Techniques game masters use to prepare for a game session. (For preparing a campaign, use the [campaign-development] tag instead.)

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5
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1answer
180 views

As an inexperienced GM, how can I avoid killing PCs my first time GMing in Pathfinder Society?

While I have experience DM'ing 3.5e, I have far less experience in pathfinder and have not yet GM'd a PFS game. I'm currently preparing to run the Rise of the Runelord's first module (Thistletop) ...
6
votes
0answers
89 views

How to give a ''secret agent'' feel to a game? [closed]

I am planning a one on one Fate game and I want it to feel and play like a secret agent story (think James Bond, Bourne, Taken, etc. maybe even a hint of heist movies as well, aka Ocean's eleven) My ...
2
votes
1answer
68 views

As a DM, what are some good ways to study in preparation for an Adventure module? [closed]

I'm a new DM and I'm in the process of running my friends through the 5e LMoP starter adventure. We're a few sessions in and everyone is telling me that they're having a great time (yay!). However, ...
6
votes
1answer
187 views

Need a wide variety of Iron Kingdoms NPCs

I am starting an Iron Kingdoms campaign with two teams: the first one has to protect Highgate the second one the region outside the walls. As a result I find myself in need of a wide variety ...
9
votes
5answers
1k views

How do you transition from 1-page dungeon map to battle mat?

I have a bunch of different ways I use to make maps for my tabletop game. Sometimes I draw one on graph paper. Sometimes I use Dungeonographer. Sometimes I copy a map from a published adventure or ...
23
votes
10answers
473 views

How to encourage the GM-curious?

I have a couple of players who might be interested to try GMing, but have so far been reluctant to "take the plunge" and start up their own games. I think this is mostly because they're not sure that ...
10
votes
3answers
450 views

How can I avoid making extended/prolonged encounters boring?

I have run this campaign for just over a year. Many encounters later, I have come to one snag; If I run an encounter that lasts for more than a few rounds, I lose all my flair. I just resort to "hit" ...
7
votes
1answer
362 views

How do I create pre-generated characters for a science fiction Fate Accelerated RPG one-shot?

I am running a one shot under the Fate Accelerated RPG system with a science fiction theme this weekend in lieu of our normal game. The characters will wake up on a ship that is derelict and on a ...
3
votes
0answers
88 views

How do you judge the difficulty of an encounter in Strands of Fate?

I recently found Strands of Fate and it looks like a really fun system; so, naturally, I want to run a short campaign in it to try it out. Unfortunately, the book doesn't seem to give any tips for how ...
2
votes
1answer
83 views

How to set up a Castle Siege? [closed]

I am running a war, for my players. They have won a battle pushing their opponent back into a citadel within the cliffs. I am looking for stories, suggestions, or more importantly rules on how to ...
16
votes
4answers
1k views

How do I balance detailed encounter maps with not wanting to give away my dungeon layout?

I'm in the process of designing a Megadungeon, and it seems like people run large dungeons like this using the theater of the mind to avoid giving the layout away and allow players to explore, get ...
0
votes
1answer
147 views

How do you get a published adventure started? [closed]

I have a bit of experience playing 3.x with some friends. But I wanted to make the plunge into 5e for a couple reasons. A couple of the players I didn't want to include (due to always having to have ...
9
votes
4answers
1k views

How would I classify a “disease” for an NPC that's not really a “disease” in Pathfinder?

I am in the process of planning a campaign but I am not sure how to classify this sickness/disease. The whole point of the campaign is to rescue a person who has been held captive for about 5 ...
8
votes
1answer
639 views

What essentials are required to build a Fate Core session/campaign expediently?

"How about tomorrow?" A GM's nightmare. A group that has a planning horizon of twelve hours (sometimes even "how about right now?"). A group in want of a Fate game. And a group that isn't into the ...
20
votes
3answers
1k views

How to transfer control of a campaign that is mostly “make it up as you go”?

For the last year I've been DMing a campaign that has included a lot of "making it up as I go", but right now I don't even have time for that. We've decided that I'll transfer the campaign to another ...
18
votes
6answers
1k views

I keep forgetting about lighting in the heat of a session. How do I remember my notes?

One thing I’ve been struggling with as a newbie GM is keeping track of how light or dark a certain room is. My players and I have been playing a D&D 5e starter campaign with me as the GM. I might ...
7
votes
1answer
374 views

My players know the world/galaxy/universe better than I do [closed]

A bunch of friends decided they wanted to try RPG. As the only person with any RPG experience I offered to GM. We have had the first few sessions and so far it's a laugh! I am quite new to GMing and ...
13
votes
3answers
536 views

What essentials do I need on the site of my LARP?

I am planning on holding a 20-50 person LARP near my home in England. I would like to know other than notifying the Emergency services (police/ambulance) that I'm holding the event and where it is, ...
35
votes
9answers
8k views

How do I run a successful and engaging campaign without combat?

I'm thinking of starting my own campaign with a few of my friends with me as DM, primarily because I wasn't extremely impressed with the campaign my friend was DMing. When I started thinking about the ...
6
votes
6answers
3k views

How to adjust Hoard of the Dragon Queen for a 1st-level party?

TL;DR: I've already 'cheated' a lot to help the group survive the first mission, and it seems like I'll have to cheat even more if they'll make it to the Keep. Did I do something wrong? What can I do ...
21
votes
8answers
2k views

Overcoming setting complexity paralysis as a GM

The problem What are the best practices to overcome that certain “complexity paralysis” that may strike a GM when trying to learn and immerse himself in a setting that has a lot of intricate ...
1
vote
1answer
116 views

What should I put on my GM screen? [closed]

I made a homemade GM screen with a huge amount of blank space on the inside, and blank space on the outside. My question is, what tables do you find most useful to have in front of you while running ...
14
votes
3answers
918 views

What should be considered when deciding if and how to use props? [closed]

GMs and players who have experience with props in their games, what do you think about when considering props to use and how to use them? How might props be used to further the game, instead of ...
9
votes
3answers
686 views

How to manage play in a zombie RPG pre outbreak

I am planning on starting my newest campaign about the end of the world: a Zombie Apocalypse, with the game starting before the outbreak has occurred. Every zombie RPG I have encountered so far has ...
15
votes
5answers
3k views

How can I give strong weapons to enemies without the players looting them?

If I give an enemy NPC a Meltagun in combat, nothing prevents the players from taking the weapon after they kill him, which leads to the inevitable snowballing: they get stronger, I need stronger ...
14
votes
4answers
8k views

What sort of cheat sheets should a new DM have for a better flowing 5e game of Dungeons and Dragons?

The question is, what should a DM screen essentially have? I'm new at playing and DMing, altough a lot of experience watching games, just got a group to play with now. Started with the starter set ...
15
votes
9answers
5k views

How do I select background music for my RPG campaign?

Music is an essential component of my games. When running games set in the Star Wars universe, the music of John Williams adds a new dimension to the experience, both for me and for my players. Now ...
6
votes
3answers
433 views

Is there any good place on the internet that hosts monster playtests?

I've been a DM for a while for 3.5. I've run many NPC characters, however only a small fraction of monsters out of the books (comparatively). Also, I like to use templates liberally as well as advance ...
6
votes
2answers
296 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 ...
11
votes
1answer
662 views

How can I balance loot distribution for my players?

Im having a bit of trouble getting a general sense of what amount of loot my players should receive during their sessions. They are started as 3rd level, mostly new players to the DnD universe. I ...
10
votes
2answers
273 views

How to develop effective storylines to ease adding another player to the game?

I just ran my first two sessions as GM and we are probably going to be adding a 4th player to the group soon (making 5 of us total). I'm trying to think of a good premise for the party to meet the new ...
8
votes
3answers
294 views

Limiting player freedom in introductory scenarios

As discussed in Would GURPS be a good choice for a non-magic, 19th century tech level, roleplay focused campaign?, I am planning to introduce a couple of friends to pen & paper tabletop RPGs. I am ...
8
votes
2answers
481 views

How to run short sessions?

I am currently DMing for a group of people whom I only recently met. We've been playing for some time, but we have a bit of trouble getting together regularly, but since everyone seems to enjoy that, ...
9
votes
4answers
918 views

How best to progressively reveal the layout of a location to players?

I have been gamemastering tabletop RPGs for years now, but I'm still wondering what is the best way to deal with this. Specifically: how to graphically describe to your players their surroundings ...
2
votes
0answers
429 views

How much should I prepare as a new DM for a play session? [closed]

I'll be a DM for a group of my friends soonish for a play through of the D&D 5 starter set campaign. I've played with this group for a few months but some more experienced players have been taking ...
4
votes
1answer
378 views

Where can I find free horror-themed stock audio for zombie campaigns?

Does anyone know where I can find free stock audio to enhance my campaign? I am working of my first zombie RPG and all the places I normally go for stock sounds don't have any horror stuff. I'm ...
9
votes
1answer
182 views

Does the “Primordial Soup Kitchen” Campaign from Andy Hopp's “Low Life” need much updating for Savage Worlds Deluxe rules?

I'm planning to introduce my players to the Low Life setting, and I'd really like to go through the "Primordial Soup Kitchen" campaign that is in the back of the old setting book. Since that book came ...
0
votes
3answers
243 views

How do you GM well for a party of characters of vastly differing ability and interest [closed]

I'm still looking to be ready to GM an Anima: Beyond Fantasy game and, while my previous problem has still not been solved (shameless plug here), I've run into another one: how to GM for characters of ...
12
votes
5answers
628 views

How do I keep track of “hidden” in game variables without getting bogged down?

I'm currently designing a campaign that has a monumental amount of in-game variables to keep track of, which I'll need to check every time a certain kind of event happens. Reducing the number of ...
11
votes
4answers
1k views

How to get to know my players' expectations?

I am soon starting a new game with a bunch of new people that I have never played with - and some of them I barely spoken to. I am going to be the GM and will introduce them into the setting that they ...
0
votes
3answers
693 views

How often should I plan for the players to make camp?

This question is meta, linking ingame-time to real-time: How often to make camp in Dungeon World? The desired answer is something like "plan to let them make camp every x hours of playing." The ...
15
votes
4answers
1k views

Writing new campaign, is it fine to “make it up as we go along”?

I'm making new fantasy Dungeons and Dragons third edition game. I wrote out the entire first situation with most general situations in mind. Should I try and just "ole" the whole creative process ...
11
votes
3answers
358 views

Where can I find an authentic mine layout for use in a historical campaign?

Abandoned Mines have become a staple of Dungeon-crawling over the years, but despite how many times I’ve cleared out monsters from them, I know very little about mining myself. Now I’m in the GM ...
8
votes
2answers
2k views

How to adjust Hoard of the Dragon Queen for more players?

I (newbie GM) will be running the 1st episode of HotDQ for a party of 6. While the intro states that the difficulty of the encounters can be adjusted for parties != 4, it offers no guidelines to do so ...
3
votes
3answers
461 views

How can I quickly come up with random encounters and puzzles?

I'm DMing my first campaign in D&D 4e using my own setting, and I need to create some random encounters throughout the map surrounding the starting village. I only have a week available between ...
22
votes
5answers
3k views

How does wandering within a city work?

I'm new to RPGs, and I've tried to read some transcriptions or watch some podcasts, but I don't understand how the game works outside a dungeon. Does the city has to be a real city or just a group of ...
6
votes
4answers
3k views

What information a DM should have at hand when in an encounter?

I am currently playing D&D 4th edition and will be DMing soon. The party consists of 7 characters (mine included, even though I am a DM). I will be running a quest that I created myself and ...
9
votes
3answers
612 views

Should I give skills and full stats to NPCs?

Some friends have asked me to master a game for the first time. We are going to play All Flesh Must Be Eaten (It's fun, easy and rules are not as important as actual roleplaying). I have created the ...
13
votes
3answers
16k views

How do I upgrade older D&D adventures to 5th edition?

Before I get into the details I just want to mention that I'm working in a remote area right now and don't have access to the 5e Starter Set, just the downloadable PDFs. I'm looking for advice on how ...
1
vote
1answer
247 views

How far ahead do you plan? [closed]

Iv written a simple intro session for my group that has not played for over a year. I took the time to set it up so the characters are part pre gened and you need only make 3 simple choices before we ...