New Topic Ideas

Phil and Senda answer your questions about RPGs from two different perspectives — with some panda silliness!
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Captain Richard
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Re: New Topic Ideas

Post by Captain Richard »

Captain of the Royal Airship Fleet
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GMGERRYMANDER
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Re: New Topic Ideas

Post by GMGERRYMANDER »

Madness, Mind Control, Possession.

I've read/ played a lot of games where a situation comes up involving the player no longer having complete control of their character, whether through madness (Call of Cthulhu/ Savage Horror/ GURPS Horror? Etc.), Possession by a benign or malevolent entity, or simple mind control. (Professor X and the Jedi do not understand consent and privacy....)

All of these can involve players "losing control" of their characters in one degree or another.

Obviously, with great roleplayers, its easy to just pass them a note telling them what is happening and let them run with it. But what about situations where you don;t know the players as well or have a player who can't play counter to their characters' interests?

Aaaaand...GO!
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zircher
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Re: New Topic Ideas

Post by zircher »

FanFic in your RPG...

No, seriously. So many times players want to play Mass Effect, Borderlands, Overwatch, etc. There are more franchise RPGs out there then you can shake a stick at. But, most of the time, you don't get to play James Bond or the actual Ghostbusters. What's a GM to do when the players do want to play specific characters that are normally in the realm of GM NPCs? Any tips or tricks that make that happen in a way that does not resemble a train wreck?
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GMGERRYMANDER
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Re: New Topic Ideas

Post by GMGERRYMANDER »

That's a good one.

On the flip side, how do you run games in pre existing universes where the players AREN'T the ones from the existing fic? What if they want to change something through their actions. (This is for campaign play. In One shots, ITS TEMPORARY and doesn't matter).

I've both had to GM and been allowed to play in games like this.

Robotech: Bad rolling means I killed Max and Rick in the second big team battle...heroes had to finish the campaign without them.

Star Wars: GM has a Cantina fight start just as Luke and Obi enter. Luke, Obi, and Han are gunned down my Stormtroopers and Bounty Hunters. (This was deliberate plot change by the gM and it was fun).

LOTR/MERP: Heroes (5 PCs and 3 NPCs) meet an obnoxious Hobbit, so we got him drunk and rolled him. Ended up getting a free Elfmail Shirt, Magic Sword that glows when orcs are nearby, and this cool Ring of Invisibility! This was NOT the plan of the GM and he threw a fit when it happened. There were a few problems with this: 1) I was the only player who had read the books. This was 1991, well before the Jackson films. So, none of the other players had a frame of reference for any of the named NPCs except for one person who had seen part of the Rankin Bass movie. 2) The GM played Bilbo as the most annoying parts of his personality 3) The GM was a die hard fanboi of LOTR (Hobbit sheets, Bakshi Gandalf Pajamas, etc.) who treated the books as un-changable canon. Literally screamed "You just wrecked my game!" at the players. We made him cancel the campaign.

Now, the LOTR GM did ask me "They took the RING! What was I supposed to do?" I told him "There are 8 of us. Give us a Wizard who never cats spells and there are 3 Books that tell you what direction to take us..."

Anyway, with more and more material like this out there, how do you handle it.
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GMGERRYMANDER
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Re: New Topic Ideas

Post by GMGERRYMANDER »

How do you lean into Genre Tropes or Setting Tropes to make certain the players get a chance to experience the unique ticks of the world?

I played a Low Life game at Savage Sundays last week and it was lackluster at best. "You see a Blurg. Draw for initiative." Might have well as bee "You see an orc" or "You see a stormtrooper". I was bored an hour in because nothing that made the world of Low Life silly and unique showed up in descriptions or actions. (The GM was also too interested in monologuing and hamming it up with his NPCs instead of letting the players run with the story, but that's a different topic.)

At Origins last year, I witnessed two variations on the opposite of this.
-The M&M game at the table next to where I was prepping for our ONE Engine game: the GM was running an MCU game, and then spend 45 minutes describing the setting before letting the players pic their pre-gens.

-The BRP game where the GM monologued for almost half an hour about her "Complex Campaign" (standard heartbreaker fantasy campaign) before starting the game. Then as the game went on, every time we encountered something, it was another 5 minute monologue about "now this is interesting". This was also the setting for the book she was writing, so it shouldn't have been surprising. I left after the third encounter.

This was too much detail, especially for a one shot.

So, how does a GM implement unique parts of the story world into a one shot or campaign without burying the players in too much description?
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GMGERRYMANDER
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Re: New Topic Ideas

Post by GMGERRYMANDER »

Designing Pre Gens for a One Shot and Making Encounters that use PCs Skills

I have been in too many One Shots lately where the GM used pregens that were obviously generated with no regard for the adventure. (Often using stock pregens from the company website combined with a homebrew adventure).

And I've been in campaigns where the GM never uses skills that the players have invested in. (As a GM, I am also guilty of this).

For example, a One Shot game where the character has Read Magic and Hold Person as two of their three spells, and no magical writing comes up and none of the encounters are with creatures that qualify as people. Or a game where one of the characters has all sorts of driving skills and they never get into a vehicle.

Obviously, PBTA games and other games where you pregen at the table for a one-shot don't have as much of a problem.

In a campaign, you don' have to use every skill every game, but how do you tailor your adventures to let the characters shine?
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GMGERRYMANDER
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Re: New Topic Ideas

Post by GMGERRYMANDER »

Not sure if this is a topic, but your joke about Dopplegangers reminded me of something.

Mimics and traps.

I see a lot of threads about clever use of mimics, from the toilet mimic to tables, chairs, beds, etc.

And some GMs love things like Grimtooths Traps.

Personally, as a GM and player, I think they ferment distrust.

I have had to run games where it takes too long to get new players to take chances because they think the GM (me) will screw them over at every opportunity. Because they played with a GM who was a sadistic jerk.

Mimics and traps are good. Once. Maybe. But if you use them too often, or use them in a situation like a toilet, then you are telling your players to never trust you about anything. And that makes for bad roleplaying in most games.

Now, there is a place for things like the Mimic House or the Trap-laden Thieves Guild. But I think most games work better with fewer traps and GM-screw-yous.
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ABomb
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Re: New Topic Ideas

Post by ABomb »

Topic Idea : Gaming and Kids

I currently have 2 kids one that just turned one and our oldest is now three. I have a 2 sided question, first how do you handle gaming for yourself when you have kids. The second question is when do you start and how do you start playing games with kids? I have broken down the kids to 4 age groups:

Phase 1 : Age 0 to 6
Phase 2 : Age 7 to 12
Phase 3 : Age 13 to 18
Phase 4 : Age 19+
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GMGERRYMANDER
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Re: New Topic Ideas

Post by GMGERRYMANDER »

New Topic

How to make NPCs for your players to get into relationships?

I've played in a few games where there were good romantic prospects. But often, even in games that have genres suited for romance or even are touted as "romance rpgs", the NPCs that end up meeting with the party are not compatible romantic partners.

As a GM, I have also messed this up. Some players have told me what they are looking for "My samurai is looking for an Antonio Banderas type" or "My druid is looking for a man with lovers heart and killers hands", but other times, I tried to match their hobbies and interests and have created NPCs they had no interest in. (And in one case, a player tried to get her killed to make her go away. :( )

AS a player, I often find myself looking at what comes across as compatible NPCs and in some games they are either disturbingly broken (in a way that makes romancing them seem like taking advantage of them) or have the sort of annoying habits that should warn anyone away or are just bland. So, it feels like I'm missing out on a fun facet of many RPGs that are not Murder Hobo focused.

What would you recommend for players and GMS?
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ABomb
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Re: New Topic Ideas

Post by ABomb »

HAPPY 200!!!

I have been with you two since the beginning. Never missed an episode. Congratulation on 200 episodes, this is no small feat. Also happy Dyngus Day (April 13th, 2020)!!! :D I can not believe it has been 4 years!!! With that send I have a continuation from a question I had back around Gen Con last year (Running your first game ep.170 "New GMs on the Block"). I found this super helpful. Now I have another question about being a new GM. Here we go:

When running a game for the first time do you have your player on a Train Track, Wooo Wooo!!! (You are welcome Sean from gaming and BS) or do you let the player have a free form of your world?

I would like to hear your thoughts from a one shot (the game I am thinking of running) and and a campaign perspective.

Keep up the great work and keep the great advice coming.
P.S. I am still looking forward to that "Playing as an old person" game (ep. 100) ;)

Aaron AKA A-BOMB
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