The practical arts and methods applied to gamemastering.

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27
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 ...
23
votes
3answers
2k 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
113 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 ...
13
votes
2answers
337 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 ...
10
votes
7answers
2k views

Turning a Campaign Evil Leads To “Problems”

Prologue : So, the campaign I'm running right now has a noble-kinda purpose. To kill the Evil Witch and save the world etc, you get the point. As a plot twist I am thinking to turn the campaign to ...
35
votes
8answers
6k views

What are the essential features of a successful evil campaign?

Until this point, I have demanded that my players not build characters with evil alignments, as I am familiar with how to design campaigns and adventures around "good" or "redemption" themes. ...
10
votes
2answers
334 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 ...
26
votes
7answers
1k views

How can I screen new players to make sure they are a good fit for my game?

I'm looking to start a new Savage Worlds campaign and I need a full set of players for it. I've played in games before and ran a couple of one-shots, but I've never GMed a full campaign. There's ...
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 ...
1
vote
0answers
106 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 ...
11
votes
6answers
414 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 ...
26
votes
8answers
2k views

How to deal with overly cautious players?

Recent encounters with hard to hurt opponents have left the party pretty beat up. The player is now seemingly scared by similar encounters and prefers fleeing. I'm GMing a solo game of Pathfinder for ...
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 ...
15
votes
5answers
541 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 ...
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 ...
6
votes
2answers
222 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 ...
4
votes
2answers
865 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 ...
48
votes
11answers
3k views

How do I deal with PCs who use kidnap and torture as an investigative technique?

I'm running a game in a modern setting with emphasis on the paranormal (Conspiracy X). The player characters are part of a secret government organization and are tasked with investigating & ...
5
votes
3answers
336 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 ...
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 ...
4
votes
3answers
214 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 ...
32
votes
10answers
2k views

How to handle wealthy player characters as a GM?

One of the long-standing settings our group keeps returning to is classic medieval fantasy. (Examples are MERP, Rolemaster, The Dark Eye -- But this question is aimed to be system agnostic and is ...
61
votes
15answers
3k views

How should GM deal with 'standing orders'?

I once got this scenario. This is what the player says as he infiltrates an enemy NPC's mansion. I am always checking for trap wherever I go. Assume that I am always looking around me wary and ...
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 ...
8
votes
3answers
491 views

How to GM a zombie-apocalypse game?

I was asked, not a long time ago, to GM a zombie-apocalypse one-shot. Being versed in horror-GMing, I decided to approach the genre as I approach most other genres of horror, but I've encountered a ...
37
votes
10answers
4k views

How do I handle a group that does not understand the 'assumption rule'?

1st rule of D&D (as of 3rd edition/pathfinder): The GM is the final arbiter on all rules. I understand this, completely, and do not disagree. That said, I'm having trouble with a group that ...
22
votes
5answers
982 views

Learning to use spells comfortably

I'm hoping to get a little but of advice. You see, I've been running Rise of the Runelords, although the fact that I'm using Pathfinder probably isn't too relevant. Point is, I'm relatively new to ...
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 ...
13
votes
3answers
1k views

How can I decrease the difficulty of a scene on the fly?

I was a DM for the first time yesterday. It was a lot of fun, and all things considered, I think I've made a pretty darn good first session. It was, however, too difficult. I've based the various ...
2
votes
3answers
801 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 ...
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 ...
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 ...
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 ...
0
votes
3answers
149 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 ...
5
votes
7answers
388 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 ...
11
votes
1answer
553 views

How can I help my players be proactive and dramatic together?

We've recently started a Fate Core game, and found that the system delivers on its promise of stories about "proactive, competent and dramatic" characters. Which is great! Except the characters, drawn ...
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 ...
16
votes
9answers
2k views

GM burn-out concerning worlds and systems

I've been primarily and almost exclusively a GM for long, long years. I still enjoy GMing, and I'd like to keep doing it. However, I've lost interest in practically all of the games and worlds we used ...
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 ...
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 ...
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 ...
1
vote
1answer
213 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 ...
54
votes
22answers
2k views

What approaches are there to lessen or eliminate reliance upon dice in an RPG? [closed]

Is it necessary to use dice all the time in a dice-based RPG system? In other words, are there occasions or means by which you speed up gameplay by either reducing the number of rolls or removing the ...
27
votes
5answers
2k views

Dealing with players who try to run from everything?

I DM for a group with a guy who always suggests leaving the dungeon, area, or wherever the party is. It seems like no matter what I try or do to the setting he just won't relax and play the game – he ...
27
votes
6answers
743 views

What field-specific puzzles can I give to engineering and psychology students?

A few sessions ago, I gave my players a puzzle that involved converting a decimal number to binary to figure out the correct sequence to open a door. Since my group consists primarily of computer ...
55
votes
16answers
4k views

How do I stop my PCs from acting like insomniac monkeys on crack?

An issue came up in the last session of my Pathfinder campaign - that of chronic PC impatience. It happens especially when they go to cities and between major adventures. They go into a frenzy of ...
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 ...
58
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 ...