GM Workshop

A community-created and maintained place for Game Masters of all systems to bounce ideas around. It's a place for inspiration and sharing tips.


Tips and Criticisms to become a better DM (I apologize I know this is long)

   
First off I'd like to thank everybody for their wonderful comments here as they have really helped and about a month ago one of players really noted that I seemed to have improved a lot as DM. However there are just a few more tiny questions I would like to ask you guys; and before I do I preface with I play a table-top setting and not on a post-by-post forum though I hear they are fun.

The first addendum I'd like to ask is about items and giving PC and NPC's items. I am aware that there is a guide to when to let players have items in both the DM guide and Magic Item Compendium as well as a recommended item list at the end of PHB II but still I feel it is always weird to do equipment both for giving it to PC's and to NPC's. The most common problem I usually have is when is it appropriate to give X item to X PC and what helps balance the campaign so that Y PC doesn't feel like he's not getting as many items that are useful to him as X PC. Also how do you gear for NPC's without making them white-wash repeats of each other; a big problem I had in the past and occasionally still have is that I tend to use the same profile for townsguards, shopkeeps, etc. and then my PC's defeat them and behold it's the same gear they always see on them; I want to be a bit more original on this but I just need a second opinion on whether this is smart. Another thing with my players is that they will never forget to loot a body for gear (which I had to argue the moral integrity of 2 LG characters looting bodies once); this is fine in and of itself until my PC's started to just collect everything from bodies and I mean everything, so much so that I almost stopped giving out bags of holding so that'd they'd understand the weight value of what they were carrying in gear. So my real questions here are what do think is the best way to do giving your PCs gear; how do you make it so that all NPC's are not equipped with the same gear but yet does not make it so that you have to put valiant effort into NPC's you know are just going to die or are otherwise unimportant; and what to do about NPC body looting?

The next question is slightly related to the first as it has to deal with gold and monetary rewards. I admit that my biggest flaw as a DM is handing out gold rewards bc/ while I spend time balancing a fight and calculating challenge rating and exp awards the whole money business is well a second thought (typically I just use the table). This has however become problematic as I have had PC's running around with what should be way too much money for a PC of their level or with way too little of what they should have for their level. So I'm asking what do you recommend or believe works for monetary rewards and how do you typically balance gold gain so that they don't have too much nor too little?

The final question I believe I have is with how to keep a fight balanced; mind you as I said earlier I spend hours pre-testing battles with all roll's at an about average roll before throwing it at them but sometimes your players do things that are unwise or Creed worthy in play. Unwise-Trying to ride a Remorhaz with no ranks in ride or handle animal and not rolling knowledge arcana to find out anything about it first; Creed worthy- Cast a fire spell to melt ice beneath the monster feet instantly trapping it to next turn cast create water at max range above it so 100's of pounds of ice fall on it. I mean we all kind of account for these kinds of things happening but my major problem is getting my players to work together as well in real combat as they do in my pre-test combat. For instance in pre-test I'll have the cleric start off with buff spells, then moving into melee and providing extra support but...in real combat he'll do something like cast a shatter spell at a place concealed in a darkness spell knowing that the way I DM he'll have a percentage to shatter somebody elses very fancy heirloom weapon if he does so, will do so anyway shatter a PC's weapon and leave them both worse off for it; I mean it's great when it succeeds but it's as bad a team play as when a wizard on a team of people with low dex cast a fireball into a 20x20ft room with them all inside it to try and kill one monster that he could clearly see they were handling (this has happened before btw). This has lead to complaints sometimes about combat being too hard but as I've reasoned with my players before it's about team dynamic and while I won't hold you to know other characters strengths and weaknesses or even to get along with the other PC's as well as I'm making them do in pre-test combat I don't feel it is unfair to expect them to at least try and work together and to know YOUR OWN strength and weaknesses and to figure out how you should be applying and working around them with the group (that's one of the funs of DnD after all). If I'm being unreasonable about this let me know but other than that any tips about what I could do to improve their combat situation without making it so that a group of PC's hitting each other would still only escape with the damage they did to themselves that would be great.

Thanks in advance and I look forward to your answers.

Quote:
Creed worthy- Cast a fire spell to melt ice beneath the monster feet instantly trapping it to next turn cast create water at max range above it so 100's of pounds of ice fall on it.

Ahhh - no.

'Instantly trapping': Give the monster a reflex save to get out; after all, PCs do get reflex saves to avoid falling down a pit trap - why shouldn't the monster ?

Create Water (or any conjuration spell) does not work that way:
Quote:
Originally Posted by SRD, Magic Overview, Conjuration
A creature or object brought into being or transported to your location by a conjuration spell cannot appear inside another creature or object, nor can it appear floating in an empty space. It must arrive in an open location on a surface capable of supporting it.
Quote:
Unwise-Trying to ride a Remorhaz with no ranks in ride or handle animal and not rolling knowledge arcana to find out anything about it first
"So [Name] tries to climb the Remorhaz's back. *roll* The beast twists and bites [Name]; make a grapple roll... you're grappled, the beast's sharp teeth holding you in its grip.
The R.'s turn starts... [Name], make a grapple check... hmm... [Name] is swallowed by the R."

Seriously, though; if characters attempt such things, they have to be willing to live with the consequences - and those can be dead PCs...

Quote:
like cast a shatter spell at a place concealed in a darkness spell knowing that the way I DM he'll have a percentage to shatter somebody elses very fancy heirloom weapon if he does so,
Uhmmm... Shatter doesn't work that way.
Quote:
Originally Posted by SRD, Shatter
Used as an area attack, shatter destroys nonmagical objects of crystal, glass, ceramic, or porcelain (...) Objects weighing more than 1 pound per your level are not affected, (...) Alternatively, you can target shatter against a single solid object, regardless of composition, weighing up to 10 pounds per caster level.
As an area attack, only crystal, glass, ceramic or porcelain items of 1 pound or less can be destroyed. Targeted, Shatter could destroy a weapon - but to target a weapon, the caster would have to have Line of Sight and Line of Effect to the weapon.
Moreover, the weapon would get a
Quote:
(object)

The spell can be cast on objects, which receive saving throws only if they are magical or if they are attended (held, worn, grasped, or the like) by a creature resisting the spell, in which case the object uses the creatureís saving throw bonus unless its own bonus is greater. (This notation does not mean that a spell can be cast only on objects. Some spells of this sort can be cast on creatures or objects.) A magic itemís saving throw bonuses are each equal to 2 + one-half the itemís caster level.
will save to avoid destruction if it is held.

Quote:
when a wizard on a team of people with low dex cast a fireball into a 20x20ft room with them all inside it to try and kill one monster that he could clearly see they were handling (this has happened before btw)
And what do the other characters say to the wizard afterwards ?
That's something the players should discuss amongst themselves, either IC or OOC, not something the GM has to take care of.

Quote:
So I'm asking what do you recommend or believe works for monetary rewards and how do you typically balance gold gain so that they don't have too much nor too little?
Balance monetary rewards and found loot / treasure; if there's a large monetary reward, reduce an treasure to be found and vice versa. The 'Wealth by Level' table in the DMG is a good benchmark to eyeball how much money (cash AND items) a character should have.
If your PCs have too much money, simply hand out less for a couple of session - of, if the situation presents itself (i.e. Fireball in a tavern), have them pay for the destruction they cause.

Quote:
The most common problem I usually have is when is it appropriate to give X item to X PC and what helps balance the campaign so that Y PC doesn't feel like he's not getting as many items that are useful to him as X PC.
Don't give PC X items A+B and PC Y items C+D; give the party items A, B, C & D and let them hash it out among themselves who gets what.
If you maintain a bit of balance (i.e. not exclusively martial melee weapons and heavy armor but a mix of weapons, scrolls, wands, potions, wondrous items, etc), it will balance itself; PC X got the two items after session 1 (because he's a melee focused character and it was a melee weapon and an armor) and PC y got only a single scroll (because he's a caster). After the next session, the caster-PC gets more items (because the loot consists of scrolls, wands and a ring of counterspelling).

Quote:
ame profile for townsguards, shopkeeps, etc. and then my PC's defeat them and behold it's the same gear they always see on them
How much equipment do such minor NPCs have (and why are the PCs defeating them) ? After levels 3-5, shopkeepers and simple guards shouldn't be worth the trouble for the PCs to fight...

Anyway, there's nothing wrong with all townguards having the same basic equipment; they are outfitted by a central agency and a certain uniformity is to be expected. For diversity's (and realism's) sake, give each guard 2-5 personal items; a copper pendant (worth 2 sp) in the shape of a leave, a wrapped cheese sandwich his wife prepared for him that morning, a striped, round stone he's had since childhood as a good-luck charm, etc.
While mostly worthless, such minor things change Guard #2 into 'the sandwich guy' and guard #3 into 'the superstitious guy'. Include drawings made by a guard's child or a small pendant with a drawn portrait of his wife and daughter and maybe your PCs will even stop killing any guards

Quote:
I almost stopped giving out bags of holding
What level are your PCs ?
For a third level character, a bag of holding I is using up almost all his expected wealth by level. Even by forth level, it would (or should) leave a serious dent in his wealth. And on higher levels, looting and selling mundane equipment soon becomes more of a chore than an income...

Quote:
how do you make it so that all NPC's are not equipped with the same gear but yet does not make it so that you have to put valiant effort into NPC's you know are just going to die or are otherwise unimportant; and what to do about NPC body looting
Basically, monsters; they don't have (a lot of) equipment, only treasure.
For humanoid opponents, give them mundane gear and a low-level buffer (Magic Weapon / Greater Magic Weapon spells instead of actual magic weapons, Magic Vestment instead of magic armor, etc), if they have time to be buffed beforehand.
Both help also with reducing body looting.

Aphiel1, Whisper is right- some of those spells don't work that way.

It sounds to me like one of your players (at least) was reading War of the Spider Queen, where they use similar mechanics to make spell-slinging seem cool (as opposed to spell-slinging in Shadowrun, which IS cool); I joke. Not about War of the Spider Queen, though, it's a recipe book for power-gaming wizards, quickened delayed blast fireballs cast while inside Time Stop and all that.

As a DM, I follow a simple rule. If players cheat, I can right cheat back. It's usually easier for me, because I have a DM screen to hide behind, but if I think a player is being less than forthright with their actions, I'll attempt to make life more difficult for them. If they're just trying to win at everything, they keep cheating and things keep getting more difficult- sometimes this 'escalation into insanity' is what makes for great memories and stories later, but usually it means more attention is focused on the cheater and makes it harder to cheat.

I had a player a few years ago, who loved to roll his dice, and then grab them up and tell me the result. I didn't mind that, so much, but I did mind that he would grab up a dice I read as '7' and say "Ooh, I rolled an 18, +9, so... 27, does that hit?" I took to staring directly at his dice when he rolled, so he'd know I saw him, so he switched to dice with a darker lettering (black dice with red lettering, colored in- I don't know who he was trying too fool). So I escalated the cheating, and it helped him get a few cool stories, and helped other people realize that he should have rolled nothing but 17-20 for an entire session. It tapered off after that, so now I don't have to police every time he rolls, and he knows if he fudges a dice roll once in a while, I'll let it slide, but if he starts to get out of control, I'll start making life difficult.

I've said it in other threads, but I'll reiterate here that if yolu can get a group of gamers to self-police, it makes your job a lot easier. If you have a problem with a rules-lawyer in the group, tell them "Okay, we can look it up after the session, but for now we're doing it this way," and if they keep causing problems, talk to the 'leader' of the group (the most social player, or the one you think most likely to take your side, or even just whoever is playing the healer- they need him); tell him you're having a problem with the game getting bogged down in rules discussions, and you need help to keep things moving. Self-policing is where it's at, because once the other players start saying "Matt, don't be a dick. We don't want to sit here for twenty minutes while you look up a rule in six books to say that your spell does an extra two damage or whatever. Dave is the DM, let's just move on and figure it out later."

Edit: I've also used the 'thirty second rule,' which works pretty well. If the player can find the rule in the book inside thirty seconds and let me read it, I'll make a judgement call right then; otherwise, we'll go with my gut reaction right then and look it up later. /edit

In another group, much more recently, we had a player who powergamed the hell out of characters. Similar problem to yours, but we'll call the character... Dopey.
Dopey was a walking train of destruction, played as a developmentally disabled half-orc raised by a dwarf alchemist (who thought he was both a dwarf and an alchemist). That was the extent of the role-playing for the character; all other actions were devoted to "The Build," and how it allowed one character to (1) charge into combat, bypassing all attacks of opportunity, (2) hit the target of the attack like a train, rolling an armful of dice (mostly d12s and d6s), (3) shift away from the target, as a move action- but still moving two squares, and then (4) re-charging the target to hammer them with all remaining daily powers. The led to all major enemies in a fight going down inside the opening seconds of Round 1, even solo brutes, with auras that restricted movement, flying creatures, and a dragon.

Dopey's player wasn't interested in the story or roleplaying at all, and so he would barrel along between combats like an elephant in an outhouse, until he offended someone and people would show up to fight. To temper this, the DM tried to give him roleplaying options- his father was the main evil bad guy (killed in round 1), the little goblins looked up to him (he took them as henchmen, and then made statted cards to show how they could 'help' him in combat), and even devoted specific sections of the game time to story that wasn't about combat- including a parade in the heroes' honor (which he co-opted, climbing on top of the float and insisting that everyone loved him and would always talk about him always).

Eventually, I as a player got frustrated with this, but since I was late joining the group, I let it slide, until the parade thing. Then I started having my character get into social situations where Dopey was a direct detriment, and all the players started helping reign him in. I'm talking fancy social settings, where an implied insult was worse than a slap in the face, tense negotiations where a wrong word would get everyone killed and leave the town bloody and burning. This helped reign in Dopey, because he saw his character's severe weaknesses (anything and everything but killing).

The campaign balanced out a little bit, the DM included a big bad monster just for Dopey, and the rest of us got a normal encounter to fight, but it wasn't long before the group disbanded. No one wants to play Aquaman or the Wonder Twins when Batman and Superman are running around. It feels crappy, and the group will fall apart because of it. So, my horror stories aside, talk to some sympathetic players, get them to say something during the session, and listed to Dauphinous, Whisper, and PisceanPaul- they know what they're talking about, and they give good (if occasionally contradictory) advice.

- Logain

In my opinion, experience comes from hardship and being forced to reach to achieve something. It does not come from completely trashing your opponents because of massive inherent bonuses you have hand picked for yourself. You could make it known to your players that those who are failing and being forced to improvise due to a lack of power will be advancing faster than those who are skating along with ease. When everyone else gains a level, and gets to pick new powers, your powergamer might wake up to the fun that inherent flaws bring to a game.

I like the idea of what you are saying Augustus and indeed I've done something similar with rewarding good roleplaying this is an interesting take I've never quite thought of doing before because I fear the idea of being accused of favoritism which I typically try not to do.

As for how I do spells I did not enjoy being insulted about that and being told I was doing it wrong (there is no right or wrong way to do magic, it's magic after all and you are the DM). I try and do things a bit different and to go with rule of cool with certain spells and effects to award clever thinking and to punish actions that have not used forethought; think about it like this nowhere in the book does it say that applying fire to a floor that has been covered with a grease spell should do anything but in my games I've had players set a greased floor on fire for interesting effects because it's clever thinking and should make practical sense or using a magic missile (which I know normally has a target of creature) hitting a jug on a counter top 50ft away to create a distraction for the rogue to sneak by the camp (the idea is to have fun and to not punish your players for wanting to think out of the box). Admittedly the shatter spell incident was considered my bungle for taking a players word on how a spell works rather than just looking it up like I normally do but that stands to reason that no DM is perfectly read up on every book and every spell and that when you are trying to just get them through an event quickly occasionally you may leave things up to your call rather or forget certain things rather than going by the teeth of a rule.

@Whisper: I like your idea for what to do with npc gear; as of late I haven't had the problem but in the past I've had PC's who were enormous scumbags that thought it fun to despite alignment penalties and other law enforcement means kill the local NPC population, not so much a problem now but yes in the past.

To clear up something I can tell was misinterpreted about gear it's not that I stack the gear towards X person or X class and the word "give" may not have been appropriate to use but that it is simply that some items that are useful to certain classes are not items you should be giving out when the PC's are at a certain level or widely available at towns while other items that are useful to another PC are what you should be giving out at the certain level and are mass available i.e almost any small town has a blacksmith that sells at least a masterwork sword but not every town will have a wizard or shop that sells large quantities of scrolls, wands, spells, and magic items; my question is how do you deal with that without making it seem there is a bias when the appropriate items A,B,C, and D for that level are not what player Y needs (though more often wants) but player X can wants items A and B.

Quote:
As for how I do spells I did not enjoy being insulted about that
I apologize if my response has been insulting; that has never been my intention.
Likewise, no part of this (or any further post) is meant to be insulting.

Quote:
and being told I was doing it wrong (there is no right or wrong way to do magic, it's magic after all and you are the DM). I try and do things a bit different and to go with rule of cool with certain spells and effects to award clever thinking
While changing the rules to fit each group's preferences is fine, anyone offering advice is going to assume that you follow the rules as outlined in the rulebooks.

Deviating from the rules as they are written can lead to unforeseeable consequences; take conjuring water above an enemy:
If a Create Water can conjure the water in the air above a creature, what's preventing a caster to summon a medium-sized earth elemental (Summon Nature's Alley 4 / Summon Monster 5) (~ 700 pounds) above an enemy and squish him when gravity pulls the elemental down ?

When changing things, one should always consider all ramification of such a change. A small change for the 'rule of cool' can even trip a very experienced GM...

Quote:
nowhere in the book does it say that applying fire to a floor that has been covered with a grease spell should do anything but in my games I've had players set a greased floor on fire for interesting effects because it's clever thinking and should make practical sense
This is something that comes up often and there's nothing wrong with it - as long as the the 'interesting effect' is not too strong. 1 point of fire damage per round or maybe 1d4 fire damage / round with halving the spell's duration might be alright.
If you increase the 'interesting effect' too much, you make the (already very powerful) grease spell even more powerful.
If you've got Complete Mage, take a look at Incendiary Slime (Wiz 2)...

Quote:
or using a magic missile (which I know normally has a target of creature) hitting a jug on a counter top 50ft away to create a distraction for the rogue to sneak by the camp (the idea is to have fun and to not punish your players for wanting to think out of the box).
No, punishing players for lateral thinking is bad.
However, if you allow a Magic Missile spell to target a jug, Magic Missiles should be able to target other things. Like an enemy's equipment. No attack roll, no save, always hit...

To make the point (and this isn't meant as an insult in any way but the result of ~20 years of experience): Don't go changing rules unless you have carefully considered what consequences it can have.

If you're asking for advice for problems resulting from your changed rules, be ready to be told that the rules are different.

(Called Shots are a famous example for such changes - and here's an example of the inconsistencies it can create.)
Quote:
while other items that are useful to another PC are what you should be giving out at the certain level and are mass available
- Bigger towns have more for sale; if the PCs want something they can't get in Smalltown, they can travel to Bigtown and buy it there.
- Ask your players to prepare a 'wishlist' of items they'd like; that way, you can include appropriate items in treasures they find.
- The casters can take Craft-feats and create exactly the items they (and other party members) want
- If there's a wizard in a town, even if he isn't selling / offering a wide variety of scrolls, he's still got the Scribe Scroll feat; the PCs could order a specific scroll
- If there's a caster in town, it might be convinced to craft the item a PC wants, maybe in cooperation with the local blacksmith; custom-ordered magic items - though perhaps they'll cost a bit more or require the caster being done a 'favor' beforehand.

@Whisper: I can certainly see your point there and sorry for being a bit snappy the day before me and a player had a 30min long argument about how a spell worked (it had tricky wording to it and in the end we just had to tell him to shut it and default to rule 0). I assume you probably know more about DMing then I do in fact you most likely do (I find it funny in fact that you did the grease spell fire damage thing the same way I did; I decided 1pt of damage per round and half the duration) but I'm not going to try and claim I am an all over the place DM typically I do try and stick to the rules; the rule of cool is hard to do which is why it only typically happens once a month at best, the magic missile and armor thing was something I certainly didn't think about and I should be glad none of my players tried to take advantage of a poor decision in judgement (this is the reason why I kindly asked players not to take the Ranged Disarm and Pinning feats- as I felt it was a bit unfair and too much of a loophole around the regular rules to allow). I of course very much appreciate your input as you are making me think of things I normally don't go into with foresight of. I would always welcome any knowledge that you have discovered in your time as a DM that you might offer to a person that they might not think of but experience has taught you is important.

Items are without doubt one of trickier parts of DMing for me; my casters have always hated craft items feats bc/ they detest the exp loss and for some strange reason I have not understood they have never even once asked a NPC to make an item for them despite the fact that I have told them multiple times that this is an option and a better use for their money then hiring a bunch of hirelings (they also have an odd objection the Leadership feat). The questing for things is my most common approach to getting magic items but I feel it is becoming a bit too expected and if you have any tips on how to spice this up I would be very interesting in hearing it.

Quote:
sorry for being a bit snappy
We all have bad days, sometimes

Quote:
if you have any tips on how to spice this up
Hmm; usually, players jump on the opportunity to have custom created magic weapons, whether crafted by one of the party or commissioned from an NPC.

How about a single evolving item per character as a quest reward ?
Such an item would start out as a comparatively minor magic item requiring a bonding ceremony (RP stuff, with a small gold cost, maybe). Afterwards, either whenever the bearer gains a level, the item's abilities increase (give out slightly less treasure to account for the 'free' gain) or the bearer can sacrifice gold/gems or even other magic items to improve the bonded item (in essence, each character can enhance his items as if he had the appropriate item creation feat(s) and without XP cost.). Increase gold cost for these upgrades by 5-10% to account for the lack of exp cost.

An example of such an item:

Sword of Astarax
Upon bonding this +1 sword, the wearer can choose its characteristics; it assumes the form of any sword the wearer wishes. The chosen form remains fixed unless the bonding ritual is performed again.

+1 Sword; Price: 2400gp (2000 for being +1, 300 Masterwork, 100 for the shape change (not terribly useful, being restricted to once per level. It's probably going to be used only once...)


Upon gaining a level, the bearer decides he'd like to 'upgrade' it to a Dragonbane weapon.
He performs an appropriate ritual (let the player come up with it ) and sacrifices gold / gems / other magic items.

Cost to upgrade:
Bane is a +1 equivalent property. The cost to upgrade would therefore be 8000 (
+1 bane
+2 weapon) - 2000 (it is already a +1 weapon) = 6000gp. Add 10% to account for no XP for a total cost of 6600gp.


A couple of levels later, the bearer (a budding red dragon hunter) wants to upgrade his sword from +1 dragonbane to a +2 Icy Burst Dragonbane weapon.

Cost to upgrade:
The sword is already a +1 Dragonbane (worth: 8000). Icy Burst is a +2 equivalent property and increasing the enhancement bonus by 1 is another +1 for a total of a +5 equivalent weapon. The upgrade cost, therefore, is 50k - 8k = 42k. Add the 10% for a total cost of 46200gp.

To cover the points in brief:

1. Travel time isn't anything important. What is important is the story. If the group has no pressing time frame to reach their destination by and no plot items are going to occur on the way, then the following works fine:

Quote:
You set off for Bordeaux, a journey that takes around two months. You travel by boat down the Rhine until you get to its end, then transfer to an ocean-going ship and sail along the Atlantic Coast until heading up-river again to the city. The boat docks, and...
The only thing that should be taking time in your game is things relevant to the story. If the group are trying to reach their destination before the Evil Sorcerer finishes casting his Spell of Eternal Doom, then a few encounters along the way that are designed to slow their progress make for exciting story events.


2. It's a hard thing to learn, and you get better at it the more you DM, but the answer is 'any detail your players never interact with is too much detail.' If it isn't relevant to the plot, story, location, etc. the players are in, don't bother. If a player suddenly has a pressing need to know exactly who the bishop of far-away-city is and their character would legitimately know it, make it up on the spot. Or get your player to make it up.


3. Learning how to use the DM boot is a big part of being a DM. It's like managing any group - you need to know when to put your moderator hat on. If a rules conversation gets out of hand, just say 'this is the ruling we're going with now' and accept no more argument on the matter. Invite a player to follow up on it after the game if you want, but make sure the game flows. No-one (except that one guy...) likes a 1-hour argument about the rules. Say 'right now, it's like this. I don't care what the book says.' and move on.


4. If someone wants to make an insane power-build, don't flatly deny them as long as their actions don't ruin everyone else's fun. However, if you are finding it hard to build balanced encounters for the rest of the group, simply explain to that character that you'd like them to tone it back out of respect for the rest of the group. Let them be the mature one, don't fall for the 'which builds aren't allowed?' trick - because that's a sneaky way of saying 'I'll pick something you didn't find.' Put the ball in their court - it both shows respect to them and asks them to respect of them to their fellow players. If they're incapable of that, you probably want rid of them.

With regard to the scenario you outlined, though, don't also be afraid to simply kill a character by saying so. For the TPKer example, I would do something like this:
Quote:
BiggusDikus' actions have resulted in the group being dead. Would you as a group prefer to retcon the entire scene and try again, or everyone roll up new characters? That means you as well, player of BiggusDikus, because I am not going to run a story where a lone psychopath goes on a rampage.
Whatever you do, do NOT give the TPKer the ability to play on alone after pulling such a stunt. That's not fun for anyone else (including you), so don't do it.

As DM you are the arbiter of what is acceptable behavior; don't let someone else take that away from you. Sure, your player(s) might have a tantrum because you took away their favourite toy, but they'll either get over it or they'll quit the group - and that's a win for you either way.

Most power-gamer horror stories come from a DM who is scared to put their foot down. Don't be that guy. Don't be afraid to wield your DM power for the good of the game, and don't let one player try and dictate what that is when you can see the rest of the players aren't having fun.


5. Don't sweat it. As long as they aren't ruining everyone else's fun, just make sure they have enough combats to keep them happy. As your game starts providing better rewards for people who do engage in roleplaying, they may even dip their toes in the water.

Quote:
2. It's a hard thing to learn, and you get better at it the more you DM, but the answer is 'any detail your players never interact with is too much detail.' If it isn't relevant to the plot, story, location, etc. the players are in, don't bother. If a player suddenly has a pressing need to know exactly who the bishop of far-away-city is and their character would legitimately know it, make it up on the spot. Or get your player to make it up.
I disagree with this to an extent. If you intend to interweave one story into another. You might have the upcoming bad guy bump into your players on the street, apologize and move on. Later on it may dawn on them what occured and you can have a good laugh.




 

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Blog   Myth-Weavers Status