The practical arts and methods applied to gamemastering.

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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 ...
7
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3answers
179 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 ...
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3answers
977 views

How to recover when players go the “wrong” way?

I'm GMing some Shadow of Esteren games with friend. If you do not know that RPG just take a look it's very cool :-). I'm following the scenarios given in the official book (don't have time to set up ...
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4answers
513 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 ...
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2answers
2k views

Is encounter balancing/creation in 5e different to previous editions?

I have been GMing for a group for a few sessions now and I have had a lot of trouble balancing encounters. I go by the rules that it should be the xp the party needs to level as a "balance" and you ...
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4answers
354 views

How can my co-GM and I improvise together when running a game?

Here's the background - one of the players have to leave town for an exchange programmee lasting 6 months, but I have already filled his slot with another player. We are thinking of ways to include ...
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1answer
388 views

How can I add a cultural game mechanic to Pathfinder?

I was reading this article on how most people play all races exactly the same. The author hinted at replacing races in Pathfinder with a culture mechanic, but didn't really go into the details. I ...
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1answer
517 views

How to describe combat with brutes

How can I describe combat where player characters face multiple opponents? For example, in 7th Sea there are up to six brutes in a squad. I'd like to have some inspiration for how to describe the ...
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6answers
480 views

How do I create and use NPCs that actually matter?

My players love to interact with my NPCs in my Savage Worlds game, make friends, allies, enemies, make characters fall in love, etc. But I always end up with either bland NPCs that don't matter much ...
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1answer
316 views

What guidelines, if any, exist to guide the DM in establishing difficulty level for skill/ability checks?

Reading through the basic set there is a DC Check difficulty table found on page. 58, but aside from the basic description of what a check is and the basic mechanics (d20 + mod/skill + any situational ...
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1answer
413 views

How can Fate Accelerated be adapted to very short game time windows?

I'm running a roleplaying games club, and I have a rather difficult predicament. We have the capacity to meet weekly, but only for the span of about half an hour to forty minutes. The problem is ...
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2answers
214 views

Character power

I am in a pathfinder campaign where the GM has straight up told me that our martial characters are too powerful and making the game unbalanced for everyone. We are currently level 3 and our characters ...
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1answer
1k views

How to GM a haunted house?

In some Pathfinder campaign there is a house, where there are a lot of haunted things. The description of such a haunt says something like this: CE obsessed haunt (around the bed) Caster Level 3rd ...
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0answers
141 views

How to give a ''secret agent'' feel to a game? [closed]

I am planning a one on one Fate game and I want it to feel and play like a secret agent story (think James Bond, Bourne, Taken, etc. maybe even a hint of heist movies as well, aka Ocean's eleven) My ...
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4answers
490 views

How does a DM handle time limits in-game?

An upcoming arc I have planned requires a thirteen-hour time limit to escape from an area. How do I plan for that in game time, and how do I keep the players aware of the time? I usually run six ...
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4answers
667 views

What are established ways for playing a campaign based on a real-life environment?

I am thinking about starting a campaign which is based on my and my players' hometown and direct environment. I can imagine a plethora of pitfalls that come with this as opposed to creating a purely ...
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6answers
476 views

How should I inform players about 'meta-objectives'?

I am planning a couple of scenes where the PCs could gain some benefits if they choose a particular route. For instance, when they first enter a certain town, they would be set upon by a group of ...
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4answers
409 views

Introducing new players to a Campaign mid-adventure

I am running a campaign where all of the players are members of an army, and the small group acts almost as a form of "special forces" in this Pathfinder campaign, taking on enemies that no one else ...
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3answers
939 views

How to handle some new NPCs who enter a fight in progress?

I am GMing for the second time in my life, and do not know how to handle this situation: There are 5 PCs who walk through this map. In almost every room there are a couple of NPCs who might or might ...
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4answers
393 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 ...
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5answers
419 views

Dice results hidden from the players? [duplicate]

Does it make any sense to specifically hide the results of a player's dice roll from the said player? This method is based on my assumption that many actions do not immediately reveal themselves as ...
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3answers
330 views

How to get players to get familiar with the rules? [closed]

So I read this post: How do you help players not focus on the rules? and I can of course see the point that story is the main source of fun. I would like to ask the opposite question though: what if ...
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4answers
467 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 ...
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2answers
201 views

How can I keep players occupied so they stay motivated, interested & on topic when I'm reading published materials during a session?

I'll be running a new system in my next session; Trail of Cthulhu. I expect I'll be needing a few minutes between scenes to read up on what happens next... I'm not going to memorize the published ...
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3answers
209 views

How can I encourage the use of willpower?

I've never (or rarely, maybe once) seen anyone make use of willpower in a World of Darkness game, it seems like such a vastly underutilized resource. What can I do to encourage my players to remember ...
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6answers
2k views

How do I design well-balanced homebrew items? [closed]

I have previously run into issues with homebrew items throwing off the balance of my game, and I'm trying to anticipate any issues I might run into by giving my players certain items. My players enjoy ...
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4answers
447 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 ...
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4answers
446 views

How Would a Bard's Popularity Spread?

I have a half-Orc bard in my group who wants to be a rockstar. He's played in three or four large venues, one of which in Waterdeep where he had a critical success. So, my question is: How quickly ...
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6answers
372 views

How to make my session Faster

What are good ways to make my sessions move faster and my plot to develop quicker? I like to keep a balance between roleplay and dungeoncrawling, and don't mind spending hours in a dungeon on purely ...
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4answers
825 views

pathfinder: how to handle evil actions

I have a player in my current campaign, who is slaughtering captured goblins. He has encourage other players in the group to join him in considering them to be vermin. And has talked about ...
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4answers
2k views

Are there rules for dropping on an enemy as an attack?

In our current campaign, our ninja decided to try to drop on a monster from a ledge 25 feet up, blade first. I house ruled that it would require an extra 10 to the Tumble of falling without damage, ...
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4answers
644 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 ...
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4answers
722 views

Being a more “flexible” Dungeon Master [closed]

[The following question is about avoiding to railroad the players, and has nothing to do with breaking or following rules.] I am playing a campaign of my own with my friends, and the thing is that I ...
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3answers
267 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 ...
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2answers
417 views

How do you scale up a premade adventure's difficulty when you have additional PCs?

I am going to be running the D&D 4e Redbox premade adventure and a couple other premade adventures for 5 PCs. However at the beginning of the explanation for the adventures they say it is for a ...
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1answer
354 views

Identifying potion by tasting them. How *should* it work?

A classic method of identifying potions (especially in OSR games) is by sipping them. This method is attractive to me for the potential fun involved in experimenting with unknown effects. However, I ...
6
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2answers
373 views

How can I retain a classical (rather than medieval) feel in my game?

I'm running a campaign (D&D 3.5, moderately houseruled, but my question is general) set in a world in a classical era. You might compare it to the Han dynasty, or to the Roman Republic--Roman ...
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3answers
431 views

Revealing game world information

A player asked me the other night: "In the World of Darkness are Vampires able to enter without being invited in?". The answer to the question is, yes, and even if they weren't the area was a public ...
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2answers
749 views

How can I make non-violent combat alternatives actually fun and interesting? [closed]

Most of my group and I share a trait: We all hate the idea of monsters who can be talked or negotiated with, it kills the scary, dangerous part of a monster; that combined with the fact I suck at ...
6
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1answer
308 views

How can you handle PvP Combat so everyone has fun?

Recently my group's campaign in Anima: Beyond Fantasy took a turn towards a combination political intrigue/martial arts tournament that inevitably ended up resulting in PvP matches. The first of these ...
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5answers
369 views

How can I run a game with some players online and others at the table [duplicate]

A member of our group moved cross-country, and we'd like to include him in some of our games. Is it feasible to play a game with some players at the table and another online? If so, how do I, as the ...
6
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1answer
775 views

Does a GM ever want to kill the player characters? [closed]

I'm in the process of learning as much as I can about being a GM with a view to running a game at some point. One thing that has struck me is that killing the PCs probably isn't very good for the ...
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3answers
344 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 ...
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4answers
340 views

How can I incorporate intrigue and inter-NPC-factional depth whilst maintaining speed & spontaneity in a sandbox game?

The scenario... My players are meeting lots of NPCs, and the galaxy around them is as deep as they desire... Whilst the flavour of our game is Action/Comedy (a little like Fifth Element) I'm ...
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3answers
168 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 ...
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1answer
106 views

What is a good way to introduce D&D 4e at a mini-con?

I've been asked by my library to host an introduction to D&D at the Summer Reading Program Mini-Con. Last year, most of the people were new to the game (as in, "the cover art looked cool", or "I ...
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3answers
274 views

Using a 'confidence' buff to reduce party splitting up

I am GMing a game for the first time and we are 2 sessions in. We are playing D6 star wars, and its tending to be comic, which is great. There are 5 players, which manageable but quite busy. They are ...
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1answer
1k views

How can I create more compelling villains? [closed]

A consistent issue with the games that I've run comes through with villain characters. Not just at the end of an adventure, but overarching villains; movers and shakers of the world. I notice that I ...
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4answers
342 views

In a Sci Fi game, how do I keep the team together when one is “netrunning”? [duplicate]

I have a science fiction campaign where one of the characters is a "netrunning" hacker who's skills are based in a virtual world. The rest of the characters are in the real world. I want them to feel ...
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2answers
245 views

How many GMs is enough to run a Mega-Game?

My two friends and I are going to spend quite a bit of time preparing a mega-game. It will be a weekend long gaming session with around 20 players, and the three of us as GMs. We are trying to figure ...