The practical arts and methods applied to gamemastering.

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21
votes
8answers
2k views

How to balance a very-low magic campaign

Recently, my players and I got kind of bored with the fact that Pathfinder relies heavily on magic items than martial prowess for fighting classes. I realize and accept the fact that spellcasters are ...
4
votes
3answers
287 views

How to improvise [closed]

I've read a short passage on GMing noting that improvisation is very important. But I can't seem to do it right. Does anyone have any suggestions for me that could help me improvise better? As in, is ...
53
votes
10answers
6k views

Betrayed by my GM; how can I respond?

I was introduced to D&D three months ago and really delved into the world. I had so much fun creating my character and tried very hard to roleplay him differently from myself. I did my very best ...
10
votes
7answers
354 views

How can I run a campaign in isolation without restricting access to items?

I'm running a game where an entire village, the PCs and its people has been swallowed into the earth by a cataclysmic earthquake. This happened in the first session, and it was explained beforehand ...
11
votes
5answers
1k views

Too many magic rings and trinkets

I am a DM, and I have two player's who love +1 Ac Rings, or any kind of ring or trinket to help with AC. Every bit of gold or other item of any value they use it to trade for it. I try not to be mean ...
7
votes
1answer
289 views

How do I get my players to make their own decisions?

I'm GMing a Dungeon World campaign with players completely new to tabletop RPGs. Every time I present them with a situation and ask them what they do next, none of them ever arrive at a conclusion, ...
15
votes
3answers
478 views

How to run time-limited one shots

I and some friends are determined to try for this winter running only one-shots. rotating the GM for each one different characters each time the adventure must be completed in a single session one ...
14
votes
7answers
777 views

As a DM, how to save a creature from being killed by players and not be cheap?

If you put a creature you want to use at a later date in an encounter, how could I save that creature near the end of the battle without sounding cheaty. E.g. The evil mage has only 1 hit point left ...
16
votes
4answers
1k views

How to help my low-level spellcaster PCs feel more useful

My party right now consists of a pair of incredibly optimized characters (a half-orc fighter and a ranger/scout), one fairly well optimized character (a swashbuckler who's thinking about mutliclassing ...
6
votes
1answer
231 views

How can I add a cultural game mechanic to Pathfinder?

I was reading this article on how most people play all races exactly the same. The author hinted at replacing races in Pathfinder with a culture mechanic, but didn't really go into the details. I ...
35
votes
4answers
1k views

How to get my Paranoia players to stop cooperating and start killing each other?

I've read some of the questions and answers on paranoia here, but I seem to be missing some kind of key element to play. I ran Robot IMANA-665-C and I didn't seem to be able to get the players to ...
6
votes
3answers
731 views

How can a DM run D&D 4e combat as theater of the mind rather than a grid?

I am DMing a new 4e group, and I am interested in approaching the game as a "theater of the mind" style combat rather than the traditional grid format. We are locked into doing D&D 4e because of ...
7
votes
4answers
326 views

How to deal with dead characters' gear?

A few of my PCs have died. It happens. But now what? Specifically, now what happens to their items? They are rolling up some new characters and I assume they should follow the character wealth ...
15
votes
4answers
723 views

Unknowingly improving my players' luck

As a GM, I'd like to give my players a lucky item, one that improves their dice rolls. However, I don't want them to immediately realize that the item is improving their rolls. One thought I had was ...
8
votes
5answers
431 views

What strategies can I use to award treasure on the fly?

Due to a combination of tight scheduling and plain laziness, I never prepare any of my sessions ahead of time. At first it was hard to play this way, and the game was a bit sluggish, but now I think ...
11
votes
5answers
519 views

What's the likely law enforcement response to my PCs in Nidal?

This question is fairly specific to the shadow-haunted, torture-porn, evil Cenobite god worshiping country of Nidal in Paizo's world of Golarion, but could also apply to other "lawful evil nations" ...
6
votes
2answers
214 views

How do you scale up a premade adventure's difficulty when you have additional PCs?

I am going to be running the D&D 4e Redbox premade adventure and a couple other premade adventures for 5 PCs. However at the beginning of the explanation for the adventures they say it is for a ...
14
votes
3answers
568 views

Playing Fate with competitive players

I've just finished reading the Fate Core book, and I'm really surprised how well this system presents itself. But inevitably, I've started thinking about what-ifs - and one of them is playing with ...
5
votes
2answers
337 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 ...
3
votes
1answer
168 views

Unkillable Advantage and the afterlife

In a GURPS 4e campaign, when a character dies, I want it to run through an afterlife, which would be easy to escape (maybe a combat or a few puzzles, like a variation on the Halls of Mandos), and then ...
6
votes
4answers
428 views

Are there rules for dropping on an enemy as an attack?

In our current campaign, our ninja decided to try to drop on a monster from a ledge 25 feet up, blade first. I house ruled that it would require an extra 10 to the Tumble of falling without damage, ...
7
votes
3answers
335 views

How do intelligent enemies attack based on player threat?

How do I determine how intelligent enemies attack? For beasts and plants and such, I usually roll to randomly determine a player, then attack based off that. But intelligent, even semi-intelligent ...
31
votes
7answers
852 views

Using a Time-Skip as a Plot Device

In the game that I'm currently running, the PCs have traveled to the Realm of the Fae to gather information on their (im)mortal enemy, a Lich. When they emerge from the Fae Realm, I was planning on ...
5
votes
3answers
707 views

Tips for dealing with intentionaly aggressive player?

Well, I don't know whose responsibility is, but I'll tell you the whole problem. I only have one player, and we've been playing for a while together; I live in a country where role playing is very ...
8
votes
5answers
479 views

How can I as GM handle situations where players bicker about tactics?

I'm current running 13th Age, and there are two players who are quite tactical. The issue is both of them thinks differently and one is pushy, and the other is stubborn. Every now and then the both of ...
5
votes
4answers
324 views

Knocking out NPCs

Alright, so I'm thinking up a stealth based mission that involves sneaking into a guarded manor and stealing an artifact. Needless to say, it would be best if this was a quiet affair. I have most of ...
4
votes
2answers
247 views

How do I run Paranoia for just one player?

I have not run a game of Paranoia before, but I would like to try with one of my players. I intend to run what was once referred to as "Paranoia XP" and should be able to handle the general running of ...
5
votes
1answer
281 views

Manage a player character suffering amnesia?

I'm going to manage a group with one character suffering of deep amnesia, Warhammer 2nd edition. How do I manage the character's skills, talents and profile? I think the profile is the same and ...
23
votes
8answers
1k views

How can I help the party survive a rather tough adventure?

The party is on an implicitely timed mission: children have been abducted by bad guys and it is now known that they're in danger of being sacrificed in the near future. The module I'm using doesn't ...
30
votes
2answers
393 views

How can I make things easier on my dyslexic and high-functioning autistic players?

I have other players read out information from my dyslexic player's character sheets when necessary, and I use non-verbal visual aids whenever possible. I generally give out copies of any important ...
4
votes
2answers
344 views

Are there issues to using passive Perception?

Is it fair to only consider the result of "passive" Perception checks (same as Taking 10) for PCs to detect things, unless the player actively expresses attention to something (in which case a roll is ...
9
votes
2answers
267 views

How do I encourage players to use Fate Points for declarations?

I have hacked Fate Points into my 13th Age game and I notice two things that are happening - the players hoard them, and often use them for the re-roll effect instead for declarations. (Irrelevant ...
10
votes
7answers
367 views

Differing Starting Points Levels

The GM of a GURPS game I'm playing in has set the game's point level at 150. However, he has also made the option available to take 250 or 75 points at the beginning, with the understanding that the ...
5
votes
3answers
608 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 ...
1
vote
3answers
156 views

Regaining lost limbs as a catalyst for the story?

I'm currently playing a Swedish-developed RPG called Götterdämmerung, a d100 based game, set in the 18th-century. Currently my players are fleeing by carriage from a risen being of supernatural ...
27
votes
19answers
2k views

How do I add a recurring fantasy villain without frustrating the players?

I am currently running a campaign which is still in its early stages, and I plan to introduce a recurring villain. However, if the villain is always the main "big bad" behind every session and he gets ...
25
votes
10answers
1k views

How can I fool my players into being pawns for the villain?

Concept I want to get a generally benevolent party to unwittingly further the villain's motives. More than parcel delivery - I'd like to tap into their sense of right/wrong, justice, vigilantism, ...
12
votes
2answers
380 views

How can I work on my improvisation skills in regards to running a campaign?

I'm writing a campaign for 3.5 at the moment and, as a new DM, it's been hard for me to decide what I need to write now, and what I'll need to write later. Because it's going to be my first campaign ...
9
votes
2answers
294 views

Managing plots with multiple simultaneous GMs

I'm working with some fellow GMs to prepare a campaign in which we each host separate groups of players, but in the same shared world. This means that the actions of my players might actually ...
9
votes
5answers
337 views

Running a campaign alternating GMs every session

The group with which I usually roleplay has a consistent problem: someone will say "Hey, I want to run a campaign in X system with Y setting." Everyone will make characters (which can take quite a ...
6
votes
1answer
244 views

How can established settings contact each other, and are there rules about it?

I've actually had some of my questions answered browsing through the forums; however, I wanted to address some issues that may come of my conclusions! First off, I haven't DM'd since the first ...
11
votes
2answers
381 views

How can I keep the nature and capacity of NPCs hidden to generate a fear of the unknown?

In traditional games such as D&D, the mechanics of the NPCs you face are generally an unknown quantity. The players and the characters only have a rough idea of what an NPC is capable of, based on ...
13
votes
6answers
451 views

How can I judge if combat in a dungeon room attracts attention?

A question that usually props up at my table is "If we start a fight in this room, will we attract any attention?" I guess usually this refers to the noise and din of combat. So, say the party is ...
6
votes
6answers
352 views

How should I inform players about 'meta-objectives'?

I am planning a couple of scenes where the PCs could gain some benefits if they choose a particular route. For instance, when they first enter a certain town, they would be set upon by a group of ...
3
votes
2answers
135 views

Giving the PCs good reasons enter a dungeon camped by a enemy army (Rescue at Rivenroar)

This question is specifically for the module "Rescue at Rivenroar", but it's applicable to any dungeon-crawl with the following premise - the antagonists have just attacked a village/town, and have ...
13
votes
3answers
615 views

How to make a dense, immersive horror atmosphere?

I'm currently narrating a horror-esque campaign set in a dystopian future based on the Lovecraft Mythos. My problem is that my players break their own sense of immersion often, making the game seem ...
18
votes
7answers
844 views

“Retiring” a maxed-out party

This question has a specific and a general sense. Eventually, if your game runs long enough, a party will be pretty much maxed out - reaching level caps, wielding top-level powers and abilities, ...
7
votes
6answers
527 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 ...
12
votes
5answers
924 views

What do I do when I suspect players may be fudging rolls online?

I suspect my players may be fudging their rolls in an online IRC and Skype game. While I can't confirm this (for obvious reasons), I'm highly suspicious. I logged all their rolls over the course of ...
8
votes
3answers
592 views

Structure for a political sandbox game

I am looking for a fairly structured approach to creating, preparing for, and running a political game. To be more precise, I am looking for the following: A structured approach or even a game ...