Sunday, April 10, 2016

Masters Workshop - Books at the table.

At a local shop we have a monthly Gamemaster meet up called 'The Masters Council' in which we talk about various problems, ideas, solutions and rant about things.  One rule is that we don't tell anyone how they are supposed to run a game or tell them they are doing it wrong.  It's all about working together.  Here is one of the recent topics that came up.

How to deal with players bringing books to the table.  As in the folks who pull out a Monster Manual at every encounter and tell the party everything about the creature they are fighting.  Or the ones who pull out a copy of a module so they can 'go the right way'.  Here are a few solutions and thoughts that were brought up.

Easiest one off the top is to ban them from the table.  Especially copies of the module being ran currently, that one goes without a doubt.  But monster guides as well.  Now this will lead to some players having issues since they spent money on the books.  Usually these are the folks that don't see how it drags some of the fun out of the game.

Another was to simply change things up.  Change the creature stats on the fly, better armor, more damage with their attacks or even a special attack tossed in there.  With modules you could do the same adding in more bad guys, having special items they were searching after simply not being there and the dude that is supposed to be aiding them switches sides and does the big betrayal. 

One suggestion was, in the case of monster guides, was to never tell them the name of the monsters they are fighting.  Give a rough physical description of what they are seeing.  It's not like they are standing there as if they were in an airport waiting for somebody holding up a sign.  Now eventually some will pick up on what it is and may flip open a book.  But some of the lesser used things will leave them scratching their heads.

Could also be worth it to pick up some third party books if such a thing exists for the game you are running.  I've found books like Teratic Tome or Lusus Naturae to be perfect for this.  Some of their entries being completely horrific nightmare stuff that they may not be expecting.

Hope these help somebody out.

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