Hot answers tagged

62

How about an Aboleth? These aberrations are distinctly inhuman (to the point that they can be terrible to behold for the unprepared), vastly powerful - both physically and mystically; and they are aquatic, usually residing in deep oceans - which allows you to introduce either a single creature or a whole city of these horrors into your campaign without too ...


58

In general, the best way is for greedy PCs not to get the loot in the first place thus side stepping the whole problem. Despite the terrible pun (or nettle Eggcorn?): However, in this case, it is a great role playing opportunity! Your player characters have a chance to turn evil or good based on their actions. As the GM, you should lay out to them the ...


49

Behold the Beholder Classic fantasy based, preferably Western culture originating. The Beholder is a staple of Western fantasy gaming, one of the few creatures Wizards of the Coast and its predecessors have almost always considered to be Product Identity. They can't be a standard biped race, humans and elves are so last millennium. Oh, the beholder is not ...


44

Sphinxes. You've got an imposing physical form combined with a mind suited to riddles and stratagems. Everyone knows that if you can't outsmart a sphinx, you're as good as meat. They are prone to discussion and monologue, so they can be negotiated with. They're even good spellcasters, some of them. Originates in Western culture, and though they may have ...


40

Ars Magica Ars Magica may not have everything you asked for, but it has bookkeeping requirements for areas you probably never imagined. It doesn't go into the inventory-control detail of Torchbearer, but the nature of the game adds bookkeeping on: your age your history of anti-aging potion use your inventory not just of spell components, but of raw magic ...


39

Supernatural poker face The first option seems to be: give immunities to important liars. But there are two problems on it: a) Being immune to Detect Lies makes you automatically suspect of being a liar, just as someone with his face covered seems to be a criminal. b) As more and more of your NPCs have that immunity, it won't be credible, especially if it ...


37

I would strongly suggest you to use famous Same Page Tool. Sit together, read the questions, discuss them. Now it looks like you all are trying to play different games, and no one is happy about it. Your assassin has no goal, no connections, and why would she ever stick with someone she doesn't trust enough to reveal herself? Jeweler's son has no goal, but ...


35

In real history, almost no land except impassible mountains and deep desert wasn't settled, and there are exceptions even then. The population of the world during the European medieval age was much lower than today, but widely spread out in all the known habitable regions of Earth. Take that, and now add powerful, inimical monsters to the wilderness. ...


31

Your situation sounds perfect for Dungeon World Dungeon World is a world of fantastic adventure. A world of magic, gods and demons, of good and evil, law and chaos. Brave heroes venture into the most dangerous corners of the land in search of gold and glory. - Dungeon World p. 7. Dungeon World relies primarily on d6s You need a handful of dice other than ...


29

Would adventurers arise if treasure was about... To your first question, yes. Though it is more about "dungeons filled with treasure" then necessarily the magic or the monsters. People tend to seek ways to make profits, especially if those can be made quickly. People are willing to take on risky endeavors to do so. Today, in the "First ...


29

This falls under the principle of include three clues for everything. It also is well suited to the approach of using environment-based storytelling. Use Environment-Based Storytelling Introduce the puzzle setting first and let the players be confused over the weird specificity. I like the petrified inhabitants part; maybe have the husband-farmer and wife-...


25

The system that comes into mind for me when reading your criteria is GURPS. One of the good things about GURPS is that it's exactly as complicated as you want it to be. Any bit of bookkeeping that you would want to do is likely supported in some book somewhere. For your specific criteria: A developed magic system There are multiple books fleshing out ...


23

What is Western? There are a lot of creatures that have become popular in more modern visions of 'western myth'. My answers intend to cover apex predators that are seen in a lot of modern high-fantasy that tends toward a western mindset, but originated elsewhere in a more refined form. Due to this, I focus on Classic Fantasy more than Western. These ...


21

Try Dungeon World. It's an adaptation of the Apocalypse World system, and is simple and rules-light. You can create characters quickly by checking off a few boxes. Dungeon World really provides the setting & narrative essence of classic fantasy adventure gaming, without all of the complex rules systems. I've played it multiple times by sitting down ...


21

I can't say whether this, on its own, will change your players reactions (at the end of the day, gold is just another number on their character sheets). Certainly, I know it wouldn't interest most of mine - They'd just think "Oh, hey, our riches are 90% easier to carry, now," because assuming easy access to money-changers, the only thing you're really ...


20

Lie-detection magic being commonplace makes countermeasures commonplace Individuals, and society at large, will naturally adjust to the threat posed by having their private business constantly vulnerable to intrusion. This changes the social environment of fantasy investigation scenarios, but rather than make it more frustrating, actually makes the ...


18

"Adventurers" in the real world Real-world "adventurers" engage in: Trade. A lot of human activity is based on the exchange of stuff for other stuff that you want more. Exploration. Mainly to open up new opportunities for trade. Depending on the era, an explorer might be motivated by the desire to stake out their own land claims, rewards ...


18

I’ve successfully used Fate Accelerated Edition in a similar situation. My game group had been on hiatus for a while, I wanted to put together a session with very little time to prepare or teach a new RPG, and my players wanted to use the Shadowrun setting (which is similar in depth and complexity to D&D). Mechanics: All actions in Fate determine ...


17

Ars Magica has a system that allows for dynamic spell casting within their own framework. But spontaneous magic (as it calls it) is rooted into the existing system and it is not a light one. Mage: The Ascension, despite its numerous flaws, had an interesting system for creating magical effects. Again, it was derived from a few magical skills that one could ...


17

You must decide what consequences you are willing to impose if they attempt to keep Excalibur. Clearly they are not intended to, and cannot succeed, both for the sake of the story but also because of the essence of what Excalibur is. How ultimately deadly you want this to be is up to you. If it were me (every GM probably has a different opinion/style on ...


16

Wizards.com itself has a massive collection. Finding exactly what you need can be tedious, but for sheer volume it's hard to beat the wizards.com galleries and archives. The Art & Map Gallery and the Map-A-Week Archive are both free, and give access to most of the maps published in D&D 3.5 physical volumes and adventures (though not the content ...


16

I'm the PR flack for 13th Age, and although the game won't be right for everyone, I hope you have a chance to try it and see if it meets your needs. We're looking at running more games at cons and local shops. Here's how 13th Age stacks up against your requirements, in my opinion. YMMV. Fantasy Knights and Sorcerers take on Dragons for fun, profit or the ...


16

Lie Detection Barrier and Misinformation If there is a way to detect lies, then there should be a way to protect against lie detection. Villains would protect themselves, and would not share the truth with their minions. In this case they may even lie to his/her high-rank generals, because if someone try to detect lies, they would find none. They may even ...


16

Figure out how relations are between the orcs and the ogres in the camp. Give these two groups tribal names, flags, distinctive armor, etc. Are there members of more than one clan within either tribe? If so, give each clan a name and a flag, and figure out the relations between the clans. Is there tension there? History? Pride? Think about how labor is ...


16

I'm going to suggest Eoris Essence (website) as, the most complicated system I've ever run across. (Also the most beautifully illustrated.) Character Sheet I know you didn't explicitly ask about the character sheet, but since it's how I first noticed the system, I think it's a good place to start. This is one side of one of the three types of character ...


15

In some eras of Medieval Europe, there was a military unit known as a lance. It is like a squad, but also mirrors adventuring parties really well. This is especially true if you consider some of the attributes of lances: Everyone had a role or specialization within the lance (the knight, page, crossbowmen, the dude with the bill-hook, etc.) Basic lances had ...


15

If you're happy to use a virtual dice roller to substitute for the dice that aren't d6's, you could just play D&D. (Widely known as a D&D-like game.) The Basic Rules for D&D 5e are available here for free, and can be used to play a game of D&D without any further material required. If you're looking for adventures as well as a game system, ...


14

Roll for Shoes The entire system is composed of seven bullet points, so it's dead simple, and character creation is done mostly during play, not before, which means you can dive into a game without any pre-game prep at all (great for maximising your time in a one-shot!). The game's settingless, and because players name their skills as they play it allows ...


14

Change story focus. Just catching somebody on lies is not automatically win. It's a clue. From standpoint of Unusal Suspects: investigators know that this person lies to them. They just don't know what part of this lie is correct. And they need to know curcumstances to charge somebody with something. Detect Lies is a glorified error prone polygraph (lie-...


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