votes
0answers
338 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
5answers
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 ...
58
votes
19answers
12k views

How to deal with anti-authoritarian player characters?

One player I infrequently role play with (let's call him Bob) seems to have a bit of an issue with authority - or at the very least he likes playing characters who do. It's not that he does not ...
62
votes
12answers
10k views

How can I show-not-tell my players that they are The Bad Guys?

My players have an interesting habit of changing their behavior on a dime. Between objectives, they'll be trying to fix problems at small towns they pass through and helping the locals, but once they ...
37
votes
6answers
3k views

How do I emphasize role-playing during combat?

Right now, the group that I GM for is very, very tactical-combat focused. To some extent, we may as well be playing a dungeon crawl board game for all the role-play we manage. Now, in and of itself ...
66
votes
13answers
12k 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 ...
16
votes
5answers
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. ...
30
votes
6answers
15k views

How to manage a mute PC?

I am GM in a custom universe I created (medieval fantastic), and a player asked me if he could create a mute character. I refused because I was afraid it would be too hard to manage, and not fun for ...
24
votes
6answers
3k views

Is studying rules and pointing out which ones we've stretched or broken ok?

My group is mostly new to Pathfinder (including the GM), and we sometimes take "Accidental Liberties" while playing. For instance, my character has a spear with the "Brace" feature. I had been using ...
10
votes
3answers
931 views

How do I teach players to engage with a game in a rules-first way?

Among other ways, I often like to play in a rules-centric way1, where the rules are the "physics" of reality and dictate what can and cannot be true within the fiction. I especially like this for PvP ...
13
votes
1answer
1k 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 ...
7
votes
2answers
2k views

Roll20 reminded me of a similar program; help me identify it? [duplicate]

I was in chat here on the site and saw mention of an online tabletop gaming website called roll20.net. I have checked it out and it looks pretty promising for online play as it works in the browser, ...
4
votes
2answers
424 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 ...
13
votes
2answers
1k 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. ...
15
votes
6answers
1k views

How to keep the group engaged when the party is split?

I recently pitched a game to my group, to which they were receptive. However they pointed out some problems I would have to solve before the game started. The Pitch The game is set in the near-...
32
votes
7answers
4k 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 ...
27
votes
10answers
5k 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 ...
10
votes
2answers
477 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 ...
21
votes
2answers
333 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 ...
502
votes
29answers
60k views

How do I get my PCs to not be a bunch of murderous cretins?

Most RPGs teach you that casual violence is the best solution to all your in-game problems. This is so well established a part of the vast majority of RPGs that there are entire satire RPGs like Greg ...
4
votes
2answers
212 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 ...
13
votes
2answers
812 views

How do I set up an atmosphere of alienation and horror for a halloween game?

It is Halloween soon and I am planning to run a horror game featuring zombies. Lots of zombies. In fact, hordes of zombies. The setting is more akin to Walking Dead than Shawn of the Dead and is ...
24
votes
3answers
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 ...
26
votes
11answers
2k views

Excuses for opponents using nonlethal force? [closed]

In plotting out low-level encounters at the start of a campaign (especially with new players) I prefer to create opponents who don't want to kill the PCs right away. Instead, I generally have them ...
143
votes
22answers
17k views

How do you help players not focus on the rules?

Background - My Group's Gaming Style When I GM, I run games loosely from a rules standpoint, and do not feel bound to adhere to what the rulebook says when it doesn't make sense in a given situation. ...
32
votes
10answers
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 ...
57
votes
11answers
8k views

What to do when a player character does something that seems suicidal?

Every now and then a player character does something extremely risky because "it would be fun." What are some good ways to handle this as a GM, for the different styles of play? I like ...
35
votes
4answers
4k 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. ...
155
votes
17answers
20k views

How to deal with players who like to use the local authorities to solve their problems

The problem I have a player in my group which tends to approach local authorities (may it be guards or churches) when facing a threat. He thinks that, given his role (a bard in a medieval world, so, ...
23
votes
4answers
23k views

What is Cold Iron actually? [closed]

It came up in Dresden Files, but is not limited to that game, you can find the term in DnD as well. I would like to know what it means. If you look for Cold Iron on Wikipedia, you only get iron: "...
0
votes
1answer
584 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 ...
17
votes
12answers
2k views

How can non-magical healers be useful when magic healing is available?

In many roleplaying games the prerequisite to perform magic healing is knowledge, and during action it is mostly limited by magic capacity and sometimes time. Meanwhile the prerequisite to perform non-...
13
votes
5answers
2k views

How do I gain the trust of other PCs?

I'm having a bit of a problem regarding how to roleplay a schemer character when everyone knows exactly what I am. I'm the most veteran player in my group, so, for long I have been setting example ...
4
votes
3answers
333 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 ...
15
votes
3answers
809 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 ...
51
votes
13answers
15k views

How to handle wealthy player characters as a GM?

One of the long-standing settings our group keeps returning to is classic medieval fantasy. (Examples are MERP, Rolemaster, The Dark Eye -- But this question is aimed to be system agnostic and is ...
31
votes
8answers
1k views

How can I encourage a style of play where enhancing others' fun is the most important goal?

Let's assume that we can break play styles into two categories: "selfish play," where you want to have fun, and "less-selfish play," where you want to have fun but you want everyone else at the table ...
8
votes
6answers
1k views

How do I encourage players to make characters appropriate to the tone and theme of a game?

I have been a GM for many years and have experience with many different systems and settings of different themes and moods, but my current group seems to be having issues I've never had to deal with ...
17
votes
5answers
925 views

Adding comic relief

As a GM, I would like to add comic relief to my sessions. Comic relief is the inclusion of a humorous character, scene or witty dialogue in an otherwise serious work, often to relieve tension. ...
39
votes
6answers
5k views

How to deal with players not taking things seriously?

As both a player and GM I play with my group of players (and close friends) on multiple occasions and they will often make fun of either my characters, NPC or a specific situation and won't stop ...
16
votes
2answers
1k views

How to cut back on pre-game joking?

When preparing for a new game (be it a one shot or a campaign) our party, yours truly included, often slips into a humorous mode. It's usually light-hearted fun, and most of us like it, but some, ...
20
votes
5answers
2k views

As a player, how can I help other players explore their characters on a deeper level?

I'm playing in a group with a diverse group of players. Some have everything about their character planned (like myself and one other player), others came to the table with a concept and nothing else. ...
38
votes
16answers
2k views

Do role-playing games have to be fun? [closed]

There is a hypothesis that entertaining activities (like role-playing games) should be "fun." Quotes like "It doesn't matter, as long as you're having fun" and "The rules aren't important as long as ...

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