The practical arts and methods applied to gamemastering.

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12
votes
6answers
230 views

Rebalancing Experience Point Totals?

Say that through legal game play some player characters have gained a lot more XP than others. Should the referee take steps to rebalance the player characters, or just let it go as it is part of the ...
11
votes
5answers
1k views

How do I represent semi-realistic gun fire-fights using Pathfinder/D&D 3.5 cover rules?

I am running a sci-fi/fantasy game using Pathfinder. The setting is firearms and future weapons focused. It's also being played on a virtual battle-map with tokens and will be run very tactically. ...
8
votes
2answers
838 views

How do I implement Social Combat into a D&D/D20/Pathfinder game?

One of the coolest parts of White-Wolf games, in my opinion, is that they usually offer the ability for Social Combat to be just as exciting as physical or mental combat. How can I run Social Combat ...
14
votes
4answers
238 views

Is there a method for sliding seamlessly from one system into another during a campaign?

Has anyone changed system/setting/genre but kept the characters during a campaign? Players can become very attached to their characters, even when the campaign/setting/genre or system is getting ...
7
votes
2answers
207 views

Good storylines to accompany 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 thing of a good premise for the party to meet the new ...
12
votes
6answers
300 views

How to introduce item descriptions

One of the things that I dislike when running a session is how a great majority of the items are bland - a short sword is a short sword, a bow is a bow, an arrow is an arrow. After sitting on it for ...
44
votes
12answers
1k views

How do I make weather an important part of the game?

We're starting up a dark ages fantasy game, using some homebrew rules similar to D&D. As the GM, how can I make weather an important part of the game? To be clear, I'm not trying to just toss in ...
8
votes
3answers
911 views

Role playing/plot focused one shot sessions

I am faced with a challenge with creating a one shot session for a couple of friends. From experience I can see that it is difficult to indulge players into setting, plot, world, characters in a ...
17
votes
8answers
478 views

Treasure that's hard to put a price on

(We've been playing D&D, but for this answer I'm looking for a system-agnostic answer that works for a premodern setting. Let's say 1500 AD or earlier.) Most of the treasure the party gets from ...
32
votes
9answers
1k views

What can I do to give the players the same feel their characters would have about wilderness travel?

I find that in a lot of our group's games, traveling long distances through wilderness is too easy. In real life, it's quite arduous traveling overland. No one who's just walked a hundred miles is ...
17
votes
8answers
912 views

How valid is lying to players about the rolls they are making in The Dresden Files?

In last weeks Dresden Files game, the players followed the bad guy using a tracking spell, and found him in the projects at an apartment that they knew little about. Seeing his car, they decided to ...
12
votes
0answers
290 views

As a GM, how can I create and role-play diverse NPCs better? [duplicate]

I am new to GMing (and role-playing in general, for that matter) and I am having a somewhat difficult time making plausible and interesting NPCs. This is especially true with NPCs who are not "typical ...
22
votes
4answers
420 views

How do I construct an individual session as part of a larger campaign?

I've been GMing/DMing on and off for years. I prefer playing. Mainly because when I run a game, I'm more a fly by the seat of your pants kind of dm, and it works sort of.. My problem is that, while I ...
6
votes
0answers
182 views

How do I effectively portray multiple characters in conversation? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: How do you handle verbal exchanges between NPCs without taking the PCs out of the spotlight? You should be familiar with this set up: All the characters are at a party ...
30
votes
5answers
976 views

How do I emphasize role-playing during combat?

Right now, the group that I GM for is very, very tactical-combat focused. To some extent, we may as well be playing a dungeon crawl board game for all the role-play we manage. Now, in and of itself ...
28
votes
7answers
5k 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 ...
24
votes
7answers
867 views

How to add a player who joined after the campaign started?

I started running a game, and then a friend of mine expressed interest in playing, so I invited him to join us. He created a character and came along to the next session. As the rest of the party was ...
5
votes
2answers
281 views

Using Org-Mode for Player and DM Notes?

I love Org-Mode. So I obviously would like to use it for my notes for DMing and Playing. However before I get cracking, I was wandering if anyone has tried it, and any half decent custom set ups that ...
13
votes
5answers
366 views

How to handle lack of PC communication?

I've currently got a DFRPG group, and it's struggling a little bit. The main issue right now is that there's a good lack of communication between PC's. How can I encourage the players to communicate ...
32
votes
6answers
1k views

How do you handle verbal exchanges between NPCs without taking the PCs out of the spotlight?

One of the assumptions I make as GM is that the players should always be in the spotlight. Sometimes the players find themselves in a situation where they watch NPCs speak to each other. I don't ...
7
votes
2answers
370 views

Picking a lock with wind magic

In the book, one of the examples given for wind magic is that you can pick a lock with it. Now my question is, should using wind magic to pick a lock just be a minor use of magic and not require a ...
11
votes
3answers
338 views

Does an emissary of power HAVE to be known?

The Emissary of power power states that people recognize you as the arbiter of the entity that gave you the power. Could you play it though as if the entity of the power is unknown, and not easily ...
10
votes
1answer
170 views

Playing a pregame, how to keep sense of continuity in campaign

My players and I are currently playing a "pre-game" for a whole campaign I have written. I want the players to be aware of the "how did it get to be this way", so I make them play two games 4000 and ...
5
votes
4answers
327 views

How to avoid the feeling of railroading in my campaign pregame?

This question is related to my other question. Please see that one for campaign background, rather than me repeating it all here. I don't want the players to feel "trapped" and forced into a ...
11
votes
3answers
619 views

Adapting literary works into RPG adventures

Beowulf is a classic tale which has been translated many times and has had many film adaptations. Seamus Heaney's new translation and Frederick Rebsame's translation are good starts if you have not ...
27
votes
5answers
555 views

How many sessions is enough to judge a game fairly?

I want to introduce some new games to my group. But when I broach the topic like, "Howdja like to play Dogs in the Vineyard?" they balk - not at the prospect of trying something new, but at the ...
25
votes
10answers
3k views

How to make magic items more interesting?

We all read about the little person finding a magical ring and the GM basing his whole plot on that little ring. That was a cool example of a MacGuffin. Earthdawn has a system in which characters ...
32
votes
9answers
972 views

How can I cut short a doomed fight?

Occasionally one of my PC's wanders off and gets himself into a battle he simply cannot win. I know the player wants to play out the battle to see if they can somehow pull it out, but it's boring for ...
11
votes
3answers
288 views

How can I resolve dangerous journeys without playing out every battle in detail?

Here's the situation: The PCs are investigating a mystery far from town, in the dangerous wilderness. Against my expectations, they decide to go back to town, recruit some help, and return to continue ...
31
votes
12answers
805 views

How do I allow player agency in situations with predetermined outcomes?

One of the current members of our group joined a little later than everyone else. His character's history wasn't developed too well, so I am running a one-off session so that the group can play out ...
15
votes
5answers
373 views

How to abstract a trial?

A session I am writing for my gaming group will take the characters through a murder trial. One of the players is the accused, and he and his companions will need to build a case and defend ...
10
votes
4answers
241 views

Do I need to stat out & measure everything?

I am preparing a session that contains a fair amount of absurdity. Many of the creatures and situations that my players will encounter will probably not be encountered again. On the one hand, I know ...
9
votes
1answer
97 views

How to handle combination attacks

This is a topic that the book doesn't really talk about, or if it does i missed it. During one of our fights, our siccomancer (air magic) used a spell to launch our were-tank (he's got a ring that ...
10
votes
3answers
258 views

How can I import the natural suspense and tension from a game of Dread into a game of D&D?

In Dread the game naturally lends itself to suspenseful play. As the game progresses the tower gets more wobbly and tension builds naturally due to the game's mechanics. I'd like to somehow bring this ...
5
votes
1answer
129 views

How to price a custom mortal stunt?

I've got a couple of players that want to create a custom stunt or two, which I'm fine with. However, I'm not really sure on how I should price the cost of their stunts based on what it allows them ...
8
votes
3answers
605 views

How to write in-character introduction to new players for a new game background

So, I have this uber cool game world and I want to run a super cool game in it. It should not really matter what genre for this, but let us assume it is fantasy. Instead of either a long conversation ...
23
votes
3answers
1k views

How to implement a stealth based instant-kill system

I've been playing 4e for a few months now and I'm really interested in creating a dungeon crawl in which the PCs can choose to stealthily kill off certain monsters before they are able to alert other ...
8
votes
2answers
464 views

Creating encounters for a DFRPG party

I've got a 2-person party and i'm having some difficulty with balancing encounters for them. It seems that what i'm making is either way too easy, or harder than i really want it to be (ie, they're ...
39
votes
13answers
1k views

As a GM, how does one deal with all of the players playing nearly identical characters?

I'm running a Deadlands campaign with players who come entirely from D&D and have never played Savage Worlds before. All five people in the group have made nearly identical characters ...
12
votes
1answer
343 views

How do I handle someone who never ever wants to pull?

I am getting ready to host my first game of Dread and the question that is really bugging me is what happens if a player (and I have one in mind) absolutely refuses to pull every single time? Dread ...
7
votes
1answer
275 views

What are the potential pitfalls and errors as a first time DM of a Dread Game?

I am getting ready to run my first session. We are going to run a game of Dread. I have read the Dread book and am planning on running the first published scenario. What kind of pitfalls should I be ...
9
votes
2answers
281 views

What are good techniques to adapt module maps to 3D terrain and/or 2D tilesets?

This is slightly related to How to Use Module Maps but instead of being about how to adapt published small maps to 1" scale or using playmats, I'm interested in technique for adapting to pre-published ...
26
votes
8answers
1k views

Can party betrayal be done successfully?

After reading How much experience should a PC be worth? I was wondering if and how party betrayal can be done successfully, especially since it's a real possibility in my campaign. Criteria for ...
17
votes
3answers
340 views

Is buying game ebooks practical?

I am looking into buying some game rules books as ebooks, but I want to know if anyone else has done this. Ebooks/PDFs are cheaper and easier to get, but I am wondering if that is worth the trade off ...
3
votes
2answers
408 views

How can I improve my ability to react to spontaneous events in Star Wars: Saga Edition?

I like the spontaneousness of being the DM. My players can surprise me with "Hey, I am gonna throw grenades and detonators to blow up the reactor of a capital ship." and they pass the skills checks. ...
8
votes
4answers
162 views

How to effectively run a “Petal” trip or other dream-like sequences

A little background: Eclipse Phase has a drug in the setting that creates a shared hallucinated experience among participants. These drugs, called Petals, are also designed to have some sort of ...
12
votes
4answers
223 views

How to communicate genre tropes for better player buy-in to the genre?

Some games fail to be all that they could be, not because of a lack of engaging play, or clever players, but because of a lack on one or both sides of the GM screen of understanding of the genre being ...
6
votes
3answers
153 views

How do I re-use a module?

I have a very small group of people to play DnD with. (2 people not including myself right now, trying to convince a 3rd) Before I left to this DnD free zone, I got a bunch of starter packs with ...
4
votes
5answers
685 views

What's a good text only adventure game to improve my storytelling for DMing?

I've been trying to think of good ways to improve my narration of scenes when I can't actually practice firsthand with my group. On idea I had was to find some old text-only adventure/RPG games and ...
10
votes
2answers
169 views

Any advice for writing a historically accurate adventure?

I have some players who are requesting that I write some historical adventures. However, I am having a bit of a hard time keeping things historically accurate while still allowing there to be things ...