Questions about the role of the Game Master (a.k.a. Dungeon Master (DM), Referee, Storyteller, Master of Ceremonies (MC), etc.) in a role-playing game.

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16
votes
7answers
2k views

Can PCs hide motivations from the DM?

So, one of my PCs is a Lawful Neutral Knight, coming from a small landless noble family. From the beginning of the campaign he told me that he wanted a lord to serve under, and to enhance the ...
1
vote
1answer
144 views

How to make the GMs job easier? [closed]

As a player how can I make things easier for the GM? I ask because I've never actually played before. e.g. How much research should I do on the specific game we'll be playing, is there a point where ...
1
vote
0answers
53 views

Essential Reading for New GM/DM [duplicate]

I'm preparing to take the plunge into GM'ing. What would you be consider essential reading for a new gm? Books, websites, etc.? I really want to focus in on being a good story teller.
3
votes
5answers
144 views

Alternating GM/Campaigns within the same group?

This question gave me some ideas regarding my current gaming group. I was introduced to D&D roughly a year ago before graduation, so shortly after getting into it everyone involved went separate ...
4
votes
0answers
124 views

Getting ready to start DMing a game; what level/adventures should I start at? [closed]

One of the players is moderately experienced at 4e, but the other players are all new to it, though they've got the want. What adventures are out there that suit my needs, and what level should I ...
3
votes
3answers
244 views

Battle on Lightning Rail, Movement Rules

The setup: the PCs work their way through a moving lightning rail, fighting off pirates that are attempting to rob the passengers. They get to the cargo hold, fend off their leader, and chase him up ...
6
votes
4answers
276 views

Balancing encounters for faster feat progression

I'm DMing a group right now in Eberron (so I already have to take Action Points into account for encounter design), and my players, who are fairly new, are super intrigued by all of the interesting ...
1
vote
0answers
466 views

What makes an adventure interesting? [closed]

I'm new to DMing, and I want a really challenging and fun adventure for my friends. My question is: what, in your opinion, makes an adventure actually interesting and fun? Is it challenge? I know ...
9
votes
2answers
350 views

Managing plots with multiple simultaneous GMs

I'm working with some fellow GMs to prepare a campaign in which we each host separate groups of players, but in the same shared world. This means that the actions of my players might actually ...
5
votes
2answers
292 views

Does D&D 3.5 DM material contain information applicable for Pathfinder GMs?

I understand that in terms of the core rules to run games D&D 3.5 has: Dungeon Master's Guide + Player's Handbook + Bestiary(s) Pathfinder has: Core Rulebook + Bestiary(s). Pathfinder has a ...
5
votes
3answers
482 views

What is a good way to handle a merchant / snake oil salesman PC?

I recently started running a 4e game where a character is playing an unaligned merchant bard who is also a bit of a snake oil salesman. What is a good way to play up the merchant / snake oil salesman ...
5
votes
1answer
258 views

Is It Okay To Use “Commune” To Ask About Alignment?

In the campaign I am running, next session my players have decided to use the 'Commune' spell to ask a god various questions. Among these are four questions that ask: "Is this character good?" "Is ...
3
votes
1answer
325 views

How to plan to avoid combat deaths for NPCs that aren't obvious railroads? [closed]

I am playing a Pathfinder campaign based on the Beginner Box materials. The party were relatively diplomatic in the first adventure and didn't fight and kill the goblin boss King Fatmouth in Black ...
1
vote
1answer
491 views

Addings things to a story and how to deal with players who have issues with it [closed]

I am currently running a long, in-depth, story-focused campaign that has been going on for months and seems to be well-liked among my group. As you might imagine, creating a world that we play in for ...
3
votes
0answers
136 views

What to do with a player who undermines the DM? [duplicate]

This is not actually about me, but for a friend and the group we play with together. My friend, who GM/DMs that particular campaign, is suffering a lot at the moment because of one particular player. ...
35
votes
9answers
3k views

How To Divide Up Loot?

I've been GMing a very successful (Pathfinder) campaign for quite a few months now, but we've developed a bit of a problem I'm not sure how to resolve: loot distribution. None of my players are ...
15
votes
9answers
691 views

Does GMing diminish or detract from being a player in games? [closed]

I started playing RPGs last year with the Pathfinder Beginner Box. I have been GMing and writing a campaign, but have also encouraged members of the party that are interested to run a one-off Beginner ...
6
votes
1answer
158 views

Treasure tables with mixed groups

In reference to this Treasure tables in 3.5, how does the system expect a GM to handle groups with mixed treasure types?
37
votes
10answers
3k views

How can I invoke actual fear in my players?

I'm a DM that focuses heavily on story, description and setting. My goal is to send players home wanting -- no, longing -- to actually be part of the mythos I've created. The ultimate goal for me as ...
1
vote
2answers
280 views

Dungeons and Dragons 1 hour game advice [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Is it practical to run a weekly lunch-hour game of D&D with my coworkers? Other than don't use the system what advice do you guys have for playing Dungeons and ...
5
votes
2answers
206 views

Where can I find online playtesters to test encounters before presenting them to my group?

I'm setting up the end of my campaign and I have 4 "mini-boss" fights (& Final BOSS fight) that I'm trying to make extremely tough but also winnable. I don't want to just slaughter my PCs after ...
3
votes
2answers
663 views

Average experience per encounter for a two person party?

I have been playing Dungeons and Dragons for a while now as a player. I've recently started up a new game that I am DMing. I am going to run the Kobold Hall adventure for starters. The problem I have ...
4
votes
1answer
397 views

How to upgrade Pathfinder Beginner Box games and characters to Pathfinder Core Rules?

Similar to this question on Red box to 4e core rules upgrade, what problems are there overcome with or good ways to achieve moving games and characters from the Beginner Box rules to Pathfinder Core ...
16
votes
4answers
462 views

How would I quickly put together a believable map of an area?

As part of my "Closed Circle" campaign, I'm looking for ways to quickly put together a believable map of a college campus and surrounding area, complete with believable building placement. "Quickly" ...
5
votes
2answers
171 views

Balance between planning and improvising [closed]

What is the ideal balance between planning out an entire session of playing, complete with music scoring and conversation detailing, and winging the entire thing? As an example, I'll cite one of the ...
5
votes
1answer
157 views

What should I look out for, when scaling a late heroic published adventure for late paragon/early epic tier?

I will be including a level 9 published adventure in my campaign soon. The thing is, the four players will be somewhere between level 18 and 24 when they hit the dungeon. Aside from obviously scaling ...
2
votes
9answers
631 views

Survivalist NPC build?

How can I best optimize an NPC so that instead of having perfect power attack or sneak attack, they're just really hard to kill? I can think of thief acrobat and perhaps exemplar or dungeon delver, ...
0
votes
1answer
323 views

Free action/no action encounter power available to all players?

The DM I play with for encounters passes out these power cards that are either a free action or a non-action (can't remember) encounter power that lets you add to a skill check roll, add a damage die, ...
19
votes
10answers
911 views

How much plot guidance is too much?

I've played in many games that were extremely railroaded. There was basically only one feasible course of action and we, as players, were expected to take that route. (The GM would get very upset if ...
3
votes
1answer
153 views

What should I use to represent the Stronghold point in my LARP?

My Sci-Fi Larp system is faction based, The team with the most territory at the end of the event (day/weekend) gains additional points towards character progression as well as in game Credits, this is ...
5
votes
2answers
248 views

What's the best practice for an Indie-LARP?

I'm starting a Sci-Fi LARP near where I live and so far only my close friends are going to attend, What would be the best way to increase my player-base? Also it'll be my first event that I've ...
5
votes
3answers
3k views

Guides for running a Cyberpunk 2.0.2.0 Game

I've owned a copy of the 2nd edition of Cyberpunk (Cyberpunk 2020) for years now but never had the ability or gumption to run a game (same for gurps). Lately though I've been playing and DMing a lot ...
10
votes
1answer
366 views

How does monster hiding work when some players detect them and some don't?

In one of our battles in DnD Next, I had some bugbears hiding in trees trying to attack the players. The bugbear rolled a 21 on its attempt to hide. Four of the players rolled less than 21 on their ...
5
votes
1answer
2k views

Practical use of Masterplan in first time DM

So, I have played D&D (and other RPG rules) off and on for a long time, and now have boys of an age that I could DM for them and have some good father/son/nerdy time. I have never DMed myself. I ...
12
votes
4answers
454 views

How do DM's avoid burning out? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: How do I deal with GM burnout? Currently I am the single DM of a smallish group of irregular players. Although I enjoy DM'ing, I'm beginning to burn out and really wish ...
9
votes
3answers
381 views

New GM to a Laundry RPG game [closed]

What should a new (and not so experienced) GM watch out for when starting to run a game set in Charles Stross's Laundry universe? Note that all this could be applied to a Call Of Cthulhu game as well ...
6
votes
7answers
306 views

Need some recommendations for monster manuals

I run and play lots of indie-style games (Burning Wheel and Apocalypse World in particular). Perhaps the one thing they lack that I miss from my D&D days is the tomes full of monsters to excite ...
5
votes
4answers
902 views

Should I announce to the players they are in a skill challenge?

I am completely new to DMing and I am considering including a skill challenge in my next game. Most of the players are new to 4e and one of them is new to D&D in general. Should I explain to them ...
16
votes
7answers
618 views

Techniques for skimming through travel (fast travel) without meta-teleportation

In most of my group's campaigns, we spend a lot of time traveling. Unfortunately, this leans one of two ways: Uninteresting or distracting obstacles. If you want to spend time but keep it fresh, ...
6
votes
0answers
183 views

How do I effectively portray multiple characters in conversation? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: How do you handle verbal exchanges between NPCs without taking the PCs out of the spotlight? You should be familiar with this set up: All the characters are at a party ...
4
votes
2answers
208 views

As a GM, how do you establish the reality of your world? [closed]

Having a discussion with a friend about our views of GMing, I realized that we take very different approaches to what our worlds are. My view is that when I GM, the world exists as-is before the ...
3
votes
3answers
609 views

Tactics for Battle of Albridge

I'm currently thinking about the Battle of Albridge in my Reavers of Harkenwold campaign. One of my players stated he wanted to have a big battle with the Rebellion troops against the Iron Circle. I ...
4
votes
5answers
705 views

What's a good text only adventure game to improve my storytelling for DMing?

I've been trying to think of good ways to improve my narration of scenes when I can't actually practice firsthand with my group. On idea I had was to find some old text-only adventure/RPG games and ...
6
votes
2answers
175 views

How to Use Module Maps

I found a module I'd like to run. It includes some great maps. What's the best way to use them in a gaming session? They're too small to use as-is, so I'm wondering how other people use maps from ...
5
votes
4answers
347 views

Building Campaigns to Characters' Strengths and Weaknesses

When I GM a game, I try to make sure that the skills the characters have can be used. If someone takes "Music", then I make sure there's a point in the campaign where someone needs to impress someone ...
17
votes
6answers
459 views

Techniques for speeding up a game with many players at the table?

I have a table of six players already, and have more people interested in joining my game. I wanted to consult people who had experience with running large tables to see if running for larger groups ...
5
votes
2answers
146 views

In Ubiquity powered games, what number Style points keeps tension and heroic action in balance?

Characters in games using the Ubiquity Roleplaying System often begin play with fewer than 2 Style points. Methods of gaining them, and situations for using them are clearly defined in the various ...
13
votes
9answers
1k views

Out-Of-Control Characters [closed]

As I review the suggestions in the D&D 4E DMG (pg32), I wonder what other suggestions that are realistic. I know that if a player is out of control (ie: killing masses for no reason) a DM would ...
4
votes
2answers
206 views

Is there a tested spell-research like mod for D&D 4e?

I'm looking for a mod to D&D 4e which reintroduces spell-research in a balanced way. Are there any of them around, which have been play tested and seem to work without unbalancing things too far?
12
votes
2answers
5k views

Dungeons and Dragons Treasure Parcels

I'm new to D&D and would like to distribute treasure evenly in my dungeon for my level 1 PCs. I've read up briefly on the treasure packages but am still a little fuzzy on how they exactly work and ...