The practical arts and methods applied to gamemastering.

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12
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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 ...
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 ...
3
votes
3answers
185 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 ...
27
votes
6answers
4k views

How to kill a character without making their player too angry

I have been DMing a game for a group of friends. In between two sessions, which ended with them facing a few enemy NPCs, I realized that these intelligent opponents had a very good way to kill one of ...
11
votes
8answers
313 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 ...
15
votes
7answers
411 views

How to I create material (on the fly) to support plot changes?

In both pre-plotted adventures and more story-telling ones, a lot of situations occur where monsters/npcs/magical items/geography appear, which wasn't thought of beforehand. I.e. I do not have the ...
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 ...
16
votes
5answers
1k views

What to do in the first session of a campaign?

The first session of my new D&D 4e campaign is coming up pretty soon and I'm not quite sure how to go about the introduction into this new campaign. I have the geography and landmarks and things ...
7
votes
8answers
681 views

How can I organize my counter collection?

I have just gotten a large collection of monster counters and am wondering how can I store them neatly and in an organized manner after I have punched them out? I am also thinking of ways to easily ...
9
votes
3answers
891 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
215 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 ...
17
votes
8answers
902 views

How valid is lying to players about the rolls they are making in The Dresden Files?

In last weeks Dresden Files game, the players followed the bad guy using a tracking spell, and found him in the projects at an apartment that they knew little about. Seeing his car, they decided to ...
10
votes
4answers
895 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 ...
4
votes
2answers
104 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 ...
18
votes
10answers
3k 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 ...
6
votes
3answers
1k views

How to roleplay the Tengu (D&D 3.5 and Pathfinder race)?

I am currently DM-ing a Pathfinder game (it's a system based on 3.5e D&D). I am planning to introduce a Tengu character to the story. I've done some research, however I'm still not entirely sure ...
8
votes
3answers
328 views

System for tracking hunger in a World of Darkness game

I'm GM-ing a WoD setting where the players have a very limited food supply(if any) are there any good methods for making sure that they have to eat to survive and applying penalties if they don't?
7
votes
1answer
430 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 ...
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 ...
6
votes
2answers
241 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 ...
4
votes
1answer
182 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
230 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 ...
7
votes
4answers
275 views

How can my co-GM and I improvise together when running a game?

Here's the background - one of the players have to leave town for an exchange programmee lasting 6 months, but I have already filled his slot with another player. We are thinking of ways to include ...
0
votes
0answers
96 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 ...
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 ...
9
votes
4answers
924 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
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 ...
38
votes
9answers
2k views

How do I avoid clichés while improvising?

Tropes are not bad, but clichés usually are. Sadly, when I need to come up with something on the fly it's much easier and faster to use clichés: if I suddenly need a barkeep, he's probably fat with a ...
16
votes
3answers
1k views

How do I help my players get more engaged in the story?

I play in a group where we routinely switch out GMs. When I GM I tend to prefer story-based games with lots of character building and descriptive role play. We tend to run Paizo's Adventure Paths ...
52
votes
9answers
2k views

How can DMs effectively telegraph specific dangers in D&D?

There are some play-styles of D&D in which the spectre of player-character death is considered a feature of the game rather than a bug. For my own reasons (which aren't the point of the question), ...
12
votes
9answers
1k views

How do I help my players figure out how to stay alive in a realistically-deadly sandbox campaign?

Related: What to do when a player character goes suicide and How can DMs effectively telegraph specific dangers in D&D? I like playing sandbox-style RPGs (whether pen and paper or ...
6
votes
3answers
770 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 ...
12
votes
3answers
976 views

How to determine PC genetics in D&D for the purpose of creating 2nd generation PC's

I remember watching "The Dungeons & Dragons Experience" and one of the people featured in the documentary mentioned how him and his friends had developed a way to blend and randomize attributes of ...
16
votes
5answers
3k views

How do I build interesting dungeons?

I'm a new GM and I need to undestand how to build enjoyable locations. I don't get how to build interesting dungeons. For example, I need to explore a castle. But a castle is not as complicated as ...
42
votes
17answers
6k views

Metagaming when there isn't actually anything there?

So, it's a fairly common question of how to keep players from metagaming. Typically, these questions are of the sort that a player knows monster x is weak to y despite their character not having ...
49
votes
14answers
4k views

How can I get players to realize that their enemies aren't evil?

For an upcoming game, I'm planning on making one of the early hooks a standard-seeming "tribe of monstrous humanoids (in this case, lizardfolk, if that makes a difference) is bothering us, go deal ...
8
votes
3answers
522 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 ...
2
votes
4answers
921 views

What CR adjustment should I make for Divine Rank 0

How do I calculate the the CR adjustment when adding Divine Rank 0? Note: Yes, I know that not everyone agrees with the CR but it is a useful overall guide. So, with that being said I need to make ...
6
votes
4answers
220 views

In a Sci Fi game, how do I keep the team together when one is “netrunning”? [duplicate]

Voting to close. As this answers it: How do you make hacking useful without excluding other players? Thanks for your thoughts everyone and thank you to @Phil for pointing me at it, I couldn't find it ...
10
votes
3answers
954 views

Challenging Talkers in SIFRP

I have a Song of Ice and Fire (SIFRP) game running right now. Each player has 2 PCs: An adventurer - a character designed for traditional RPG activities like fighting and sneaking and hunting A ...
14
votes
4answers
978 views

How to improve my fast-paced scene

I recently got myself into short forms RPG as a GM and I really love the potential! I tried a short game (3 hours) and it went OK, but I am not quite satisfied yet. I need more practice, that's for ...
35
votes
16answers
5k views

In D&D, A PC became king. How do I keep him in check?

I'm running a D&D 4e campaign. There, a player has worked very hard and somehow tricked me into becoming a king of an evil kingdom (the population is 100,000+). The area he became king of is a ...
11
votes
6answers
2k views

Is there a reason to ignore/adjust the Wealth By Level chart?

While reading this Cohort Question I was kinda struck by a quote in there and instead of asking an unrelated question in that area I figured it would be good to make a separate question. The quote ...
33
votes
13answers
5k views

How should I handle retconning (or not) a session with a drunk player and character deaths?

What Happened Tonight, one of my players began the session pretty drunk. That's not the problem I need help with; it hasn't happened before, and if it becomes a thing then I can deal with that. But I ...
9
votes
3answers
833 views

How can I use improvised consequences to make combat more interesting?

In DnD 4e, the consequences for being hit by basic attacks are a simple loss of HP, and narration is what gives the basic attacks their 'spice'. The use of encounter and daily powers is the main ...
43
votes
15answers
3k views

How can I make my PCs flee?

My players never run away or avoid conflict. Ever. I throw them ridiculous encounters, they will stay and fight. If I tell them, "You know you're not gonna make it, just run," they stay and fight and ...
20
votes
5answers
1k views

Sometimes, losing a big conflict is the better plotline. For D&D, how do you encourage this result?

It is practically an old adage that D&D parties will never let a fight end in a loss (short of a TPK.) And that the game mechanics (especially later editions) encourage this thinking. But ...
7
votes
9answers
644 views

How can I encourage role playing in a custom setting?

Since creating a fully living and breathing world for the players to inhabit is a time-consuming process, I have been feeding them background info as often as possible as it is relevant to the story. ...
19
votes
3answers
613 views

How can I make diseases non-trivial?

As noted here, diseases in 4e seem more trivial than I think they were intended: they rarely last more than one increment! What rules can I make/break, or what actions can I take, so that contracting ...