The practical arts and methods applied to gamemastering.

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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 ...
9
votes
2answers
961 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
182 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
26answers
1k views

Biggest GM pitfalls for new GMs? [closed]

What are the biggest/most common GM pitfalls (or mistakes) for new GMs? One pitfall per answer, please!
53
votes
21answers
2k views

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

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 ...
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 ...
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 ...
8
votes
2answers
865 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 ...
29
votes
4answers
1k views

How do I keep a long-range plot cohesive and coherent?

I enjoy GMing but I much prefer to to have some sort of long running plot (or meta-plot) rather than having a series of unconnected unfortunate events afflict my PCs. For example, I would love to ...
4
votes
5answers
689 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 ...
6
votes
4answers
409 views

Where can I find/buy/get a detailed output NPC generator tool (digital or paper)?

As a part of my on-going quest to be a better GM, I am looking for a tool, paper based or digital, that can generate solid NPCs rapidly. These could be used as one shots but I am looking primarily ...
21
votes
6answers
863 views

What GM tasks can be delegated to players to speed up encounters?

My party's encounters (D&D4e - 13th level) take on average 3-4 hours. We chit chat a lot and are pretty easily distracted, and it's not a huge deal because we're all having fun. But lately we've ...
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 ...
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 ...
36
votes
3answers
615 views

How do I build a sense of wonder in my games?

I guess this is part three of a series of questions, with part I being on building tension, and part II being on building comedy. Greg Stafford has talked of his primary motivation as a gamemaster ...
25
votes
10answers
2k views

What are some sources for in game puzzles for players?

I love to spice up campaign settings (dungeons in particular) with logic, mechanic or word-based puzzles. Can you propose valid resources for this ?
10
votes
3answers
266 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
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 ...
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 ...
10
votes
1answer
172 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 ...
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 ...
15
votes
5answers
380 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 ...
13
votes
6answers
593 views

Regional Resource Management and Trade Rules

I've been looking at TSR's old Birthright setting lately, searching for an easy way to quantify trade between political entities. I'm thinking about ways for a city or region or planet to develop ...
9
votes
1answer
98 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 ...
6
votes
4answers
345 views

What are the steps that you as GM's and PC's take to develop a Level 1 character?

This is for the basic character creation at level 1. I know the PHB goes into some detail on character creation and the steps for doing so. What I want to know is how you as GMs or players create ...
8
votes
3answers
612 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 ...
5
votes
1answer
130 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 ...
7
votes
4answers
845 views

Exalted Limit Breaks - How do I get them to occur more often?

So one of the biggest problems I have had with GMing an Exalted game is getting the players to actually limit break. Flavor wise, it is one of the biggest flaws of an Exalt, Solars in particular, but ...
15
votes
4answers
360 views

GM Tips for a Rashomon style game

I want to run a Rashomon style session soon and I'm looking for solid advice, as well as lessons learned from your own experience doing so.
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
466 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 ...
12
votes
1answer
351 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 ...
9
votes
2answers
284 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 ...
3
votes
2answers
412 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. ...
23
votes
4answers
581 views

How do you handle large scale exploration?

I'm currently running a game where the players are exploring a large ruined city (It happens to be Rathess in Exalted, but the question is more general than that), and I'm looking for techniques to ...
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
156 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 ...
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 ...
3
votes
3answers
5k views

How do you as GM's level/de-level monsters in adventures that are premade

I am getting ready to start a new campaign that was made for higher level characters. I want to use the campaign but want to lower the monster levels and may want to raise monster levels inthe future. ...
12
votes
3answers
512 views

Non-combat objective: Delay larger enemy force

I'm re-writing the "Battle of Albridge" encounters from The DM-kit's Reavers of Harkenwold. As supplied they are mostly just a rehash of earlier fight-to-the-death skirmishes on re-used maps. Instead ...
11
votes
2answers
400 views

Tasks for a split party

I'm running a 4th ed game, but I don't think that makes a difference in this case. Last session my party decided to split up for a couple tasks. The hybrid bard/rogue and the avenger (affectionately ...
9
votes
2answers
150 views

How do I create locally focused play?

As a GM, I find using certain settings (such as the setting for Talislanta) to be somewhat challenging. These settings have a large assortment of eclectic characters that can be played and almost ...
6
votes
3answers
190 views

How do you handle skill use and spends in GUMSHOE?

I ran a playtest of Pathshoe (a new Pathfinder + GUMSHOE hybrid from Pelgrane Press) for my gaming group last weekend. I have several of the other GUMSHOE games (Mutant City Blues, Esoterrorists, Fear ...
17
votes
6answers
448 views

Techniques for speeding up a game with many players at the table?

I have a table of six players already, and have more people interested in joining my game. I wanted to consult people who had experience with running large tables to see if running for larger groups ...
14
votes
5answers
323 views

What to do when a curse makes a character useless?

It happened in a DnD 4th edition game but it could happen in any game. My group of players fought a Weretiger and the two melee-type characters now have claws and can't use weapons. Since those claws ...
17
votes
8answers
417 views

What are some proven methods of generating attachment to locations/objects in a campaign?

It is a truism that a GM can never really be sure what a group of players will do, or which NPCs they are going to grow fond of. Places and objects, however... are they the same? In games like Star ...
10
votes
4answers
229 views

Introducing Guest-Stars in Ongoing Campaigns

I've got a situation I'm dealing with tonight and that I've dealt with before, but I've never had rpg.se to ask about it. So here goes: Are there any tried-and-true methods for dealing with ...
7
votes
3answers
164 views

How can I expand the visceral gore as tell-tale scenery theme beyond dungeons?

On Greywulf's Lair, Lessons learned from Super Meat Boy, the author suggests: Our dungeons should be littered with corpses of past adventurers (or parts of them, at least), and blood stains serve ...
18
votes
8answers
420 views

Practices to mitigate player characters' conflicting agendas

You have a campaign that provides, by design, a high level of freedom for the players to pick the story threads, sides and whatnot for themselves. In the long run, a conflict arises: some player ...