The practical arts and methods applied to gamemastering.

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14
votes
2answers
693 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
3answers
329 views

Increase power of or control over accidentally discovered abilities? [closed]

TL;DR: PCs discovered magical powers by accident, should further practice increase control or power? Magic is often something that either exists or doesn't, but I find it much more intriguing to ...
10
votes
3answers
739 views

How do you determine what good roleplaying is? [closed]

How can I determine if players are roleplaying well? World of Darkness (not the only system that does this) offers the option of giving experience for good roleplaying, but how do I as a GM determine ...
8
votes
0answers
455 views

Help with an apparently bored player [duplicate]

I have a group of 5 players, 3 are long time veterans and we have been playing together for 15 years, the other is a newcomer who is actually liking the game a lot, and there's a 5th player that ...
4
votes
0answers
143 views

How do I handle information in Investigations without “bottlenecking” clues? [duplicate]

I'm playing a "Monster of the Week" style campaign with friends based on shows like Supernatural but with lots of gritty combat, using Savage Worlds as our system because of the fighting scenes. I've ...
25
votes
5answers
3k views

How do I prevent my players from hopping on a railroad when I'm not railroading?

All my previous GMing experience is with tightly-plotted railroads, and my players are used to (and generally happy with) riding the rails. Right now I'm setting up a sandbox campaign to break out of ...
0
votes
4answers
157 views

Arch-enemy or situational obstacle? [closed]

I am running a campaign where my players have a set arch-enemy. A person dedicated to the same goal as the players, but does everything in his power to stop the PCs getting to it first. He would even ...
6
votes
1answer
451 views

How can I help my players be proactive and dramatic together?

We've recently started a Fate Core game, and found that the system delivers on its promise of stories about "proactive, competent and dramatic" characters. Which is great! Except the characters, drawn ...
3
votes
2answers
127 views

Starting kit in RoleMaster during an unusual start

In RM players tend to start out with gear that they choose (or can afford to buy based on their wealth roll) to a limited degree and get rolls on the Special Items tables and what have you. I'm ...
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 ...
7
votes
2answers
405 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 ...
12
votes
3answers
520 views

How can I make puzzles a challenge for the character, rather than the player?

I'm designing an adventure, in which at one point the party meets a giant who will only let them pass if they solve some puzzles. However, the problem is that the riddles are a test for the player, ...
7
votes
4answers
386 views

How do you make an encounter actually match its CR level?

I recently started using encounter generators and tables. I've noticed that there are encounters like "8 Cave Spiders" or similar. While the number of enemies will result in an encounter that "should" ...
2
votes
2answers
117 views

How should I handle Brash Assault?

Brash Assault is a 1st level Warlord at-will power, the Hit line is equivalent to a melee basic attack, but the Effect is more interesting: Effect: The target can make a melee basic attack against ...
15
votes
6answers
1k views

What are possible ways to deal with a player who frequently switches characters?

I have had problems in the past with players who are serial character creators. What I'm referring to are the players who cannot seem to stick with a character more than two sessions at a time without ...
6
votes
6answers
772 views

How do I make random adventures relevant to player motivations in a Sandbox Hexcrawl Campaign?

I've spent my vacations planning my very first sandbox, however, I noticed that, being a hexcrawl, most of the time my players will be exploring the world and sometimes, they might spend a lot of time ...
6
votes
2answers
269 views

How to GM a zombie-apocalypse game?

I was asked, not a long time ago, to GM a zombie-apocalypse one-shot. Being versed in horror-GMing, I decided to approach the genre as I approach most other genres of horror, but I've encountered a ...
1
vote
2answers
121 views

When Should Disadvantages be Inflicted on (N)PC's?

I was tempted to add the System Agnostic tag to this, but for today there is a specific game in mind to receive an answer. Regardless of the source of the disad, (Physical, Mental, etc.) there are ...
8
votes
5answers
921 views

How to follow up the adventure if the party split?

In the last session, the party I'm DMing got into a great fight against the spirit of the valley (a big dire wolf). In the heat of the fight the cleric was bitten to the point that he dropped to 0 hp ...
7
votes
7answers
614 views

Arbitrary timer on a breach and clear style scenario

I'm writing up a scenario base on the idea of a breach and clear of a hostage situation. I imagine it being a failure if it lasts more than about 30 seconds and as a round is about 5 seconds i ...
13
votes
4answers
804 views

How can I stop being afraid of PC death as a GM? [closed]

Well guys, I've noticed that I have a tendency to hold back too much with my players. All of them have been playing for long, however they're used to linear plot style campaigns, and besides the fact ...
6
votes
4answers
260 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 ...
6
votes
3answers
706 views

Should I give players post play insights to assist them in future playing?

Is it ever advisable to tell players about "content" they missed out on because of their actions or inactions? For example, in the game the other night, one of the players has been making nice (while ...
10
votes
6answers
1k views

How do I help players whose time with previous editions confuses their understanding of D&D 5th Edition?

When I first was teaching D&D 5e to my group, one of my friends (he mostly had experience with 2e and OSR) kept getting confused every time I asked for a saving throw, because he believed he ...
18
votes
10answers
3k views

How do I rein in a character's backstory without discouraging the player?

I'm planning to start a game of Rogue Trader with a number of new players that are new to RPGs. I've helped the players generate their characters and have given them a very very basic backstory to ...
15
votes
4answers
1k views

How can I make investigation engaging for the whole party?

I'm about to start a campaign that takes place on a pirate ship. Low magic fantasy setting, loosely based on the Caribbean in the 1600s. Much of the action is going to be centered around various ...
7
votes
1answer
136 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 ...
16
votes
4answers
1k views

How do I compensate players who do not get to use the potent plot-important artifact?

Situation: the campaign deals around the players lugging around a plot-important artifact that makes the user significantly more powerful than their peers (like the Rod of Seven Parts, a fragment of ...
3
votes
3answers
201 views

Starting a campaign with travel for new players

I'm starting a campaign with a new group, most of whom have never played a tabletop RPG before. Typically, I'd start with a good old-fashioned dungeon crawl, but due to the overarching plot I'm ...
22
votes
9answers
3k views

How effective are foreshadowing cutscenes that PCs would be unaware of?

So in most story mediums, you will get "cutscenes" that the characters are unaware of, a figure in shadow gives an order to do something, you see the swat team enter the building but the characters ...
5
votes
5answers
458 views

Bringing the Team together

Here is the Team Concept: All characters are currently mortal but they'll be transitioning soon, so I've noted what they want to change into. How do I get them to work together? My original approach ...
11
votes
8answers
351 views

How can I effectively introduce hooks into a sandbox adventure?

I will soon DM a new D&D adventure. It's in a setting of my creation, and new characters will be created for it, with backstories tied at least in some ways to the setting. I intend to give my ...
8
votes
1answer
154 views

How do I go about setting up a trial/investigation mission?

I have been running a freeform (no system, basic rules and sheets designed by yours truly), sandbox RPG with a friend of mine for about half a year now. It's my first GM experience and it's been ...
10
votes
8answers
1k views

How can I make the daily lives of the PCs interesting?

I'm going to start a new campaign soon and my players and I are looking for a campaign that is somewhat close to the feel of the Buffy: The Vampire Slayer TV series. With that I mean a campaign that ...
9
votes
3answers
897 views

Using a NPC to fill a vacant role in the party

The newly started scenario places my players on their own spaceship, but they are lacking a competent mechanic among them since they are only two; a pilot and a computer operator. I am considering ...
4
votes
2answers
255 views

What's a good way to deal with Random Encounters inside Dungeons? [closed]

I've been wondering, what's an interesting way to use random encounters while exploring dungeons? We're currently playing D&D Next Playtest and every 10 minutes of dungeon turns or such I make a ...
10
votes
4answers
912 views

How do I include their character bio without controlling their past?

I am about three months real time (about 4 years game time) into the campaign and they have completed the main quest line. They are really enjoying the new side quests I have for them, and the world ...
9
votes
3answers
1k views

Should a quest completed be its own reward?

My players have become entangled in a murder mystery in 1748 Prussia (using the Götterdämmerung system), and are trying to work out who the killer is while trying to both stay alive and avoid ...
5
votes
3answers
153 views

Can experiences in-game give Merits? Can Merits be used to purchase others?

As a player who is looking to actually branch off into GM'ing, my group and I ran into this conundrum recently: a technomancer of ours hacked into a corporations database at their security center. Per ...
7
votes
1answer
445 views

Beginner DM questions: Exploration and skill-checks

A group of friends and I have started playing the Red Box(4e), which we are enjoying a lot. I am the DM for this and probably the next adventure and our DM will change every few adventures to keep ...
4
votes
1answer
205 views

How to create a Number Puzzle? [closed]

I wanted to create a puzzle for my adventure. I found a very interesting book that has all sort of tips on how to create them: It´s called fourthcore alphabet. The puzzles there are very generically ...
5
votes
3answers
244 views

How can I optimize storytelling for a Pathfinder game with a party group in flux

The group that I game with has been falling one by one. Life happens I understand this happens. However there is now only 1 character(Myself) and the DM and while we have fun it would be more fun with ...
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 ...
6
votes
2answers
259 views

Running an RPG with fast Drop-In-Drop-Out capability for an open day

Our university will have some Open Days for prospective students over summer, and our gaming society wants to present itself. Any somewhat traditional way of playing an RPG will take too much of ...
22
votes
6answers
2k views

How do I let characters share knowledge only they know?

In The Lord of the Rings, when Legolas the elf succeeded on his spot check, he was the one to announce to his friends that he saw riders in the distance. There was no voice from the all powerful DM in ...
0
votes
0answers
97 views

How to get players to accept DM rulings? [duplicate]

Some time ago I stopped running/playing modern RPGs like Pathfinder and 4e in favor of White Box S&W. I like S&W because of the bare-bones nature that leaves many things up to my discretion as ...
9
votes
4answers
929 views

How do you enforce “niche protection” in one-shots with multiple PC options?

I usually GM point-based games without classes (like Star Wars D6, WoD -- Mage the Awakening or Wraith -- etc.) When I prepare an adventure for 5 players, I usually make more than 5 PCs to have some ...
23
votes
5answers
2k views

How to manage a mute PC?

I am GM in a custom universe I created (medieval fantastic), and a player asked me if he could create a mute character. I refused because I was afraid it would be too hard to manage, and not fun for ...
6
votes
3answers
793 views

How can I plan a TPK finale that doesn't look planned?

A campaign I was GMing in the past abruptly stopped because of stuff irl, with characters trapped in a tower in the center of a city that is being destroyed by a huge demon. When the group gets back ...
23
votes
7answers
2k views

Dealing with players of vastly different skill levels?

In my latest campaign (D&D 3.5), I have a player (let's call him P). P is on his fifth character. Yes, fifth. Except for P, only one other player has lost a character. The world P lives in is ...