118

Definitions We all have our limits and boundaries. Lines and veils are different ways to handle those boundaries in play. A line is, well, a line — a hard limit, something we do not want to cross. Lines represent places we don't want to go in roleplaying. "There is no torture in the events in our game. We don't do it, NPCs don't do it to us or to each ...


110

Yes, that was fine. You're the DM: you're there to challenge them and put them in danger, not to keep them all safe. A lot of this comes down to the kind of game you all play. Statements like "dice rolls should never kill a character" or "you should never have hidden enemies" are total BS. Those are valid agreed-upon social contract items for your group, ...


107

No getting around it, and no need to work with in-game punishments. In-game punishments make the problem just another part of the game, and this is more serious than that. You've got to be blunt here: you have an agreed code you expect players to follow. If the player starts hurting your game like this, you can and should inform them that they're no longer ...


97

“When you agree who gets it they can use it. Meanwhile back in the dungeon ...” Let the players sort it out however they like away from the table and when they have, the person who gets it can use it. Why should you do this? Because you are the DM, and you can explain to your players two things: By forcing them to get a grip, and to come up with a team ...


91

The DM is charged with making rulings on a huge variety of things that go on in the course of playing the game. You can make your case for why you think it should be a given way, and then await a ruling. Once the ruling has been made at the table, the DM is right1. During play, accept that and then press on as the other players wish to play for fun and are ...


64

While @kviiri's answer is probably your best bet here, it's the nuclear option. There is a step you can take before going there, based on your description of the problem. You said: one of them started [...] describing explicit sexual actions You're the DM. You can, and have the authority to, put a stop to this by wielding your DM powers to fade to black ...


62

It all comes down to agency. What choices are the players making? If you are spoon-feeding them encounters, which they have no options but to engage, then yes, it's on you to make sure those encounters are survivable. If they are choosing what to do and what to engage, then the responsibility lies on their heads, not yours. Let's look at two possible ...


60

Set a Firm Rule: Disagreements about Rulings are to be handled between Sessions, not during Sessions Generally speaking, a player should not interrupt the DM to quibble about how rules work. What the DM says is final, and if players don't agree with how the DM is handling rules, they should wait until after the session is over to resolve disagreements. So ...


55

No, you didn't. Roleplaying as an activity has a default "fog of war", where players are not necessarily informed of things that their PCs wouldn't know. This is true regardless of whether it's a mystery investigation or a fight. What the players don't know could kill them. In this case, failing to anticipate threats did get one of them killed, and it ...


52

The first thing you need to do is figure out whether this problem needs to be resolved in-character or out-of-character. Is the warrior's player doing this because the player enjoys this kind of PvP activity? Or is he doing it because he thinks it's what his character would do? If it's the latter, then you should take a look at My Guy Syndrome, then use ...


45

It sounds like you've done a great job handling this thus far. You have talked to the players individually and in a group setting, collaboratively created a set of play guidelines, and made sure that expectations are clear. Good job! While these strategies tend to catch about 90% of interpersonal issues, it's clear that they aren't working in this case. I ...


41

Establishing a Protocol Many RPG groups have a protocol for handling potentially uncomfortable situations. At the start of your game, you give all your players a card with an X on it, and you say: "We might touch on uncomfortable topics in this game. If you encounter a topic that makes you uncomfortable, show us this card. We won't ask why the topic ...


37

Make them realize time is running When you feel that their discussion is taking too long, make them realize the game time was running all the time. PC1: ... I still want these Earclippers of Elven Might for myself PC2: I want them too! GM: While you were arguing for a considerable time, the afternoon ended and shadows now creep around ...


34

As a GM, there is one thing I hate that new players do above all other things: Don't Be Afraid To Ask Questions Or Speak Up One of the things that new players do a lot is... nothing. They don't feel comfortable yet, so they don't say a lot. That's to be expected, and it's okay. But then you get the ones who won't ask questions when they're confused, won't ...


34

To set the stage here, I really wish I could say "Oh, it'll be easy, because almost all gaming groups are friendly and inclusive!" Sadly, that is not the case, which is why I'm not going to recommend that you start with generic online group-finders. I do think, though, that there are definitely plenty of inclusive RPG players out there! In fact, ...


33

Is she dissatisfied? Is she upset by this situation? Does she desire greater involvement, or would enjoy more if there were something different about the game? Or does she like her low level of involvement? There is no way we can answer these questions. They are questions for her. Talk to her, ask her straight out. She may be just fine with things the way ...


33

Your PC deserved to die. Part of the in game meta is the general assumption that everyone will work on the same team enough that you can get along and function together. You could certainly make "I am the dragon of the king" work for that, but you didn't, you were insulting, didn't support their mission at all, and fully supported the king. You ...


26

Welcome, Yoko Msps. First, it is a personal declaration of principles for me that no one should be made to feel uncomfortable at my gaming table. This means, among other things, we're going to keep the tone of the game at a mutually acceptable level. I say this to make this point: I agree with your instincts here that something is wrong (due to your and ...


26

The Code of Conduct sidebar is on page 172 of XGtE. There is a sidebar titled "Code of Conduct" at the start of Appendix A: Shared Campaigns (XGtE, p. 172). It specifically suggests agreeing on one for shared campaigns where the DM role is shared, but the same guidance could be applied to normal campaigns as well. Other aspects like Table Talk and parts of ...


25

To summarize: Players are to find Yoda who is suspected to live in or near a camp. Despite being on a scouting missions, players raid the (up until then peaceful) camp without need or provocation, just for killing fun. Defenders are mysteriously being healed and buffed, evidently either by divine intervention or by a high level spellcaster. The DM is ...


25

In the style of game you're playing, it behooves no one to pull any punches. Kill the characters, make sure that it makes sense in game, but kill them, without mercy and without heed to who or what they are in the game. That's how Martin writes. That said, based on what you've said here, I'm concerned that the style of game you're playing doesn't match the ...


24

As your clarifications to the question suggest you realize, the problem is not Rule Zero; it's your group wanting to change the rules to make the game easier for them, and you not wanting to. That's certainly understandable, but try looking at it this way: Your players are telling you something important about the kind of game they want to play. Specifically,...


24

If something is too dark depends entirely on what your group is comfortable with. To illustrate the point, Let me start with three examples: I have played in at least one group in which destroying an orphanage was totally ok... no, let me rephrase that: We pulled an Exterminatus on a whole planet and it was very much expected because we played rather evil ...


22

Unlike Diplomacy, Intimidate and Bluff both have well-defined mechanical uses outside of open-ended persuasion. For instance, Bluff can be used as part of a Feint action in combat. If player-versus-player actions are allowed in game, then those uses of the skills are allowed by RAW. That is, in my opinion, why you do not see an explicit rule against the ...


22

Don't Be Delicate Or Subtle (But don't go too far and be overly aggressive, or dictatorial, etc.) It sounds like you've been at this for a year, and from your comment that you and almost all of the other players have little or no experience. This does, I realize, put you in a delicate situation rather than one where you might feel like you can be bold. But ...


22

No, this situation was handled poorly. Better communication could have resulted to a more fun outcome. Did your character deserve to be brutally murdered? If you are asking this to a random stranger on the internet, then it is impossible to answer. I don't know the intricate political and moral details of the campaign you were in, so maybe your character's ...


20

As a player that started playing last year, I think I can offer my fresh perspective on being a new player. The same sort of things happened. Talk to each other One of the things you're going to have to learn to do is to talk to each other about what you want to do (including your DM). Your post suggests that you find his actions to be a problem. How can ...


20

What will she do during the next session? I think an important factor, her character is dead, if your answer is: “waiting for party to discover resurrection is impossible and proceed to make a new character on the spot.” I doubt it'll be fun for her; even for a Ravenlofty campaign, that's still too much. Just tell her and save everyone some time. But you ...


19

Yes, the DM is always right. The DM by definition has the authority to change or interpret the rules of the game in any way that he or she sees fit. The Player's Handbook even says so on page 6. Ultimately, the Dungeon Master is the authority on the campaign and its setting, even if the setting is a published world. With great power comes great ...


19

While I'm not such a purist that I would avoid breaking character in a LARP to note that I want something to stop, I've met some people who play at that level in the Madrid scene. This is a method they frequently bring up when asked about the topic. Safewords. Safewords are a way of noting there's something you don't like in roleplay without directly ...


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