The practical arts and methods applied to gamemastering.

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14
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3answers
1k views

How to build an evil campaign

I'm going to start DM'ing for the first time next week. When I got together with my group to figure out what type of game to play, when we got to alignment, I told them they either all needed to be ...
3
votes
2answers
99 views

Random weather in flight-centric campaigns

This is inspired by a quick gander at the answers (in particular, the Empire Weather tables) to Randomly-generating weather for a sandbox campaign. How do you adapt Empire Weather, or a similar ...
10
votes
2answers
323 views

How often should the players roll Bluff when interacting with NPCs

My party had secretly infiltrated a stronghold and we were Disguised (using magic) as the leadership of the place after eliminating the real leadership. While rifling through the head honchos stuff ...
24
votes
7answers
2k views

How much do I tell new players about new monsters?

Background I am a brand-new DM, about to lead a game for brand-new players. I have a lot of knowledge of rules from playing Baldur's Gate and Neverwinter Nights over and over, leafing through a ...
1
vote
0answers
104 views

How can I set up a villain with a really, really, long scope to his plans? [on hold]

In the near future I will be running a campaign where the plot, very roughly goes as follows: It's the year X. The world has been destroyed in a process that has taken a long time. Most people ...
12
votes
2answers
307 views

When should I make my players actually roll for stuff?

I've tried to focus my group heavily on Role Playing, perhaps too well given some of my recent problems, which are Orthagonal, and linked mostly to provide historical context. How to reveal plot ...
11
votes
6answers
405 views

How do I GM a character immeasurably more intelligent than myself?

In the near future I am likely to have to GM God. Part of the difficulty I perceive I am going to have in this is God is smarter, wiser, more creative, etc than I am. Ordinarily when I GM characters ...
22
votes
6answers
2k views

Dealing with Argumentative Players

I am currently a GM running a four person campaign that has been going for a couple months. I have one player in particular that is fairly inexperienced and has this habit of skimming technical ...
6
votes
2answers
220 views

How do I stop my players from jumping to conclusions?

Sometimes my players accidentally get ahead of me when they are excited. Example: I make an axe from the materials and use it to chop down the tree. The problem is that the player rushes to chopping ...
5
votes
3answers
334 views

How to reveal plot hooks & other information when NPCs' survival depends on secrecy?

I think that these two problems have a common element that's not being addressed in their answers. The things that the PCs are pursuing basically exist as part of secret societies, in which divulging ...
19
votes
6answers
3k views

How can you deal with players asking the wrong questions?

I feel like my players ask the wrong questions. For example thy went to the strip club, they're trying to hunt a vampire who they "know" came south from Chicago. Their questions aren't necessarily ...
53
votes
13answers
3k views

How do I keep the game moving without undermining player agency?

In basically every game I've run or played, regardless of the system, I've encountered the same problem: things that should be quick decisions end up taking ten, twenty or even thirty minutes, and not ...
4
votes
3answers
213 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 ...
7
votes
4answers
270 views

How to create meaningful relationships with NPCs

How do I help the PCs to create meaningful relationships with NPCs? Maybe it is a result of my group playing too many one-dimensional adventures trying to find whatever MacGuffin they are after each ...
2
votes
2answers
188 views

How to increase difficulty on the fly?

When I started DMing I've had a problem that combat was too difficult for the players. This was a while ago and was mostly connected with D&D 4e. I asked a question and received a lot of great ...
28
votes
12answers
5k views

How to expose information without making a villain monologue

I'm preparing this game of Shadowrun where I have 3 main metaplots driving the campaign. One of them for instance is Seattle hosting the Olympics. Of course in Shadowrun, what the bad guys want is ...
2
votes
3answers
800 views

What can I do to help a pretty weak Halfling Barbarian?

So, in the Pathfinder Campaign I am running, we decided not to max out everything with "optimal builds". The players had a concept for their character in mind, which led to the group consisting of the ...
15
votes
5answers
537 views

How do I prevent retreating to rest and heal from being tedious?

I found an answer to this question for a custom 4e campaign, but was hoping to get some more answers specific to 5e. Background: I'm running the 5e starter set campaign and my group is in the final ...
2
votes
1answer
128 views

How should I talk about temporally active events with my players?

So, I really like Anima, and I've had a lot of fun playing it. I'd like to GM it but it seems a bit overwhelming compared due to the high powered nature of the game. I've GMed Amber before, but Anima ...
12
votes
3answers
2k views

How do I handle large conversations with multiple NPCs?

To begin I've read How do you handle verbal exchanges between NPCs without taking the PCs out of the spotlight? but I don't believe that it answer my question, because it focuses more on dialog simply ...
20
votes
6answers
2k views

How can I get mic-shy players invested in roleplaying over Skype?

My roleplaying group is composed of four friends who roleplay using roll20 as our board and Skype to handle our voice communications. I have one player who is used to roleplaying only in text and ...
27
votes
6answers
2k views

How can I learn how to lay out an “evidence scene”?

I feel like I'm particularly bad at any kind of scene where I want to drop clues. I'm hesitant to use the term "crime scene" because it's not always being investigated by "police", and some of these ...
0
votes
3answers
148 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 ...
4
votes
2answers
168 views

What's the best way to deal with a group that combines lazy and proactive players? [closed]

My group has been fun to play with and likable; we're a group of friends that enjoy the hobby and like to adventure into many different genres and settings, however as a Game Master, there's a problem ...
2
votes
1answer
117 views

What's a good Difficulty for a 5-aspect 20-skill point FATE game?

I have both played and GMed FATE 2.0 a lot but, while deciding the target number for rolls as a GM has somehow always been easy, knowing what difficulties to expect as a player for a long time was ...
1
vote
1answer
212 views

How can I get my players to “go down the rabbit hole”?

So here's where we're at in the game. I've been running prelude to Hunter as if it is actual story. So the outcome is basically set. Two of the PC's are/were related, and the motivation is that the ...
15
votes
7answers
5k views

How do I deal with Messiah Complex Players?

I have this player, he's a great friend of mine and a psychology student. His goal in life has always been helping others out, and is very enthusiastic when talking about RPG games, however he has ...
38
votes
11answers
5k views

How to ease down the munchkin factor?

I've been playing RPGs since the early eighties and have come to terms with the fact that not everyone enjoys this hobby for the same reasons as myself. I'm into it for the sake of the adventure, the ...
9
votes
5answers
2k views

Is it a bad idea to steal characters from other media?

Sometimes I need a character type, say a lawyer and I start thinking about lawyers I know from TV or movies, like Saul Goodman from Breaking Bad. I have this general urge to just straight up rip the ...
7
votes
2answers
237 views

When players have settled into “routines” for runs, how to break them out of the rut?

One way or another almost 95% of all the Shadowruns I either played or was GM in, somehow got to the point where the players would either: gather building plans and/or use their existing collection ...
5
votes
4answers
295 views

How do I help players engage with plot despite giving me no good background hooks?

Two of my players are very excited about the game ("Super-Assassins Take On the Mafia, Ancient Evil") and made backgrounds with lots of good hooks I can use to tie them into the plot. The other two ...
7
votes
3answers
369 views

Is encounter balancing/creation in 5e different to previous editions?

I have been GMing for a group for a few sessions now and I have had a lot of trouble balancing encounters. I go by the rules that it should be the xp the party needs to level as a "balance" and you ...
59
votes
21answers
12k views

How to deal with player MacGyver-ism?

Role playing is an excellent hobby to train your problem solving skills. You learn to look at situations from different view points (i.e. the characters) and you have various skills and resources at ...
20
votes
7answers
1k views

How to keep track of campaign timeline?

Introduction I've been playing table top RPGs for some twelve years now, both as a player and a frequent DM. During this time, I've had maybe half a dozen campaigns and none of them have been ...
5
votes
3answers
343 views

Revealing game world information

A player asked me the other night: "In the World of Darkness are Vampires able to enter without being invited in?". The answer to the question is, yes, and even if they weren't the area was a public ...
12
votes
3answers
930 views

How do you tell your PCs about something that only one of them senses?

I'm trying to determine the best way to deal with keen observers vs. unaware back-seaters. Maybe there's really nothing to do though. Ex 1. A rogue loots a corpse but doesn't want to split the gold. ...
1
vote
0answers
116 views

Do you share your story titles with players? [closed]

I've started to taking to naming my stories, even for no other purpose than record keeping. However I've been thinking about sharing the names of the stories with the players. If you do it do before ...
6
votes
7answers
446 views

Balancing character intelligence against players wits

This might be a broad topic, so let me focus on one scenario, where I would like to hear which actions and methods fellow GMs use. A fantasy campaign runs along. BLUE plays a character who is dumb as ...
4
votes
2answers
864 views

How do I get a player to befriend a Hostile Human NPC? [closed]

I am the DM of a single player D&D 4e campaign and in the campaign the character finds himself on a crashed ship, but does not remember how got there. He discovers he has crashed on an island, and ...
37
votes
9answers
6k views

I failed to open a lock. Now what?

Picking a lock typically requires a DC 15 Dexterity check (Basic rules, p. 49). Likewise for manacles (p. 50), which can alternately be escaped with a DC 20 Dexterity check or broken with a DC 20 ...
2
votes
4answers
452 views

How can I imprison my characters for a long period of time?

I want to imprison my characters for a long period of time, but I don't want them to use any spell or skill to escape before their imprisonment and I certainly don't want to kill them in the process ...
16
votes
5answers
843 views

Setting a table atmosphere that keeps players energetic during long encounters

In an upcoming session, my players will be fighting a really powerful dragon, who acts as the "boss monster" of this part of the story. The players already know where he is and more or less what ...
23
votes
6answers
2k views

How to deal with players rolling dice before establishing the context of the action?

I've been running a lot of fate and cthulhu-dark games lately, and I've run into a common challenge with several players: They'll roll the dice before we establish what kind of action they're taking ...
11
votes
4answers
957 views

How can I get my players to “do their homework”?

I've noticed a problem with my PC's lacking rich backgrounds, or players lacking knowledge of the mechanics of their own characters. This has lead to me giving the players "homework", which I have ...
2
votes
1answer
115 views

Danger and Location Moves in Dungeon World

What is a "danger move" or "location move" exactly? Are the danger moves part of the dangers from the description of the front (i.e. campaign or adventure)? Are location moves specific to a ...
-2
votes
1answer
222 views

How do I deal with players that do not put much effort on character background? [closed]

My group is, on its majority, formed by young players. Even though we have shared Game Table for 4 years and are close friends of mine, they have a tendency to make shallow characters and observe my ...
16
votes
4answers
1k views

Should I use a GMPC to help a small party?

I am starting a Pathfinder game. It will be my first time DM'ing, though I have played 3.x and Pathfinder for a few years. The party will consist of my girlfriend, my best friend, and his girlfriend. ...
5
votes
7answers
384 views

How to GM and Play a Character fairly [duplicate]

I'm a new player to RPGs and I'm trying to incubate my skills so that I can play in a group one day. I've got a fair grasp of the rules and I've been running one on one campaigns with my wife; both as ...
18
votes
2answers
275 views

Apocalypse World without Fronts: Are we missing out?

I've been playing Apocalypse World in a few different groups, both as a GM and a normal player. While I love the game, I found defining Fronts a pain and therefore decided to only introduce them in ...
13
votes
3answers
396 views

Techniques to improvise and run interesting social and mundane scenes

Last session (I GM Traveller, a hard science fiction rpg) I realized my lack of skills when I found myself willing to spend some minutes in playing a scene involved a 3 years old child causing trouble ...