The practical arts and methods applied to gamemastering.

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22
votes
10answers
978 views

How do I find and eliminate plot holes?

I'm still a pretty new GM. Even though I enjoy coming up with plots and writing the overarching story-line, when I tell my wife (who does not play) how the adventure should progress (the long-view, ...
30
votes
9answers
1k views

How can I more effectively use darkness in a dungeon?

In more than one of my D&D campaigns, I've found myself feeling disappointed at my inability to make the darkness of the dungeon matter. Everyone has enough torches, and I'm not likely to be able ...
14
votes
4answers
391 views

Tips for organising a short campaign?

I'm planning on fitting as much roleplay into my university's intersemester break (ISB) as I can. I've got ideas for campaigns in my head, and I'm reasonably comfortable jotting down a few stats and ...
13
votes
7answers
452 views

How can I bring in new players on the fly?

How can I smoothly bring in a new player and character with little or no notice? I run a semi-public game shop pathfinder game, and I sometimes have people show up to play I hadn't planned on. Often ...
7
votes
4answers
394 views

How do I get my dresden files players involved in city creation?

I've tried to involve my players in city creation a few times through the course of the game, usually whenever they are about to finish up a story arc, but I usually all I get are just get a few ...
11
votes
6answers
263 views

How can I add underworld intrigue to my Dresden Files game?

In D&D/Pathfinder/RIFTS/Shadowrun-type games I've played in the past, corrupt nobles/merchants, thieves' guilds, megacorps, ancient evils, and various religions with a flakey axe to grind were all ...
49
votes
15answers
3k 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 ...
7
votes
6answers
308 views

How do you come up with attribute values and skills for your NPCs

I have been playing PnP for some years now and also had one session GMing (my first) and I discovered that my biggest problem wasn't creating a world, inventing scenes or reacting fast if my players ...
6
votes
4answers
528 views

Bringing a pre-made character to the table or not; pros and cons?

Sometimes a player will have a pre-made character and bring it along to the first gaming session. Other times they will make the character at the table. Sometimes you get a mixed bag. As both a player ...
7
votes
3answers
587 views

Mitigating conflict in a 'mixed' nWoD game

The last (and only) time I ran a mixed game (containing Changeling, Mage and Vampire characters) for nWoD, I explained at length that nWoD started with a clean sheet and no one 'instinctively' hated ...
9
votes
4answers
229 views

How can a GM aid switching between the immersion and the meta level?

In recent adventures, I've often employed and supported using the meta level (i.e. thinking, joking and referencing about the game's contents with reference to our cultural context) for everyone's ...
9
votes
2answers
967 views

How do you run a political campaign?

Although it's a fair way off yet there's a decent chance that my campaign is heading towards becoming very political. I've considered running political games before, but it seems like it would ...
8
votes
3answers
183 views

How do I make players more comfortable in an unusual historical setting?

I run a lot of games/write systems set in specific historical/cultural contexts, because I like rpgs as a way to explore them and think they provide a great sense of place. However, I tend not to ...
26
votes
15answers
4k views

How can I add sound to our sessions?

I've been toying with the idea of adding sound to our typical sessions. I was thinking about throwing in some sounds for atmosphere's sake, like some of the following: Birds chirping/water running ...
13
votes
12answers
809 views

Why would I hire you?

I'm designing a D&D 4E campaign (set in the Forgotten Realms) for my local gaming society, which may or may not spill out into bigger things, rpg.se has given me too many ideas! I want the party ...
16
votes
7answers
603 views

Techniques for skimming through travel (fast travel) without meta-teleportation

In most of my group's campaigns, we spend a lot of time traveling. Unfortunately, this leans one of two ways: Uninteresting or distracting obstacles. If you want to spend time but keep it fresh, ...
16
votes
7answers
645 views

As an experienced GM, what pitfalls should I watch out for? [closed]

I've been GMing for 20 years and have recently started to question if I need a GM-makeover. We are still having fun but could the game be more fun if I shed some bad, and well ingrained habits? I ...
43
votes
10answers
2k views

Is it fair to press the players for decisions during combat?

My group tends to over-analyse during combat, which slows everything down. I press upon my players to make their decision and roll the dice quickly. My players are all experienced in the system and I ...
12
votes
6answers
233 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 ...
12
votes
5answers
2k 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
866 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
209 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
301 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
970 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
481 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 ...
18
votes
8answers
943 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
291 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
428 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
6answers
1k 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
873 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
282 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
368 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
371 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
341 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
174 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
328 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
631 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
561 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
976 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
305 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
816 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
383 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
244 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 ...