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220 votes
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Managing a Medieval Low Orbit Ion Cannon

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 ...
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180 votes
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What do you do when your players guess your plots?

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 ...
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111 votes
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As a GM, how can I stop killing my games?

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 ...
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110 votes

Managing a Medieval Low Orbit Ion Cannon

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 ...
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85 votes

What do you do when your players guess your plots?

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 ...
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84 votes
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How to deal with a character that does not fit my plot?

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 ...
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79 votes
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As DM, how do I deal with PCs that expect everything in the game to be relevant to the story?

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 ...
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  • 53.2k
69 votes

Managing a Medieval Low Orbit Ion Cannon

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 ...
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  • 4,779
62 votes

Managing a Medieval Low Orbit Ion Cannon

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 ...
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62 votes

How can a GM continue to progress the campaign if the player characters cause a plot-critical item or NPC to be lost/killed?

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 ...
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61 votes
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How do I keep my players from investing too much time in their doomed characters?

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 ...
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  • 60.1k
58 votes

What do you do when your players guess your plots?

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 ...
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  • 36.6k
57 votes

As DM, how do I deal with PCs that expect everything in the game to be relevant to the story?

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 ...
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54 votes

Is an unlikely coincidence bad storytelling?

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 ...
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54 votes
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How do I continue to progress the plot if the party kills the giants in chapter 10 of Storm King's Thunder?

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 ...
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  • 187k
50 votes

How do I keep my players from investing too much time in their doomed characters?

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.”
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  • 187k
49 votes
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Is D&D a suitable tool for fleshing out my own fictional world?

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 ...
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  • 15.5k
46 votes

How to deal with a character that does not fit my plot?

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 ...
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46 votes
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Is making characters who go off the rails unlucky a good technique for keeping the plot moving?

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 ...
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  • 9,681
46 votes
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Should I let one of my Players control his character's kids?

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'...
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45 votes

My players want a tighter narrative, but have wandered off course. What now?

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 ...
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  • 3,148
42 votes
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What's the earliest instance of a "Beauty is in the eye of the beholder" reference to beholders?

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 ...
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  • 21.9k
41 votes
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Is there need for messengers in DnD 5e, if spell Sending exists?

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 ...
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39 votes

What do you do when avoiding railroading just gives you stuck players?

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. ...
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  • 16.9k
39 votes
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Who gets to write how character backgrounds tie into the game?

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 ...
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38 votes

Managing a Medieval Low Orbit Ion Cannon

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 ...
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  • 1,047
38 votes

Is an unlikely coincidence bad storytelling?

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 ...
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  • 11.3k
37 votes

How do I hint at events outside the scope of the current quest?

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 ...
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  • 3,781
36 votes

What to do when a great idea comes too soon?

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 ...
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  • 172k
36 votes
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How can I add details to my character mid-campaign?

Most DMs I know would love it if their players came up with more story details for their characters or the world, so it's definitely not bad etiquette. Just tell the DM about it in whatever is the ...
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  • 77.7k

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