The practical arts and methods applied to gamemastering.

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23
votes
6answers
2k views

Is it appropriate to tell players the expected outcome of a throw?

I'm just getting into Pathfinder, as my first foray into RPGs. Of all the videos, tutorials and podcasts I've listened to, the GM tells the player to throw (for example, a perception check) and ...
19
votes
6answers
962 views

What should a DM do if a player wants to do something impossible?

If a player wants to do something a little out of the ordinary such as punching down a wall with his bare fists, what should I do? Do I make a DC for it? Do I make it so that no matter how much he ...
66
votes
16answers
3k views

Total Party Kill - What do I do as a GM?

Your party has had a streak of bad luck and/or made a poor choice and are now staring down death. The rules were followed to the letter and loss is assured. How do you handle this as a GM? Does ...
27
votes
8answers
2k views

How to handle wealthy player characters as a GM?

One of the long-standing settings our group keeps returning to is classic medieval fantasy. (Examples are MERP, Rolemaster, The Dark Eye -- But this question is aimed to be system agnostic and is ...
10
votes
3answers
446 views

How do I keep me and my player happy in a one-on-one game?

As a GM, my comfort zone is a group with about 3-5 players. I like the diversity of having multiple players. When I only have a single player, I feel I can already predict my player's actions, and we ...
4
votes
3answers
358 views

How to improvise [closed]

I've read a short passage on GMing noting that improvisation is very important. But I can't seem to do it right. Does anyone have any suggestions for me that could help me improvise better? As in, is ...
11
votes
3answers
344 views

Contacts, and how to use them?

I'm starting a 5e shadowrun campaign for the first time and running into some issue with what I've read on how contacts function. Basically, I'm trying to find out how to leverage the contacts of ...
6
votes
3answers
147 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 ...
5
votes
3answers
134 views

How to handle a fair contest between PCs in Apocalypse World?

Assuming that (for whatever reason) two PCs decided to settle their disputes by means of a fair contest it seems like it would be difficult to determine which character had the 'initiative' to take ...
14
votes
2answers
691 views

How to respond to “stress tracks / narrative consequences are arbitrary”?

Fate is admittedly an acquired taste. Interestingly, my players don't mind facing off against powerful enemies with stunts and skills that they themselves could not gain any time soon (full immunity ...
5
votes
1answer
325 views

Manage a player character suffering amnesia?

I'm going to manage a group with one character suffering of deep amnesia, Warhammer 2nd edition. How do I manage the character's skills, talents and profile? I think the profile is the same and ...
9
votes
3answers
420 views

How do intelligent enemies attack based on player threat?

How do I determine how intelligent enemies attack? For beasts and plants and such, I usually roll to randomly determine a player, then attack based off that. But intelligent, even semi-intelligent ...
7
votes
4answers
287 views

Intelligent PC's and differing realms of knowledge

I'm GMing for a group. One of my PCs is highly scholarly (scholarship 4), and the character is a doctor - all aspects point to this. I would assume the doctor's knowledge is more focused on medical ...
-3
votes
1answer
86 views

How do I manage to handle many villian organizations on an already NPC filled game? [closed]

I'm running a super powers (anime style) campaign with friends, we've just begun and we want to keep the anime "vibe" alive for as long as we can, since Japanese Animation shows make use of several ...
14
votes
7answers
467 views

What major differences are there between convention DMing and home DMing?

I've been DMing for a while in 4th edition D&D, but I've only been DMing for Living Forgotten Realms and D&D Encounters. Now I'm thinking of starting to do some home games in various systems. ...
16
votes
4answers
759 views

How do I help a player who struggles with a tactics-focused character?

I'm a fairly new DM with fairly new players. One such player rolled up a warlord, casting the character as a "tactical genius". Unfortunately, she's having trouble getting "moments of glory", because ...
22
votes
5answers
903 views

Learning to use spells comfortably

I'm hoping to get a little but of advice. You see, I've been running Rise of the Runelords, although the fact that I'm using Pathfinder probably isn't too relevant. Point is, I'm relatively new to ...
3
votes
3answers
340 views

How can I quickly come up with random encounters and puzzles?

I'm DMing my first campaign in D&D 4e using my own setting, and I need to create some random encounters throughout the map surrounding the starting village. I only have a week available between ...
6
votes
4answers
665 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 ...
4
votes
2answers
203 views

Introducing Roleplaying in Combat [duplicate]

I am the kind of gamer that mostly enjoys the story and I love roleplaying. However this time I am the Dungeon Master and not a player. How can I encourage my players to roleplay during combat ...
4
votes
4answers
934 views

Changing Type Of Enemy During Combat

Hypothetic scenario: A ranger does a stealth check and succeeds. While moving he notices two patrols and decides to attack them using Two Fanged Strike. The patrols are normally minions. He gets to ...
8
votes
7answers
2k views

Turning a Campaign Evil Leads To “Problems”

Prologue : So, the campaign I'm running right now has a noble-kinda purpose. To kill the Evil Witch and save the world etc, you get the point. As a plot twist I am thinking to turn the campaign to ...
24
votes
7answers
1k views

How can I screen new players to make sure they are a good fit for my game?

I'm looking to start a new Savage Worlds campaign and I need a full set of players for it. I've played in games before and ran a couple of one-shots, but I've never GMed a full campaign. There's ...
9
votes
10answers
1k views

Creating a campaign everyone can DM in?

So I have a group of players I'm playing D&D 4e with. Two of them are hardcore gaming nerds, my brother and his friend. His friend actually has a job but it's not intensive, my brother on the ...
7
votes
4answers
1k views

How do I deal with my players not roleplaying at all? [duplicate]

I know I should "let them have fun" or something, but the game isn't really working. I'm GMing a pathfinder campaign, but this isn't system-dependent. My players aren't roleplaying at all. Ok, they ...
3
votes
4answers
243 views

What are the best ways for a group of players and/or the GM to believably/fairly get one's hands on a spaceship? [closed]

Well of course you can always get yourself a credit from a bank and buy one, but both the interest and the payment of said credit being due every month make this a pretty big gamble. Since finding ...
22
votes
5answers
3k views

How does wandering within a city work?

I'm new to RPGs, and I've tried to read some transcriptions or watch some podcasts, but I don't understand how the game works outside a dungeon. Does the city has to be a real city or just a group of ...
18
votes
10answers
4k views

Can I roll for a PC in secret?

As a GM, can I roll in secret so my players don't even know I rolled? For example, a PC walks past a secret door; if I ask the player to roll perception he may suspect there is something. Can I roll ...
13
votes
8answers
3k views

How do I deal with players that pick very situational skills for a Campaign?

Well, luckily I don't have Power Gamers, in my game table, they all like to tailor skills according to the character background; however in many situation this makes them pick skills that are rarely ...
11
votes
5answers
2k views

How can I deal with players that get bored waiting for their turns playing online?

All of my friends (and my only and favorite role playing group) live far away from me now. One of them still lives in the city, the other three are in Nicaragua. We've spent great moments roleplaying ...
12
votes
8answers
2k views

What to do when a player dislikes his character, that is vital for the story?

One of the PCs (a greedy, quirky dwarf fighter) in the game I am hosting recently died, and his player chose to join the group as a new character, a human paladin. After two sessions the player is not ...
30
votes
6answers
1k views

How can I learn how to negotiate as an NPC?

I'm a new GM in D&D 4e. I've quickly found that I perform very poorly when I'm portraying a negotiation between the PCs and one or more NPCs. Even when they have common ground and could easily ...
13
votes
5answers
945 views

How to go from a humorous campaign to a more serious one?

I am currently running a D&D 4E game. The game started off kind of goofy (we have a thrikreen rogue with glowing blonde hair, an ale-obsessed dwarf battlemind, a ditzy human wizard, and a dwarf ...
5
votes
3answers
591 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 ...
12
votes
8answers
2k views

How to handle player knowledge when they fumble a knowledge roll [duplicate]

I'm a new DM of D&D 4e and I'm looking for some advice for handling failed and fumbled information rolls. I am using a house-rule that allows for misinformation when a 1 is rolled on the ...
11
votes
8answers
2k views

When should a GM roll behind the GM Screen?

I was wondering what is the point to roll behind a screen as a GM? If nobody can see the roll then I could claim that i rolled any number I require, right? If I would have to show the roll, then why ...
8
votes
6answers
1k views

How to run a D&D urban campaign

I'm currently in the middle of DM'ing a city campaign. I've found it's quite a bit more difficult than a dungeon. I have the city mostly planned out (type of city, the ruler, the districts, centers of ...
9
votes
2answers
160 views

What kinds of considerations can be made in a base building campaign?

My Edge of the Empire game has shifted focus away from traveling around taking odd jobs as the group has joined the Rebellion formerly. They have asked that I slow the pace of the game down so they ...
16
votes
5answers
849 views

How to present players with options without railroading them?

We're playing Dungeons and Dragons 4th edition. I'm a new GM, mastering a party of mostly new players. I take campaign design rather seriously, and I hate railroading. I love coming up with crafty ...
7
votes
1answer
390 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 ...
15
votes
8answers
3k views

The players focus too much on NPCs and ignore the plot, what do I do?

I'm currently playing a young supers game with friends using Savage Worlds as our favored system. The plot really hyped them, they loved the first allied extras, and with time they asked me for more ...
2
votes
2answers
156 views

How do I get players to Name a Horror? [closed]

I'm running an Earthdawn campaign and the party's current adversary is an unNamed Horror. In Earthdawn, Horrors fall somewhere between a demon in D&D and an Elder God in Cthulhu. It's important ...
3
votes
3answers
315 views

Relative difficulty in Savage Worlds skill checks?

I'm a new GM running a Savage Worlds game, and I'm wondering if someone can help me understand the best way to set up a skill check with relative difficulties. Specifically, how do you differentiate ...
6
votes
1answer
378 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 ...
20
votes
18answers
2k views

When GMing a game, how much should you prepare in advance?

Obviously you need to have some high level idea of what's going on in the world around the players, and where you are heading with the story, but in an ongoing game at some point players will be ...
4
votes
3answers
143 views

How should I handle gang casualties in Apocalypse World?

In Apocalypse World, many characters have gangs or other followers. In my current game, one of the player characters is a Hocus who, in an act of desperation, ordered his followers to attack a group ...
14
votes
3answers
894 views

Solo player: best way to mitigate tiny party size? [duplicate]

I'm looking to start a solo DnD adventure with my wife as the only player. She's a total novice. Which is generally the most successful way to handle the single-PC issue in your experience: NPC ...
25
votes
8answers
963 views

How can I deal with character classes and builds so specific they don't fit in with the group?

This is a problem I've been having in general so far as a Game Master; some character classes seem to be designed not for party play, but to be "loners" and shine only in specific situations. Some ...
13
votes
6answers
1k views

How do you encourage group decisions over individual actions?

In my campaign (4th edition Dungeons & Dragons, but I've encountered the same problem in other systems) we sometimes arrive at a point where the group should make a decision, for example "should ...
11
votes
5answers
1k views

Are balanced groups important in D&D 5e?

In my 4e campaign the group (4 players) often ran into trouble in combat if they didn't have one person was in each role of Striker, Defender, Controller & Leader (especially for published ...