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209

You are about to start a new campaign. You need to pause the world and have the same conversation, GM and players, as you would at the beginning of any campaign. What kind of setting is this, what themes will you envision tackling, what's your playstyle? It sounds like you started in a "typical" magic-but-low-tech setting. The setting has now ...


176

You're not doing anything wrong. Having players guess a plot development doesn't mean they know (unless you're confirming their guesses — don't do that, that is doing it “wrong”). It just means they have put together the puzzle and think they know how it's going to work out. This is fine! They don't know they're right until they get there. And when they do, ...


111

So, how do I get out of the vicious circle? Stop doing the thing that's causing it. You diagnosed this yourself: It's probably the worst issue I have as a Game Master, I think of a Game, I write a campaign plot for it, End, Beggining and Middle, get Hyped, Hype my players, and after 2 months I want the story to end, and it's usually too late to make ...


103

It Will Only Change The World if You Let It - which might be fun How should one DM proceed if his or her group manages to seize control of a superweapon that could change the lives of the entire world? Is it a wise decision to let it roll, or should I take rid of it the sooner I can? First, a rhetorical question. How should a DM proceed if his or her group ...


85

Cherish it. Reward them for it, even. If you're as subtle as you claim you were in your hints, then your players were actively paying attention and putting in significant effort to figure out your plot. There are DMs that would kill for players that cared enough to figure out a single plot thread on their own, let alone the entire plot. Take it to the ...


83

Short answer: You do not. You say that he does not fit in with your plans as a DM. But the thing about being a DM is NOT that you tell a rigid story that your players walk through: instead you put them in a series of situations, see how they react and frantically try to fit your story to it. I understand that your story is your baby and the PCs all try to ...


79

Your players are new to the game (and new to your game). Unless you've told them what to expect, how could they know what your game is like? Getting stuck investigating small details or trying to get their way in through the door could plausibly be what your game is about. I think you should be more active in leading the game towards the direction you'd like ...


63

Having players that are willing to spend time and effort outside of the gaming session preparing and planing is rare, do reward them. I think you should let the LOMC work spectacularly. It works exactly as planned, no side effect just bullseye and one hundred per cent success. Let the LOCM survive the initial use, and be ready to fire again and again and ...


62

One of the things I say first when I'm about to start running a game for a new group of players is that it is not my responsibility to come up with increasingly convoluted reasons why a disparate set of characters with nothing in common should adventure together. I've been there and tried it, and it is stressful, frustrating and simply not fun. I'd much ...


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 ...


61

Tell it to them straight I see no reason not to just say: "These characters won't be around long, don't sweat the chargen too much". You can go hush-hush all you want, but it will all go down in the first session anyway. You do not even give out spoilers with this. You do not have to say what happens to them or why. Revealing it will also let them know why ...


58

There's always something bigger: pit that against the party. 17th level is pretty high in Pathfinder, but it's far from the level cap. Sure, the party is now capable of vaporizing pretty much anything on land. Even if the disgruntled nations of the world band together to shoot something at the orbital platform like what happened in C&C 3, like a missile ...


58

After many many years of gaming, often as GM, I have discovered two immutable truths of game-related plotting: There is no hint so subtle that players will not notice it, pick up on it, and run all the way to the end of the field with it, in less time than it takes me to get another diet coke from the fridge Conversely, there is no clue so obvious that ...


57

Players The players are new and possibly overwhelmed by having too many options. Thankfully, this is easily solved by talking to them and reiterating that the game you play is more open world. Make sure to ask the players what they would feel would be a good prompt for them to make new decisions. You can encourage them to do just that by describing thing ...


54

It is very good storytelling. One of my top tips for DMs is, if you can shove player's past into the mix and make it look flawlessly pre-meditated, the players will adore you. It is always good to have the player's backstories come haunt them enough to push them into action but little enough as to not make an entire campaign centered around two of these ...


54

Failure is an option Players, through playing, can and should be able to meaningfully interact with the world. Usually they make the world better; sometimes they make it worse. Don’t rob your players of the opportunity and the consequences of a massive cock-up that they sincerely earned. How to DM these consequences I will start by saying that I haven’t ...


50

Forget the disposable characters “You have a long and trusting relationship with the Flaming Skies Mercenary Company. Here’s a summary of them. Work it into your backstory.”


49

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

No Roleplay should be about having fun. When you start to punish your players, it is very possible that they will quit your campaign. Even if your players are doing it just to pull your leg, you shouldn't make the game painful as noone will enjoy it. I would reccomend following options: Speak with them face to face after the game. It happens, that ...


46

When to say yes If all of the players at your table each control more than one character/PC, then yes. (We used to play that way with small groups back in the day: each of the three of us had two PC's). It can work very well, though now and again a DM might need to ask the player about separation between characters. Rarely necessary, but appropriate now ...


45

Being a Killer GM is just as bad as being a Murder-hobo player The only real way to frame this answer is to show it in a similarly inglorious light and hope to highlight why your initial instinct is wrong. As much as players have a responsibility to make their characters interact with the world you create; as a DM you also have a responsibility to actively ...


44

As it stands, they have two parties with a vested interest in their capture/destruction: the one(s) who framed them and the authorities that arrested them. If they don't want to pursue the plot, have the plot pursue them! Escaping from jail is certainly frowned upon and bounty hunters could easily be employed to run them down and return them to justice. ...


42

The earliest reference is 1983 First time I heard it referenced in Dungeons and Dragons was in the 1983 Saturday morning cartoon. It was Episode 2, The Eye of the Beholder, specifically at this point during their conversation with Dungeon Master. Not really published though and not exactly canon.


41

Sending is expensive and has certain limitations The question already notes the primary drawback to sending, which is that it is expensive. The Adventurers League Tyranny of Dragons Player's Guide suggests a price of 90 gp, more than a year's wage for an unskilled worker. As per PHB p.159, a messenger costs only 2cp per mile. However, in your case, sending ...


39

Players are often stuck because they simply don't know what they should do. Percival's message deals with player engagement very well, but I'd like to offer a slightly different take on this question. If you can't figure out how the plot might be solved, players definitely won't Players' ingenuity often amazes GMs, but you can't assume they will figure out ...


39

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 ...


38

A general rule of storytelling is that you can go wild with unlikely random coincidences to set up the story (first act), but while the story is progressing (second act) they should be used more sparingly. The finale of the story (third act) should be the logical and deterministic conclusion of the events which happened before. Unlikely circumstances are ...


37

A decade or so ago, I had this exact problem playing with new/young players. I came up with a few solutions that worked depending on the group/players. It's admittedly a hard situation because they would assume anything the GM explicitly mentions is usually important. There's one thing I want to ask, but let me answer your questions, first: Explicitly ...


36

Option One: Start Closer To The End It's not actually cheating to start at a higher level, and that's a weird expectation that games don't bear out. The inclination to "make those bastards work for it" is not a helpful GM attribute. I really enjoyed playing Feng Shui for the first time when it came out because by specifically allowing the players to be ...


36

First of all, and I think I speak for everybody, I think that we would LOVE to see the plans your players came up with. Your players are very clever, and it is good to reward them. I'd recommend letting it work - once. However, lay your plans. Taking lessons from the real world, you can see some avenues of response - which recognize what they've done and ...


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