The practical arts and methods applied to gamemastering.

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8
votes
3answers
548 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 ...
7
votes
2answers
209 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 ...
16
votes
5answers
2k 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
705 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 ...
15
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
848 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
52 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
948 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
7k 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
278 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
436 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
348 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
470 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
243 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 ...
17
votes
9answers
928 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
58 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
708 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
541 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
4k 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
134 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
33 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
542 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
760 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 ...
8
votes
2answers
462 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 ...
7
votes
3answers
1k 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 ...
10
votes
2answers
293 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 ...
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) ...
21
votes
11answers
3k views

How do I learn enough about military tactics to run credible military-type NPCs in combat?

I'm the GM of a Shadowrun Campaign and have difficulties letting the NPCs move in a battle like they would in real-life. Two of my players are pretty informed about how military or police would act ...
10
votes
3answers
515 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" ...
2
votes
1answer
278 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 ...
2
votes
1answer
135 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 ...
9
votes
5answers
765 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 ...
0
votes
0answers
108 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 ...
6
votes
1answer
215 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 ...
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 ...
11
votes
3answers
706 views

The World Will End, But Not Tomorrow (or How to Manage Unwarranted Urgency in Players)

For the last couple of years my group’s been playing two high-tempo D&D 3.5 campaigns (I’m the DM in one of them). The PCs, their families, their homelands and their worlds have been constantly ...
70
votes
18answers
12k 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 ...
28
votes
4answers
2k views

How do you handle monsters using social skills vs PCs?

I've checked the books and can't find an answer by RAW other than the DM decides, so I'd like to know how people handle this in their games. What happens if a thug tries to intimidate/persuade the PCs?...
11
votes
5answers
836 views

How can I discover if players would react positively to a change of tone for a game without them knowing of the change?

I'm currently running a game of Cyberpunk 2020 for a couple of friends. Things are incredibly silly so far and the group seems to really like it. To get an idea of what I've run them through so far: ...
25
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 ...
5
votes
1answer
245 views

Do you make Pulls for encounters that could have happened, but didn't?

I've played a couple of Dread games (4/5 players) and usually one player survives. In a recent Dread RPG game the GM had us pull multiple times at random moments. Situation: We camped for the night ...
3
votes
0answers
160 views

How to justify a Lord dedicating much needed resources to a meaningless village? [closed]

I am running a D&D campaign, in which my players are helping a village on the edge of a large empire. The empire has just won a war against a Daemon race and they are busy restoring order to the ...
20
votes
7answers
1k 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 ...
9
votes
4answers
492 views

Advice for Running the “In Between Times”

I usually run published adventures which may or may not be related to each other. During and in between the adventures there are often times when the two main facets of RPGs, story role-playing and ...
2
votes
0answers
247 views

What tabletop system should I use? (specific details inside) [closed]

I'm starting a tabletop game with my group and I'm not sure which system to use. I am looking for a system that: Allows for personalized character creations and flexibility- like the Fate system and ...
26
votes
12answers
4k views

How can I secretly notate which squares on a combat map are traps?

The party has ventured underground. One of the civilizations where they are is kobolds. I (GM) went trigger-happy with pit traps, falling block traps, and a couple of others. The kobolds have one path ...