111

Let your player leave. D&D is a game. The primary reason anyone plays D&D is to have fun. You and your player are not having fun. Your question title is a leading one: of course you shouldn't change the "entire" campaign to please just "one" player. So yes, you and your player should part ways. Your player has told you that he's not having fun, ...


88

As with other aspects of the game, as the GM you have a lot of leeway here. Just because the Adventure Path/Campaign/Monster Manual says that these creatures are spiders doesn't mean that they have to be. After all, all a monster is is "A block of stats with fluff" (Thanks @Grey Sage, I particularly liked that quote) You can easily reskin spiders with creepy,...


86

You don't I usually hate this type of answer but unfortunately this sort of thing is rarely done well at tables and should be avoided. Particularly in a first session this will be considered railroading. No matter how strong the initimidation is the players will still think they have a chance to win and are extremely unlikely to give in. This results in ...


82

Let me start by saying that this is a well-known potential "fallacy" in the settings/rule interaction Human Level 1 Fighter: "Let me get this straight. You're a hundred and twenty." Elf Level 1 Fighter: "Right." Human Level 1 Fighter: "And I'm sixteen." Elf Level 1 Fighter: "Right?" Human Level 1 Fighter: "And we're equally skilled even though ...


77

I've played in and run evil campaigns of various sorts in both 3.5 and 4e (though not 5e, I think my learning will transfer), and run into a lot of problems: My Guy Syndrome comes up a lot, as does a tendency to default to a regular D&D storyline only with more stealing of spoons and kicking of puppies to remind ourselves we're evil. Sometimes an evil ...


76

One thing to keep in mind before you just port spider-like abilities over to something that isn't quite a spider is that real arachnophobia isn't just a matter of being "creeped out" by them. I have a good friend who suffers from it and it's a real condition that is completely outside of his control. Halloween is a terrible time for him, because fluffy toy ...


73

It’s all about Agency As long as the party is independent to choose their path, and their actions remain relevant, having mighty NPC’s involved won’t detract from the game. NPC’s that are already in conflict have a great excuse for not “doing the thing.” Suppose the mighty NPC heroes need to recover an item from the Chapel of Nice Things, but the evil ...


71

I've run a variety of tones of campaigns over time and some could be considered "evil"; in fact currently I'm running a three-year long Pathfinder campaign where the PCs are pirates - not all of them are technically evilly aligned, but murder, torture, rape, slavery, etc. have all come up in the game. Here's how you make it work. Decide on Limits, Within ...


66

I have to say that, assuming your description is accurate, you already have tried changing the campaign to please this one player, and he refused to be pleased. I'd let this one go.


64

This might not be as much of a problem as you think. Why? Because munchkining, minmaxing, optimising, whatever you want to call it - is severely limited in 5e. The main techniques for it in previous editions of D&D involved things which are significantly less effective in 5e. Multiclassing has been crippled by the all-important ability score increases/...


61

My vote is for the broad-strokes banhammer. In short, don't make a big deal of it and people mostly won't notice. Just because something exists in the world does not mean it should be an option for the players. Why not let one of them play as a Mage or Werewolf? Because it doesn't work in the world the GM has defined. Why not Malkavians? Because they're ...


60

For your players Use other solutions Intelligence is only one of 3 mental stats, and the one that refers mostly to book-learning, puzzling, connection-making and thinking stuff through. However, lacking it doesn't make you a bumbling fool; it makes you someone who solves problems in other ways. For example, if it's crucial that the characters know who ...


55

Elves don't get their first character level until age 120. That means they spend a lot of time until then doing... well... something. If we look at humans and what they learn in their first 15 or so years, we can come to quite a range of different subjects. As toddlers, we learn to communicate. This takes quite a few years to do proficiently. Making ...


51

It depends. What are you trying to achieve? As the author of the campaign, you have a tremendous amount of freedom to create whatever world you wish to. You don't have to stick with the world created in the books any more than you want to. In many years of playing I have spent far more time playing in "generic fantasy world populated from the Monster Manual"...


50

Yes, you should discuss it with them. First, it is important to note that "Sandbox" and "railroad" are more of a spectrum than an either-or proposition. As I understand it, you want to put at least some major events on a railroad and allow a bit more of a sandbox during the temporary stops along the rails. This is a perfectly valid style of play. When I ...


49

In D&D, they can just die and come back In the context of magical fantasy adventure like D&D, it's useful to separate these two questions: "How can I keep this character alive after a direct confrontation?" and "How can I keep this character involved in the story?" A typical D&D campaign's setting has all these things and more: Resurrection ...


47

Tell them that the side campaign ends with an epic, glorious, TPK. Making your players co-conspirators in the shape of the finale means that they will help you drive it to that epic conclusion. There's no value, in the scenario you describe, to making a TPK a surprise or look unintentional. Save the energy that would be spent on smoke and mirrors designed ...


47

The first rule of RPG plots is that no plot survives contact with player characters. You cannot rely on players to do what you expect. If a puzzle has two solutions, the players will invent a third, and you will need to be responsive to that if you want to avoid the feeling of railroading. Your main risks are as follows: The plot requires the PCs to be ...


47

They're really not that different... ...because you left out an important adjective: abandoned. Often, those "fantasy" adventure locations you cited - a crypt, a prison, a cave system, a necromancer's lair, or a castle - are only interesting because nobody is currently and legitimately/legally living there. They're full of loot because it's stuff that was ...


46

First: Ewwwww, yuk. Second: The bar is big enough to employ 2 barmaids - luckily the one he slept with is not his sister. This changes the situation from really gross to "dodged a bullet, lucky your sister wasn't working the first night, eh?" Oh, and they share a bedroom and each other's stuff because they're BFF. She comes home in the morning and doesn't ...


45

As it stands, they have two parties with a vested interest in their capture/destruction: the one(s) who framed them and the authorities that arrested them. If they don't want to pursue the plot, have the plot pursue them! Escaping from jail is certainly frowned upon and bounty hunters could easily be employed to run them down and return them to justice. ...


44

Megadungeon All sessions start in the village. At any time when not in peril and the party knows the way back the party can declare that they return to the village - this ends the session. If the session time expires before they return, roll on the "What really bad thing happens to my PC while returning to the village" table. Shamelessly nicked from http://...


43

Do not cheapen relationships Do not have a "romantic interest" NPCs, instead have real characters who may develop strong feelings for a PC. Significant others are not quest items or things to be won through cheap tricks -- or for that matter expensive devices. To do so is to cheapen the life of the significant other. One cannot win the love of someone ...


43

My preferred method for doing something like this is thinking outside the dungeon: start the adventure after the player characters have escaped. Begin the first session with a prologue outside game mechanics. Explain to the players that they have escaped gladiator slavery, and then ask them how they did it. Prepare some questions for the players to answer ...


42

Ultimately, the reason your players kill your villains is because they know, deep down, that it's the right thing to do. Now, I don't mean it's the moral thing to do. I mean it's the pragmatic thing to do. The players (if not the characters) have read enough stories and seen enough movies to know that if they have the bad guy in their power and they don't ...


40

As a roleplayer who dislikes playing for stats, I loved it when the GM introduced an eggtimer. Players only got a limited time for rules discussions, swapping spells & checking/discussing rules and had to just plough in there and get stuff done. Oddly, the more munchkin-esque members of the party seemed to consider this a part of the crunchy numbers ...


40

You can’t. It’s just not that simple. CR is an inaccurate, unreliable tool in the best of times. Numerous creatures have stats comparable with other creatures several CRs higher or lower, and on top of that the power of a given party of PCs is wildly variable as well. And it was designed with wealth in mind, and changing wealth does not affect everyone ...


39

Most campaigns don't reach their end That's just the way it is. Doubly so for your first ever campaign. You might lose interest. So might your players. You might realize you don't know what to do with them anymore. Life might intervene. Things happen. And that's ok. Fun would still have been had. Memories would still be formed. The world you create might ...


37

From the ever-essential Medieval Demographics Made Easy, I find that: A square mile of settled land (including requisite roads, villages and towns, as well as crops and pastureland) will support 180 people. This takes into account normal blights, rats, drought, and theft, all of which are common in most worlds. From Medieval Manors I learn that a single ...


36

Write the story as if the characters were not there. Make sure that all your NPCs have motivations, goals and personalities. This is what would happen if the world was run like clock work. This is your story. Now, add the characters into the mix. Let the story be modified by what the characters do. The NPCs will react, and depending on their ...


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