The practical arts and methods applied to gamemastering.

learn more… | top users | synonyms (2)

52
votes
6answers
5k views

How should the DM manage the discrepancy between the player's memory and their PC's memory?

It may happen that, during a session, players don't remember the name of a NPC that they met (or, more generally, information about something that happened) during the previous session. Obviously, ...
3
votes
1answer
89 views

Guidelines for attacking objects

So in 3.5, there were some suggestions for assigning AC and hit points to common objects, but in 5e we're left to speculate - the PHB has precious little, and I didn't see anything in the DMG. DM fiat ...
10
votes
4answers
1k views

I want to run a trial in D&D 3.5, but how can I avoid invalidation by magic?

The Background I'm a pretty new DM, and I'm running a casual game of D&D 3.5 (with some rulings from Pathfinder added to the mix, for practical reasons) and I like doing special things for my ...
20
votes
7answers
3k views

How to get players to do something without them feeling railroaded?

I'm DM'ing a play-by-post campaign and I'm at a point in the adventure where the group all meets for the first time. They've all had something stolen from them at the same time and saw a creature that ...
16
votes
3answers
367 views

How to keep track of the current situation in a setting?

When a GM creates his own setting (e.g. two neighboring kingdoms), he details it with important people, political relationships, events and so on. During a campaign, PCs' actions alter the setting's ...
13
votes
5answers
855 views

How do I motivate players to do character sheet updates outside of session?

I run a weekly campaign with one session every Sunday. My core group (4-5 people) always show up, with the occasional person who joins from time to time (either playing a new character they wanted to ...
2
votes
1answer
99 views

If the Wealth-By-Level is an indication of the value of Magic Items for Player Characters, does the WBL for NPCs have the same purpose?

If the Wealth-By-Level is an indication of the value of Magic Items for Player Characters to use in combat, does the WBL for NPCs have the same purpose, or is it there for some other purpose (to ...
8
votes
2answers
229 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 ...
2
votes
0answers
113 views

How to handle multiple main villains in your campaign [closed]

I was hoping to pick your collective brains in preparation for my new 5e Eberron campaign starting in a few months. Most of the blogs/books etc I've looked through look at campaign design with one ...
26
votes
5answers
2k views

How can I keep surprising my co-GM when he's playing in my campaign?

I recently started a D&D 5e campaign with my gaming group and one of my friends has decided he wants to GM also. The setting we're playing in is a homebrew setting; I created the general outline ...
6
votes
1answer
360 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 ...
12
votes
4answers
2k views

Player Turned Sensitive About Failure, PC Injury

While I have been DM/GM'ing for a long time I have had a player suddenly change their attitude towards the game. They are not an experienced player, but they are not new to the entire role-play ...
4
votes
2answers
114 views

How do you handle different difficulties at the same task? [duplicate]

In a game of Dungeon World, how do you handle different difficulties at the same task? A few examples: climbing a wall with easier handholds vs. climbing a smoother wall pushing a heavy cabinet out ...
17
votes
5answers
3k views

How does Lost Mines of Phandelver expect PCs to take on side quests without demanding pay?

Note: my question is specific to the LMoP adventure. I am not asking for general advice on motivating players. I've recently begun a new campaign in 5e with my group of players. We are all new to ...
5
votes
4answers
501 views

How to handle initiative when a new force joins a combat in progress

I am DMing a small hunger-games-like adventure where there are multiple parties of NPC who also are participating. It is pretty likely that the PCs will happen upon some of the NPCs fighting some ...
45
votes
9answers
6k views

How to handle players who make unmotivated characters

I'm a relatively new GM, and I'm having trouble getting my (also new) players to create motivated characters. I don't mean that the players themselves are unmotivated, but the characters they create ...
7
votes
4answers
614 views

My players want to resolve conflicts nonviolently. How do I tell them it won't work?

When I'm GMing and trying to create tension by having a big boss fight, invariably one of the players will ask me if his character can, instead, bribe the big boss or try to smooth talk him or make ...
6
votes
5answers
433 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 ...
16
votes
7answers
3k views

How do I balance an all-spellcaster party?

This here campaign I'm about to unfold is going to feature 2-3 players, 2 of which definitely want to get spellcasting characters and the third is very likely to go down the same path. Q: How do I ...
0
votes
2answers
183 views

How to let players roll perception checks without suspicion? [duplicate]

I am a new GM playing Pathfinder. I am curious about perception. How can I have the players roll for perception without making them really suspicious? For example, if a trap is in the middle of a room ...
2
votes
1answer
242 views

Is 'reversing' healing so that it actually does damage a legitimate mechanic for the DM? [closed]

Some time ago we were in a final battle with a end boss for a dungeon. The fight went pretty well in our favor but when the boss hit his bloodied value, our DM described that he emitted a dark shroud ...
47
votes
9answers
6k views

Make the player roll even if there is no chance of success?

Let's say you're the GM and the player attempts to do something, but you already know that given his current stats, it's impossible for him to succeed at it. Do you make him roll anyway, or do you ...
14
votes
2answers
310 views

What planning and division of labour is necessary to have two GMs in a campaign?

One time, me and one of my groups had decided to play an entire weekend. But on the first day one of the players, who also alternates as GM with our standard GM, sacrificed himself to save the group. ...
30
votes
8answers
4k views

How can I encourage combat as war-style play in my campaign?

I've recently begun a new D&D 5e campaign with a group of players who have all just come from a Pathfinder adventure path. I was the GM for that campaign and it was a very on-the-rails adventure ...
26
votes
8answers
3k views

What should I keep in mind when running a game intended to subvert the players' expectations?

Many of my favorite works of fiction are either explicitly deconstructive in nature, or at least feature elements or scenes that unexpectedly subvert the audience's expectations. Often these are some ...
155
votes
14answers
19k views

Managing a Medieval Low Orbit Ion Cannon

Sometimes I hate my players. My table is currently composed of five diabolically inventive players. They come from a mixed IT/Engineering background, so more often than not, I have to deal with some ...
25
votes
12answers
4k views

How can an experienced GM improve without watching other GMs?

I've been running role-playing games on and off for years, mostly D&D going all the way back to first edition. I was the first person in my town to get the hobby bug when I was a boy, and so I was ...
18
votes
6answers
2k views

How to make large number of NPCs manageable to the GM?

I'm planning a game where there is about a dozen important NPC actors, with some more less important ones. "Important" means that even if they are not directly involved in current events, they play a ...
1
vote
1answer
106 views

How to make large number of NPCs manageable to players? [closed]

I'm planning a game where there is about a dozen important NPC actors, with some more less important ones. "Important" means that even if they are not directly involved in current events, they play a ...
9
votes
3answers
243 views

Managing OOC player knowledge when using one-shot games as a prologue for a longer campaign

I have a situation where our group is a mix of people who are still at University and others have already graduated. Those of us who are finished all have jobs but live fairly close together and can ...
1
vote
0answers
151 views

Switching from dead characters mid-game [closed]

As a GM, how do I wrap game-caused character switching into the story? Suppose I had to murder one of the PCs for great ju... didactic purposes. For example, my players refuse to understand the idea ...
2
votes
0answers
81 views

What is a good way to introduce new players to Pathfinder without making things too linear? [closed]

I wanted to create a dungeon to get a new group of players together and teach them pathfinder, but I felt I wanted something more than 'go to the goblin cave and get the macguffin' for this first ...
1
vote
0answers
123 views

What are some good resources for designing maps (regional, provincial, dungeon, etc)? [closed]

Alright, I hope this question is narrow enough in scope that it's alright for RPG.SE. What I am asking for is a list of resources such as essays, books, blog posts, articles, how-to's, etc., that ...
41
votes
16answers
8k views

Is it appropriate to punish a PC who snatches things from under the other PCs?

My players and I often have a bit of conflict or frustration in our games because one player in particular is quite controlling, and feels that they can have their character just snatch up what they ...
19
votes
10answers
2k views

How do I tie episodic sessions together to make larger campaign arcs?

My D&D group only plays perhaps once a month and occasionally one of them won't be able to make it. I (the DM) home-brewed our last campaign and, whilst fun, the big story arcs and multiple NPCs ...
2
votes
1answer
86 views

Storied ways to boost a character's ability scores (Pathfinder) [closed]

So this is my first time acting as a GM for a campaign (taking over for a friend). Improperly built characters at the start of their campaign has lead to 2/5 character having very high stats. Because ...
16
votes
4answers
3k views

How can I explain the lack of characters' in-game knowledge?

I am currently DMing two D&D 5e campaigns. I was wondering of some good ways to start off a campaign and explain to the players that their characters have, essentially, no knowledge of the in-...
29
votes
8answers
5k views

I want to run vast and realistic dungeons, but my players get frustrated trying to search every room

Because my players' suspension of disbelief began to suffer when exploring more "normal" dungeons, I have created some big dungeons which are based on bigger, realistic structures: castles, towns, ...
56
votes
7answers
14k views

A player was bucking my style and I lost my temper. What can I do from here?

New DM here. Under a year of experience, but I have learned alot from my friend who has helped guide me through the basics of DMing. Basically the only games that I have run have been with my close ...
6
votes
2answers
325 views

As an inexperienced GM, how can I avoid killing PCs my first time GMing in Pathfinder Society?

While I have experience DM'ing 3.5e, I have far less experience in pathfinder and have not yet GM'd a PFS game. I'm currently preparing to run the Rise of the Runelord's first module (Thistletop) ...
10
votes
2answers
419 views

How can I GM for more tactically-minded players?

I've been GMing a Dungeon World campaign for about a year now, and consider myself an intermediate at understanding the system. My group has recently told me that they miss D&D's tactical combat. ...
7
votes
0answers
153 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 ...
37
votes
7answers
6k views

My party bypassed a combat encouter. Should they still get XP?

Some thug bandits set up a road block on the main road to extract a toll from passerbys. It was twilight when my party encountered them. They used the Rogue to scout ahead, and they ultimately decided ...
2
votes
1answer
156 views

How does this mob grapple?

The party is teleported into the middle of a dretch mob in the adventure Fortress of the Yuan-ti (48). How many creatures can this dretch mob grapple? Does this dretch mob's grapple check suffer a −...
10
votes
1answer
217 views

Dealing with fractional CRs in the table on DMG 274

This has been driving me crazy as I've been trying to create monsters and NPCs for my characters to encounter in D&D 5th Edition. Say I've got an NPC with 48 hit points and Armor Class 16. That ...
26
votes
6answers
5k views

How do I convey that players can solve problems in ways that don't involve punching them?

I'm currently running an exalted 2e campaign, and the party (three solars and one lunar) got beaten horribly by a single infernal who wasn't much more powerful than any single one of the PCs. This ...
14
votes
2answers
2k views

Metagaming and Collusion while Gaming in Roll20

Metagaming has always been a facet of tabletop RPGs, for good or for ill. The impact that metagaming has on game itself can run from highly beneficial, such as when a group acts on player information ...
6
votes
3answers
352 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 ...
53
votes
8answers
11k views

The PC claims to know an NPC they just met, how should I react as the DM?

My friends and I are new to RP and we've only had one session of dnd-5e trying out the starter set. As we are quite into fantasy in general, we thought we could make our own PCs. So instead of playing ...
7
votes
1answer
370 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 ...