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  1. #21
    ddavison's Avatar
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    Sep 2008
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    Great tips from everyone. I know that I try to look for opportunities to tie things back to historical player actions whenever possible. It often fools players into thinking that I had some grand over-arching story planned from the beginning that played out perfectly. In truth, most of it just looked that way in the very end. Making someone evil appear friendly before turning on the players is hard to do (they might detect evil or see through the guise) but genuinely having a friendly NPC that they have grown to love end up being some cunning and devious villain all along is very easy to retcon after the fact. You just have to explain why they were helping them up to this point. Was it to get the players to overthrow their villainous rival? Was it to learn more about the players' strengths and weaknesses before taking them on?

  2. #22
    Ellspeth's Avatar
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    goodmanje the best advice I ever got was from a meme though I am sure that started somewhere, work with a concept and let the players determine the future with there wild and often paranoid speculations. You played in part of my campaign, I am not going to tell you how much of what ya'll walked into was the result of some speculation about some clue in a session and I am thinking "Well not here, but that's a great idea, two sessions later you would run into the products of your own fears. And when that campaign picks up again, yeah well I am not giving it away...
    Also, I was in a game where a GM had 7 pages of meticulous notes he had to rip up anyway when the PC's focused on a minor NPC he had just added for flavor, and ultimately became a big part of the plot.

  3. #23
    Quote Originally Posted by ddavison View Post
    ...(they might detect evil or see through the guise)
    One reason why Pathfinder 2 made all those meta-gaming spells (Detect Evil/thoughts/whatnot) "Uncommon" and thus mostly inaccessible to characters.

  4. #24
    Laerun's Avatar
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    Come on over to FGC, and we can help you and provide you with some sources, and training.
    FGC (Fantasy Grounds College) Founder
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  5. #25

    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    One last bit of advice for game adventure writing and inspiration. As someone mentioned above there are really no totally brand new stories. Stereotypes. Use them with just a slight twist. Players can have a hard time keeping track of an elaborate plot from week to week, while near stereotypes allow them to remember. Tie your plot lines to the character's back stories and actions, like Doug mentioned, and the campaign will feel alive and responsive.

    Then if you want, sprinkle in a villian. What did the party do to piss off the villain (likely unknowingly)? What is the villain doing that will upset the party?

  6. #26
    Try watching some of Matthew Colville's "Running the Game" videos on Youtube. I learned so much and was quite inspired at how easy it to get started. Also there's plenty of stuff that's already been done you may have to just give it a tweak to make it make sense to you/your world, but don't give up it's worth it when everything clicks together finally.

  7. #27
    Lots of great advice here. I've been playing D&D for 20 years-ish, and DM'ing for about 5. I feel like I'm just now getting into my groove of being a decent storyteller. I DM'd a homebrew campaign for about 3 yrs, which I grew unhappy with and sidelined to run Curse of Strahd (about 6 months in now). I really feel that doing both homebrew and published adventures are great ways to learn, and I think I'll continue to alternate back and forth for the foreseeable future.

    One thing I would say is: You don't have to be perfect (or even good, much less great) in order to DM. If you set out with the goal of making sure your players have a great time, you're well on your way to success. Everything else is practice, and experience. Great communities like this one are a huge help, and ease the growing pains, but still there's no shortcut to years of experience.

    Thanks for all tips everyone!

  8. #28
    I maybe coming a little late to this thread, one thing I've learnt in many years of gaming is don't railroad the players, its great to have an overall theme, but players, (gawd, bless them) have a great habit of thinking of more things than you can for every situation, give them a situation, a few hooks and see what they want to do, what they are interested in doing, you only have to be one or two steps ahead, (and we are really here for you, when that blank hits).

    Remember this, the GM helps with the flow, its the players create the story (unless your players really like to be led by the nose).

    Heres an introduction I used recently,(well 10 months ago) the pc's who didn't know each other personally before just some by name, came home to see their small fishing village being destroyed by previously cooperative lizardfolk. So the characters have a motivation to work together immediately, thrust into the action from the start not knowing who are their allies or their abilities.

    From this small acorn the players have explored, fought & some have died, but in the back of my mind I have the "plot" but tweaked it, changed it, adapted it, to the players needs & wants. the true story writers of my narration.

    So never give up, never let them down, you narrate their stories, not the director, let them challenge you for more entertaining "episodes" give everybody a chance to shine. On a personal issue never give magic items to pc's that makes your life harder eg +3 swords of dragon slaying, makes dragons less of an encounter, more a inconvenience.

    On the new crop of D&D adventures, yeah, they are way too long, huge overwhelming story arcs, because they have cobbled together so many other adventures in a bigger package. You don't have to run games that way, smaller arc's per level, even one session stories are good.

    Btw you said pretty maps? I'm sure we can come up with ideas for those post your maps and ask for ideas, levels 1-5 to start, I'm sure you will be flooded with some really fantastic plots. In fact why not make it a kinda challenge. with the winner being published on FG
    Last edited by backwardoracle; December 12th, 2019 at 19:06. Reason: Mminor Brainwave
    Ultimate License Holder, its one of my few pleasures to be surprised by my own cunning when revealed by my players
    Currently Running 5 Games weekly including Traveller MGT2 , 5E Icewind Dale, 5E Moonshaes, 5E Storm Giants Thunder, 5E Land of Fate, & 5E Port Nyanzaru

  9. #29
    Quote Originally Posted by goodmanje View Post
    I can't create a decent adventure for ****! I think I'm going to resign myself to maybe playing in one game a week and that be as far as I go with this hobby. So frustrated....
    There's a few ways to build a campaign: You may want to tell a specific story from start to finish, or you may just feel inspired to present disconnected scenario events. If you have a full story that works, then good - go with that - but if you don't, then creating set pieces, or building upon the art that you've been given/bought, shouldn't be underestimated. Unanchored set pieces that you can dynamically move into the course of the players, will often produce adventures of their own. All you need is some silly little plothook just in case your set pieces fail, like "save the princess" or "slay the dragon". Plenty of different movies have been spun around those overdone hooks. Then you put your three dimensional underwater labyrinth setpiece there, and suddenly the players will realize that water dragons are threats they never dreamed of.

  10. #30
    This thread just keeps going! If you want to keep it simple, have a town major, sheriff, council, etc., hire the PCs to clear out a cave of some not dumb low level monsters. You could have it turn out the town wants the land for some purpose (minerals, lay lines, whatever). Since the townies are the bad guys the PCs could help your monsters, take over the mine for themselves, burn down the town, whatever. You could build a ton of stuff over keeping control of the mine, the town, or developing the culture of whatever monster you choose. Your PC actions would build how the story goes, so you would only want to prep out a couple encounters and have a rough idea of everybody's motivations.

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