Sunday, October 4, 2020

GLoGtober #22: GM Tip

In accordance with the post-a-day challenge by SunderedWorldDM, whose dreams bore the Orbseeker and whose deeds send the world shuddering. 

Cheap Tactics to Make Games Stronger

  1. For some reason, my players really enjoy when NPCs are women. They like 'em when they're nice and love 'em when they cruel.
  2. Strong enemies with obvious weaknesses
  3. Weak enemies who cleverly secured an advantage for themselves
  4. Get one step more specific when describing materials. Instead of "stone," "limestone." Instead of "wood," "pine."
  5. Get it in your head that the average inhabitant of your setting isn't some boring neutral. They are, generally, provincial, cunning, passionate, and concerned with the mores of the land. They are quick to try something and to join something. This makes a lot of incidental encounters more dramatic.
  6. Players love it when some random goblin has a goal that the other ones don't. Maybe it has a vendetta against someone or it just wants to steal your purse and run in the middle of the fight. Hilarious.
  7. Don't have characters call spells by their rulebook names, and avoid doing so yourself when talking about what NPCs are doing.
  8. Let PCs take advantage of the big, setting-altering toys that the bad guys are trying to take advantage of.
  9. The greatest secret of all is that the reward a quest-giver offers for going into the dungeon is unimportant. Not only will players go into the dungeon regardless, because dungeons are fun, but it's much more interesting for them to find the bulk of their treasure in the dungeon itself. When you do use NPCs to hire the party to play the game, don't bother to have a tedious haggling scene. Just give a vague assurance that they will be paid approximately handsomely or that the local lord will owe them a favor (a far more interesting prize). If they worry about it, assure them this is how it's done in this part of the world.
  10. If a monster entry says it's immune to something, try to think of the in-fiction reason for why this should be. The classic D&D gargoyle is immune to nomagical weapons, and I can only assume it's because a sword can't cut through stone very well. The way that should work, and the way a wise DM should run it, is that the gargoyle is immune to weapons that can't hurt a gargoyle. Maybe that's most normal weapons, but a sledgehammer or at least a pickaxe should work. Magical weapons that enhance your puissance without augmenting the physical force of your attacks should be no more effective against the stone creature. The idea behind this principle is to turn a gamey mechanic into an in-universe quality, something that the characters can think around without getting no-selled by a blanket restriction.

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