As a GM, how can I stop killing my games?

Probably the worst issue I have as a Game Master is that I think of a game, I write a campaign plot for it — End, Beginning and Middle, get hyped, hype my players, and after 2 months I get bored with it and want the story to end so I can start running a newer game or campaign I’ve thought up in the meantime. So I just disappear some weeks and invent I have stuff to do, cancel the game, and run another one.

Usually, midway through our game I have a better idea for a campaign, and that’s how our group has evolved: Each campaign, I have to accept, has been more fun and intriguing than the last one, but just the thought I could be roleplaying a better plot with better mechanics is too much. I really like my group, and they like my plots so much they ask me for a Q&A session pretty much every week to know what will happen, villain bios, NPC bios, etc; however I just pretend that I am still enjoying the original campaign.

Two months ago we started playing a 4E game about guys who get trapped inside a videogame, and 4e was very good for it, since it was just fight and fight and fight, and the whole plot is about well, the hostility of the online game towards the players and a moral of “every life is precious”, ironic in an intentional way.

The thing is, I discovered 5e, switched systems, loved it, and it doesn’t feels like playing inside a videogame anymore. The adventures on that world have become boring for me already, and the players are just coming to the table for the plot. Indeed, I’m supposed to design next adventure but just thinking about all I can do on other setting with these rules hypes me so much, and really, I can’t think of anything more interesting for the guys now, specially since we’re too deep into the adventure it’s too late to make it “non linear”.

I’m planning a sandbox campaign for when we “finish” this one, and I’m having fun as a GM as never before, imagining interaction, building the important locations, making random encounter and weather tables, etc; but then I think I have to go back and master something that isn’t just interesting for me, may as well just run a pure roleplaying game for the current campaign, no combats, but the players expect more.

When they noticed me making a new campaign, they seemed curious and excited, but one of my friends told me: “We’re gonna finish the campaign we have now, right?”. She seemed kinda worried the same story would repeat.

My summer break is about to end, and my sandbox campaign design is halfway done, and I haven’t mastered our current sessions for days and two of the players even asked me if we could begin the other campaign already, while the other two keep telling me I shouldn’t let the current one die.

The fact that there’s still too much to do on our current game overwhelms me, since I’m getting bored of bringing them the same story every week, and I already decided my next campaign will be led by player motivations that will affect the little plot I have readied for it, and make them help me build the world.

So, how do I get out of this vicious circle? How do I stick with the campaign in progress and stop being lured by the thought of creating a new campaign?

Can I mention other games’ titles, characters, maps, weapons etc. in my game?

Let’s say I was about to make a quiz game where the questions are like this:

  • When was Fallout 4 released?
  • What is your first pickaxe in Minecraft?
  • Who do you have to kill as the last boss in Skyrim?

And let’s pretend I have 1000 of these questions, from 1000 games. What are the chances some of those 1000 could sue me, remove my game from the internet, pay them a fee etc.? Even if it becomes very popular.

Taking it one step further, could I buy their games, take in game screenshots personally, then use those as pictures in my own game?

Does it make a difference if it’s a free-to-play or a game that has to be bought?

Where is the theory about “binary toggling games”?

Let us — using parameters $ M, N$ and $ L$

  1. create an ordered set of size $ M$ of $ N$ -bit long vectors $ V$ and initialize them randomly: $ V_k[i] = b \sim Bin(n=1, p=0.5)\ \forall i \in \{0\ ..\ N-1\}, \forall k \in \{0\ ..\ M-1\}$ .

  2. create an N-bit long vector $ A_0$ and initialize it to ones.

  3. create an $ M$ -bit long vector $ S$ and initialize it randomly in the same manner as any $ V_k$ .

  4. for $ i$ from $ 0$ to $ M$ , if $ S[i] = 1$ , then $ A_i = A_{i-1} \oplus V_k$ , otherwise $ A_i = A_{i-1}$ , resulting in $ A_M$ after $ M$ steps

  5. present an agent/player with $ A_M$ together with all vectors $ V_k$ and make him return $ S$ or the set of indices of vector $ S$ where $ S[i] = 1$ . It follows that $ A_M \oplus V_{i_0} \oplus V_{i_1} \oplus V_{i_2} \oplus\ …\ \oplus V_{i_{last}} = A_0$ .

A simple example with $ N=4$ and $ M=3$ :

$ A_M = [0, 1, 0, 1]$ , $ V_0 = [1, 1, 0, 1]$ , $ V_1 = [0, 0, 1, 1]$ , $ V_2 = [0, 1, 1, 1]$

solution $ \rightarrow S = [1, 0, 1],$ because $ A_M \oplus V_0 \oplus V_2 = [1, 1, 1, 1]$

This problem occurs in many games I have encountered and never really gave it much thought, until now. For the purpose of this question, I have called it the “binary toggling game”.

What I wonder is:

  • what are “binary toggling games” really called
  • what is the theory being them: algorithms, their complexity (classes), edge cases, etc.

Could you please provide links? I hope they exist.

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What does the OGL mean for things based on d20 elements, but which aren’t games?

I’ve been thinking lately about how the Overlord novels/manga/anime are so clearly based on 3e/3.5e/d20/whatever, yet were still commercially published–and, as far as I’m aware, suffered no legal action from Wizards of the Coast.

Much of the “mechanics” of the series (at least from what I’ve seen) are entirely possible within the parts of d20 that are covered by OGL.

Just as an example, let’s look at Overlord‘s spell magic arrow, a clear copy of d20’s magic missile. It’s a 1st-tier spell, equivalent to a 1st-level spell, and it launches an unavoidable bolt of non-elemental (equivalent to force damage, or not having an energy type) magic that deals a small amount of damage and cannot be blocked by normal means. The spell can also create multiple bolts if cast at a higher tier/level, just like how magic missile would (depending on what exactly the Overlord wiki means by this, possibly similar to the Spell Points variant rule, also open content)

By my reading of the OGL 1.(e), “Product Identity” (which, as per section 7, must be agreed to not have any of the following done with it, from 1.(f): “Distribute, copy, edit, format, modify, translate and otherwise create Derivative Material of Open Game Content”; 1.(b) defines Derivative Material as “copyrighted material including derivative works and translations (including into other computer languages), potation, modification, correction, addition, extension, upgrade, improvement, compilation, abridgment or other form in which an existing work may be recast, transformed or adapted”) includes both the “spell” magic missile and the “magical…effect” produced by magic missile, as well as any modification or adaption thereof.

The effects of magic arrow are clearly derivative of magic missile. But the specifics, such as dealing 1d4+1 damage (or what 1d4+1 damage even translates to, beyond rarely being enough to kill a target with one shot), or having a range of 100 ft. + 10 ft. per caster level, or any of those details which pertain to actual d20 mechanics, do not seem to be mentioned in Overlord.

So this brings me back to the question, which is more general than just that single spell. How is it that Overlord‘s use of things which seem like they ought to be forbidden due to being considered WotC’s “Product Identity”, is actually okay? Is it because Overlord isn’t a game (in which case, where are exceptions like this stated in the OGL? Does it have to do with the fact that the above details are generalized into a written/drawn form?)? Is it because magic missile isn’t explicitly designated as Product Identity beyond the proper name of itself as a spell (in which case, what about spells like sleep and animate dead, which Overlord keeps the names of, or elements such as “troll” creatures with high strength and what amount to d20’s Scent/Regeneration abilities?)? Or is it something else entirely?

(Sorry if the formatting of some of this question is a mess, I’m not really used to dealing with talking about licenses and don’t know what’s considered conventional)

Role playing games with no humans [closed]

Because of story setting no humans should be available as playable entities, instead other creatures some of which might look or resemble humans and some of which are not even humanoid are playble.

This however puts some worries on me, is anyone even gonna play my game? As far as I know all famous rpg’s game have humans as playable characters and its common that humans are also the most played entity in such games.

Should I just change my games lore and avoid wasting my time?

GamesBOB.com Old games site since 2005, perfect domain + content selling for $2k

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Zero-Sum Games and Halting Problem

Wikipedia states on the page of the halting problem, “For any program f that might determine if programs halt, a “pathological” program g called with an input can pass its own source and its input to f and then specifically do the opposite of what f predicts g will do.”

Suppose we have 2 neural networks, approximating f and g (allowing infinite size and depth limits). Is it wrong to assume that these two NNs can participate in a zero-sum game against each other, and that the Nash equilibrium (if it exists) of these 2 NNs contains the solution to the halting problem?

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