The practical arts and methods applied to gamemastering.

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2
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0answers
46 views

How smart should the BBEG be? [on hold]

So recently I've run into an issue with some of my players concerning the tactical efficiency of the bad-guy spellcasters. Specifically, we're playing a Pathfinder Adventure Path at mid-levels ...
15
votes
5answers
2k views

How do I make a PC's religion help drive the story?

As a GM, how can I make a player-character's religion help drive the story? I'm going to be making up a local religion for the region that most of the party is from, and I'd like it to really matter ...
21
votes
6answers
3k views

How can I let a wild and reckless character shine?

We're playing a rather serious story of political intrigue with a bit of magic thrown in. Most of the players are fairly sensible, trying to figure out who poisoned the duke, or how to safely dispose ...
3
votes
1answer
128 views

How can I apply the abstract range system used by 13th Age in my D&D 5e game to reduce reliance on diagrams and drawn maps?

I have been reading through some of the 13th Age rules on combat and I was particularly interested in the way that system handles combat range. While I am loving D&D 5e, tracking distance and ...
13
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4answers
1k views

How can I handle a disruptive player with thin skin?

My problem is that I have a player who Takes everything that happens to his character personally and then throws tantrums, and Metagames consistently. We run a very homebrew game, all players know ...
14
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3answers
2k views

How can I keep players, whose characters are unconscious, entertained?

In each session, I always try to gradually crank up the tension and danger, so that the final combat encounter (assuming that it is a combat encounter) is the most difficult (read deadly). However, ...
18
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14answers
5k views

Is making characters who go off the rails unlucky a good technique for keeping the plot moving?

I will soon be the GM of a 4 players party. It will be my very first game as a GM, and one thing that terrifies me is to let players make the choices they want and lose them far away from the plot. I ...
13
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5answers
521 views

How to solve a player feeling like their socially-focused PC isn't useful?

I have a player (I'll call him Jeff) whose PC is a peaceful diplomat. He invested most of his points in Charisma and charisma-based skills. He also has minor telepathy (able to read and influence ...
4
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7answers
1k views

Should the GM point out when a PC's behaving contrary to the world as the GM sees it? [closed]

Should the GM point out when he believes a PC is acting against what the GM believes is reasonable behavior? And, if so, should the act of pointing this out be obvious or subtle? For example, a PC ...
37
votes
19answers
6k views

Dislike how players accurately place fireballs. Is there an alternative?

I'm running 5e on a grid with minis. The one thing that I hate is when a sorcerer or wizards casts a fireball that perfectly hits enemies in the aoe. The player counts the squares on the grid to ...
16
votes
2answers
729 views

How to GM “An arresting skinner” in a balanced, fair and fun way

In Apocalypse World, the social and beauty oriented class Skinner has a move called "An arresting skinner" which does pretty much what it promises: An arresting skinner: when you remove clothing, ...
7
votes
4answers
229 views

How can I scale traps in a published adventure for a larger party?

I'm about to start DMing for a group of 7, mostly new to Pathfinder. I myself have not DMed Pathfinder before, and haven't played it recently. We'll be going through the Mummy's Mask adventure path, ...
7
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3answers
612 views

What can I do to help me remember details about the area the PCs exploring?

I've recently started DMing Curse of Strahd. The players took the bait and ended up in the Death House. Our currently first and only session of this module ended with the party just reaching the third ...
31
votes
5answers
5k views

How to explain to a new player that metagaming is encouraged in this group

I am part of a social board games group that meets most weekends to play short (max one session) games that usually involve role playing of some kind. Recently someone invited a friend from another, ...
12
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9answers
4k views

How should I deal with metagaming?

I'm the GM and author of my own system, which we have been playing for a couple of years now. Last year, four completely new members joined. Two players are giving hints to others even when their ...
11
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3answers
2k views

How can PCs find how to restore Horrifying Visage aging?

The Horrifying Visage attack of a D&D 5e ghost involves a Wisdom saving throw with a haunting failure ramification: If the save fails by 5 or more, the target also ages 1d4*10 years. ...
2
votes
2answers
191 views

How can I provide a challenge for a powergamer? [duplicate]

One of the players in my game is the most fervent powergamer I've ever met. I know it's how he gets enjoyment from the game, and so far it doesn't intrude on the other players' enjoyment, so I've ...
30
votes
6answers
5k views

How to deal with a player who “jumps the gun” with premature rules-lawyering?

My question is somewhat similar to this question, however I feel I have a different situation in which my question is not covered by the answers stated. I have a player in my campaign group of 5 ...
15
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4answers
2k views

What is the impact of sharing GM notes with the players? [closed]

Recently I've finished a game with my GM (tips hat) having no problem with answering "most of some questions" about the setting, plot, game etc. but wasn't comfortable with sharing his GM notes. ...
11
votes
4answers
540 views

How do I get the non-magic-user in the party to feel more valued?

Issue: I'm running a long campaign and recently one of my players mentioned feeling a bit left out, not being a caster. I kind of have to agree; all the PC's are pretty well-rounded so there isn't ...
8
votes
3answers
1k views

As a GM, how can I adjudicate de-escalating combat?

As a sister question to How can combat be de-escalated once started by a player? In a D&D 5e game, a player rushed into combat with an NPC that wasn't particularly hostile. As a player, I ...
1
vote
0answers
63 views

Somebody has any GM/PC experience in Harry Potter RPG by Matthew A. Kearns? [closed]

My girlfriend really fun of Harry Potter "universe" and I like it too. She use to ask me to tell her interesting stories since I am a history teacher. I thought it could be much more interesting to ...
52
votes
6answers
5k views

How should the DM manage the discrepancy between the player's memory and their PC's memory?

It may happen that, during a session, players don't remember the name of a NPC that they met (or, more generally, information about something that happened) during the previous session. Obviously, ...
3
votes
1answer
87 views

Guidelines for attacking objects

So in 3.5, there were some suggestions for assigning AC and hit points to common objects, but in 5e we're left to speculate - the PHB has precious little, and I didn't see anything in the DMG. DM fiat ...
10
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4answers
1k views

I want to run a trial in D&D 3.5, but how can I avoid invalidation by magic?

The Background I'm a pretty new DM, and I'm running a casual game of D&D 3.5 (with some rulings from Pathfinder added to the mix, for practical reasons) and I like doing special things for my ...
17
votes
5answers
2k views

How to get players to do something without them feeling railroaded?

I'm DM'ing a play-by-post campaign and I'm at a point in the adventure where the group all meets for the first time. They've all had something stolen from them at the same time and saw a creature that ...
15
votes
3answers
339 views

How to keep track of the current situation in a setting?

When a GM creates his own setting (e.g. two neighboring kingdoms), he details it with important people, political relationships, events and so on. During a campaign, PCs' actions alter the setting's ...
13
votes
6answers
797 views

How do I motivate players to do character sheet updates outside of session?

I run a weekly campaign with one session every Sunday. My core group (4-5 people) always show up, with the occasional person who joins from time to time (either playing a new character they wanted to ...
2
votes
1answer
95 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 ...
7
votes
2answers
212 views

Character power

I am in a pathfinder campaign where the GM has straight up told me that our martial characters are too powerful and making the game unbalanced for everyone. We are currently level 3 and our characters ...
2
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0answers
103 views

How to handle multiple main villains in your campaign [closed]

I was hoping to pick your collective brains in preparation for my new 5e Eberron campaign starting in a few months. Most of the blogs/books etc I've looked through look at campaign design with one ...
26
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5answers
2k views

How can I keep surprising my co-GM when he's playing in my campaign?

I recently started a D&D 5e campaign with my gaming group and one of my friends has decided he wants to GM also. The setting we're playing in is a homebrew setting; I created the general outline ...
6
votes
1answer
304 views

How can you handle PvP Combat so everyone has fun?

Recently my group's campaign in Anima: Beyond Fantasy took a turn towards a combination political intrigue/martial arts tournament that inevitably ended up resulting in PvP matches. The first of these ...
12
votes
3answers
2k views

Player Turned Sensitive About Failure, PC Injury

While I have been DM/GM'ing for a long time I have had a player suddenly change their attitude towards the game. They are not an experienced player, but they are not new to the entire role-play ...
4
votes
2answers
99 views

How do you handle different difficulties at the same task? [duplicate]

In a game of Dungeon World, how do you handle different difficulties at the same task? A few examples: climbing a wall with easier handholds vs. climbing a smoother wall pushing a heavy cabinet out ...
17
votes
5answers
3k views

How does Lost Mines of Phandelver expect PCs to take on side quests without demanding pay?

Note: my question is specific to the LMoP adventure. I am not asking for general advice on motivating players. I've recently begun a new campaign in 5e with my group of players. We are all new to ...
5
votes
4answers
465 views

How to handle initiative when a new force joins a combat in progress

I am DMing a small hunger-games-like adventure where there are multiple parties of NPC who also are participating. It is pretty likely that the PCs will happen upon some of the NPCs fighting some ...
43
votes
9answers
5k views

How to handle players who make unmotivated characters

I'm a relatively new GM, and I'm having trouble getting my (also new) players to create motivated characters. I don't mean that the players themselves are unmotivated, but the characters they create ...
7
votes
4answers
593 views

My players want to resolve conflicts nonviolently. How do I tell them it won't work?

When I'm GMing and trying to create tension by having a big boss fight, invariably one of the players will ask me if his character can, instead, bribe the big boss or try to smooth talk him or make ...
6
votes
5answers
418 views

Dice results hidden from the players? [duplicate]

Does it make any sense to specifically hide the results of a player's dice roll from the said player? This method is based on my assumption that many actions do not immediately reveal themselves as ...
16
votes
7answers
3k views

How do I balance an all-spellcaster party?

This here campaign I'm about to unfold is going to feature 2-3 players, 2 of which definitely want to get spellcasting characters and the third is very likely to go down the same path. Q: How do I ...
0
votes
2answers
171 views

How to let players roll perception checks without suspicion? [duplicate]

I am a new GM playing Pathfinder. I am curious about perception. How can I have the players roll for perception without making them really suspicious? For example, if a trap is in the middle of a room ...
2
votes
1answer
210 views

Is 'reversing' healing so that it actually does damage a legitimate mechanic for the DM? [closed]

Some time ago we were in a final battle with a end boss for a dungeon. The fight went pretty well in our favor but when the boss hit his bloodied value, our DM described that he emitted a dark shroud ...
45
votes
9answers
6k views

Make the player roll even if there is no chance of success?

Let's say you're the GM and the player attempts to do something, but you already know that given his current stats, it's impossible for him to succeed at it. Do you make him roll anyway, or do you ...
14
votes
2answers
303 views

What planning and division of labour is necessary to have two GMs in a campaign?

One time, me and one of my groups had decided to play an entire weekend. But on the first day one of the players, who also alternates as GM with our standard GM, sacrificed himself to save the group. ...
29
votes
8answers
3k views

How can I encourage combat as war-style play in my campaign?

I've recently begun a new D&D 5e campaign with a group of players who have all just come from a Pathfinder adventure path. I was the GM for that campaign and it was a very on-the-rails adventure ...
26
votes
8answers
3k views

What should I keep in mind when running a game intended to subvert the players' expectations?

Many of my favorite works of fiction are either explicitly deconstructive in nature, or at least feature elements or scenes that unexpectedly subvert the audience's expectations. Often these are some ...
149
votes
14answers
17k views

Managing a Medieval Low Orbit Ion Cannon

Sometimes I hate my players. My table is currently composed of five diabolically inventive players. They come from a mixed IT/Engineering background, so more often than not, I have to deal with some ...
24
votes
12answers
4k views

How can an experienced GM improve without watching other GMs?

I've been running role-playing games on and off for years, mostly D&D going all the way back to first edition. I was the first person in my town to get the hobby bug when I was a boy, and so I was ...
18
votes
6answers
1k views

How to make large number of NPCs manageable to the GM?

I'm planning a game where there is about a dozen important NPC actors, with some more less important ones. "Important" means that even if they are not directly involved in current events, they play a ...