Hot answers tagged

100

Alright, it sounds like you have a lot of problems going on here that I'm going to address individually using the ruleset that you've chosen for your game. First off, you're being taken advantage of. There's no easy way to say this, but your friend is attempting to take advantage of you during the course of this game that you're playing. An item to double ...


82

No, it is not bad form Regardless of how much immersion1 you are trying to achieve, you are still a table full of people playing a game. When you run across a situation that surprises you as GM, or has you thinking "what?" it is most often better to put some thought into the solution, and make a ruling, than allowing yourself to feel rushed. (As with ...


78

at the same time I have a hard time understanding exactly what else they would do. That is the core of your problem. To make them interesting, or boring but "alive" you must understand why they are doing whatever it is they are doing. 4 goblins ambushing caravan may have many different motivations. From the top of my head: Hungry families they need to ...


72

In about 35 years of playing role-playing games, I have seldom witnessed anyone play 100% by-the-book. A few bits of advice: Don’t take the names of things too seriously. What really matters is the results of rules, not the names they use. The “in game” justification for a rule may be different from the “game design” reason. Unfortunately, many games only ...


70

They did however love it and want to continue next week. I am afraid you have answered your own question. The first rule of playing RPGs (or anything) is to have fun, so just make sure you also have your share of it. Now, you are new players, so it is obvious you are going to spend time learning the system, learning how to play with each other, learning ...


69

It's up to you There are two play styles (with regard to this question at least), with their own drawbacks and advantages. The first is to keep the realms of the world (DM) and the player characters strictly separate. I use the term "Golden Box" to describe this. In Golden Box gameplay, the players cannot define anything about the world, including who an ...


69

Some miscommunication must have happened to cause this situation. Did you tell the player to make a 1st level character, and they brought a 4th level character anyway? Or did you simply assume they would start at level 1? Regardless of who is at fault, the important part is that you're the GM and you can fix this. Tell the player to play as a 1st level ...


68

Yes, you should boost their character level Heterogeneous parties don't work very well in DnD. The game is designed around the whole party being roughly the same level. When you give the new player a level 1 character, they will be handicapped not just because they lack experience with the game rules but also because their character is less powerful. That ...


61

"OK, you're refusing to accept the rules of the universe. What are the rest of you doing while he is arguing with the universe?" It really is that simple. You do not have to justify your rulings to him, and every time you argue with him you strengthen the impression (for him and the rest of the group) that his way is the only way to play, which would be ...


60

You are the DM, you are allowed to say no, though "no, but ..." also works You are not required to change your world to accommodate a single player. What are the other players creating, as characters? Saying yes to the android theme is workable For the "android" theme, consider making the PC a construct; it is a creature type in D&D 5e. While it's ...


58

How To Learn To GM There are a variety of resources nowadays that can help you accomplish this. There are also many existing questions on this site about GMing that will point you to more content than you can ever consume. Watch In your question, you mention wanting to see more examples of real play. There's a number of ways to do so. Actual Play ...


57

I favor very open, liberal character creation rules, in both the games I run and in the games I play. I chafe quickly at too many restrictions, and feel that some DMs who enforce too many are shooting themselves in the foot. But even from that perspective, your rules are really very minimal. Even with my preferences, I still expect more rules than that—you ...


55

Telegraph your decisions excessively, and allow retcons In my experience, what the DM is thinking is very different from what the player is experiencing. In the example you gave, while you "already knew the weight limit," the player did not. From his perspective, then, you randomly collapsed the platform. I deal with this issue by not only telling the ...


51

Short answer: Tell this player that he can either play the game with the party, or go home and turn the cheats on Skyrim and play that if he feels like being a god character that doesn't need to bother following rules. Long answer: First: Frenzy and Rage can stack. The wording in Complete Warrior leaves no room for misinterpretation (CW pg. 34). Note ...


50

Flat out tell them (as GM) that the best debriefing possible, after the mission has inevitably failed, is to blame the failure (likely, multiple failures) on the treasons of dead teammates who aren't there to defend themselves. Have a secret society order one PC to kill another, or to frame then kill them. If they don't do it, have their own secret society ...


50

NO It's not overkill, it's awesome. I just used the SPT to kick off a new group. Most (4 of 7) had never played before, and one thought that D&D was some sort of board game. We had a get-together before the first session where we just hung out and talked about media - what games, tv shows, books, etc., we liked and what kind of stuff we would want to ...


50

tl;dr In the end, having players draw maps is probably not going to kill your game or drive your players away. However it does have some serious technical issues. And, if you're going to do it you have to do it for the right reasons, with player buy-in, and with an awareness of those potential issues. Don't have the players draw maps (at least not for the ...


48

“Okay. How are you going to achieve that?” The nice thing about pen & paper RPGs is that they can model pretty much anything, given an accommodating system and a group that collaborates well. The challenge in a situation like yours is that the players are thinking about results and haven't yet considered the means of reaching those results. I might say ...


48

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

Yes... D&D is a game of heroic fantasy. It's about fighting monsters, becoming more powerful, and looting cool stuff. If you see it through, you'll get a pretty cool story by the end. It's also collaborative, in that the protagonists are each played by a real person. As a result, you get several points of view on any situation, and writer's block is ...


46

Know the most common rules. I assume from your question that you are not making rulings about things like attack rolls and damage - but if you are, you shouldn't be. You actually need to know this stuff. The players are responsible for their characters. If what they want to do is written on their sheet then they need to know what it does. If they don't know ...


45

I've had similar challenges, both with getting group buy-in to try new systems and with getting people to feel comfortable GMing anything at all. My solution was a long-game process of changing the "landscape" of how people at the table viewed their role in the game. I didn't set out to deliberately address the challenges you're facing, but it's ...


45

The campaign is following Matt Mercer's Taldorei setting and using gestalt characters. If you aren't an experienced DM, don't try to be Matt Mercer Grow into your boots as a DM. We have some other answers about this, but the advice remains the same. Since you are a new DM, play it straight for a few sessions until more of the people at your table have a ...


44

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

The term for this is "narrative control." There are several approaches to narrative control in games. Back "in the day", most games (including all varieties of D&D up till now) reserve all narrative control to the GM, with players only having say over their own character's thoughts and actions. This sounds like what you're used to, and it's the usual ...


42

What do I need to do to be prepared to DM? I'm terrified I'm going to screw this up and turn off these boys from D&D You need to read through the rule booklet, the Lost Mine of Phandelver adventure, and be ready to roll with whatever happens and have a good time. The Starter Kit comes with 5 pre-made characters, are they standard or are the pre-made ...


41

A Style or Category More Than a Tool There is a style of games in which the GM gets to be surprised and explore unknowns. These are games where the players also have the right to add story details, places and NPCs to the game world, and otherwise take over parts of the usual GM's repertoire of powers. In some games, such power is highly restricted and/or ...


38

It's Probably Unnecessary The difference in power between level 1 and 3 is fairly significant, but it's unlikely that a level 1 in a party of level 3s would remain level 1 for long. Let's run some numbers*: The Level One The threshold for a hard encounter for a party of four level 3s and one level 1 is 975xp. By defeating such an encounter, each member of ...


38

The Restriction you're suggesting is a strict subset of the allowed rules in Adventurer's League Play 5th Edition Adventurer's League has a "PHB +1" rule for character creation, that requires that each character created for AL play be based only on materials found in The Player's Handbook, or One (1) additional officially published 5th Edition Sourcebook. ...


37

You are correct Game Over is something that depends on the game. Outside of RPG you would think of Game Over either as the fact that you can't continue with the game as a player (some card or board games), you lose some of your progress but can try again (Video games with saves) or have to start over from scratch (saveless video games). The social contract, ...


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