62

One uncomfortable answer: Don't write quest structures that are that fragile. If your plot depends on the PCs taking very specific, scripted actions, and not taking such actions results in a complete failure, then that plot is a railroad. If you decide to have an item that is plot-relevant to such a degree that the PCs are dead if they don't have it and ...


50

The First Step Is Admitting You Have a Problem Have you tried talking to your players about this playstyle? Why are they sticking with this approach? Before you start punishing them for not playing the way you expect them to, make sure this behavior isn't a symptom of a deeper problem. Do they just enjoy unloading on every foe they see? This can indicate ...


31

Allow the characters to learn about the problem and decide on a solution Maybe they can find a way to retrieve the item despite its "loss". Maybe they can find a way to replace the lost item with something else. Maybe they can find a different way to win that doesn't require the item. If the item was lost during a shipwreck, that just means the group ...


27

Wandering Monsters The risk of resting in most locations in a fantasy setting is the potential to be set upon by any manner of strange and dangerous events. Many DM’s use a random encounter table when players choose to take a rest and you can determine the likelihood of things running afoul. The players will learn quickly that they have to get somewhere ...


27

As @aaron9eee says, it's never too late to enforce rules as written (RAW). However, you say you haven't talked to your player yet about it. That should be your first step! Your player clearly knows something is wrong, so take them aside out of game and 'fess up: "I recently found out that we've been handling some of the monk features incorrectly. The game ...


26

Revise your plot off screen What you say to the players is what their characters perceive. It is not a canon until you confirm it out of the game. Even if you have confirmed it, there are many ways to 'cheat'. This is a powerful tool to shape the story. If you still want to progress the quest toward a certain direction, overwrite the fact that they've hit ...


23

Don't Do It I'm planning on making a D&D 5e campaign for my friends so they can experience what an okay DM is like If this is your goal, then keep the game simple. Attempting to add all those disparate elements is going to create confusion. Show them the game straight and clean, earn their trust and help them understand it. Don't run outlandish high ...


20

The rules (including the unofficial SRD) clarify what "Be a fan of the characters" means. In the "Gamemastering" chapter: Be a fan of the characters Think of the players’ characters as protagonists in a story you might see on TV. Cheer for their victories and lament their defeats. You’re not here to push them in any particular direction, merely to ...


19

Before I answer, I would ask you, as a DM; What difference does it make? What would you change in your game if you knew the players knew that Princess Q was a spy? Would PQ change her tactics? Would PQ know that the players know? How did she find out since no one is outwardly saying anything in- or out-of-character? To me, it sounds like what you really ...


18

It's never too late to be honest. I have had a very similar experience, but as a player. I made a tiefling warlock character and being new to 5e I made a bunch of mistakes. Fairly minor things like taking the Magic Initiate feat at first level, and adding the spells on my expanded spell list to my learned spells - instead of just adding them to the list ...


15

Re-Balance the Long Rest Mechanics This answer suggests changing the Long Rest mechanics, but without (it seems) too much direct knowledge. I've done exactly that and have extensive experience with it, so I can give some insight into what I did, why I did it, and how it worked. (Although not actually in that order.) That will give you some insight into ...


14

Run one-shots. I would heavily advise against trying to blend game mechanics from two different systems together, aside maybe from AD&D which at least shares a rough power parallel. You can't run Monster of the Week enemies in D&D because Monster of the Week enemies don't have actions and do whatever you want. You can't run Honey Heist enemies ...


13

Don't worry about it, work with your players (in game) to find a solution Roleplaying games are often a collaborative experience in which the DM and players work together to create a story. That story emerges through the world that has been created, and through the players' actions. Your example was: The players decide they cannot save the NPC, so they ...


12

Out of character discussion Sadly enough, this kind of thing can realistically only be resolved by talking about it out of character with the players, because the realistic in-character resolution simply isn't possible. It'll result in an escalating train of readied actions until one of the two players gets their way. The realistic in-character way of ...


10

It's not a long rest unless you say so. Fate, karma, or some other subtle and unseen force propels the heroes through their adventures. As heroes, they prevail when they press on, not when they retreat and lick their wounds. Once the characters have fought about four battles, they earn a full heal-up. -- 13th Age, "Rest and Recharge" This is ...


10

This is hard work and probably a bad idea This is not the answer you want to hear, I suspect, because you've offered a bounty for it. But, this is mostly a bad idea, for all the reasons you listed above dealing with mechanics. RPG mechanics systems are tools-- they're designed to achieve certain effects and to support certain game worlds, and almost none ...


10

I think it is not only good but necessary to tell the players things that their characters would know as people existing in the world of the game. It is not substantially different from giving them sensory descriptions of their characters' environment. If you give the players more information and they decide to change their proposed action, that's still ...


9

It means putting the heroes first, before the story and the world As a GM, you create the world and everything in it. Furthermore, as a GM, you have power to determine what is possible in that world. "Be a fan of the characters" means letting the players do awesome things to that world, instead of being limited by what you think should be possible. In D&...


9

Matt Colville has a good video on this topic: Range and Altitude in Three Dimensions, Running the Game #55 It notably advises: In 5e, measuring range in three dimensions is easy because of how 5e handles diagonals. If something is 5 squares away in one dimension and 3 squares away in another, it's always simply 5 squares away. Use d12s next to a miniature ...


8

Context Remember to start with your Agenda, such as fill the characters' lives with adventure, and follow up with your Principles, such as begin and end with the fiction, think dangerous, and ask questions and use the answers. Failures Your question assesses success vs. middling, but doesn't really cover failure. This is important for context. Success is ...


6

I've had a couple of different types of 3D combat setups, and based on my experiences I have a few suggestions. The first, and by far the most important, is to remember that: D&D was not built for 3D combat any more than it was built to exactly simulate reality. This doesn't mean that you can't or shouldn't try out 3D combat, just that you should treat ...


6

Talk about it, but don't change unless the player agrees While it can be argued that Rules As Written is the way the game is supposed to be played, and gives you the best class balance, I think more important here is the old saw: "If it ain't broke, don't fix it." While you might have noticed you ruled the Monk differently than RAW, the real question is ...


5

More easy encounters My suggestion is rather than "punish" them for making a fairly reasonable (in their minds at least) decision, try using more encounters, and make those encounters easier. For example: Split a deadly encounter in two parts, and with the last orc's dying breath he laughs, "You'll not fare so well when the rest of the squad catches you....


5

What are they using for food and drink? If your party has a cleric who knows Create Food And Water then fair enough. If not, they're going to get very hungry and thirsty, and then they're going to die. In a straight dungeon crawl, they can't guarantee any food and water apart from what they carry with them. In the wilderness they might find streams, but ...


4

I own quite a few of Paizo's paper minis, and I use 9-pocket trading card organizers for 4-ring binders to great effect: I use it for paper minis, but they'll fit tokens and cardboard pawns as well. Pockets are 6cm wide, so they'll fit Medium and Large-size creatures without a problem. Pros: Inexpensive and readily available in game shops Flat storage ...


4

For one thing, there are no spells that effect only a flat area. Spell targeting types for AoE spells are cone, cube, cylinder, line and sphere. The only other spell targets are self and choosing individual targets. You best bet would be to use the rules for miniatures and a grid. Use stands to place creatures at whatever elevation they are positioned at. ...


4

This is within my reading of the rules, although the choice of Wisdom might not be the best choice of abilities to key this off of. Whether it's a good idea or a covert means of control is a personal judgment, but I have some helpful guidelines I use. I'll address all of these below. Is this within the rules? This depends on how strictly you want to ...


3

While I agree with the advice given elsewhere that you should avoid single-point-of-failure plotting (or even "plotting" RPG campaigns altogether!), I'm going to answer with the assumption that this issue has already come up, and that our hypothetical GM needs a fix, not advice for the campaign after their current one (which is seemingly doomed to fail). ...


3

By itself 3D does not really matter Here is the thing: your problem will be to make combat any different, if you want a thematic campaign. Introducing the 3rd dimension will not significanty change how D&D combat plays out. Why? Because the combat environment is nothing but the information of where characters are and where terrain features are. What do ...


3

It means you should be a pool shark, but in a good way. You're familiar with the term, right? Somebody who's so good at pool they can do what they want at the table and play exactly poorly enough to make someone think they had a good time and won legitimately. And then they put money down and run the table, but that's beyond the scope of the analogy, not ...


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