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Amazing GM secrets
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>Run a dark fantasy game
>Set up a bunch of different locations with things to do of varying difficulty so the party can tackle things in whatever order they like
>Players praise me for the game
>Ask how I did it
>"I busted my ass preparing content."
>"Oh."
>>
>>44938464
. . . pretty much this. Lotta people bitch about railroading, but the alternative (having a huge variety of paths available to the players) is a fucking nightmare of logistics.
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>>44939351
Can't you just prep one session ahead at a time? Just give the choices at the end and ask the players what they want to do next after the session.
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>>44938464
>Run a game for group.
>There are multiple towns with legitimate sounding names, histories, interactions with multiple other races and the like.
>Map is wide and varied and different with every game.
>How do I do it?
"I generate a map on Dwarf fortress and then use the legends viewer."
>That sounds complicated anon.

Laziness is a m
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>>44939378
It's very, very easy to improv your way through a campaign, just using random encounters comprised of whatever you thought was cool in the monster manual and then just asking "Where do you want to go next" at the end of every one-session dungeon.

What you can't do with this is create any sort of compelling narrative that anyone can follow. 10 sessions in someone will ask "How did we get here?" and no one will know the answer.

If you think a plot people can follow and be involved in is not required for RPGs, that's fine. It's shit, but it's fine. But it's not really a good way to DM, because you will never get better at anything.
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>>44938464
I roll dice behind the screen and over half of the rolls aren't actually for anything its just so they think i'm actually doing shit and not making shit up on the fly as per the usual.
The other half i ignore around 70% of cause if i didn't they'd die and die hard way to often. Can't tell you how many times i roll dice without even looking down and the parties hooting and hollering from beating the BBEG's "badass" lieutenant and somehow they pulled through a-okay or ONLY one of them died.
Yeah guys, you did it. Good job.
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>>44939448
>What you can't do with this is create any sort of compelling narrative that anyone can follow. 10 sessions in someone will ask "How did we get here?" and no one will know the answer.

So for your prep heavy campaign, you create a sizeable number of paths and decision points that all lead to something different beforehand? If I'm understanding this correctly, kind of like paths and decisions in videogame?

Just trying to learn new things.
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>>44939448
Bullshit.
You just need a vague idea of an overarching plot when you start the campaign; and even then it can change without the players noticing that it originally was a different plot planned as long as you do it right.
Of course you need to be the right kind of GM for that; everyone has different strengths and some GMs couldn't improvise their way out of a wet cardboard box, while others can't prepare for shit.
>>
>Run game for a few friends
>From what I can tell, I'm the only decent DM around
>other guy took about 6 levels for any actual storyline to show up
>From level 1, my players have backstories that mean something and every fight matters to each person for different reasons.
>They ask how I do it.
"When you guys say 'I wanna do something with my character' I shut up and write down some notes."

Unfortunately, this logic has led to my party rogue converting a few thousand gold into pigeon, which he keeps in a bag of holding that I said had been terraformed to support living things.
>>
>>44939351

Sandbox.
>>
>I let my players tangents figure out the story for me
>They wanted to burn down a klan headquarters after finishing up a sidequest
>That lead to a new faction of enemies and ongoing quest because of bullshitting it.
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>>44939529
>Unfortunately, this logic has led to my party rogue converting a few thousand gold into pigeon, which he keeps in a bag of holding that I said had been terraformed to support living things.
Why unfortunately? Also, tying into this
>>44938464
>announce new game
>"Give me
>>1) Who cares for you
>>2) Who do you care for
>>3) What was your home-town named
>>4) What does your character regret
"
>OMG ANON THAT CAMPAIGN WAS SO DEEP AND INVOLVED
>yes because you wrote it for me.jpg.tiff.avi.exe
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>>44939448
It's not THAT hard to mix and match approaches.

>prep a bunch of factions and places
>have players see who they want to ally with and who the opposition is
>make those folks the BBEGs and have the rest of the campaign being about taking them down
>have BBEG faction progress through various plans, which are hindered by the players and have them react. Have a bunch of ideas set pieces, but players choose where to go, and flesh out the setpieces only when the players choose to tackle them

Job done, boom. Narrative is there about how things link together, you can focus on making each setpiece or dungeon somewhat polished in time for the next session, and the players have plenty of choice about who they're fighting, and what they're attempting to do.

And you don't have to nail down the specifics of EVERY part of EVERY encounter, only the one the players are going to fight. It always helps to have some spare stats to throw around and attack the party with, but for the most part it's based on the party's initiative.
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>>44938464
>Literally make shit up as I go along.
>Have only the barest of notes that I take from Pc's actions. "Spat on Barman" , "Ran away from guard" etc.
>Reference these actions later.
>Players absolutely adore me and think that I'm constantly scoring and tinkering on some monstrously deep super-code of a game when that session is more or less a result of me daydreaming over their previous actions.

I've been doing this for years now. The illusion of choice is a powerful thing. They would be crushed to know that I'm winging it. I think the biggest reward for them is the absolute freedom to do whatever they please.
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>>44939501
Lazy DM here.
Run Dwarf fortress, Create a map, and then go into legends viewer and use what you find to help you.

Although I'm mostly joking, it's actually what I do, and here's why you should do it.

First off, if you want a plot, you need a world. DF does that. Second, that world needs a history. Then it needs nations, relations, and the like. By the time it's done, you have a bare bones world.

Use the legends it creates as a skeleton frame for your plot. You're not 100% copying the map, all you're using is the general map structure and major cities.
Take whatever exists in the game population wise whenever you general something and multiply it by x10 or so.

The end result gives you a kind of prebuilt structure to work off of. By the time you're done with the plot, you can start doings things without the engine behind you, such as coming up with cities with plothooks and the like.

You don't even have to do it but it really does help you out creation wise.

Or you can be 100% lazy and just look for something locally or globally that has a hook potential to it such as a dragon with over 600 confirmed major kills and the plot is to kill it.

At least, this is what I recommend if you have no experience coming up with 100% homebrew stuff.
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>>44939615
The only reason it's unfortunate is because of the amount of bludgeoning damage a few hundred pigeon will do with a concussive blast. And he's got at least 10k of those things!

As for your four things, one of the players in that game was just a racist against tieflings after fighting in the third demon war, and he was pissed because that was all he does.

So I sent the rest of the party to another room to plan some shit, and this one fighter and I spent two hours running through exactly who he was in one giant encounter. Turns out that
A: The first town the party went to was just stolen
B: He enjoyed the company of a guardswoman there, for one night
C: His elvish grandfathers were homosexual
D: He's a member of a family of heroes destined to protect the world from the Darkness.

Guess who isn't complaining about plot anymore?
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>>44939501
You an actually improv a proper campagin if you create a world solid enough to start with and just make sure that anything the players do has reallistic consecuences in the world.

I like to keep track of things that go on in the world even if the characters aren't there. It's still a chore, but not as much as trying to figure out every option the may make beforehand.
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>>44939698
>The town was stolen.
I assume you meant as in it was actually stolen, as in "there was a TOWN here. It is GONE now."
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>>44939351
I mostly adlib, it takes a steady hand and a hard mind, but there is nothing better than the party constantly second guessing how their misdeeds and actions will cause chaos.

My usual way of making games is to just make sure some of them know eachother in game, then get them on the same page with some kind of mission or overarching plan, which is mostly an excuse to establish some running themes and see how they react. If they go off script, then the world just reacts as it would.
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>>44938464
>get stoned
>make up a simple idea, clegy stealing money for the coffers in city x, guardsmen smacking elvish women in town y, ect, ect
>the write down some over the top story, the clergy man is some sort of primordial evil that was cast down and rising back to power, gaurdsmen are hardcore Zarus youth camp products murdering all non humans, ect ect
>sober up
>dial back the story a ton
>read PCs backstory, talk to them about why they are in city x or why they would visit city y
>let them run free
>>
>Plan nothing for sessions, just plan world
>Players start out game murder hobo style
>Start snowballing actions into other shit
>Players think I am some kind of wizard, not sure if im railroading because their consequences are believable.
>Constantly asking what would have happend if they did something this way or that instead.
>Tell them i have no idea
>Players now think very hard on actions and consequences

Who would have known that a few angry bar owners setting up bounties would turn the game from public masturbation time to well trained group of operators.

They also shit there pants when I actually have backstories come up in meaningful, believable ways. Do other GM's even fucking care about back stories? Every group I have run seems to have the idea that GM's use back stories as drawing paper.
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>>44939967
Back stories give me ideas for NPCs the players might come across to lead to new plots or give a helping hand. Also short term character goals.
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>>44939923
That I do. It's hidden in a demiplane somewhere, and the party is trying to find the bastard who took it. A little thing the party doesn't know is that time moves faster in the demiplane, so I'm sure the player will be surprised when he meets the 20 year old son he never knew he had

Oh and if any of you players are reading this, which is doubtful, you didn't see anything
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>>44939379
Dwarf fortress legend mode is so awesome. You could use a person from the game as an npc and each one has their own backstory you can see in legends viewer
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>>44939448
>What you can't do with this is create any sort of compelling narrative that anyone can follow

Truly epic. I love this "narrative is the most important thing in tabletop RPGs" meme keep it coming.

Episodic weekly adventures are perfectly fine, you "must have an overarching plot just like my fanfictions" video game mentality players are ruining my hobby.
>>
This is a good thread about good people, and you should feel good.
>>
>>44940053

Peple using talking using "meme" and "memes" are ruining it for me.

Seriously, it hard as fuck to read what some people writes
>>
I use hexographer for easy hex grids. looks nice and i itsnt to hard to align on roll20

Also grim tales are great
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>>44940025
Basically, that's why I do it. People talk to general NPC's until they start to care about them.

Depending on the area and the town, I choose an NPC. If they're getting involved with the blacksmith, I go to the blacksmith and take their history and interactions and boom, instant filled out history, relations, and enemies.

Had an entire 4 level arc about getting back a sword that a kobold stole from a smithy that was actually his fathers. It took them halfway across the continent to do so.
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>>44940089
Thank you Anon. Here's a cloud giant for your trouble

Now, I've got a short little story about the Lich BBEG, who's only evil because the party didn't like him. Anyone want some storytime?

>>44939529
That's me, just sayin
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>>44940187
>Now, I've got a short little story about the Lich BBEG, who's only evil because the party didn't like him. Anyone want some storytime?
If it's an amazing GM secret, do tell.
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>>44940187
Of course tell us
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>>44940187
If it's any good, I'll tell the story about how I made a group of players run through a run-away self automated forge that slowly filled with molten iron and almost wiped the party.
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>>44940208
That it is.
Given the "You're all in a tavern" stereotype, I decided I'd tell the party what happened. A wizard told the party members the night before that tomorrow he would give them all a job. They then proceeded to wake up tied to hammocks on a pirate ship.

For some reason, I thought that if they met this same wizard again, things would be cool if he just explained that "It was a test and you passed with flying colors." Instead, after commandeering the ship into a nearby beach, they found themselves at the punnily named Paladd Inn, where the occupants contained the new party wizard and a new ranger, to replace the one that had died to a Forest Yeti/Bigfoot that had been fought last session. And other than the bartenders, the third and final person was a "Gnome dressed in green, with drink spilled all over his robe. He's practically shouting 'YOU'RE ALIVE?'"

Remember how I said the party would react peacefully if he explained himself? They didn't. The aforementioned fighter accepted his offer for a drink, then bashed him in the head with it.
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>>44939448
Basic plotline in the background isn't hard even if you improvise everything else.

What you need to do between sessions is the WRITE IMPORTANT SHIT DOWN and flesh out the plot based on player actions.

It's literally the only document you need.

I'm too lazy to create stuff beforehand in minute detail. Only things that I go into detail are things that interest players.
They find that tavern a fun place because you managed to improv it well? Write a few regulars that they might start bumping into, the tavernkeep and one problem that somehow connects back to the over arching plot which the players can find out about in the tavern. Not too much work, and you can throw it all away or reuse in some other place because it's not too detailed.
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>>44938464
>Run huge campaigns with hundreds of characters
>Dozens of nations, cities and towns
>Dish out exposition in bite-size chunks perfect for notes
>Keep no notes myself
>Choose systems which let me privately apply difficulty without needing to hide my rolls
>Players ask how I can possibly do this
>"Oh, I just have a good memory"
>mfw they'll never know all my campaigns are based on novels I've written and they're being railroaded
>>
>never plan anything aside from a pathetically vague outline an hour before the game starts
>players are heaping praise on me at the end of the session
>ask me how I did it
>"I literally didn't plan a single thing"
>they look at me in disbelief like I'm some kind of crazy person

I stopped planning out sessions because I'm terrible at it and I always end up unsatisfied. Bullshiting my way through campaigns has proven to be much better for me.
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>>44940383
>mfw they'll never know all my campaigns are based on novels I've written and they're being railroaded

Thats fine. I get mines from redwall books

>>44940369
Kek
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>>44940369
To clarify, what I told the party first was what happened before the first session.

The gnome wizard woke up in a soundproof room tied to a chair, being interrogated very, very painfully. The only reason he didn't die right there is because the new party wizard Zoltan recognized him as the headmaster of his Wizard school. Turns out this gnome worked for the stereotypical organization of Good Guys called Votum's Order, particularly he was their secretary. So, given that he was a secretary, he gave them information about a local cult who was trying to summon a lot of demons. He told them that they had to burn the bodies of every cult member, and paid them half up front out of fear, then teleported the fuck out of dodge.
(Yes, I know he could've thrown a lot of really hard spells at the party to make them understand how powerful he was, but I thought this guy would be a questgiver, so I didn't do anything like that)
So the party goes, creates an in-joke then finally clears through the Caves of Whofuckingcaresletsgomurderthemall.
Then I realized
>No burned bodies
>All the past encounters have been really easy
>Bossfight.exe

Suffice to say a baby black dragon appears, and the rogue rolls a nat20 to deception it into his service. Then the gnome comes back and is very confused. Then he's knocked out and fed to the dragon.
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>>44939615
>yes because you wrote it for me.jpg.tiff.avi.exe

fuckin' 10/10
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>>44939379
>>44940025

>Dwarf Fortress for the maps
>Crusader Kings 2 for the history
>Crusader Kings 2 for the characters

This is literally the best way to build a campaign setting and I will FIGHT anyone who suggests otherwise.
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>>44940538
The game has been going for a few sessions now and everything's been happening. All the players have backstories and a reason to keep playing, the rogue and wizard are going evil, but both for good causes and the fighter dipped into paladin. The remaining two players, the Cleric and Ranger haven't spent much time in the limelight, so I'm having them show up early to figure shit out.

However, the Wizard has been seeing things that can't be explained by reason. When he was in the town of Saltspit (yes, THE Saltspit: http://suptg.thisisnotatrueending.com/archive/21445029/ ) he could've sworn he saw something.
A gnome, dressed in green.
And instead of his arms, he has just the bones.
Now Zoltan the Wizard wants to go find him, so he can absorb his phylactery to become even stronger
Moral of the story:
You can let people die, but only if they come back to bite the party in the ass.
And more importantly, don't worry if your plan is fucked up. Make a new plan. A really fucking good one.
>>
>>44938464
What's your favorite fantasy story of late?

Okay, now replace the main character with a group of adventurers, mix the story up a bit, change names.

>Make players feel like fantasy heroes, not Joe Shmoe fighter.
>>
>>44940538
Just as an aside I hate it when players think nat 20 = warping time and space for anything you want. No offence meant to you.
>>
>>44939615
>>44939529
These are good points to remember.
BE A GOOD GM. Get your players to put in backstory, seriously, at least a few questions like the above.

DO NOT KILL OFF THE PLAYER CHARACTER'S FAMILY AND FRIENDS BUT INSTEAD HAVE THEM HELP OUT, MAKE THEM USEFUL CONTACTS.

Throw some quests their way as optional objectives. "While you're in the temple of elemental evil, drop this spike of light off to help ward the area from undead" or something like that.

Make some good stuff like that and your players will eat it up.
>>
>>44940779
>Make players feel like fantasy heroes, not Joe Shmoe fighter.

This is why it bugs me when DMs get it in their head that the best place to start any campaign is level 1, with terribly low character generation points.

Because it's "gritty" and it will "let you see the character go from zero to hero."

That never happens, we all know it never happens, so why do people still do it?
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>>44940781
True, I just thought he'd enjoy his new baby dragon when they find out he's a prince. Then they find out that he has a really large army looking for him.

Things coming back to bite you are a recurring theme in this campaign.
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>>44940857
>not telling them to make 3 level 1s
>why gm?
>survival of the fittest
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>>44941009

>mfw the DM thinks he can save a campaign after a TPK
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>>44939472
I do something like this. But i only roll to make may players think i'm rolling for something. It may be confusing as i say but i don't roll all the time. Mostly just when someone of the group isn't paying attention and ask his based atribute plus modifier. I just make a roll behind the screen and acording with my mood i say something like 'yeah even with your modifier you can't see anything interesting.' it's a good way to get the players attention to.
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>>44938464
Steal from the party. It could be as simple or important to them as you like. They will go to the ends of the earth to get it back. As explained here:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rVxkpOolpKw

What I noticed is that you only need to show a monster that they cannot hope to defeat and let it get away without a party kill. Somehow, the party thinks they can defeat the monster once they know where it went.

Roll a die whenever a player uses Insight. Regardless of when the NPC is speaking the truth or not. Players can't metagame themselves into the truth that way.
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>>44938464

My DM posted this once when someone asked how he kept ahead of our shenanigans without calling pauses.

He claimed that each blue line had between 3 and 10 pages of notes.

I am glad I am not our DM.
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>>44940857
To be fair, there are plenty of fantasy stories where the protags aren't ubermensch. You can still do interesting things with lower level parties, you just won't be slaying lots of dragons.
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>>44941036
>Steal from the party. It could be as simple or important to them as you like. They will go to the ends of the earth to get it back

This reminds me of something Paizo did fairly recently; in one of the newest editions of their Adventure Paths, they added a large section dedicated to introducing new NPCs to old Adventure Paths and how you might work them into the plot.

One of the NPCs was a serial killer Fae designed explicitly to seduce your waifu/husbando, make them fall madly in love with him, and then brutally murder the waifu/husbando after fucking them silly. Best part? The NPC was designed for evasion as much as diplomacy, so if the PCs ever catch up with him he can just disappear.
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>>44940857
I think levels in general are a shitty thing and when I have to run 3.5/path, I usually award a level after a long time of doing what your character and class are meant to do.

But keeping them low power builds tension and strife. I always think of the dragonball episodes where Roshi pretended to be a fighter to be kid goku. He said "When a person is on top, they lose the will to go higher".

I have been in FAR too many games where the GM just gives us unlimited gold, where we are near gods ourselves. Someone asks the group for help and we just shit a magical atomic bomb and call it a day.

A low power game makes people play smart, curbs chaotic random, and adds tension. While I may be the subject of bad GM's, I think the difference between power is wether you want low fantasy or high fantasy. Low power often begets diplomacy over force.
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>>44941128
You mean Shane the Shy.
>>
PCs agree to explore a tower for NPC.
>"we'll do this next week guys"
Next week...I have every room mapped out. Even have mundane items listed. Game day arrives.
>"ya, fuck that tower. We changed our minds. We wanna head towards blahville."
They get to blahville, and find an underground lair.
>" hell ya..let's explore it!!"
I use the tower map.

>"great job dming bro..way to do shit on the fly!!"
>>
>>44939698
>The only reason it's unfortunate is because of the amount of bludgeoning damage a few hundred pigeon will do with a concussive blast. And he's got at least 10k of those things!
Uh. What exactly are the logistics involved in making them attack exactly what he wants? Because honestly I'd just use a dice app, divide the number by, say, 50 and roll d6s for every 100 birds, with one swarm hitting on a four, five or six.
>the rest
That's very cool.
>>44940565
Glad you like it.
>>44940792
>killing family
>killing off 3+ fat packs labelled FREE PLOT HERE COME GOBBLE IT UP FGT
Oh vey. Like, I've never been on benefits but that sounds like not collecting dole just because you couldn't be assed to set up a bank account.

Oh, one more thing.

>>44938464
>come to PLACE
>ask player "Uh, by the way, what's it called?"
>ask other player "What's an important feature of it?"
>ask third player "what does the person you meet look like, and why do you like/dislike them?"

So for example.
>players come to tavern
>"What's its name, Abigail?"
>"Uhh... Drunk Pig?"
>"Cool. Silvia, is there anything your character notices?"
>"Yep, looks kind of desolate"
>"Agreed, the town's far out and you're probably the first people with more than a copper to spend on drinking in a long time. Paul, as you approach you're greeted by a somewhat sympathetic person. Why does your character like them?"
>"Well, uh... they got a nice smile, and if I'm allowed to say that my character's a sucker for a pretty face"
And thus, the Drunk Pig with its elderly but exceedingly handsome barkeep was born.
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>>44939619
Pretty much this. The players will make the story for you.
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>>44941248
PCs want to buy a ship and pillage the seas.
I am not ready for ship combat yet..

>"OK, no ship stuff written up guys. I've got a short city adv written up"
>" no!! U railroading bastard!! Wanna do ship stuff!!!"
>" OK, fine. You'll need a crew.."
>" we hire one!"
>"well, there happens to be a crew ready to go..they want (x) before they join you."
>(x)= the city adventure.
>"fuck ya!! We do it!!"
Game ends..
>"wow man..that was great bro!! Yea for sea adventure!! "
>players never left land...

Fuckers.
>>
>>44941128
>One of the NPCs was a serial killer Fae designed explicitly to seduce your waifu/husbando, make them fall madly in love with him, and then brutally murder the waifu/husbando after fucking them silly.
Is this fun for Paizo customers?
>>
>>44941462
Well, 3.pf players are known for liking bullshit :^)
>>
Alright, now I have a question. Do you guys take stuff from past campaigns and use them in your current campaigns?
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>>44941462
It has fae. Waifu. Murder. Revenge.

It will sale. Sadly.
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>>44941261
I always bring along a notebook and some folders with "stuff" written on them and keep them behind my DM screen and occasionally draw some doodles and take basic notes like "accidentally crippled a guardsman in this town". They think I'm meticulously planning every single thing that goes on with dozens of pages of material related to the session at hand. The truth is this is a notebook that I used for a chemistry course in university and the stuff in the folders is mostly blank printer paper with only the first few sheets being statblocks I printed out years ago when I actually bothered preparing sessions.

I don't plan a single fucking thing and the players do all my work for me and praise my lazy ass to high heavens as the best DM they've ever played with.

Sometimes I wonder what the average player that doesn't lurk /tg/ would think if they knew that our "difficult" job that entails planning and cunning was 100% entirely a lie. I suppose it's like the existence of extraterrestrials, the commoner is better off not knowing, the truth would ruin them.
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>>44941520
Yeah, but if I want my waifu fucked silly, I'd like to do it myself, please.
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>>44941029
> Dungeon Crawl Classics? Which pathfinder splat is that in?
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>>44941462
>>44941480

Well, one adventure path, they introduced a tough Russian winter wolf lady with a potential subplot, and that made me happier than it probably should have. Of course, that adventure path ended up involving the PCs traveling to real-world 1918 Russia, which I thought was hella dumb. So, I guess 50/50? We don't really use the pre-written stuff anymore, and we're okay with that.
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>>44938464
>Write interlocking adventures where elements of each completed adventure influences minor aesthetics and choices in the others but the story only progresses once you've completed them all.
>Hailed as a great GM that allows sandbox play
>Jokes on them, they did exactly what I wanted them too.
>>
ITT:

>NO I'M TELLING YOU I DON'T PLAN ANYTHING AND ALL MY PLAYERS THINK I'M A GENIUS IT'S THE BEST GAME EVER I PROMISE PLEASE BELIEVE ME I'M DIFFERENT!
>>
>>44941607
Thanks Bioware
>>
>>44941616
Exactly. We're all having fun, GMs and players alike. That's the entire point of the exercise, isn't it?
>>
Are there any programs/websites for quickly making maps or dungeons?
>>
>>44941550
Are you me? My notebook is one I received from an old sales based startup company, and has a bunch of motivational notes and stuff in it. I have some random locations maps printed off, extra character sheets, and a bunch of blank index cards I use for the same notes "killed the halfling" "didn't take the deal" etc.

Looking back over it, it's mostly notes of who they screwed over or otherwise inconvenienced in the past.

That being said, I also use a screen, and will throw in random rolls, especially if I already know the answer to what's about to happen.
>>
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>>44939619
If the players thought it was a good time that's all that really matters. Planning be damned.

My issue is having to come up with dialogue on the spot. I need improv acting lessons.
>>
>>44941691
No.

I mean, there ARE, but they don't make anything you should ever consider using.
>>
>>44941691
Graph Paper with a pencil
>>
>>44941691
I send my players to reskinned Runescape dungeons, they haven't caught on yet. I've pulled up some Runescape quest guides on my laptop and sent them on Runescape quests with differently named NPCs and items required. Sometimes they even end up in Runescape towns.

Runescape is a hell of a drug.

>Dwarf Fortress
>Crusader Kings 2
>Runescape

The only tools a GM needs.
>>
>>44941796
ROFL I do the same but with old Everquest dungeons. None of the people I tabletop with were into PC games that early, so no one recognizes names, maps, anything.
>>
>>44941811
>>44941796
I use fucking wow dungeons and my group hasn't caught on yet, they all use to play me in vanilla.
The only time they ever got close was one guy commented that on (Not)Karazan, but the rest of group smacked him down because they thought it was way different, I didn't even rearrange the bosses.
>>
>>44941580
See, what you do is a threesome with the fae, as well as a raise dead.

Then you have two waifus.
>>
>>44941691
I use Pyromancers, myself. It's a bit bland, but it works fairly well.

http://pyromancers.com/dungeon-painter-online/
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>>44938464

Yup.

There are two kinds of "no-prep" GMs: GMs who are so naturally capable of setting up the natural tendencies of storytelling arcs so as to make a game with an interesting beginning, a tense middle, and a satisfying ending that they do not even realize they're subconsciously doing it, and GMs who don't realize their games suck dick."

But don't worry, lazyGMs. I'm sure YOU'RE special. :^)
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>First time shadowrun gm
>can bull shit up npc's what gear they have easy
>can't draw for shit so can't into maps
>after a week of prep I get the idea of using a game door kickers for maps

Down side is I'm too lazy to use the map editor to make a lot of custom maps so I take the game pre-made maps and do shit based off them or take levels people make on the workshop
>>
>>44938464
My secret: Only have a character, personality and a small story behind it with clear end goals and after that fire from hip with everything else.
>>
>spend hours prepping for the game
>pages and pages of notes
>filter players and then filter the results
>maps and music and ambient sounds for every situation
>NPCs each with a wide berth of notes and thought gone into them
>every PC's sheet and backstory read over and pondered on
>everyone loving the game
>after the game, everyone chatting for 40 minutes about the game

And to think I was burned out and on the verge of giving up tabletop for good.
>>
>>44942022
>12 years old
>5'10 161lbs
HOLY FUCK

nigga was born 3'4''
>>
>>44941996
>if you're not terrific, you're the worst GM ever

Nah, you're just retarded.
>>
>>44942125
It's kinda true in a way though

Once you've played with a good GM, anything less is just really unsatisfying. It's even worse if you're a better GM than the guy running the game, cos you can see through everything he's doing.

It's like heroin.
>>
>>44942125

>If you think you can substitute preparation and dedication with off-the-cuff freestyle, you're either very skilled at achieving the things people seek to accomplish through preparation and dedication, or you're a bad GM because you're not actually making a good game.

I know this whole "le ebin memetext and epik 1liner comeback" is what's fashionable these days, but could you at least work on your reading comprehension?
>>
>>44940383
anon are you published?
>>
>>44940025
>>44940154
>>44940625
Question for those of you who use dwarf fort for maps, how do you come up with towns? Do you just plop random towns from the legend onto your map you've made, or is there some way to generate a map with settlements and just use the legend viewer as an encyclopedia of sorts.
>>
>>44942242
It's continuum, not binary.
>>
>>44942328

There's no really a continuum to "no prep," Anon. It is in fact binary.

Yes, there can be "some prep," but then that's not "no-prep," and is therefore not what I'm talking about, you idiot.
>>
>>44942374
Read the fucking thread. That is not what we were talking about.
>>
>>44942419

Read the comment chain, fucktard. That is what *I* am talking about.
>>
>>44942419
What I suggest we do is keep talking about amazing secrets, while these two keep slamming against each other like a party of all That Guys.

Another thing that makes me sad, That Guy abbreviated is T.G. Then again, so is This Guy, so it all works out.
>>
>>44942436
Then you're replying to the wrong person, idiot.
>>
>>44942494

Yes, >>44942419 certainly appears to be replying to the wrong person, and is now very angry that he has been called an idiot. Unfortunate, but maybe he should be more willing to simply admit his mistake and then he won't be so embarrassed when he reads up through the comment chain and realizes his error.
>>
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>>44942436
>mfw I realize exactly who the fucktard is in this argument.

If you didn't notice, it's you. This thread doesn't say "Anon goes and shoves his dick into anything that isn't his opinion" at the top, does it? It says Amazing GM secrets. So talk about fucking secrets or get out, because those of us who want to be here will be that much closer to saging because of your shit.
>>
>>44942528
Apparently my mistake was thinking that you could read. AT NO POINT WAS I ADDRESSING THE AMOUNT OF PREPARATION BEING GREATER THAN ZERO, RETARD

Now go kill yourself.
>>
Oh my God there's so much cocaine.
>>
>>44942550

My secret is that I make my games good by doing prep and that there's no fast track trick-secret to making you a GM. Much like life in general, there's no shortcuts to getting gud.

Now fuck off namefag.

>>44942567

>>44942328
>It's continuum, not binary.
>>44942374
>There's no really a continuum to "no prep," Anon. It is in fact binary.
>>44942419
>That's not what we were talking about.
>>44941996
>There are two kinds of "no-prep" GMs

Please stop, Anon. It's embarrassing.
>>
>>44942609
>if you're not terrific, you're the worst GM ever

This is the singular point I've been addressing. Now go kill yourself, retard.
>>
>>44942629

You were addressing a point >>44941996 didn't make? Gosh, that's *really* embarrassing.
>>
>>44942638
Learn to read, then go kill yourself.
>>
>>44942656

Everything you've written simply indicates that you're a retard.

If you take exception, please feel free to clarify. Simply saying to read your previous posts indicates only more clearly that you're a retard.
>>
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>>44940383

>do this
>realise I've effectively just told my group my book
>worry about trying to get it published because they're gonna be all 'You wrote a book based on that campaign?"

Not that it's ever going to get published, mind you.
>>
>>44941088

>Pissed faeries
>Magical Bullshit

I like this GM.
>>
>>44942675
You can be a great GM. You can be a bad GM. Or you can be something in-between. If you can't comprehend this, you should probably get your head checked.
>>
>>44942723

Yes, but OF THE TYPES OF GMs, there are two types of "no-prep" GMs. Which is what >>44941996 precisely specified; no-prep GMs.

It is you who started talking about the set of all GMs as if no GM does prep. Sorry Anon, but if you don't do any prep for your games, your games are most likely pretty bad. If you do some prep, then you're not the GM that Anon was talking about. He quite specifically said he was talking about GMs who do no prep.

>"B-but maybe you can do no prep and still be a good GM!"

Yeah, in which case you have the natural capability to set up satisfying games, like >>44941996 said. But let's face it; that's not terribly likely, because before you can approach that level of skill, you have to know how to put together a satisfying game. It doesn't take you more than a second to know what 7x7 is now, but that's only because you performed a lot of route memorization before you got to that point.

In conclusion, it appears that your anger has clouded your vision because you took personal offense to being told freestyling your entire games likely made you a bad GM. It seems you should take your own advice and learn to read. I would advise getting a glass of water and taking 5 before you resume posting.
>>
>>44942675
Okay, I'm gonna spell it out to you, because you are too retarded to understand it even though I got it on the first post, and the other guy IS too retarded to realize that you need it re-explained to you.

>>44941996
>GMs who are so naturally capable of setting up the natural tendencies of storytelling arcs so as to make a game with an interesting beginning, a tense middle, and a satisfying ending that they do not even realize they're subconsciously doing it
This is what he was short-handing as "terrific"
>GMs who don't realize their games suck dick
This is what he was short-handing as "worst GM ever"

The fact is, you can have a good game WITHOUT the ability to have a standard plot pacing structure, because people don't really need that to have fun telling a story with their friends.

Claiming that "either you naturally have the ability to create perfect pacing, or your game sucks" IS a false dichotomy, when there is plenty of space in between.
>>
>>44942826
I've gotta say, the other dudes retarded, but you are too.
>>
>>44942826
>It is you who started talking about the set of all GMs as if no GM does prep.

I in fact did no such thing. Stop putting words into my mouth.
>>
>>44942865
>You're either a good GM or you're a terrible GM

No, that is exactly what you said. You were clearly referring to all GMs. >>44941996 was clearly referring to GMs who do no prep. Your conflating the two sets of GMs was perhaps a harmless mistake, but it's what you said.
>>
>>44939378
That's almost what I do. I know what my group is interested in (basically everything I am) so it's not too difficult to come up with cool stuff.

I start with a general outline of major events/locations I want to occur like a soft railroad, then write the first few sessions ahead since the first few almost always go as I expect. Then once we catch up to what I wrote at first about 5 sessions in, I start writing on a session by session basis based on what I want to happen and what they want to happen. That way everyone's goals are considered and everyone gets to do what they want.

It's not railroading because it's what they want to do but it's not an unprepared mess either. That way I can still contribute my ideas to the game instead of the computer-like GM style that so many on /tg/ seem to hold so high where it's ALL about the players.

Of course, if they go way off track I'll support them, but if they abandon a quest to save a town from a lich, that town and that lich won't just disappear when they run off to chase dragons. If they come back in session 20 to try and marry that cute barmaid from session 1, they'll be faced with angry villagers or a field of ash.

The best way to make this work is to come up with like 5 prompts for stories you'd like to run and present them to the players for them to decide on.
>>
>>44940625
I mean if you want to be quick and dirty about it, you're right.
But Anon, try out AutoREALM. It's great. Hard to get used to be great. It can help you make pretty snazzy maps.

No idea how you'd generate a history for a custom map with Crusader Kings 2, though. Mind educating me on that? Would love to try it out.
>>
>>44942901
>You were clearly referring to all GMs.
Context, motherfucker. Do you understand it?

I should also add that I'm in fact not the kind of GM who does no prep at all.
>>
Now to try and be productive, allow me to share a secret I personally have used. If you don't have a DMG or even a monster manual, test these things via 'random' encounters. That way if it's a TPK then you can retcon and if it's too easy then it doesn't matter, because you can easily follow it up with something slightly more difficult if the party so desires.
Also, if you don't have a Monster Manual, use the free versions they have online and reflavor monsters as necessary.
>>
>>44941226
That's...
Quite a read, anon.

I'm really quite surprised that group stayed together and on a reliable enough schedule to accomplish everything. I'm very envious.
Maybe something like that can happen for my group, given that of the five of us, three live with each other, and I live with the fourth, and we all have pretty flexible schedules. I'd love to have a world-spanning epic adventure to draw stories from.

But anyways, goddamn. Shane the Shy is a devious fucker, and I'd like to shake the hand of whatever GM thought him up.
>>
>>44942935

>Why didn't you read my mind and see that I meant [y] when I said [x]?

Well, alrighty then.
>>
>>44942970
Understanding the context of the discussion does not, in fact, require mind reading. Are you perhaps autistic? The post I was replying to clearly referred to the kinds of GMs who do no preparation. Why the flying fuck would you assume that my post expands that to all GMs?
>>
>>44943004
Because it was easier than actually addressing your point, duh.
>>
>>44943004

Because you immediately started acting as if he said you're either the greatest GM ever or the worst GM ever as if that was actually what he said and not actually a false dichotomy you pulled out of your asshole.

>>44943022
>1 minute post difference

Lol
>>
>>44942927
>No idea how you'd generate a history for a custom map with Crusader Kings 2, though. Mind educating me on that? Would love to try it out.

Pick an era, pick a region of the world to focus on, hit ~, type "observe", hit enter, go on Speed 5 and just watch what unfolds for the next 200 years. I started on the Alexiad start and here's what I got:

>An ancient Empire, having licked it's wounds from a massive invasion almost a century prior, finds itself resurgent.
>The various petty dukes and kings who had conquered the heartlands of the empire find themselves the conquered, getting swept up in a mighty crusade by a militant order of holy knights from lands far West. Their laws are lax and centralization is low, each province almost a kingdom unto itself. Only a mighty warlord will unite the stragglers and stem the tide.
>The holy knights hold no allegiance to the Empire, seeing them as begrudging allies at best, and threats at worst. Their efforts are to restore their god to the lands and, incidentally, gain land and riches thought impossible in their former homeland.
>The empire, acknowledging the Holy Order is too strong, focuses their attention West, picking at the many kingdoms that broke away from their rule during the chaos of the Heartlands invasion. Even in their beleaguered state, the kingdoms of the East are too divided by petty greivances to unite under one banner and hold back the Imperials.

I stopped my observation when the Holy Order (The Knights Hospitaller, who conquered Anatolia during a Crusade for Greece) declared a Crusade for Jerusalem, and during the violence the Empire (Byzantines) decided now was the time to push for their old territories in Asia Minor.
>>
>>44943022
>>1 minute post difference
>56 seconds equals 1 minute
Nice try bro, believe it or not two separate people think you are a retard
>>
>>44943022
Alright then, let's see.
What started as
>A thread for GMs who do cool things
turns into
>What exactly defines planning philosophy thread
turns into
>Who has better insults thread
and show now thusly become
>A dubs thread.
>>44943022
Them dubs though, they are very helpful at illustrating your point
>>
>>44943121

It's possible, just humorously unlikely here.
>>
>>44943070
No, I just pointed out that he was presenting a false dichotomy. There are no-prep GMs who are neither great nor bad.
>>
>>44943166

As a general rule, if they're not great, they're woefully mediocre to bad, so I suppose what you are saying is technically true.
>>
>>44943196

As an addendum for the sake of further clarification

I would actually argue there is no such thing as a Good no-prep GM. They're always either going to be naturally hitting such high notes that their games are Great, or they're going to be sub-mediocre to bad to awful. The range of average-to-great is simply not an option for people who don't prep.
>>
>>44938464
>New guy won't stop complaining about the geography being too much like Europe
>Start new campaign
>Geography is straight copy of western US
>New guy praises me on my clever world building
>Comments about how I can do cool stuff if I'm not lazy
>>
>>44943280
I once held a whole session without a shred of preparation because the DM didn't show up (and never showed up at all.) It started great and ended average, so I'd say I was a good no-prep DM in one situation, but in general your analysis is correct.
>>
>>44941691
Plenty, but they're all for shit. I use articy:Draft because I got it as a gift, but you can do the same thing I do in articy with paper or index cards. If you want to make a dungeon, take dice that average around however many rooms you want on a single level of the dungeon. Say you want about a dozen rooms, so you can roll something like 4d4 to give you a more "random" number of rooms. Let's say you got 10.

Take 10 index cards and use each one to contain a thing you want to happen in the dungeon. For example, they might find a big body dumping room where monsters will crawl out if they're not careful. Put that on a card and do the same for the other cards.

Arrange your cards on the table so that the cards represent the rooms and where they are in relation to each other. Then take a graph paper or Roll20 and draw the empty dungeon with room positions based on the card positions. Then populate the rooms with what's written on the cards and you're good to go.

This is the best way I've found to form locations in a way that seems real.
>>
>>44943280
I disagree, but I have to admit that it depends on the kind of game you're looking for. You only have to be a natural storyteller to run a good game if the focus of the game is entirely on the story. It's much easier to run an okay game if the focus is on the character interaction or hack'n'slash dungeoncrawl.
>>
I used to plan things out quite a bit in advance, but recently I've started winging it and it's been better. Even more so for me, because it cuts down my prep time. I'll miss drawing all the maps and characters though. On the super-bright side, if I run a campaign in the future for different players I can just reuse all the resources I drew.
>>
>>44943107
Huh, never knew you could do that in CKII. Thanks man, will try it out!
Pretty happy with my current setting, but this could be useful to flesh out the soon to be introduced continent.
>>
>>44942315
I use the actual map.

There's a program called legends viewer that turns the map into an interactive GUI.
>>
>>44944574
Thanks m8, any tips for starting off a campaign? Have the adventures meet in a random hamlet find some NPCs in town and let it snowball from there?
>>
>>44943745
>but I have to admit that it depends on the kind of game you're looking for.

It doesn't. Prep does not only refer to understanding how a story evolves and how to make a satisfying one, it refers to building interesting characters and making an interesting dungeon that a random number generator couldn't make.

Prep literally just refers to doing some kind of work that is going to be put into the game. I literally cannot believe how some lazyGMs will advocate that this kind of thing isn't necessary and still insist all their players fluff their dicks about what good GMs they are, as if player feedback is useful in the first place.
>>
>>44944648
Depends.

My revolves on a old fort of mine and how it failed.
No one chose to roll a dwarf so instead that kingdom, The certain Ring, called for aid. Those adventurers chose to respond and are on the same convoy.

That's just the initial quest. They'll stumble upon tombs, make enemies, and essentially do the hard work for me.

Essentially I'm creating blank dungeon slated to insert.

Just empty grid rooms with some furniture. Could be a fort, could be a tomb, I dunno.
>>
Something I like to do decide the kind of atmosphere the players want is to make a handful of pretty colourful NPCs and see who the players are naturally drawn to.
Is it the mafia consiglieri, the pink-mohawk street punk, the hate group demagogue, the bounty hunter, the Zorg-like corp employer or the young noble ?

Also, always carry a handful of base profiles for bad guys in case you have to make a mission on the fly. And yes, your high school makes a perfect floorplan for anything.
>>
>>44944729
I supposed I should also give some point advice for maps.

If you want to use Roll20 or just tile maps in general, use Tiled. It's free, and it's simple to use and overall versatile.
Mainly it allows a copy paste style way to make square maps. There's an certain measurement to use for rolld20, I think 70x70 Pxl.

I used mine to make fire emblem style
maps and over worlds. All you need are sprite sheets, which are easy as shit to find/make typically.
>>
DMing trail of Cthulhu, actually prepare nothing in advance, just run with it from whatever backstory for their characters the players bring to the table. No proper mistery set up, only a murder scene. Start running it with whater conspiracy theory thety start popping up. They never notice. Best 4 sessions ever.
>>
>>44942921
>>44939378
It's the advantage of reactionary GM preparation that I find the most sensible; the players get to choose their demise, you get time to weave in new, relevant opportunities for their future--instead of just pure but often discontinuous improv.
>>
>>44942938
That group is moderately famous actually, they're the ones behind the Shogy The Seldom Dog and https://1d4chan.org/wiki/All_Guardsmen_Party as well.

Their DM has posted a fair bit of advice on how he's pulled so much off on other boards, if you're willing to leave /tg/ to find it.
>>
>>44940010
>find the bastard who took it.
Where in the world is Carmen Sandiego?
>>
>>44946938
More like, Waldo the wonder thief, a Kenku binder who tends to prefer to shift into a bland looking male. The only catch is he's near sighted and color blind so he always ends up shifting with glasses and shades of white and red.

Other than that, he's extremely tricky.
>>
>>44941029
Not even hard when there's possibilities of an afterlife / redemption / being able to FIGHT HIS WAY back.

Sure does end the session though.
>>
>>44941029

>"Ah, that's a shame. Well, roll up new characters."

WAY too many GMs are afraid to say this.
>>
>>44950206
I've only killed one player in my history as a DM, I should've done it myself because the player was being a jackass starting fights he shouldn't have, but the dice gods slaughtered him for me.
>>
>>44942253
Only in a couple of scientific journals
>>
>>44942022
>Taller than me
>Heavier than me
>Probably stronger than me
>12
God damn I shouldn't be mad but I am.

/fit/ was right
>>
bumperino
>>
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>>44939378
>don't spend the week prepping
>oh fuck oh fuck
>make up everything as I go, constantly fudge numbers of arbitrary have monsters die as I see fit.
>no real coherency in encounters
>"Man anon, this was the best session ever, those Cyclops being awakened from the elder basilisk's curse was epic!"
>"T-thanks, thought you'd like it."
>>
>>44952760
It's all about the campaign type.

If it's DnD.pf or a narrative-heavy one, killing is generally only considered a good move if it's in service of the story or atmosphere (heroic last stands, martyrdom, brave sacrifice).

If you're running GURPS hardcore zombie survival, you'd best get a backup sheet from every character cos death is going to happen every other session.

So long as your players know that and everyone's agreed to it, that's how a good GM rolls this shit.

I've killed like 4 characters in high lethality games, not a single one outside that.
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