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

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7
votes
3answers
447 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 ...
8
votes
2answers
591 views

How much, and what kind of, advance planning is appropriate for a sandbox campaign?

New GM attemping to get ideas for a campaign down something similar to a tabletop fallout game. How much info is too much info for general prep? Can there ever be too much? Or is there a general ...
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 ...
10
votes
2answers
353 views

Methods for round-robin style DM'ing in AD&D?

Round-robin storytelling has been around for a while, and something I have always been interested in experimenting in AD&D with a variation of GM'ing where players take turns becoming the GM in ...
16
votes
4answers
12k 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 ...
38
votes
9answers
9k 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 ...
14
votes
3answers
996 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 ...
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 ...
17
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 ...
10
votes
4answers
6k views

Is there a Masterplan-like tool for 3.5?

I'm looking for a tool like Masterplan or something near, but for a 3.5 / Pathfinder d20 game. I don't mind if you know of something better ;)
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 ...
29
votes
9answers
2k views

How do I escape the Quicksand Box?

I have a very significant problem whenever I try GMing any given game; I try to provide a world with a lot of wiggle room for the characters as well as factions/NPCs they interact with. Oftentimes my ...
23
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 ...
13
votes
2answers
2k views

DM organization ideas for Sandbox campaign

I have over the past couple months been putting together Ideas on how I would run an All Flesh Must Be Eaten campaign. How do other DMs organize their Bads or Locations that the PC's might wish to ...
10
votes
4answers
1k 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 ...
9
votes
3answers
644 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
17k 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 ...
7
votes
1answer
400 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 ...
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 ...
12
votes
5answers
1k views

Differences Between Freeform and Rules-heavy Roleplay

I am a relatively new DM...okay I actually haven't ever RUN a campaign. The closest I have come to was running a short, 2-encounter dungeon against Manticores and a Raksasha that summoned a Grey ...
10
votes
3answers
482 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" ...
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 ...
2
votes
1answer
90 views

If the Wealth-By-Level is an indication of the value of Magic Items for Player Characters, does the WBL for NPCs have the same purpose?

If the Wealth-By-Level is an indication of the value of Magic Items for Player Characters to use in combat, does the WBL for NPCs have the same purpose, or is it there for some other purpose (to ...
2
votes
0answers
499 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 ...