New answers tagged

0

Admittedly, Hypnotic Pattern is an unusually powerful spell and one that can tip a combat, especially if the PC's outnumber the monsters. Before you resort to changing the fundamentals of that spell, though, or "giving immunity" to monsters, make sure you are running the PC's spells RAW. If you are not paying attention to things like range and ...


10

The DC to dispel a spell effect is based on the spell's slot level. Dispel magic says: Any spell of 3rd level or lower on the target ends. For each spell of 4th level or higher on the target, make an ability check using your spellcasting ability. The DC equals 10 + the spell's level. The rules for spell slots say: When a spellcaster casts a spell using a ...


10

Combat balance is always tricky, and airship-related elements can make it harder. I'll try to focus on the novel environment of the airship, since that's the meat of the question. But for completeness, a few issues about combat balance generally: Combat difficulty estimates (like a hard encounter, deadly encounter, etc.) are just that-- estimates. And not ...


14

You shouldn't enforce it at all without prior out of game consent. Players want to build the characters they want to build. When I make a character, I make it mine. I get in touch with my perception of the character. I design their ethics based on who they are. In general, players don't like it when you tell them their character is now someone else. Players ...


1

Yes. Narrate a failed Insight checks by describe what the players are expecting or keep the status quo. The exception is when it benefits your story or plans for what's coming ahead to NOT lie, then tell the truth (without letting them know its the truth) And listen to each players as they comment on whether the NPC is telling the truth or not... usually ...


0

Lots of good suggestions, but nobody has quite mentioned: Make single-use items fragile and perishable Your party comes across a chest of healing potions in thin-walled bottles. They could have sat in this chest perfectly fine for a hundred years, but carried in a pack, they have a tendency to break. Magical fruit with potion attributes. Can sit on the ...


1

Ask your players how their characters know, and tell your players what their characters know. In the case of the truck crash, this is what those ideas would look like. As your players decide they're leaving the MacGuffin in a partly disassembled WeMoveIt truck, you say: Okay, so how are you planning to keep an eye on this until you can come back for it? ...


1

Provide alternate ways to get the MacGuffin back. In the real world, there are almost always multiple ways to accomplish something. If someone needs more money, they typically have several obvious choices: Get a job (slow, but low risk and a decent likelihood of success) Play the lottery (high risk of a total loss, low chance of phenomenal success) Steal or ...


0

I've successfully used two techniques here. Which is better depends on your situation: First, when running Horror on the Orient Express, I just plain kept a day-by-day journal of what the party did. Everything was very linear (literally "on rails", har har har), and there was essentially no downtime. This worked well, and doubled as campaign notes. ...


0

There are lots of great answers here, but my opinion is that it's always ok to lie to players, as long as you recognize the impact it has on the players. If something is set at DC 15, and the players beat it after beating every single other roll they've made, changing the DC on the fly seems fine to me. On the other hand, if they've been having a hard time, ...


1

It's a matter of play style. Whether you go complete "living world" where things happen as they happen and it's up to the players to keep up, full "video game" where the players always arrive exactly when they need to for the plot or any sort of intermediate is completely legitimate as long as everyone is on board with it and knows what ...


7

You need to create the circumstances the players find themselves in, so that you can reveal the clock Ask yourself the following questions: Who knows the truck is in that direction? Who knows the bridge has been blown up? Who knows the fog will mean the driver can't see and will crash off the bridge? The basic idea is to be able to create a bunch of people ...


1

Use a light touch or it's a railroad As the referee, it's your job to present a fun world. If your vision of "fun" is that it's supposed to be realistic, then keep it real. In that case, don't reveal time limits except through realistic hints. On the other hand, if you prefer a cartoony feel, then you can even use cutscene narration so that ...


4

There are plenty of familiar real-world natural timers: A decrepit bridge that might go out at any time A very old NPC who is close to death Fading ink Rising flood waters A new lord of the keep about to take control A mountain pass which becomes impassable in winter Poisonous insects multiplying Any of these can be used to provide a sense of urgency, even ...


3

I'll take a different tack to most of the answers here and say this: If your players prefer storytelling to "winning", lying only ever hurts the game Even if the characters don't know the truth of the world, it can often be beneficial for the players to know. This all depends on what the players at your table do with metagame knowledge. If they ...


0

Players should always be aware that a timer exists at least, even if they do not know what the timer is exactly. Are you able to make it tacitly understood going into the game that that time is of the essence? I often see that done story wise and that should be enough for players to know now to dawdle (i.e. some plot is afoot and MUST be dealt with before ...


5

First of all, there is nothing inherently "wrong" with visualizing time limit as a ticking clock, like in a videogame. There are games which explicitly describe such timers, Apocalypse World has its Countdown Clocks for instance, so do many PbtA games. But if you think this will ruin suspension of disbelief at your table, consider more implicit/...


11

Whether you have a "living world" or not, something needs to connect players to events I have had similar problems in my games: I want players to discover things for themselves, and understand the details well enough to make informed decisions about what they want to do and how they want to do it. I like this more than giving a mission briefing for ...


29

Time limits the players don't know about are useless. You don't know where your players are gonna go, or what they're gonna do. If you have events happen off screen that they can't foresee, there's no real tension, and they might decide to go somewhere else. You can have timed events for your own fun, but roleplay is about collaboration and interaction. You ...


8

The other answers cover two good mainstays ("hard to read" and blatant lies) well. I also suggest two more methods you can use with poor insight checks in D&D. "They Seem to be Telling the Truth" This carries slightly different shades of meaning from "they're hard to read." The player receives the same information (...


5

Rolling or not? We use ability checks if there is a chance for both success and failure. Here, the PCs want to ascertain if the NPC is telling the truth. When ascertaining information there is always the possiblity that you think a lie is obvious or that there is no reason whatsoever to assume a lie. This would mean that either the chance of success or ...


12

Let me break this into two questions: Is it ok to lie to the players ... Yes, but ... Your role as DM is nicely summarised in the How to Play section: The DM describes the environment. The players describe what they want to do. The DM narrates the results of the adventurers’ actions. Since you are the one and only window the players have into the game, ...


-1

You are constantly "lying" to your players, at all times. Why would this be different? The characters don't exist, the world you're describing doesn't exist, etc. The PC doesn't exist, and the NPC doesn't exist. The core RPG experience is the interplay of pleasant fictions. You are describing the world their characters perceive, and that world is ...


19

At my own table I always say that someone is hard to read or that the player doesn't know on a failed check. The reason for this is because if a player rolled for example a natural one or other low roll that clearly failed and I lie, I've found it often causes issues with players feeling trapped by a decision. For example: the player insights the injured man ...


73

A successful Insight check should reveal useful information to players, and an unsuccessful check should emphasize uncertainty In the PHB, the Insight skill is defined as Your Wisdom (Insight) check decides whether you can determine the true intentions of a creature, such as when searching out a lie or predicting someone’s next move. Doing so involves ...


5

Two options here, that I have tried, and where successful from my point of view and the players.: Say "You don't know." In this approach, the players get exactly that - no sense of the intentions of this minion. This fits, I believe with the way checks work in 5e - if you fail an attack roll/athletics check you don't take damage/slide down a wall, ...


0

Inspired by @DavidCoffron 's answer: Ranked - Choice rolling There are three parts, and you can do the first two in either order depending on how much foreknowledge you want the players to have. Part A: Rank Stats Everyone ranks the 6 stats in order of importance to themselves. Part B: Roll stats Everyone rolls for the six stats in order. All of the rolls ...


0

Try the character first I see this more often as a fear than a reality. And it only becomes a hinderance is you let it be one. Dnd is not a video game stats don't matter much unless you want them too. Focus more on roleplay. If one player having high stats makes other character useless, then you may be putting too much emphasis on stats. Low states should ...


-1

There are quite a lot of methods to not have random results or limit the randomness of results of 'rolling ability scores'. However, applying those methods doesn't particularly mitigate any of the problems of rolling scores - it simply makes you roll them less, or not really roll them at all. (There are quite a lot of clever ways to basically remove the ...


0

OK, well I think the real reason anyone wants to roll ability scores is so that they can start with at least one high stat. In my games, I use point buy, however, the first "15" that you buy, is an 18 instead. It makes for a slightly more powerful party, but everyone feels more heroic that way. And it also maintains balance.


3

One thing I do to keep a narrative going is to give brief descriptions to normal attacks that have negligible outcomes, like an archer landing a hit that does 12 damage to a creature with 115 hp: "Your arrow sinks into its arm." When the damage reaches lower thresholds, say dealing a total of 100/115 hp, "The creature utters a guttural howl as ...


0

This is a common problem, where a player in question plays an RPG, but doesn't enjoy roleplaying. There are many different reasons why this is true, but that is beside the point. If a person does enjoy playing the game, but doesn't enjoy roleplaying, tailor your campaigns to have less roleplaying, or allow him to speak out of character. If they say "My ...


0

Ressurection It's a bit of a Deus Ex Machina, but couldn't you have a powerful wizard or priest or something find their bodies and resurrect them all? You could even work in that he didn't resurrect the wizard character (because of his foolishness or something?) so that player can still get to play his new character - if you're feeling generous. If the ...


1

There's a lot of really good advice in the other answers. If nothing else works, I think it's OK to end the game but I think the way you sell it is something like... Hey guys, I think we've all been a little frustrated after some of the recent sessions and I don't want our friendship to suffer because of it. I'm proposing that we end this game. I still want ...


-2

You could always give them all the loot, spend it on some stuff for a while and keep an eye on how well they are protecting the treasure, once it's vulnerable take it all away somehow thus setting up a whole new adventure as they try to get it back. A party with vast wealth does not go unnoticed and the last time I was in the realms I don't recall a ...


5

You are describing a very severe disconnect. Your description may be in error as you are very close to the situation as one of the participants, but assuming that your description is correct (or even only partially magnified by subjectivity) it is very unlikely to be resolved via discussion or any of the variously-touted 'communication tools'. Not least ...


17

You've Got A Lot Going On, Here: If I had to summarize the situation-- and I do, to make sure I'm o the right track, and give you the opportunity to comment and/or correct me-- I would do so as follows: You have a very strong-willed player battling a fairly weak-willed GM for stylistic and narrative control over the story, and possibly winning. What makes ...


6

Your game might not be salvageable but I'm optimistic You have four people: You and the GM have a certain kind of game in mind. The other player has a very different kind of game in mind It is unclear whether or not the girlfriend is interested in playing this kind of game at all. There are some approaches which might work but it's entirely possible that ...


4

This is a long and hard one, but let me make an attempt at unraveling this. Players (especially ones new to the hobby) don't know what they want or: Definitions, the game It has been my experience that many people are all "wooo, roleplaying, yeah I'm into that!" but when it comes down to it, they mean very different things. F.e. no matter how much ...


39

Sounds like your friend thought he would like this particular type of tabletop roleplaying game, but then realized he didn't actually like it. It happens, and at some point your group will realize that this isn't the kind of game that will make all of you happy. It wouldn't be the first time someone got hooked on the idea of this type of game, only to ...


2

About a year ago, I wanted to try out D&D my wife was game. Our friends like games but not into that kind of commitment. I am the DM and she is the main player. Over a year later, she has 4 additional NPCs in her party, and they are all on the 7-8 level on an epic campaign. The key is that I roleplay her characters, besides other GM roles, but she ...


14

Enemies Abound causes no loss of judgement except for what the spell description indicates. Yes, Enemies Abound says that it causes the target to "consider all creatures it sees as enemies," but that has no gameplay effect except for having to "...choose the target at random from among the creatures it can see within range of the attack, ...


3

If the universe lies, we're all undone. In a story, malicious deceptions are there to fail. They're there for someone to realize what they really are and take action to expose the truth and deal with the deceived people. Perhaps not successfully, that's where the drama comes from. In scenarios where GMs describe disguises and illusions differently from real ...


3

You've written: If they ever relate not-necessarily-true information directly (i.e., without using an NPC), they prefix this exposition with, "You think that..." or some other hedge-betting formula. Unless they explicitly indicate otherwise, everything they say is considered necessarily true. In my experience, there's a GM mindset where they ...


14

In this case, you have no way to know a spell is being cast. Usually you know someone's casting a spell because you can hear them saying the words or see them performing mystic signs or something. In this case there's none of that. The room just casts the spell, like a kind of autonomous magic item. So the characters can't cast counterspell because they don'...


21

The best example of this I could think of is Glyph of Warding, which can automatically cast a harmful spell on the creature triggering it. This has obvious similarities to the situation you describe; most importantly, no creature is visible casting the spell when it is cast. In response to this October 2016 tweet by a user asking whether a Glyph of Warding ...


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