The practical arts and methods applied to gamemastering.

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18
votes
6answers
1k 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
104 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
225 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
147 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
75 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
116 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 ...
40
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 ...
18
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
82 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 ...
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
13k 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 ...
5
votes
2answers
295 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
376 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
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 ...
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
201 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
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 ...
52
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 ...
6
votes
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 ...
8
votes
3answers
478 views

Inducing paranoia between player characters

I have a situation. My group is heading towards an elven kingdom in pursuit of a plot coupon. Unbeknownst to them, the plot coupon is evil and corrupted and is turning the royal elven family paranoid, ...
16
votes
4answers
2k views

What do you do when avoiding railroading just gives you stuck players?

I'm seeking some newbie GM advice. I'm an experienced rpg player, but am much less experienced as a GM I was recently running an D&D 5e adventure, where the players would be investigating in a ...
6
votes
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 ...
15
votes
5answers
1k views

How can I create reasonably challenging encounters for large groups?

I'm running a 5e campaign that has become quite successful to the point that everyone wants in and I have 6-8 players at my table every other week. It's awesome, but I'm having troubles with creating ...
30
votes
5answers
2k views

How can I make an overbearing government's unwelcome attention convincing without it dominating screen time?

My players are newly awakened mages (Mage: the Ascension 2nd edition) living in a near future in a metropolis in the European Union which is developing into a surveillance and military state union—a ...
10
votes
4answers
661 views

As a GM, how do I encourage a party to interact with each other?

Background: I'm a fairly inexperienced GM and I'm working with a group that has wildly varying experience with role-playing - the game is intended as a teaching campaign to help a couple new players ...
14
votes
10answers
3k views

How do I convince players to play a D&D campaign with a restrictive premise?

Background Information I have been DM'ing for several years. My players and I have always loved 3.5e. We love the number crunching. We love the optimization. We love the options. But it seems every ...
40
votes
12answers
5k views

Risk of a TPK vs realistic NPCs

I am a novice DM running a game for an even more novice group of players and I beginning to think that my next session may result in a TPK (total party kill, for the uninitiated). Is this something I ...
7
votes
7answers
827 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 ...
1
vote
0answers
51 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
937 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 ...
34
votes
8answers
6k views

How should I respond to a player who roleplays too selfishly?

In our last session, a player of mine spent the last 30 min blowing up on me for "restricting" her character's story, and the story of the campaign, when I would not allow her to bring back another ...
5
votes
1answer
272 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
2answers
413 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 ...
6
votes
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 ...
6
votes
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 ...
8
votes
2answers
240 views

How to effectively divide spotlight time with a split party?

In a campaign I was testing, the party got split. They are now in separate parts of the world, without any long range communication. Now, we have only one day a week to play D&D, so separate ...
16
votes
9answers
780 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 ...
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 ...
1
vote
0answers
57 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 ...
7
votes
1answer
690 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', ...
14
votes
2answers
524 views

Way to manage world factions and events

Abstract 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 ...
15
votes
4answers
3k 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
131 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 ...
1
vote
0answers
31 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
526 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
743 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 ...