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129

Your first instinct-- gently talking to the player-- is a very good one. You can easily follow that up with a less gentle discussion laying out the basic idea that tabletop RPGs (unlike computer RPGs) are collaborative efforts where everyone needs to have fun. This includes not only the other players, but also you as the GM. Your second instinct-- ...


117

Remember that NPCs are people, not info dumps. Your players are following what I'd call the video game model of NPC interaction. In a lot of RPG video games, the NPCs are infinitely patient and let you talk to them over and over, exploring all of their dialogue trees. Thus, the incentive for the player is to talk to them forever to get all of the possible ...


83

There's no "right" answer, there are major playstyles that hit the two extremes and then there's compromises in the middle. The ENWorld post Combat as Sport vs Combat As War illustrates two different end state playstyles - in "combat as sport" the GM never makes "level inappropriate" encounters (no matter how hard you have to twist logic to get there), with ...


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 ...


68

Adapt and move on Players do have a tendency to ruin the best-laid plans of the DM! In your scenario, I wonder if maybe there was a mistake somewhere that allowed such a powerful NPC to be captured and made helpless in the first place. Typically you would not expect such a character to be walking around alone and defenceless in the first place. But what's ...


66

He doesn't want me to run the NPCs either. There's no basis in the rules to allow this. NPC's cannot be run by the player; that's actually the definition of an NPC. As DM you need to assert control of the NPC's actions; only if the PC dies might you consider letting him run the NPC in lieu of generating a new character. You should absolutely allow the ...


60

There are other benefits to capturing an enemy besides just information Rather than every NPC either having secrets or nothing, consider other things for your NPCs to offer the party. Perhaps this particular NPC enemy was just a mercenary for hire and has no real loyalty to the villain. Perhaps they'll leave with their lives if you let them live, not ...


57

There is no absolute way to tell, no spell that says "he's level 10/10 HD." You have to go with context clues and observation instead. That leads us to a two-part answer. DM Description and Observation Observe more closely and the DM should be more forthcoming with details. In many cases, higher level NPCs/monsters look different - think World of Warcraft,...


55

Ok, there's two ways to go about it. Limited use, or limited reliability. Limited Use This is simple: as a reaction, teleport up to your move. Reaction rules limits this to 1/round. Limited Reliability Follow the 3.5's Wall of Blades 'spell' example: opposed rolls. Pick a save that makes sense (might be Dexterity, for reaction, or Intelligence, for the ...


51

The Wizard doesn't know how dangerous those adventurers are. There is no implicit "I will only face people who I am able to defeat, yet find challenging" agreement the wizard can rely upon. In a typical D&D world, there is a huge power range, and it isn't easy to tell if a given bunch of people are weak or strong. All she knows is that her base was ...


48

You have a few options here... Before I go into these...as always 'talk to your player and let him know what your concerns are' is always the best first step. First, bear in mind that you can deny a Persuade attempt if it is impossible. Dice only hit the table for non-trivial, but possible attempts at using a skill. For example, if a player says they wish ...


47

He's in a booby trapped iron safe. He's safe. He's also trapped. His situation has a number of upsides: He's in an iron safe. The same walls of iron that kept him out, keep everyone else out. If people can attack him through the safe, it's not particularly safe, is it? His situation has a number of downsides: He's in an iron safe, The enemies don't need to ...


47

This is a very good question that ties in to both the mechanics of different types of characters and their narrative role, and in addition to those, their role in the group. There is no clear boundary where an NPC becomes a GMPC, and hence I will be explaining the traits of a GMPC rather than try to define a boundary that doesn't exist. However, it will ...


46

NPCs can talk to each other without talking to each other. You cool your heels in the administrative annex for a bit and listen to the conversation drifting in from the break room about the new food truck on Fourth Street that rapidly turns into a compare-and-contrast session about lunch. The receptionist is patiently detailing the need to schedule ...


45

Give the NPCs a title or nickname. Your example already has one built in, rather than referring to him by his full name, Introduce him as Captain Rastafi ibn Halum, but have other NPCs refer to him as The Captain or Captain Halum. You'll give your players something they can grip easily and there is a better chance of them remembering the title and their ...


45

The only real thing you can do is talk to your DM. Explain to him why you dislike his way of playing. The only way to get him to change this behavior is to talk to him AND show him a better way. I know this probably isn't the answer you're looking for but sadly it's the only thing you can do. Furthermore, realise that DMing without railroading tends to be ...


44

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 ...


44

This partly depends on how your PCs are extracting this information, which in turn depends on how you decided to DM it. i.e. pure role-playing or a skill check such as Intimidate. Either way is fine and could depend on the particular situation. In the former case of pure role-playing you can just break character for a moment to say "it's clear that NPC has ...


44

Handwave and summarise the boring stuff I have struggled with a similar problem. I like to make my world immersive and give distinct characteristics to every NPC my group encounters. However it can lead to the players talking to an NPC for 10 minutes to purchase a meal. As long as everyone is having fun this isn't a problem. However as you have pointed out ...


43

Ask the players when they want to intervene, and narrate until that point. Don't get bogged down in mechanics. The normal flow of the game is for the DM to describe the scene/scenario, the players to declare their actions/intentions, then listen to the DM describe the result (with dice rolling as necessary). If the players choose to sit out of a conflict ...


42

The answer to this is two-fold. So, to give the TL;DR first... The Equation you cited is most likely accurate, but it only applies to Adventurer's League play. It is not part of the core rules. Where the Equation Comes From The pricing model that you cited in your answer, is derived from the Adventurer's League guides. As you mentioned, there was the ...


41

This is fundamentally a question of playstyle In differing styles players have jurisdiction over differing amounts and kinds of fictional material. In some styles, it would be completely inappropriate for you to determine any aspect of the PC's brother's character. In others, it would be completely inappropriate for the player to decide that his character ...


41

Spellcasting For spellcasting, you use the listed spellcaster level as read on page 10 of the Monster's Manual: The spellcasters level is also used for any cantrips included in the feature. This means an archmage is treated as level 18 for the purposes of cantrips and Nezznar is treated as level 4 (despite his greater number of hit dice). Innate ...


40

There are no explicit rules for this, but what has worked for me and my table is to describe, briefly, what it looks like. E.g. "The Kobold waits, weapon drawn, and looking at you." With my group, this is often enough of a clue as to what the creature has prepared. If not, I would allow a character to use Insight to figure out more detail, such as whether ...


39

Let's say I, a first-level fighter, want to lift a mountain with my bare hands. Do I roll a strength check? No, because it's impossible. If Zeus is walking the earth, and some lowly mortal decides to attack him, they have absolutely no chance of harming this immortal Olympian. As the DM, you don't have to give them a chance. You strike Zeus' bare ...


38

A few options for introducing the cultist: Introduce via a trusted third party. The PCs' friends can vouch for the cultist. Inherit trust from others. The cultist is already well-known and respected by friends of the party, or by civilization at large. Bonus points scored by foreshadowing the cultist's identity before he is relevant, perhaps as a shop-keep ...


37

It's usually based on the creature's Constitution modifier. 5E creatures are often statted as though they have player levels, with effective "levels" and "proficiency bonuses" baked into the final stats that are visible in the stat block. For the example you described, the monster probably has a Constitution of 20 (+5), and has an effective "level" of 15, ...


36

I've been on the receiving end of a bunch of bad negotiations in RPGs. Real life negotiation training helps, but there's also some RPG specific aspects to keep in mind. Often, the problem is that there's some adventure hook that requires the PCs to do something that's totally stupid. "Hi, you're level 10, would you like to go on a fetch quest for 100 gp?" ...


36

Background:I'm currently running a 5e campaign with a large number of possible NPC companions and have run Out of the Abyss (which is HEAVY on NPC companions). Combat The conclusion I've come to for combat is: The Companion System. Yes, it's not part of official rules, and isn't free, but it has worked excellently. RAW Out of the Abyss has each and ...


36

Your PCs are acting as vigilantes, and as such that should come with the consequence of murdering someone. I can think of a few ways to handle this off the top of my head: Have the local authorities (ex: town guards, military, city watch) come after them and launch a full investigation into the murder of this NPC Have the rest of his gang find out that the ...


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