The practical arts and methods applied to gamemastering.

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9
votes
2answers
434 views

How to handle a group of inexperienced players who split their party more often than I can handle

Recently I ran a steampunk themed one-shot where three of the five players were brand new to roleplaying. The session was successful, everyone enjoyed it and told me they'd like to play again. ...
58
votes
14answers
14k views

My PCs have a plan that will get them all killed; how and why should I save them?

Related: How do I help my players figure out how to stay alive in a realistically-deadly sandbox campaign? I am running a sandbox game for a group of players who are used to more traditional ...
36
votes
8answers
8k views

How do I learn to become a good GM?

I have played and tried to GM games since I was in elementary school, beginning with games like Shadowrun, Earthdawn, and Champions. Recently, I've gotten dack into gaming with a variety of other ...
13
votes
6answers
578 views

Running a campaign alternating GMs every session

The group with which I usually roleplay has a consistent problem: someone will say "Hey, I want to run a campaign in X system with Y setting." Everyone will make characters (which can take quite a ...
7
votes
7answers
783 views

How to make finding an NPC interesting? [closed]

In my low-magic Pathfinder campaign, my players will be looking for a wizard who managed to teleport and escape from them. However, the wizard will be on hostile territory and he will have to hide his ...
7
votes
2answers
373 views

Managing PC-NPC Relations

Our group is playing a campaign focused around organized crime in the east coast prohibition-era US. Think Italian Mafia, Irish Mob, etc. Instead of just the 'usual' mob street business (think Thommy ...
15
votes
4answers
2k views

How to make combat more tactically interesting for me as a DM?

For me, I find it very difficult to enjoy DMing combat encounters. Combat is generally very dry and monotonous. What can I do to make combat more enjoyable for me as a DM? Some of the issues I have ...
1
vote
0answers
43 views

Starting higher-level players in Hoard of the Dragon Queen [duplicate]

I'm a newbie GM running the 5e starter set adventure (Lost Mines). My players are progressing well through it, and are at 3rd level closing in on 4th level. Assuming they make it through the adventure ...
7
votes
3answers
908 views

Casino style games that fit into a medieval setting? [closed]

I'm running a campaign right now with the BRP system and was looking to implement a gambling town of sorts, an area filled with opportunities to make money or more often lose it. re thinking my ...
16
votes
9answers
716 views

How do I help my players stay engaged (with the game and each other) at the table?

I GM a long-running Pathfinder campaign, and for some time now I've been noticing our group fall into a familiar pattern of lethargy, where only one player engages with me at a time and the rest seem ...
12
votes
7answers
605 views

How can I help my players get into a vengeful mindset?

I've often attempted to run Hunter: the Vigil (part of the New World of Darkness gameline) for my players. Unfortunately I frequently run into the same problem; namely, when I set up villains with the ...
5
votes
1answer
253 views

How can I deal with PC access to myriad sources of subtly conflicting information in a game where those conflicts matter? [closed]

I have been running a solo game for a friend in a system I created several years ago. I have encountered a GMing problem that I have not previously had to deal with, because real-life time ...
8
votes
4answers
426 views

Mechanics for player retconning

I'm thinking of running a game based on the television show "Leverage". In the show, the characters run an elaborate scam on some rich and powerful bad guy. The episode shows how things look ...
43
votes
10answers
6k views

How do I handle a group that does not understand the 'assumption rule'?

1st rule of D&D (as of 3rd edition/pathfinder): The GM is the final arbiter on all rules. I understand this, completely, and do not disagree. That said, I'm having trouble with a group that ...
14
votes
5answers
1k views

What's the likely law enforcement response to my PCs in Nidal?

This question is fairly specific to the shadow-haunted, torture-porn, evil Cenobite god worshiping country of Nidal in Paizo's world of Golarion, but could also apply to other "lawful evil nations" ...
14
votes
7answers
2k views

Alternatives to death in a character and narrative-driven campaign?

I'm currently running a Pathfinder game where the characters make the decisions and shape the plot. However, I'm worried about what will happen if one of the characters dies, simply because the ...
23
votes
7answers
1k views

How do I handle a PC to NPC romance?

Our group consists of two couples. One player seems to like romance (which is just fine). This player's character flirted with her husband's character; he played up the fact that his character was not ...
28
votes
5answers
3k views

How to deal with overzealous questioning from one player?

So I'm playing a home brew scifi game where one of the players is playing a scientific character who collects a bunch of samples. That's all fine and good, but the problem is that he want really ...
10
votes
3answers
450 views

How can I avoid making extended/prolonged encounters boring?

I have run this campaign for just over a year. Many encounters later, I have come to one snag; If I run an encounter that lasts for more than a few rounds, I lose all my flair. I just resort to "hit" ...
9
votes
5answers
552 views

How can I prepare the map for a combat without alerting the players that combat is about to begin?

I am running an adventure in Pathfinder and I use a very large square board and some homemade model walls to define areas such as dungeons or houses and other stuff. However, building maps on the ...
60
votes
18answers
10k views

What can I do when I accidentally gave out an overpowered item?

In our last game, the players worked their way through a series of fiendish traps into a high security vault, where they recovered a Staff of the Magi. After the game I looked at the stats, and ...
12
votes
6answers
1k views

Can giving players “target numbers” like AC improve narration, and with what side-effects?

My players aren't narrating their actions as much as I want them to. Oftentimes, the narration is left solely up to me, the DM, and it's exhausting to come up with every successful (and failed) ...
10
votes
2answers
271 views

How do you convey the feeling of a crowded area?

Recently, one of my players suggested that streets and buildings felt too empty when we are playing Shadowrun. Other than many RPG, a lot of Shadowrun takes place in crowded cities, with the ...
10
votes
6answers
690 views

How to keep the group engaged when the party is split?

I recently pitched a game to my group, to which they were receptive. However they pointed out some problems I would have to solve before the game started. The Pitch The game is set in the ...
18
votes
6answers
550 views

How to make players care about a community

I've built a lot of villages, some towns and a city or two but I've failed to bring them to life and make the PCs feel like they belong there (maybe not much belong but to just make them care about ...
1
vote
0answers
56 views

Is it possible to make my players really care about NPCs? [duplicate]

What I'd really like to do, and don't think I have right tools/approach, is to emotionally manipulate my players into making sub-optimal - even bad - decisions using the NPCs I present them with. "I ...
8
votes
2answers
434 views

How do I motivate a player who is apathetic in my game?

I'm GMing Star Wars, and one of my players just sits back and goes with the flow. He rarely takes the initiative and when he describes his actions he's usually just describing the mechanics rather ...
8
votes
6answers
723 views

How do I encourage players to make characters appropriate to the tone and theme of a game?

I have been a GM for many years and have experience with many different systems and settings of different themes and moods, but my current group seems to be having issues I've never had to deal with ...
18
votes
7answers
983 views

How can I help my players be interested in others' characters?

In asking this question I realized something that I never have before: my players aren't interested in each other's characters. How can I, as DM but also game session organizer and facilitator, help ...
23
votes
13answers
2k views

How to begin a role-playing scenario in medias res?

If I am running a pre-planned role-playing scenario, how and when can it work to start the session in medias res? The narrative technique can work so well in literature, film and video to increase ...
3
votes
0answers
249 views

Way to manage world factions and events [closed]

I have a loosely interconnected world where news travel slowly, but steadily so when a trader from a far off place comes visiting your place, what does he know? Whats his latest perspective on that ...
7
votes
1answer
649 views

How can I signal the scope of an adventure to players?

Related: How can I close my sessions better? I'm an inexperienced DM running my second game (playing D&D 5e both times). The first game I ran was the Starter Set, 'Lost Mine of Phandelver', ...
11
votes
4answers
445 views

How can you convey that the majority of the world isn't supernatural?

In games that exist within a supernatural/urban fantasy/modern horror setting, usually only a very small percentage of the population is actually supernatural. Using World of Darkness as an example, ...
1
vote
0answers
118 views

Are amnesia stories good for RPGs? [closed]

I've noticed that some plot types seem hard to pull off in Role Playing Games. Are Party Amnesia plots good for the medium? Do they require any special handling? Should the players be in on it ...
9
votes
4answers
687 views

How do I safely break stereotypes in my games?

In the LARP system I play, there are some stereotypes heavily in-grained into the player base. For instance, goblins are squeaky-voiced, hyperactive, and (often) violent humanoids. These sorts of ...
42
votes
9answers
14k views

What are the essential features of a successful evil campaign?

Until this point, I have demanded that my players not build characters with evil alignments, as I am familiar with how to design campaigns and adventures around "good" or "redemption" themes. ...
1
vote
0answers
30 views

Rule Fudging for Large Groups [duplicate]

I'm running a 3.5 campaign for a large group (8 players, I must be crazy), none of which have every played before, and several of which are quite young (ages 13-17). I've got some ideas for changing ...
10
votes
3answers
491 views

How do I keep new players engaged when I have to postpone games?

I'm currently running two weekly games, one intended to be a long-running game with a small group of regular players, the other a modular game that I'm trying to structure so that people take turns ...
4
votes
3answers
720 views

How do I keep a player engaged whose starship pilot doesn't get to go on away missions? [closed]

We're playing Stars Without Number. It's story telling heavy; not simulationist. The starship pilot doesn't get to go on away missions, and the player is feeling left out. I'm currently using A/V ...
18
votes
8answers
2k views

How to introduce and encourage role playing in non-roleplayers?

I'm going to be hosting a game at the end of the month. Myself, I am a semi-experienced DM but I will be playing with those who know only the basic mechanics of the game or have never roleplayed ...
6
votes
3answers
424 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 ...
29
votes
7answers
3k views

How much do I tell new players about new monsters?

Background I am a brand-new DM, about to lead a game for brand-new players. I have a lot of knowledge of rules from playing Baldur's Gate and Neverwinter Nights over and over, leafing through a ...
16
votes
5answers
1k views

How to deal with players that fight villains but are worse than them?

The long story I started a Warhammer fantasy campaign with 4 players. Two of them were totally new to RPGs, and two others just slightly experimented. They created "good" characters, not a chaotic ...
2
votes
1answer
223 views

How do I get my PC's interested in the Hoard of the Dragon Queen? [closed]

I have Hoard of the Dragon Queen and I'm concerned my new PC's are going to be bored. What do you do as a GM to keep players interested? Real players Player charcters (Unfortunately we just rolled ...
13
votes
7answers
5k 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 ...
7
votes
6answers
456 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 ...
8
votes
5answers
2k 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 ...
2
votes
1answer
122 views

Is there any good way to introduce an adventure? [closed]

So recently I have found myself trying to write my own adventures. With little bits from other games and such I have found myself able to write the adventure, encounters, and everything else, but I ...
0
votes
0answers
103 views

How, if at all do GMs deal with secret actions? [duplicate]

I am a novice at Role-Playing, in fact I played once or twice, a while back and enjoyed it but never have since. I'm thinking of starting again. My question is this. Suppose you have an evil ...
5
votes
1answer
193 views

Should all play happen in scenes in Fate?

After reading the core rules and playing a first — very pleasant — session (I was the GM) I wonder how many time in a game should be spend in a formally declared scene? In our last ...