Sometimes your group doesn’t work out. Maybe there’s a player in there who just isn’t having fun. Maybe the game you’re running isn’t the one they want to play. Maybe they’ve broken up with their partner and are taking out their anger in the game or perhaps their personality just doesn’t mesh at all with another member of the group. Or perhaps your game is planned for the end of their week and they’re sleep-deprived and cranky.
Whatever the reason, a situation like this means it’s time to have one of the the hardest conversations you can have as a GM. And while this shouldn’t only be the GM’s responsibility, often the task falls to the GM. And that’s what i’ll be discussing here today.
When you see people on the street, at a glance, only a few will ever stand out from the crowd. Be it due to their mannerisms, the way they dress or just their overall feel when compared to the bland and common background.
In RPG’s, these usually turn out to be the quest givers, special contacts or even story hooks designed to stand out so that the party has a clear sense of direction.
I’ll admit, I was working on another post when the idea for this one hit me. And I’ll even admit that part of the seed for this one comes from frustration in my own games. That said, there’s some interesting things to discuss with regards to this topic, so let’s dive in!
As you may have guessed from the title and the above picture, this post is about those sessions where a lot happens and nothing ever gets done. It’s about sessions where you spend hours chasing down a clue that leads absolutely no-where and sessions where you spend your hard-earned resources to open a door that leads, you guessed it, no-where.
So without wasting any more of your precious time, let’s dig in and talk about how to avoid wasting everyone’s precious RPG time.
Aka, How to think outside of the box and get away with it.
Consider the following. The house Reyne of Castamere royally pissed off the Lannisters. They end up fighting and the last of the Reyne retreat into their main fortress known for its subterranean systems, defenses and living areas. The fort is an absolute pain to take and could sustain them for a long time. A siege could prolong the war for far too long, being costly and an assault would likely end up with high casualties and loss for the Lannister Army. Tywin Lannister knew this and ended up deciding on a third option. Close off any and all entries/exits to the fort, leaving only a small opening for the massive amounts of water from a nearby river, which he had diverted into the fort. Flooding and killing every Reyne inside, ending the war and suffering no extra loss in the process.
The following is a brief insight on how to gauge and balance your games for your current group. The example given is based on the Pathfinder system.
You’ve started a new campaign. Your players have brought their new PC sheets with them. And despite knowing your players sheet by heart (or not, some of us work long hours). There really is no guarantee to know if your players will be engaged and challenged enough during your first encounter. Keep in mind however, that not every player may use their PC to it’s full potential. Despite them possibly being a horrible min maxer. It doesn’t matter if the PC is a potential boss killer if the PC isn’t played right or even dies cause of bad decisions & tactics. On the flip side, another player in the group may be a horrible min maxer and play that PC to terrifying effect. Leaving the other party members in their shadow.
You will need to rely on knowing your group and appealing to them during creation to keep things balanced as it is. Like most things in life, good communication is required.
Now that you have a ‘somewhat balanced’ group, you are still confronted with that first encounter. It’s easy to go overboard and have them fight a murder machine, thinking everything will be ok. At the same time, most GM’s will fear wiping their party during the first game and will end up with weak mobs that can’t hit to save their lives.
The following post concerns a sensitive topic and may discuss unpleasant things in order to understand them better. This post is intended to analyse a trend in roleplaying games and provide some insights into what it may mean for the hobby.
Please keep it civil if you wish to comment.
Racism is still a much discussed topic these days.
In a time where terrorism and virtue signaling are rampant and the word ‘Nazi’ gets thrown about like its going out of style, it’s only natural for some people to get conflicted over the idea of excluding anyone and merely thinking about excluding someone (over prejudice) can get you branded as a social outcast.
So much so, that even with regards to fictional worlds, the idea is floating around that we must include our real life ideals into our games or risk being an outcast at the table.
Example given: In this vid (I normally find his advice to be top notch btw)
So how would that translate to fictional property and worlds?
Let’s break down what that would mean.