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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11
votes
4answers
358 views

Building Story as a Player

I would like to know how to help a new GM build story as a player. History I am playing a campaign with some friends and our GM is a new GM and we have been playing for about a month now. He has ...
39
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5answers
7k 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 ...
16
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4answers
7k views

How should a GM deal with players that want to be “too cool”?

In my time as a GM, I've always hated stuff such as magic items, artifacts, etc; even as a player, I dislike the feeling of becoming "too cool" for the game world in question. However, I have a ...
10
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5answers
928 views

Handling dungeons in a non-heroic setting

For non-heroic I mean that players have no quality beyond any other human (in a fantasy world): If players have access to magic, it's scarce and more utility than power Players can easily die (as any ...
10
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7answers
2k views

How can I cure players of Character Abandonment Syndrome? [duplicate]

I've noticed a problem in my gaming group that I can only dub Character Abandonment Syndrome. Over the last few years, my group has played several campaigns (D&D 5e mostly, but some other stuff ...
23
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6answers
825 views

Is it plausible that characters can invent devices in a medieval setting, and how should one balance it? [closed]

To illustrate what I mean, let me give a quick example: In The Dark Eye, there is a Staff Ritual named "Hammer des Magus" or "Hammer of the Mage". Its effect is that everything non-organic you touch ...
2
votes
1answer
134 views

Are there benchmarks for the “in-game time” to “out-game time” spent in combat for different games? [closed]

I'm searching a scientific study that evaluated different combat systems in regards to the in-game out-game ratio. Or if there is currently non a dataset that would allow to create such a study.
12
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4answers
3k views

How can I emulate TV Shows with only 2-3 main characters?

I watch a lot of TV. Probably too much. Shows like Buffy the vampire slayer and Firefly have a whole slew of characters, which is perfect for a gaming party as you fill in the slots to the point you ...
29
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7answers
12k views

Fantasy economy: how to design a deep, sophisticated crafting system?

I want to construct an immersive, complex and functional fantasy economy in order to inform my world-building process. I'm interested in finding a working economic model and applying that into low-...
29
votes
7answers
905 views

How do you get a new player engaged in an old campaign?

A group of three players had been going through my campaign for a year and a half, when a fourth player was added around level 15. The new player entered in media res: there was a ton of back story, ...
4
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3answers
881 views

How to head off problem players before they start? [closed]

I am about to embark on my first campaign as a GM (D&D 5e if you think that might be relevant), and I will be leading this game for a whole slew of new players. Most of the players seem great, I ...
24
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6answers
1k views

When GMing in a high-tech game world how do you handle potentially disruptive tech?

This question stems from my Eclipse Phase campaign, but applies to any high-tech setting. While the setting books describe a wealth of technology, there are plenty of tools that are not listed. That's ...
13
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5answers
2k views

Designing scenarios for infrequent, short sessions

I have GMed for a group of friends for over 10 years, mostly in the World of Darkness and Dresden Files universes. We really enjoy the character play, the storytelling and the occasional outburst of ...
12
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5answers
9k views

Is there a system for creating visuals of characters? [closed]

I'm thinking something like this, except for fantasy games like D&D or Pathfinder. Base models of various races (gnome, human, half-orc, whatever), each with compatible artwork of equipment. It ...
13
votes
1answer
1k views

Providing party niches for a murder of Witchers

My players decided they all want to play Witchers. Thus I have a murder of Witchers1 on my hands. Since I like to have each player character excel at one thing above all other player characters, this ...
14
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7answers
595 views

Representing different languages in online games

What are methods for clearly representing different languages (e.g. Elven, Dwarven, Deep Speech) in text-based online play? We have tried footnotes and are using colored text (green for Elven, brown ...
20
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5answers
3k views

How do I make a PC's religion help drive the story?

As a GM, how can I make a player-character's religion help drive the story? I'm going to be making up a local religion for the region that most of the party is from, and I'd like it to really matter ...
22
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11answers
1k views

How to help players settle down and focus?

We have a weekly game in the evenings; however, we often don't start playing for a few hours after we get together, if at all. This has been exacerbated recently by other events with the same people ...
16
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6answers
5k views

How to end a game session smoothly

After my first (failed) attempt at playing tabletop RPG two years ago, I'm going to give it another try. Still as a GM. One thing I didn't do quite well last time was ending the game. I didn't know ...
32
votes
5answers
7k views

How to explain to a new player that metagaming is encouraged in this group

I am part of a social board games group that meets most weekends to play short (max one session) games that usually involve role playing of some kind. Recently someone invited a friend from another, ...
56
votes
17answers
13k views

Dealing with “fearless” players

I have some "badass" players in my group who do not fear death, 4 out of 6 to be precise, which causes problems for the rest players as they feel they are always getting dragged into trouble, trying ...
2
votes
2answers
378 views

How can I provide a challenge for a powergamer? [duplicate]

One of the players in my game is the most fervent powergamer I've ever met. I know it's how he gets enjoyment from the game, and so far it doesn't intrude on the other players' enjoyment, so I've ...
20
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6answers
3k views

How to deal with a group reluctant to think and discuss? [closed]

Here at RPG.SE we form a quite specific bunch. We discuss social-contract or group-dynamics, we use terms like "player agency" or "emergent settings". We approach the hobby at an intellectual level, ...
55
votes
9answers
8k views

How to handle players who make unmotivated characters

I'm a relatively new GM, and I'm having trouble getting my (also new) players to create motivated characters. I don't mean that the players themselves are unmotivated, but the characters they create ...
1
vote
2answers
963 views

Revising Armor Class for a Homebrew System [closed]

I have decided to create a Homebrew System loosely based off of Pathfinder. There is a Mechanic I would like to add in, but I haven't found any good references within the Exchange for: Revising the ...
6
votes
1answer
918 views

How can you handle PvP Combat so everyone has fun?

Recently my group's campaign in Anima: Beyond Fantasy took a turn towards a combination political intrigue/martial arts tournament that inevitably ended up resulting in PvP matches. The first of these ...
3
votes
0answers
227 views

How to test a Campaign Setting's Content? [closed]

I'm working on a pretty expansive campaign setting of my own right now, and I'd like to test it. The question is: How do I do it? Notes & Details This setting is generic, intended to be adapted ...
29
votes
6answers
5k views

How can I make puzzles a challenge for the character, rather than the player?

I'm designing an adventure, in which at one point the party meets a giant who will only let them pass if they solve some puzzles. However, the problem is that the riddles are a test for the player, ...
16
votes
5answers
2k views

Realism of Poisoned Weapons

Many games have classes that make extensive use of poisons. Poisons of course have been used in murder and poisonous gases have been used in war. But how realistic are the poisoned weapons so common ...
25
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8answers
3k views

What should I keep in mind when running a game intended to subvert the players' expectations?

Many of my favorite works of fiction are either explicitly deconstructive in nature, or at least feature elements or scenes that unexpectedly subvert the audience's expectations. Often these are some ...
9
votes
5answers
540 views

What is the feasability of having substitute players?

I'm currently playing in a D&D:Next game using Roll20. The group is supposed to meet every Friday night, but invariably, somebody can't make it. If more than just one or two people are ...
3
votes
2answers
1k views

Past tense for smite [closed]

Odd question. I got into a debate with someone over smite and its various forms of tense (future, past, and current). The dictionary says smote is past tense. For years I have been using smited. Is ...
7
votes
0answers
294 views

How to give a ''secret agent'' feel to a game? [closed]

I am planning a one on one Fate game and I want it to feel and play like a secret agent story (think James Bond, Bourne, Taken, etc. maybe even a hint of heist movies as well, aka Ocean's eleven) My ...
42
votes
5answers
3k views

How do I make engaging Man vs Wild encounters that aren't excercises in rolling dice?

I like wilderness adventures. My earliest games as a player (in AD&D 2e) featured wilderness adventures, and I really enjoyed them. I try to use them in my games (We're playing Pathfinder right ...
28
votes
6answers
6k views

How do I convey that players can solve problems in ways that don't involve punching them?

I'm currently running an exalted 2e campaign, and the party (three solars and one lunar) got beaten horribly by a single infernal who wasn't much more powerful than any single one of the PCs. This ...
3
votes
1answer
660 views

How should I role play a madman NPC? [closed]

As a DM I always try my best to include unique characters in my adventures. I wanted to use a lunatic character who has completely lost his mind as a sort of minor plot hook to introduce the players ...
38
votes
7answers
12k views

Pre-modern farming: What percent of the population is in agriculture? [closed]

I'm running a premodern setting where the characters will be involved in local administration. Assuming no magic, how many farmers does it take to support one non-farmer? Any statistics/estimates ...
13
votes
4answers
1k views

Tips on playing a character whose goals run contrary to his outward actions (to the other PCs)

So, in one of the previous campaigns I played, I had a character whose own personal goals often ended up at odds with the rest of the party (who all agreed with each other). It was difficult to ...
80
votes
14answers
21k views

My PCs have a plan that will get them all killed; how and why should I save them?

Related: How do I help my players figure out how to stay alive in a realistically-deadly sandbox campaign? I am running a sandbox game for a group of players who are used to more traditional ...
14
votes
6answers
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 ...
24
votes
7answers
3k views

Helping players remember NPCs with uncommon names

In my game of The Dark Eye we play in the south of Aventuria, and thus the players come across many NPCs with names that are not that common (especially compared to common german names) and my players ...
17
votes
3answers
3k views

How can I rescue the game when the player characters refuse to work together?

I am a Game Master, and the characters in my group have started to regularly split up. The group's mage has always been a summoner and recently started summoning smaller demons. The fighter's player ...
21
votes
5answers
5k views

How much detail should I include in medieval maps for players?

I am running a campaign in the Eberron (DnD) setting, but really, this question could apply to anyone running a game in a medieval setting. I wanted to know what level of detail/accuracy to include ...
45
votes
5answers
7k views

8 hour sessions require a meal! How can we incorporate meal breaks into the game itself?

Our group meets once a month for a long 8–10 hour session. There is always the moment at around 6–7 pm where we like to have dinner together. We have always just taken a break and came back to the ...
39
votes
13answers
6k views

How do I help my group stop derailing our GM’s set-piece battles?

My current roleplaying group has a problem in which the GM will plan an awesome setpiece, only for one of the players to accidentally and unknowingly derail it by performing what seems like a ...
10
votes
5answers
5k views

Role playing/plot focused one shot sessions

I am faced with a challenge with creating a one shot session for a couple of friends. From experience I can see that it is difficult to indulge players into setting, plot, world, characters in a ...
12
votes
5answers
1k views

How can I discover if players would react positively to a change of tone for a game without them knowing of the change?

I'm currently running a game of Cyberpunk 2020 for a couple of friends. Things are incredibly silly so far and the group seems to really like it. To get an idea of what I've run them through so far: ...
3
votes
2answers
823 views

How do I avoid making a taciturn character? [closed]

I've played several characters in different D&D systems, and they almost invariably end up being grumpy, by-the-book, mood-killing characters. I think part of the problem is that I haven't been ...
15
votes
9answers
3k views

How do I deal with players that pick very situational skills for a Campaign?

Well, luckily I don't have Power Gamers, in my game table, they all like to tailor skills according to the character background; however in many situation this makes them pick skills that are rarely (...
16
votes
10answers
1k views

When should the DM hide a PC's hit points? [closed]

In any game with hit points (I'm thinking D&D, but any will do), is there ever a situation where the DM ought to keep track of a player character's hit points, and not reveal it to the player? I'...

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