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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38
votes
16answers
2k views

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

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 ...
13
votes
2answers
554 views

How to raise the difficulty and have players love it?

I'm having a little discrepancy with my usual gaming group regarding a topic I don't see much, difficulty, or how challenging the games actually are. We usually play very system heavy games like ...
22
votes
5answers
3k views

How can I make investigation engaging for the whole party?

I'm about to start a campaign that takes place on a pirate ship. Low magic fantasy setting, loosely based on the Caribbean in the 1600s. Much of the action is going to be centered around various ...
19
votes
5answers
2k views

Playing a Character as Unobtrusive and Subservient, Yet Not Passive

In one of the campaigns I'm in, I'm playing an AI/robot that belongs to another PC, and acts as an automated assistant. The other players and GM seem to like the drone's spotlight moments (in the '...
1
vote
0answers
211 views

Fixing/Improving My Model of Reciprocal Economies [closed]

I’m unsatisfied with how things like reciprocal economies are usually handled in RPGs. I've come up with a homebrew mechanic of my own, but it's also far from perfect and I’m trying to improve it. In ...
10
votes
5answers
1k 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 ...
8
votes
2answers
455 views

As a Game Master, how should I handle a situation where a character can and does do everything?

I have made a number of characters that can do everything in a party across a wide variety of role-play systems, and seen several more as both a GM and as a player. I have also seen these characters ...
49
votes
6answers
9k views

How do I deal with being envious of my own players?

I am the problem GM in question. I haven't played for a long time. My last two attempts at it were with GMs that represented "no" rather than "yes, but" approach. Often railroaded to the point of ...
29
votes
2answers
905 views

What are the benefits of using the X Card safety tool in comparison to plain communication?

I am aware that this question may come across as ignorant or as an attempt at trolling. While I cannot prove it, I hope enough people believe that this question was asked in good faith and with the ...
2
votes
1answer
131 views

How can I design a scenario to include one remote player in a way that accounts for the resulting issues? [closed]

Similar situation to this question: Tools/techniques for optimal tabletop gaming with one remote user I will have one remote player, but I'm not worried about technical aids. My question is rather ...
79
votes
12answers
11k views

Is saying “Your PC wouldn't do that” to a player denying their agency?

In a comment to my answer to What would be the side effects on a Druid of wearing metal armor?, @Kevin asked: "So, RAW a druid will never choose to wear metal armor or use metal shields, so the ...
20
votes
5answers
965 views

Can you bypass travel by fast forwarding in your campaign?

Instead of having the players cover every single room in a dungeon or square of travel overland, is it permissible (or even warranted) to "fast forward" to a more interesting place, provided that ...
0
votes
1answer
120 views

Firing a relativistic kill missile at a god in an otherwise medieval world: How to Adjudicate? [closed]

My players have come up with a (deviously clever) solution to an impossible quest to kill a particular god-like being: accelerate an unobtanium missile at it to relativistic speeds and smash it into ...
7
votes
0answers
92 views

Using D&D as a medium to help learn IRL language? [closed]

I am a DM of a small group of friends; we prefer D&D 5e but this question can apply to any TTRPG. My friends have some experience with English, but are not comfortable with it. Lately I've been ...
4
votes
0answers
238 views

Improving myself and getting rid of my bad player habits [closed]

For a period of time (one or two years? Hard to tell) I became oddly ill. Incredibly sleepy, irritable, forgetful and it was all I could do to participate in the game. The GM thought I was becoming ...
11
votes
3answers
1k views

How to play a character with a disability or mental disorder without being offensive?

Two character concepts I've had recently are as follows. Someone who has been permanently deafened by their master as a symbol of their subservience. (NPC) Someone who has had a significantly ...
17
votes
7answers
1k views

Creating truly alien, intelligent NPC races [closed]

How can I make intelligent NPC races that are truly alien? They need to be: Culturally non-human. They need to be stranger than any sort of human culture that already exists. Rational. Behaving ...
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 ...
6
votes
0answers
205 views

GMs That Are Setting 'Average' Difficulties Too High [closed]

Definition Over the course of my TTRPG 'career', I have seen this pattern in different campaigns and with different GMs (probably 10-25% of those I played under). It looks approximately like this: A ...
9
votes
2answers
2k views

How do I handle a situation where one of my players wants another player gone? [closed]

I run a game with around 6 people. One of my players (A) wants another one of my players (B) not to play with us anymore. A has come to me in the past two different times with complaints about B, ...
41
votes
1answer
3k views

Which Article Helped Get Rid of Technobabble in RPGs?

Some time ago I saw an article on the Internet about technobabble in RPGs, specifically about why and how to get rid of it and replace it with something better. While I'm inclined to believe that I ...
17
votes
6answers
2k views

How to use social skills versus player characters

If the game system in use supports a mechanical modelling of social knack (like D&D's Bluff, Intimidate and Diplomacy skills), and the player who is subject of the social attack doesn't play his ...
44
votes
8answers
6k views

Can party betrayal be done successfully?

After reading How much experience should a PC be worth? I was wondering if and how party betrayal can be done successfully, especially since it's a real possibility in my campaign. Criteria for ...
5
votes
0answers
203 views

Is a Fractal Maze truly unsolvable? [closed]

I recently discovered the concept of fractal mazes from this question about running mazes without maps, and I'm incredibly interested, as I think it'll fit the unsettling tone I'm going for in my ...
0
votes
1answer
397 views

For what reasons do players prefer to have the risk of (Player) Character Death? [closed]

The Object of the Question In my almost two decades of RPGing, I've usually treated the probability of character death as a result of random chance in a matter-of-fact manner: as a thing that is, ...
8
votes
12answers
1k views

How can I convince my players that this evil character is good for the duration of the campaign until the big reveal?

There is an NPC that I want to introduce soon, but I don’t want the PCs to be suspicious of her until a later big reveal that she is a major villain. The NPC My game has a woman who is a noblewoman. ...
9
votes
3answers
524 views

How to Roleplay an Intimidation-Oriented Character Without Being a Net Negative for the Party

Introduction and Context Over the course of almost two decades of gaming, and most of my real life, my experience is that there's a social approach which seems like one of the many workable choices '...
20
votes
3answers
3k views

How can I effectively run a sandbox campaign playing 2 hours every week?

Premise I'm a relative new GM who only run a 2 years long heavily railroaded fantasy campaign that went south for various problems and that I decided to drop. Now I started to run a sci-fi sandbox ...
22
votes
5answers
1k views

Is there a subtle mathematical difference between increasing the target number and adding detrimental modifiers?

Modifying difficulty works in various ways within and between various roleplaying systems. But generally speaking, it seems added difficulty either modifies the target number (altering the check) or ...
6
votes
1answer
156 views

How can a group use bidding mechanics to maintain narrative balance and quantify the importance of various choices? [closed]

Pretext Many times, a group needs to pick one out of several contradictory or even mutually exclusive courses of events or actions. This can involve PCs deciding between multiple things to do based ...
48
votes
10answers
2k views

Is it fair to press the players for decisions during combat?

My group tends to over-analyse during combat, which slows everything down. I press upon my players to make their decision and roll the dice quickly. My players are all experienced in the system and I ...
26
votes
7answers
6k views

New player decision paralysis

I'm introducing a new player to RPGs. She struggles to put herself in the mindset of her character and make the decisions the character would make, which is the essence of role-playing. She can ...
42
votes
10answers
6k views

What can I do to give the players the same feel their characters would have about wilderness travel?

I find that in a lot of our group's games, traveling long distances through wilderness is too easy. In real life, it's quite arduous traveling overland. No one who's just walked a hundred miles is ...
56
votes
12answers
12k views

How to create a dungeon based on a realistic tomb, but still enjoyable to explore?

One of the typical location that is used as an excuse to build a dungeon is The Ancient Tomb (tm). I often struggle building dungeons that are credible tombs, in terms of rooms disposition and type ...
103
votes
18answers
13k views

How can I make my PCs flee?

My players never run away or avoid conflict. Ever. I throw them ridiculous encounters, they will stay and fight. If I tell them, "You know you're not gonna make it, just run," they stay and fight and ...
13
votes
5answers
1k views

How can I convey and sustain a level of realism in a given horror campaign? [closed]

TL;DR: How to convey to the players, beyond explicit statements (which sometimes doesn't work), a level of realism that you as GM expect for a given horror campaign? How could this level of realism be ...
12
votes
10answers
3k views

Do you use character sheets? Or, do you use a blank sheet of paper? [closed]

Also, what are the advantages and disadvantages for each approach?
31
votes
3answers
1k views

In gaming's infancy, were PCs expected to distrust, mistreat, and work against other PCs?

In the 1970s at the dawn of role-playing game history in the campaigns of the time, was it the expectation of both the players and the figure managing the campaign that the PCs would betray each other?...
23
votes
3answers
3k views

How can I make conversations with NPCs more succinct?

IMPORTANT: don't just read the selected answer, all of the answers to this question provide good techniques to apply in different scenarios when it comes to conversations with NPCs. I chose the one ...
19
votes
7answers
5k views

How to help a player to roleplay the character he created?

When we first met to create my players' characters, the first thing I asked was to create normal characters (e.g. no freaks/depression/obsession/psychologically disturbed, etc). Normal people with ...
23
votes
9answers
3k views

How can I help my players be interested in others' characters?

In asking this question I realized something that I never have before: my players aren't interested in each other's characters. How can I, as DM but also game session organizer and facilitator, help ...
57
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 ...
14
votes
4answers
4k views

How to retain a player who resents another player?

I am asking this question because I don't think it has been answered by any of the linked questions, and I am on the verge of losing the player in question. How to deal with anti-authoritarian player ...
57
votes
11answers
3k views

How do I make weather an important part of the game?

We're starting up a dark ages fantasy game, using some homebrew rules similar to D&D. As the GM, how can I make weather an important part of the game? To be clear, I'm not trying to just toss in ...
37
votes
12answers
8k 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 ...
4
votes
2answers
241 views

Random weather in flight-centric campaigns

This is inspired by a quick gander at the answers (in particular, the Empire Weather tables) to Randomly-generating weather for a sandbox campaign. How do you adapt Empire Weather, or a similar ...
43
votes
10answers
5k views

How do you discourage “player knowledge” as a GM?

As a trivial random encounter is winding down, a player thinks "That was too easy... The GM wouldn't give us an encounter that doesn't give XP," and starts searching for hidden bad guys or other clues....
2
votes
0answers
133 views

Temporarily retiring character [closed]

One of the players in a game I GM is going to be leaving the country for a while. What options do I have (story-wise) for having his character leave the party in a way that still leaves the door open ...
16
votes
7answers
635 views

How do I write a one-off scenario that could lead into a larger campaign?

Here's the situation: I've got a group of people interested in getting together for a fantasy roleplaying game, with me as their GM. This particular group hasn't all gamed together before, we're ...
103
votes
22answers
24k views

How to deal with player MacGyver-ism?

Role playing is an excellent hobby to train your problem solving skills. You learn to look at situations from different view points (i.e. the characters) and you have various skills and resources at ...