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/tg/ - Traditional Games


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72695111 No.72695111 [Reply] [Original] [4plebs] [archived.moe]

ITT: we share GMing wisdom to those who might need it
(Of course, take them with a grain of salt - ymmv)

>If you're starting out, ask for feedback from your players, but not too often. You need to let people catch your habits and play with you at least a couple of times with you as you adapt to new strategies and methods. If you ask players for feedback after every session, they'll get hung up on smaller details and mistakes that they'll likely forget by the next one and aren't as important as you might think.
>Also, don't take -all- feedback to heart. Some people will straight up give you bad feedback, or try to mold you to their preference. Don't let these people get to you, they're not worth your time.

>Don't use music. Ambient sounds are far more immersive and less disruptive than music. Yes, I know you're using videogame music and you've found a 25 minute version to loop in the background. I also know that you'll either have a mishmashed shuffle that distracts everyone or you'll have a single song on loop for a good third of the session.

>Don't put up with shitty players just because they're your friends. Good friends can be shitty people to play with. If they're really your friends, they'll understand if your playstyles don't match up and agree to split up. If they give you shit and get angry over a game, they're not a friend worth having in the first place.

>Don't recap the last session yourself. If you let the players do the recap for you, you'll be able to tell what stuck with them the most, what bored them, and what they completely forgot. It'll be easier for you to adapt to what they kept in mind if they lay it in front of you.

>> No.72695349

>>72695111
music from games can be great, but only if you dont recognize the music desu. atmospheric background music can go a long way to setting a scene and helping players maintain focus

>> No.72695474

>>72695349
This, though I'll admit it's only worked twice, conditioning my players to fear when the banjo metal kicks in.

>> No.72695600

>>72695474
im terrified and aroused. what was the song?

>> No.72695685

>>72695600
Slayer's angel of death, the Rob Scallon version. Hell I ended up using a lot of his banjo covers, cause my game had a lot of terrifying gator variants. Huge gator. Gator/crab/silverback chimera. Meth gator. Gator hydra. I think the next one is gonna be necrogator.

>> No.72696582

>>72695685
What kind of games are you running anon?

>> No.72696621

>>72695111
>Don't overdesign puzzles, players will get frustrated and it will crash the adventure momentum

>Combat. Mix'n'Match is the key, resist the urge to put a thousand enemies on the table, or if you do, give the players tools.

>Don't take players tools away everytime.

>Role play not roll play.

>Be creative but believe me, not TOO creative.

>> No.72698160
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72698160

A lot of the time if you're just really cryptic or hint that you're hinting at something, even if you have no idea what it is and absolutely no plan, your players will start speculating wildly and then you can play on their paranoias to create conent.

>> No.72699230

>>72695111
How do I help my DM who wants the details to take care of themselves? She is on several antianxiety drugs as well as oxy and threatens to kill herself when we want to quit.

>> No.72699249

>>72695111
>Never botch dice. Players will catch and all tension from combat will evaporate instantly

>> No.72699258

>>72699230
If you think, she will kill herself, call 911, suicide threats are fucked up.

>> No.72699271

>>72698160
best advice so far. I got half of my ideas by my players just discussing theories and speculating after the sessions

>> No.72699281

Music can be great for atmosphere, especially when combined with ambiance sound.
One of my more successful session was a not! Blackhawk Down scenario in Dark Heresy, with battle ambiance, CoD MW2 radio-chatter and the original Insurgency (the mod) soundtrack blaring, with the players clinging to the top of a Chimera, blasting heretics left and right.

>> No.72699289

>>72696621
>>Combat. Mix'n'Match is the key, resist the urge to put a thousand enemies on the table, or if you do, give the players tools.


Especially don't give them too many allies they can't control. Nothing is more boring for players and GM alike than the GM rolling dice against himself.

>> No.72699297

>>72699230
Get out before she brings you down as well. Call the cops and cut all contact.
If she kys, it was not your fault.

t. haver of suicidal ex.

>> No.72699311

Do not put the progression of the plot in the hands of a dice roll. If the players need to find/hear/see an important thing/person/word, have them obtain it naturally without a roll.
If by chance your players fail that roll, you will end up stuck in the mud

>> No.72699324

>>72699230
give her a loaded gun and leave the place.
Jesus christ i hate how people threaten suicide whenever things don't go their way. If such and insignificant thing as a game is enough to make them want to kill themselves, they should just do it and spare the rest of us from their emotional parasitism

>> No.72699339

>>72695111
Don't try and give players what you think they'll want, what you think they'll want is strongly coloured by what you want.
Pay attention to what they interact with strongest, and improve and expand on that.

Rules are almost never worth a break in play, if you care enough, use a home rule, and check in between sessions.

If there's a choice between success and failure, always choose success. Failure discourages further action, so if they have to fail, "fail forwards".

Write down names as you go, and if you can briefly jot down what happens in each session at the end of it. It sucks when your players remember the name of someone, or somewhere and you don't.

Players rarely understand puzzles, and constantly miss hints. You don't have to spell things out, but don't expect people to understand what you mean when you tell them something.

Fudging is a very useful skill. But if you're going to do it, you can't let the players know. Acting is useful, and so is leaning into what would be expected. An "urgh, finally" when the monster finally gets a hit (It didn't), will sometimes be enough.

>> No.72699344

>>72699311
Alternatively have several roads towards your objective. Make some of them roll-dependent, and reward them with solving stuff faster/material gains/extra information if they succeed.

>> No.72699350

>>72699324
you are fucking retard and shouldnt even joke about that because in your cause he would be fucking liable you cunt

>> No.72699375

>>72699350
No it wouldn't. I mean actually giving her a gun would, but making a post on a forum that she doesn't read, would in no circumstance lead to a liability charge.

That said, it's a pretty ignorant comment anon made.

>> No.72699389

>>72699339
>Write down names as you go, and if you can briefly jot down what happens in each session at the end of it. It sucks when your players remember the name of someone, or somewhere and you don't.


This. It really fucking sucks when it happens.

>> No.72699427

>>72699258
>>72699297
>>72699324
There’s no salvaging this game, is there. Honestly I’m afraid to just leave, but it’s so boring.

>> No.72699443

>>72699427
Leave. Whatever happens it's not your fault, but that of a disease. If you're seriously worried, call the cops and they'll make a welfare check. Even better if you know someone in her real-life that can come by her place.

>> No.72700078

>>72699230
>>72699427
Nigga it's a game. No matter what happens within or surrounding it, its ultimate purpose is to have fun. If you're not having fun, and you're either incapable or unwilling of making it fun (which is completely understandable), you shouldn't be in it.

The manipulative toxic bitch is just icing on top of the cake. Don't give her the satisfaction of attention, these people will try to make you feel guilty to prevent you from leaving them because it's the only way they can maintain a relationship with another human being. They're failures.

My ex is like that, and I talk to her every day because even though I know she's playing a toxic game by saying that shit she can still get to me and make me wonder "what if she actually does it?". Don't be weak like me, anon. My only solace is that my ex sucks a mean dick, but if your DM can't even deliver a fun game, cut your losses and get out.

>> No.72700152
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72700152

>>72695111
>Don't use music
i've allways known, it just inspires me so much.
by this point i almost use music the same way a cool image might inspire me.

>> No.72700193

>>72700152
Using music for inspiration is completely fine, same way as cool images. But in the same way that you describe stuff inspired by cool images instead of showing it to the players, you should convey the feeling that the music gives you to communicate the tone instead of outright playing it during the actual game.

>> No.72700241

>>72699324
>i hate how people threaten suicide

I concur.
It has happened often enough for me to be tempted to just go "You do you" and leave.
But so far I haven't.

>> No.72700258

>>72699375
It's just emotional blackmail anyway.
Like those FB-things. "Share this if you are not heartless bla bla bla"-bullshit.

>> No.72700318
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72700318

>>72699249
This, roll dice openly, if you want to check something without tipping off the party use passives,.
>>72695685
I think I remember you, are you the bad photoshop monster guy? I'm stealing some of your monsters for my Gamma World post apoc Florida game.

>> No.72700343

>>72700193
Thats where i am right now yeah.
Asking other players to feel the same way i do with a piece of music is unrealistic,
since i'm obviously based.

Maybe a description of it works better because it's less concrete

>> No.72701076
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72701076

>>72695111
Does anyone have that ancient screencap of some anon's "10 rules for gming" or some such? The guy used dean from Iron Giant as an avatar while he was posting. I think the image is from 2010.

>> No.72702301

>>72696582
Right now it's just a tropical island adventure, but it's got a pretty expansive swamp jungle in the middle.

>>72700318
Yeah I'm the same one. And that is both awesome and very flattering. Taking just the gators other monsters as well?

>> No.72702392

Never ever do long term caravans, especially if the players are the ones leading it. It might sound like a good idea at first, but it eventually becomes a huge slog where players are shut down from exploring any other leads because they have a group of assholes following them.

>> No.72702503

>>72695111
>Don't recap the last session yourself.
I actually had to give it up with my current main group. only was able to give a good review the other would either recap an icredibly small portion of what happened or would just "lol I dont relly remember"

>> No.72702684

>>72702301
gators, snakes, crawdads, bugs,whatever. if it lives in florida and a mutant version of it might try to kill you I'm in feel free to throw in some of your favorites

>> No.72702980

>>72695111
>Don't use music
Depends on the campaign. I use music a lot for the Digimon game I run, mostly either stuff from Digimon Story Cyber Sleuth/Hacker's Memory since that soundtrack is great or from the anime for Evolution music. I use Roll20 with the VTT expansion suite, so I can set up music to play once or loop and pre-make extended versions of things or specifically cut mixes on my own time and add them myself. I have "TV Size" edits of all the evolution themes from every season, for example.

>> No.72703198

>>72702684
I mean if you saw the one imgur gallery I liked that's most of em. I'll admit I'm not familiar with gamma world, but there's plenty of mean things that can crawl out of a swamp. Armored poison spitting frogs, quill spitting birds, and let's say some aggressive swamp root for good measure.

>> No.72703324

I hate getting into arguments at the FGLS, because it feels like I'm hurting the whole store and community even if I'm in the right. Such arguments are rare and far between, but I always feel like an asshole at the end. Am I just being a wuss or should I swallow my pride for the shop?

>> No.72703389

>>72703198
can you link me the imgur?
>>72703324
IMO depends how much you go there.

>> No.72703483

>>72699350
>>72699375

Nah it's truthful. Suicide blackmails are emotional blackimails, and rarely correspond to an actual intent. Some people are so disfunctional in their need from validation that will use emotional blackmail to get it. Of course this behaviour only leads to escalating threath, regardless of the person actual intents.
Reporting this to a licensed therapist is also a good idea in these cases, cutting off contact is not exactly the best course of action but it's a doable one

>> No.72703518

>>72700241
>>72700258

It happened to me with an (ex) closed friend. After a while, and a LOT of effort to get her to see a therapist, get meds and so off, it became unbearable so I cut off contact.
This was 2-3 years back, she recently off'ed herself. I feel bad, but there was nothing more I could do, and at some point you just become an enabler for that kind of behaviour

>> No.72703532

>>72696621
If you have to have that scene where the players are on a huge battle ground with lots of side characters fighting, just estimate the damage.

If two Paladins are fighting with d8 swords and +4 strengths just take 9 hp away from each guy each turn rather than rolling to hit or rolling for damage. Instead of 15 seconds per fighting pair to roll you use maybe 15 seconds total just writing down how much people are losing.

>> No.72703542

>>72701076

I had them too, lost them in the computer change. They were good

>> No.72703628

>>72695111
>If they're really your friends, they'll understand if your playstyles don't match up and agree to split up
Maybe I wasn't as good of a person as I thought then. I took it personally and quit associating with them after being booted.

>> No.72703663

>>72696621
How does one not be "too creative"?

>> No.72703697

>>72703663
Keep It Simple Senpai

>> No.72703698

>>72703663
Overly-elaborate puzzles and dungeons, trying to be clever. If you write up a massive amount of backstory and lore for a setting, that's fine - but don't force it on the players. Let the players seek it out. Make your setting interesting enough and leave enough mystery and information that they go "I want to know more, GM where can I find out more about X". As a player who's been in one of those games where the GM does this, it was absolutely fun when we finally tracked down someone with actual answers and learned the history of the setting as well as how some things worked. Way more fun than having it all told to us up-front OOC.

>> No.72703765

>>72703389
https://imgur.com/a/55k0lA0
Sure thing.

>> No.72703993
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72703993

New DM here. I'm currently running a fairly vanilla campaign with some new but well-read players. Where do you DMs like to turn for story inspiration? I have a very easy time with inventing monsters, characters, and places, but tying them together is daunting when nearly every fantasy plot feels overdone.

>> No.72704139

Be sure you have whatever you're describing clear and CONSISTENT in your head. It's actually pretty easy to come up with contradictory ideas for how something looks or acts without noticing until you try to put it into your players heads'.

For instance:
> at flgs pathfinder game
> find a big net on top of an abandoned tower.
> "Like a fishing net made if spider silk."
> something under it is moving!
> what is it?
> you can't see!
> ...
> fighter tries to pick up the net
> "It feels light and soft, yet incredibly strong."
> also you can't lift it. It's too heavy!
> ... I help too...
> fails the roll
> "Nope, you can't lift it either!"
> eventually like 4 people trying to lift this thin, light and heavy net we can't see through.
> DM is giving us shit for not thi king of solutions.
> "Hey, can we all roll together?"
> "Finally, I wondered when you were going to try and work together!"
> ...
> get it into the air
> I look under it
> "You can't see, it's too dark!"
> it's a fishing net?
> Yes!
> made of super thin silk?
> Yes!
> with holes between the weave?
> Yes!
> and I can't see what the thing is?
> Nope!

Turned out it was a baby red dragon some wizard was trying to catch. In exchange for freeing it I got its parent to give my sorcerer the dragon bloodline in addition to their fey bloodline. Was a good thing too as his idea of difficulty was to take encounters from late in the module he was running and throw them at us way earlier than intended with random parts of the monsters' kits removed. My save-or-suck glass cannon couldn't do anything when everything had save DC's close to 20 before rolling.

Cont'd

>> No.72704150

>>72704139

>I rebalanced the snakes! You guys should have just played better! I even fudged some rolls for you!
>They were CR9! We're level 3...
>Well I took the snakes' poison away! They did 1d6 less damage a hit! And how does CR have anything to do with this anyway?
>well to get the CR you take how much experience each enemy is worth and-
>Oh well, that's why we aren't playing with experience anyway!
>...

Yeah, another piece of advice, know how the game works, or at least know who knows how something works so you can ask them. That kerfuffle happened two sessions after he decided each round was a minute, so the one spell I was able to actually land wore off instantly. I said I dont think that's how it works but he kept cutting me off before I could look it up and another guy backed him up so I dropped it so I didn't make a scene.

Next session he told me he looked it up and I was wrong. Each round was only 6 seconds, so a minute was ten rounds and I that needed to keep that in mind in the future so I didn't try and argue in the middle of a session.

>> No.72704239

>>72703993
Don't overthink the plot, you're running a tabletop, not writing a novel. Start out with something simple, a tavern owner needs help, they've been tasked with performing land surveyance, and then build off what they do. Drop hints about your bad guys and see what they bite on.

>> No.72704370

>>72703993
Every fantasy plot is overdone.

Just mix up the situations each encounter takes place in and let your players handle the rest. The players will feel engaged if they have the freedom to come up with and attempt their own plans, you just have to provide the freedom and varied situations. Dont just throw them into cave no. 437 that has the same monsters as sewer no. 719 but with less shit.

>> No.72704435
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72704435

>>72703993
You don't need to write a full story, it's actually fine to have just a general idea of what's going on, and then build on it as the characters interact with the world. Look at your characters backstories and try to incorporate a few things from that to make them feel more personally invested, but keep track of what they actually engage with and what they /say/ they want to engage with. Often they can be 2 different things since people generally have a hard time knowing what they really want.

I try and introduce important NPCs early on too, even if I don't 100% know what I want to do with them, so that the players feel like things are more planned out than they really are :^)

>> No.72704828
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72704828

It's ok if players are getting different things out of the game than you. The autistic guy who does all the mapping/supplies is enjoying the game in his own way. The girl who doesn't remember anything about the game(even other PCs' names etc) might just enjoy seeing everyone each weekend.

PCs demonstrate to you what their players want out of the game. You can use this to your advantage. EG, if a PC lost his parents at a young age or has a bunch of children who are his life, he probably won't dodge an adventure hook to save an orphanage. They also predict if a player is going to have a bad time and should be asked to find a different group - eg you've said the group are going to diplmats and someone has a character with a bunch of social disadvantages who only knows how to fight.

OP is right about music. If you're in the moment and everyone's in character and having fun, it just fades into the background. Otherwise it's just another distraction.

Embrace the chaos and roll with the punches. Players will miss what you think are obvious clues and figure out grandiose conspiracies instantly.

>> No.72705071
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72705071

>>72703542
If you or anyone else knows what the thread was titled or can remember some of the rules from the cap then I can search suptg and the other archives for it. I can't remember anything from it and I feel like shit for not being able to remember

>> No.72705308
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72705308

>>72705071
>>72703542
FUCKING FOUND IT
http://suptg.thisisnotatrueending.com/archive/22848975/
was under the "advice" tag

>> No.72705526

>>72705308
>Never use JPEG
Damn I wish I could adhere to this. Roll20's file size limit fucks my ass on big maps and I'm forced to downgrade.

>> No.72705761
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72705761

>>72703628
>shit player that warrants being booted in the first place
>shit friend who ghosts you after ruining your fun

ahahahahaha
AHAHAHAHAHAHA

>> No.72707635

>>72695111
>If they come up with a solution to a problem, or an answer to a mystery, that was cooler that what you had in mind, roll with it and act like it was the solution/answer all along.

My players fought a manifestation of a eldritch abomination from beyond the stars in a chamber far beneath an ancient necropolis. When I was describing the chamber, I mentioned that there was jagged mass of purple crystal hanging from the apex of the vaulted ceiling, emitting a faint glow. I had just meant it to be illumination, but my players were convinced it was sustaining the interdimensional rift that had allowed the abomination to invade, and put all their effort into smashing it. I rolled with it and when the crystal finally shattered, the abomination's physical form coalesced and could be slain with physical weapons.

>> No.72707641

>>72705308
Pretty solid advice. I very much agree that people who screech about railroading generally have no idea what they're talking about and I suspect that almost all of them have never DM'ed before.

The whole fudging dice thing is tricky. I do it sometimes with the same mentality that he describes, but I try very hard to keep it to a minimum. I want the players to feel that I don't fudge since I imagine it helps the integrity of the game. I'd be upset as a player if I knew the DM fudges even if I do it myself and even if I rationally know that it's extremely likely that he does it.

>> No.72707676

>>72707635

Well done. Good example of thinking on the fly and rewarding player creativity without straight up ruining the encounter. DM'ing is like teaching I think - you can learn it to a degree, but to be truly great you just simply need the right kind of personality.

>> No.72708974

The best cheat sheet you'll ever have is a list of NPC names with a one line physical description and a few character traits. It helps keep your flow and stops you from getting distracted coming up with chaff NPCs on the fly. just leave enough space to take down some notes as to who the npc is and where and edit them into your notes proper after the session.

Index cards with the key stats for adversaries and the player characters make for an excellent Initiative tracker, and for quietly keeping tabs on players who try to fudge their numbers in combat. once they cotton on to the fact that you know, they'll abandon it and you wont need it anymore.

If you are comfortable with the mechanics of the game, try to balance things such that in your big Set Piece battles, there is a mathematical probability that one player character will die/burn fate/be dropped to negatives. You never want to have a situation where multiple character death is likely, but weighting things towards being slightly lethal will incentivise players to plan, prepare and, god forbid, roleplay. I've found that it tends to push players a little further into where they are comfortable. The slightly introverted or crunchy players tend to bring up the consumable items or play off of others to set up the crunchy tactics, the more loose roleplayers will carry the weight of the out of the box thinking and throw you some curveballs.

If a player chooses a less mechanically viable option, play into it. not everybody needs to be Indiana Jones. Trap that spotlight hog in a no-win scenario that the asian twink can save him from.

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