Category: Common Problems

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Snap Decisions and Retconning

As a GM, you’ll often be forced to make snap decisions about an element of the game that might turn out to have lasting consequences — and it’s inevitable that some of those calls will be inconvenient or just plain wrong. Sometimes you make these decisions because your players...

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Called Shot to the Nuts

“I make a called shot to his nuts” is one of the most potentially troublesome things a player can declare during a session. Why? Because assuming the game you’re playing doesn’t support doing damage to specific areas (hit points, anyone?), it’s one of two things: a...

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Meet Bob’s Brother, Cob

Jolly Blackburn’s excellent “Knights of the Dinner Table” comic strip has tackled this topic, but it’s never come up on TT: What do you do when a player’s character dies and instead of creating a new PC, your player erases the “B” in Bob, fills in a...

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Spicy Rules, Bland NPCs?

Shamus Young, author of the always-excellent DM of the Rings webcomic, made an interesting comment about paying equal attention to rules and roleplaying on strip LXX: The Needs of the Many. The strip posits that if the scene in Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers where members of the Fellowship...

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Four Key Elements of a Good RPG Puzzle

Puzzles in RPGs are a something of a strange beast. They can be a lot of fun for your players (and for you, as you watch your players work on them), but they can also be frustrating, time-consuming roadblocks preventing your group from having any fun at all. Fortunately, there are four key...

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NPCs Don’t Sit on Fences

After linking to this post last week, I also wanted to feature it here as a guest post. Patrick, who writes Avonia d20, was kind enough to let me do just that — thanks, Patrick! – – – – – There are times when the players aren’t willing to see anything but...

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Fear Checks: Always a Bad Idea

Without exception, in every RPG I’ve ever played that used a fear check mechanic — a roll players have to make to keep their characters from running away — that mechanic is always incredibly frustrating. “Fear check” is a general term that covers morale checks, horror...

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Free PDF: How to End a Campaign

It’s not a pleasant topic, but it’s an important one: ending your campaign. And it’s one that, as a GM, you’ll have to face eventually — if you haven’t already. Having just completed TT’s How to End a Campaign series, I asked TT readers if I should collect...

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