Moving Past the Example in RPG’s

A rpg player gets stuck. GM says “you could do…” The player now hangs on to GM’s example. How do you get the player to move past the example?


Find a game, run a game. Link

Brett was a guest on Craig Shipman’s “THIRD FLOOR WARS – Tabletop Talk” – due out in April/May timeframe

Random Encounter

From All Part of the Plan on the forums on Injecting Homebrew into Published

(Full disclosure, I have not yet listened to this episode.)

I missed the chance to make this comment last time prepublished adventures came up as a topic. I just wanted to throw out a theory and see if people agree.

I do not like to run prepublished adventures, but I wish I did.

My inference here is that people prefer prepublished or homebrew based on whichever one is easier for them to do. I don’t think either has an innate advantage. I think DM’s all just prefer to do the least amount of work.

An example: I have tried to read modules to run them. I just get so bored, that I have never successfully read one all the way through. I have skimmed through to the end of the first module in “Tales from the Yawning Portal,” and to date that is the best I could manage. However, with homebrew campaigns I can prep for a session in 30-60 minutes no sweat.

I have serious respect for people who can run prepublished anything, because I just don’t seem to have the skills to pay those bills.

People who like homebrew more, I imagine are in my boat, where it’s easier to slap something together now, then fill in the more tedious details during actual play.

My hat is off to Sean, who inspires me every couple of months to try reading through and running a real module instead of just relying on my usual BS.

Gabe comments on injecting homebrew into published

We’re of a sort.

For me, it’s much more difficult trying to understand an adventure—how all the disparate pieces come together into something meaningful (or not, because one is reliant on the ability of the original author)—than to just make one up. If I make it up, I automatically understand it—bonus!

Also, one can “make it up” in whatever way is ideal and efficient, be it through sketches, lists, notes, or dense narrative—I tend to use all of these. With pubs, in most cases you’re going to be deciphering text and interpreting intent.

Tom comments on Slooooow Burn vs HOT Start

I became a bit…um…notorious for my hot starts. The players loved it, but I stopped doing it because it was starting to feel cliche. My best was my first one, though. We were playing Rolemaster. Everyone had created 1st level characters and we sat down to play. I said, “Go ahead and take about 10 minutes and do a quick-and-dirty upgrade of your character to 20th level. Any spells, armor or weapons that you want.”

Once everyone, confused, had done so, I said, “Okay, your allied forces have fallen, the Priest and his top minions remain. They’re bringing back the Dark Gods and the ritual is nearly complete. Roll for initiative.” Any questions they had I replied to with, “I’ll tell you after the fight.”

They fought and were brought down one-by-one, but taking out their opponents and delaying completion of the ritual. Finally, the ritual was completed and a rift opened in the sky, allowing gods of Dark entry. At the same time, there was a yell from a messenger at the back, “You did it! You bought enough time!” As the last PC fell, another rent opened in the sky as the gods of Light returned, charging across the heavens to battle the gods of Dark.


As everything faded and the last PC died, Armageddon waged overhead.

Then I told everyone, “You awake. You have no clothes and no belongings. You’re on a hillside that you don’t recognize. You have no memories beyond what has already been described. You know your names and each other’s names. Switch back to the 1st level character sheets. What do you do?”

The phrase, “naked on a hillside” became a running joke for years afterward. Especially any time someone lost consciousness.


Eric Salzwedel tweets on the Problem with Examples

Hot Take: Sometimes the answer IS on your character sheet. I have seen this going around quite a bit and I get the point. There is some value in the philosophy as players can become paralyzed on what to do if their character sheet doesn’t have the specific skill, feat, ability, 

or whatever. 

What I have seen with online play though is players don’t look at their character sheet and what gear they are carrying. This is particularly important in a sci-fi game where you may collect a lot of items that provide utility for you to deal with various situations. 

I even created a google sheet for the players in my last game so that they had central place of where all the gear was and who had it or if it was in the armory on their ship. I still had many moments where I thought “Man this would be easier for the players if they used their… 

rocket boots, mag boots, grenades, or you name it.” 

Am I complaining – sort of – I guess? At least in my Solar Blades game I felt like I was generous with gear because I wanted my players to do cool things with it! I am a fan of the players and want to see that cool stuff happen. 

Die Roll

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About the Author
The 'S' of Gaming and BS podcast. Besides producing and hosting the show, Sean enjoys long walks on the beach, running rpg's, and killing player...characters.