The practical arts and methods applied to gamemastering.

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10answers
1k views

Is It OK To Sic Assassins On My PCs?

L5R has the most specific example in my immediate memory. In one game, the players were in a diplomatic situation and a Shosuro Shinobi (ninja) was sneaking around to stir the pot. This was a ...
12
votes
9answers
2k views

How to help players who roll really badly? [duplicate]

Scenario: player rolls to attack, rolls a 1. Next round, rolls a 1. Round after that, rolls a 1. Fourth round, rolls a 2. This really happened today. He was going back and forth between two different ...
10
votes
4answers
2k views

Responding to players paying exclusively with gold coins

I noticed that my players would pay everything in gold. A simple piece of bread? 1 copper. "Here, have a gold and keep the change." They get into a tavern. A beer! Here, have a gold coin and keep the ...
12
votes
0answers
297 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 ...
8
votes
3answers
267 views

Introducing a complex game world to players unfamiliar with its fiction whilst still hitting the ground running with character creation?

I am preparing to start up a Hellfrost game using the Savage Worlds system. Although I've run Hellfrost before, it has always been for people who are already familiar with its fiction and fluff. In ...
22
votes
6answers
532 views

Techniques for communicating setting and campaign information to the PCs?

In the past, I've almost always had at least one NPC that would travel with the characters as a type of "lore master" to expand on the story. I've tried to make the character witty and, once the ...
5
votes
2answers
200 views

How can I gauge the strength of my PCs in Legend?

I've been trying to run Legend on and off lately, and I find myself faced with a frustration. Though I find the Mook rules easy enough to comprehend, I can't seem to create appropriate challenges for ...
22
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9answers
1k views

How do I help my players get past an obstacle I didn't intend?

Here's the situation. There's a locked door that prevents any further progress into the dungeon. There's a keyhole in the door and a message basically saying that the key needs to be wished for. In ...
8
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5answers
682 views

How do I reduce the number of encounters in D&D 4E without reducing the difficulty?

4E is setup very well for long chains of battles, especially in the form of a dungeon crawl. However, sometimes it doesn't make sense to constantly be in chains of combat. Here are but a few examples: ...
11
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4answers
973 views

Making epic combat interesting and challenging but not complicated

I'm running up on the tail end of a year-and-a-half 4e campaign, and epic levels are exhausting to GM. Everyone has more weird powers than you can shake a dragon at, and that includes the NPCs ...
12
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3answers
477 views

Tips and pitfalls for a variable-size group

My gaming group has very fluid attendance. From week to week it's been known to fluctuate between ten and two players, usually hovering around three to five. I've become reasonably adept at building ...
17
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4answers
1k views

Please stop giving the town sheriff a noogie!

Related to this question but more closely related to this question. How can I get my PCs to not cause a single or small handful of characters to become the butt of a joke when that humor could easily ...
14
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7answers
444 views

Advantages and disadvantages in using a one-shot pre-gen to introduce a new system

In questions about how to learn new systems, or teach them, a common suggestion is to run a single-session game with pre-made characters and a pre-made scenario. In your experience as a GM and/or ...
11
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2answers
1k views

DM organization ideas for Sandbox campaign

I have over the past couple months been putting together Ideas on how I would run an All Flesh Must Be Eaten campaign. How do other DMs organize their Bads or Locations that the PC's might wish to ...
4
votes
3answers
789 views

DM going from D&D 3.5e to AD&D 1st edition [closed]

I recently purchased the following seven AD&D books: Player Handbook, Monster Manual, Dungeon Master's Guide, Fiend Folio, Monster Manual 2, Unearthed Arcana, and. Deites and Demigods. Based on ...
14
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1answer
579 views

What concrete rules can you point a GM to that is stuck in non-storytelling paradigms for Fate?

Inspired by a response to my answer to Can you concede by dying in Dresden Files?, I was wondering what concrete rules can you point a GM to that is stuck in non-storytelling paradigms in Fate? I ...
10
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5answers
557 views

How can I create a more serious atmosphere when playing with siblings?

At our gaming table the players are always making jokes, and some make nonsense noises for some strange reason. My players generally act like hooligans. Getting a new group is not an option – they're ...
15
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5answers
769 views

How can I add story to every encounter so that they don't seem like I'm just piling monsters on the characters for xp?

I am running a Viking themed 3.5 adventure and the party is traveling to confront a barbarian king on the way though they have just been fighting wild animals and it feels like these encounters don't ...
19
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8answers
731 views

Systems giving XP based on roleplay - How to avoid jealousy/party balance problem

I used to play systems where XP is usually allowed to the group and shared equally no matter how well the players roleplayed or got involved in the story. But now I started Shadowrun and karma (or XP) ...
14
votes
8answers
994 views

Non-magical encounter suggestions

I'm once again turning to the good folks at Stack Exchange for help regarding my non-magical campaign. I've written several encounters in which the PCs fight the main bad guys and their followers ...
9
votes
1answer
283 views

How can I estimate difficulty in a FATE based game?

In a recent game of Diaspora, I pitted three of my "5 cap" player characters against four "3 cap" and one "4 cap" character in physical combat, and was surprised to see that the characters came away ...
23
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6answers
917 views

When GMing in a high-tech game world how do you handle potentially disruptive tech?

This question stems from my Eclipse Phase campaign, but applies to any high-tech setting. While the setting books describe a wealth of technology, there are plenty of tools that are not listed. That's ...
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2answers
855 views

Good RPG System/Game/style for just a single DM and single Player? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: 1 GM and 1 Player games and game systems? I am looking for a system or style of play (or even contained game/game module) which would be fun for just one player---myself ...
4
votes
1answer
442 views

How to upgrade Pathfinder Beginner Box games and characters to Pathfinder Core Rules?

Similar to this question on Red box to 4e core rules upgrade, what problems are there overcome with or good ways to achieve moving games and characters from the Beginner Box rules to Pathfinder Core ...
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5answers
812 views

How do I encourage player-GM storytelling collaboration without “breaking” my game?

I've DM/GM'd for several gaming groups, young and old, and have found that one of the things that separates my younger players from older players is their eagerness to elaborate/collaborate in the ...
16
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4answers
489 views

How would I quickly put together a believable map of an area?

As part of my "Closed Circle" campaign, I'm looking for ways to quickly put together a believable map of a college campus and surrounding area, complete with believable building placement. "Quickly" ...
11
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5answers
453 views

How can I stop a large level disparity from being a problem?

In my campaign, my players each have several different characters at the home base. Every session, they pick which one they want to play. However, some players always use the same one and so have more ...
12
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3answers
431 views

How can I build open-ended questions into a scenario in a GM driven world?

Inspired by this question. In a game where the GM has the traditional role of answering all the questions about the world, what is the benefit of building open-ended questions into the scenario for ...
37
votes
14answers
2k views

How to get out of a story deadlock

As with most of my questions, this is more of a general "how to handle a special situation" and not a plea to solve an existing problem. What is the best way to handle story deadlocks (as in: The ...
14
votes
4answers
249 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 ...
6
votes
3answers
155 views

When should I put an NPC card on the table?

I'm running a game of Diaspora, which is my first FATE based game. The manual talks about playing with everything in the open and I'm all for that, but when should I actually make up a card for an ...
10
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1answer
972 views

How can GMs quickly calculate the effects of level drain?

I've GM'ed a few Pathfinder games, and while I really enjoy the setting, I just can't wrap my head around some of the crunchy mechanics. In particular, how do you (quickly) deal with effects like ...
6
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4answers
1k views

How do I deal with absent players?

If a player is absent and nobody chooses to play this absent character and instead I let it vanish for a while with a suitable reason or excuse, does this missing player gain levels and XP with the ...
4
votes
2answers
3k views

Pathfinder monster races: Broken?

I've played an ogre barbarian/fighter with a one-hit-one-kill concept, and he can put out more damage than anything in the party. I've played a serpentfolk wizard whose DCs were so high, creatures 10 ...
4
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5answers
1k views

How to impose consequences for breaking the Paladin's Code without coming off as a insensitive GM? [closed]

It all started when we were going through a premade adventure's flavor text and got to the bit when the party walked into the town of Night Falls. One PC, a paladin, used his class ability to detect ...
12
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5answers
683 views

What is a challenge to a Perfect character?

Solars are Perfect at whatever skills they choose to develop and use. This doesn't make the job of the storyteller easy. Perfect in this case means a charm that allows them to avoid a roll entirely ...
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vote
1answer
181 views

How many XP points should an enemy have?

How can I assign an amount of XP points to an enemy that I have created for a campaign that I am writing? What would be a good way to decide, and still be fair? The campaign that I wrote is for the ...
39
votes
6answers
1k views

GMing a setting when your players are more familiar with it than you

My players often ask me to GM games in specific settings we all like. Most of the time, they know FAR more than me about that setting. They will object to events I have happen or how I play an NPC, ...
8
votes
2answers
260 views

Mechanics and methods for playing a quantum-superposition of worlds

I'm looking for game mechanics and story telling methods that convey the atmosphere that characters don't just live in one world, but in a multiverse adhering to something similar to the many-worlds ...
39
votes
7answers
1k views

How can I quickly get a player back into a session after their character dies?

As a GM, what kind of techniques could I use to help a player re-join the gaming session after their character dies? I want to avoid any major interruptions to the flow of the adventure. I would also ...
12
votes
6answers
1k views

How can I make my adventures more bard-inclusive?

For whatever reason, it seems that no one in my campaigns ever chooses to play a bard. I am beginning to wonder if it has something to do with the adventures I construct as our game's DM. These ...
10
votes
12answers
778 views

How do I design a Christmas-themed horror adventure?

'Tis soon the season and I want to treat my players to a Christmas-themed adventure as part of my ongoing horror campaign. I want to keep the horror element, but I don't mind mixing in a bit of humor ...
12
votes
3answers
507 views

Single player games suitable for session preparation

I found a demo version of How to Host a Dungeon, and somehow the idea really grew on me. Not just creating dungeons, but actually having methods of making gm prep work into a game. I haven't seen ...
21
votes
10answers
324 views

Keeping a published module interesting when some players have already played.

When running a published adventure which some players have already played, such as a RPGA module, are there any suggestions for keeping it interesting for all involved ?
29
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8answers
2k 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 ...
11
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8answers
400 views

Using Boardgames or Card Games to improve GMing or Playing [closed]

Do you know of any cases of successfully using props or cards from board games/card games (all kinds) to run a campaign, ease preparing for a session or the playing itself? I am interested both in ...
11
votes
2answers
610 views

Tips for keeping track of NPC stats and conditions

Is there a good paper based solution to keep track of NPC stats so they are avaliable when you need them in-game but don't take hours to keep up to date? I have a bunch of NPC notes and lists of ...
16
votes
3answers
451 views

Reducing Preparation time for Gumshoe GMs

As a new player in a game of Mutant City Blues, it has struck me that the GM has a very large workload when prepping the investigation scenes if there is to be any real interaction with that scene for ...
15
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5answers
580 views

As a GM, what aids could I use to create adventure scenes on the spot?

As a GM, many a time I run into a situation that I know nothing of, am not prepared about, and need something, NOW! Maybe it is a freeform adventure and plot was not prepared, maybe I prepared some ...
6
votes
3answers
319 views

When should I separate encounters?

I had a session this week involving a fairly large battle at sea. The encounter involved a couple of boarders while the enemy ship was still at quite a distance, and the larger group still on the ...