I found a wonderful thread from @slyflourish on Twitter. He asked about one simple tip to dramatically change the game (for the better). I found these answers from the community to be most helpful and inspirational! May you use them to add to your life and games!
- Technically a house rule not just a trick, but very simple: PCs only get the benefit of a long rest in a place of relative safety and comfort, not when camping in the wilderness. Lets you run wilderness adventures like they were dungeons. – @alexbro97829019
I really liked this suggestion and it reminded me of the wilderness rules in the Middle Earth RPG for 5th edition, something that I’ve used in my games to make overland (and underland) travel grittier and more deadly, therefore, giving the PCs more to consider. If you want to create strong tension and upbeats in the game, limit how and when a long rest can occur!
2. Electric tea light candles go on for concentration spells – @geekmoviehouse
Haha, at first, I had to read this a couple of times, but slowly realized that the electric tea light upon the table, acts as a physical prop and indicator that concentration spells are being used. This is an amazing idea, affordable and also adds to the ambience around your game. I love this idea!
3. -having states of failure, meaning one dice rolling bad is not the end of the thing, for instance if some is trying to persuade an NPC, rolling 1 or 2 fails just makes the PC act less friendly. – @skinny_bob
I couldn’t agree more. Keeping in mind a scale of variance for success and failure in the game makes for more of a dynamic game, rather than one that stops/starts upon success and failures. Having a mind of variant success and failure means the difference between pushing a button and turning a knob. Good advice!
4. Create problems, not solutions to them. – @groshnik
Wow! This is a discipline for every tablemaster! Many times I have prepared the “plan” or “way out” or “answer” and that, I have discovered, puts out the fire for the players. It can be tempting to give the answer while simultaneously asking the question (for we want our players to succeed). I think in the culture of having a more “friendly” DM has also brought about the “answer DM”. I believe part of the fun of RPGs involves some opposition birthed by the tablemaster, and of course no one has to be mean! But creating challenges, problems, and allowing the players to then take the wheel and drive home the solution, now that’s good RPG.
5. Asking my players to describe why they fail at something when they roll a Nat 1. It gives the player control over a dramatic moment, it lets them scale what happens based on how they’re feeling at the moment and often give amazing insight into the character’s thoughts! – @oboeluaren
I couldn’t agree more! The first couple times I tried this, my players looked back at me blankly. Not used to having a DM allow for such narrative power, the players took sometime to get used to this routine, but since then, less of the narrative burden on me and more various description from the other players at the table! It takes trust, but worth doing, in my opinion.
6. For theatre of the mind, on a player’s turn, describe the last turn/what they seeing through the PCs POV. Ask “what is (PC name) doing?” instead of “what do you WANT to do?” This helps alleviate choice paralysis and helps players who might not have caught every detail. – @marcellus_krowe
Daaaaaang. What a game changer! Just a simple turn of phrasing completely alters the course and the flow of combat. I have witnessed this choice paralysis in theater of the mind and I can see how by simply asking the player “what is your character doing?” keeps the narrative flowing in the fantasy game, rather than breaking immersion and asking direct questions to the player. I’m going to remember this one for sure.
There were many more suggestions in this thread and many more threads, but hopefully, if you have but a moment, you can trust and add a few of these features to your games around your table. May your story continue!