Saturday, June 29, 2013

Tips and preventing derailing

Ways to prevent Derailing
Sometimes, no matter how good of a Dungeon Master you are your villain or BBEG (big bad evil guy) will just get into a bad situation or fall victim to planning (or luck) of the party. As a DM I don’t like to take away victories or even punish the players. Remember that they are supposed to be the action heroes. Here are some tips that you can use to prevent those things or even having to explain to the group “Well I didn’t count on you killing him”.
             It’s ok for the Villain to outsmart the heroes
1.      Maybe he anticipated his demise and has a double or clone
2.      That evidence that they just found? Perhaps it’s to trap them

·         Even a seemingly perfect plan can still fail
1.      Maybe what the group is stealing isn’t quite what they thought
2.      That guy they just broke out of prison? He’s not who they thought

Some basic DM tips
            Let the party think they can do what they want without actually letting them.

1.      Basically write up plans for dungeons and monsters and let it be open where they are.
The party says “Oh you want us to go into the town and enter the dungeon?” “We’re going to head into the forest!” “What do we find?”

Oh you find this entrance to a dungeon!

Lastly, remember that above all, you are there to provide a fun experience for everyone, not just to stroke your own ego. These are just my tips for DnD and roleplaying in general. If you have your own style that you use then go with it! Just because these methods work for my games does not necessarily mean they will work for you. Have fun friends!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

After a long hiatus, Roll To Confirm Critical Returns! I’m returning with a vengeance. I have many new ideas and tips for all aspiring DMs. I will try updating weekly. In addition to that I'll be making some adventures and worlds and putting them on the site.

  Writing Interesting Adventures

Writing an adventure is relatively easy. The goal however is to write an interesting adventure that the party will remember and enjoy. It sounds easy enough but it can be pretty difficult or downright intimidating if you’ve never done it before and even for seasoned DMs it can be a challenge. In this installment of RTCC I’m going to give you tips and tricks for writing truly immersive adventures. The first step is to obviously choose the type of adventure you’d like to write and I will go in-depth with the choices and breakdown of an adventure flow in a following RTCC.

 Railroad ONLY When Necessary

I used to be of the opinion that you should never railroad an adventure. The truth however, is that there are some times where you have to make the story in a specific way. As a general rule, try to make the story flow as malleable as possible. It does take more time to write an adventure like this but when you  take the time to give them choices it can make for an exciting and enjoyable session. If you make your adventures open ended, the party either won’t notice or even care when you have to railroad them.
(Railroading an adventure is when you force the party down a specific path and don’t allow them to deviate or make choices.)

Let the PCs Fail Until it Hurts

Don’t write your adventures with only two endings; The party wins and the day is saved or The entire group dies horribly. Write your adventures so that the party can lose or somehow fail without dying. While this can be bad for a group it will quickly bring the focus to the game and in most cases will make the group work harder and give them a thirst for victory. In addition if you have it where they can fail the victory will be that much sweeter.

Remember Simba, Remember

Always keep notes of what the party does during the adventure. You’d be surprised how many ripples the group can make just going through a town. If you keep notes of what they do and what people tell them. It makes a party feel like they are in the game when they see someone several times and that person has an actual history.

Use Interesting Places

I’m pretty sure the Dungeon Master’s Guide goes over this pretty well and Paizo’s site may have more information as well but I’ll give you my tips. By interesting places I not only mean choose a flying castle that floats above the clouds that has been forgotten. I mean choose a place like that and make sure to describe that place. Giving a detailed description on how the stone looks weathered, is chipped and the castle has tattered remains of what was once regal looking flags is a much more intricate description and will invoke the imagination of your group.

  Screw The Rules

Lastly there are times when your adventure is going one way and the party wants to do something you either didn’t plan for or something unfortunate happens. In those cases screw the rules. Do what you want, but try to go with the group. There is nothing more frustrating to a group then when they come up with something innovative and you immediately shoot it down or tell them they can’t. If you need it, tell the group you need a five minute break. Most likely the group will be pleased that they came up with an idea you hadn’t thought of.

   Final Thoughts

I like to make a flow chart of what choices they have. Also when coming up with traps or plots I like to put myself in the position of the enemy and do things that they would feasibly do. A low Intelligence Barbarian would probably not come up with an overarching plot to replace the King with an imposter. The most important rule to follow is to have fun! That and try not to be too controlling of the game, its an experience that everyone should have the opportunity to participate in.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Adventure Building (Part 1)

Even more important then world building and campaign design is Adventure building. Like the chapters of a book, these hold your campaign together like glue and will be the primary source of fun and amazement. Now what specifically could be an Adventure? Well mostly anything, you could have one of the PCs long lost relatives show up and have them be an evil necromancer who is bent on killing and raising his family members as undead abominations to replace the family he never had. That same idea could be tweaked however you like! That same family member could be a ship captain, who just lost her ship and needs help from the party. Anything will suffice, just try to be creative and have fun with it! The most important thing to remember is that you must never "forget" people. Its always interesting when an old ally shows up just in the nick of time to help the party or an old villain make his presence known again.

The Adventures can all be a part of the same overall story, or it could be a loose collection of various stops on a journey. It really makes no difference but be sure that its fun! Your Adventures can be as interesting or as serious as you like but remember that variety is the spice of life and adding unexpected elements will always make your group appreciative of you and might even get you some free pizza!

A Personal Note:
Recently my group has started a new campaign that I basically came up with while bored at work. I'm drawing heavily from a premade Adventure but I wanted to point out that using a premade Adventure is always fine. You can use the adventure, word for word, or you could use it as a set of guidelines (like I have) and make it something all your own. There is really no way to mess up or do something stupid as a DM. Just remember that its not your mission to kill your players, Its your mission to provide an environment where they get themselves killed!

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Comedy Corner

I wanted to use this time to share some funny and interesting interactions that I've personally had happen during a game. Recently, we've been playing D20 Future and its been going great. In our first session however one of my players (the pilot) did something so funny that we had to stop for a few minutes because we were laughing so hard. When they reached the bridge(remember that I said they were prisoners and that they took over the ship they were going to be transported on) he ran onto it and screamed "I want to see the captain!" Keep in mind, he is in a prison jumpsuit, and has a rifle in his hands. The bridge crew open fire and actually get a glancing blow on him. Unfazed he responds to their fire with "I can fly this ship better then anyone!" then takes cover. I was so insane that we were incapacitated with laughter. I don't know how many of you actually game, but this was one of the great moments of my group. I'll be going over past accounts and sharing more with you guys! so stay Tuned!~

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

After an extended hiatus.... is RTCC!

In this installment I'll go over my latest campaign :
                                                  D20 Future

I decided on this system because of my familiarity with the D20 system and decided to modify it to emulate a few other Sci-Fi systems. I started out making the PCs (Player Characters) a group of escaped prisoners. This easily got the group started because the group they escaped from was aligned with evil. That made it possible to explain any back story my players came up with. Upon breaking out they stole a starship (which helped me start the story), visited an underdeveloped planet, fought raiders, and got some crew members! Stay Tuned for more updates and my PC stats / profiles! Not to mention the return of DM's Corner!

Saturday, April 2, 2011

World Building (Part 1)

Some tabletop games require to do some if not all improvisation of the location or setting. This is not always the case and if the game you are playing has its own setting make sure that you are very familiar with the rules before you consider deviating from the standard. Most games that require you to come up with a world also have some suggestions for building the world. If this is the case with your game for your first shot at world building use the suggestions. Take a look at what you expect to do as far as objectives in the game and be sure to color in the areas that the group will contact with and make sure to flesh out those areas.

Give your world an interesting government, or maybe no government at all. This however is not the secret to great world building. Making and having interesting characters is the cornerstone of any world you build. Also remember to keep things consistent. If you make interesting enough characters then it will only take a nudge to get your group off on an adventure. Give them interesting traits, goals, and try to give them an interesting history. But NEVER, NEVER, NEVER let all of the other characters outshine the group. Its okay to have a couple overpowered "Gandalf" characters but they should be few and far between and their interactions with the party should be very limited. Also don't use a "DMPC". A DMPC is a character that does everything. Oh? A hidden switch? he found it. What class/race is he? hes a half dragon, half celestial paragon mind flayer. Don't ever make that character. If you need to pat your ego do it in much better ways. If you must have an over powered character have it be one of the players. Lastly Don't try to "tell a story" Let your group carve out their own action and make the world feel wide open. Following these basic tips and world building strategies will take you farther up the path of presenting an fun and engaging game!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

DM's Corner Round 1

In this series I've named DM's corner, I'll be explaining the basics of becoming a DM and what specifically they are responsible for. First of all, you may be asking the question, "What is a DM?" A DM or Dungeon Master is the most important person in any tabletop role-playing game. They create the world, situations, and are the primary person that the players interact with. "Well, whats the difference between a Dungeon Master and Gamemaster?" There is actually no difference, the title is usually based off of the type of tabletop game you are playing.

The DM's primary responsibility is to make sure that everyone is having fun. If that means everyone is constantly engaged in combat, great! If it means that the group is skulking through a seedy underworld looking for clues about the missing magistrate's son, then awesome! Its important to find out if your group wants story, or conflict and try to tailor fit the adventures to the group.

As the DM, this will be a view you will become accustomed to.

The DM has a very special job because they create all of the fun that the group has. Most specifically they role-play as all of the characters that the group interacts with. From the King, to the Evil Wizard to the scullery maid. Because of this role-playing interesting characters is important! (I'll do some posts about effective DM role-playing in future DM's Corners) As a DM its important to know the rules, be sure to carefully read over the rules for the game you're playing. If its your first time, explain to your group that you need their support and patience. As a general rule for a DM, if a result is very unclear but something could benefit the players, then take that course of action. Your plan for the game may be different but remember, killing all of the players off constantly may be fun for you, but its will quickly get irritating for the players.

In future posts I'll explain the basics of Campaign and Adventure creation, in addition to tips for the players as well!