The practical arts and methods applied to gamemastering.

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4
votes
2answers
787 views

Should I replace the swarm with the individual creature after enough damage?

So one thing I found odd in the DM's Basic Rules v0.1pdf was a large list of animals that seemed so insignificant as to wonder why it was included in the PDF. For example, the "Rat" monster, has 1 ...
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 ...
21
votes
6answers
1k views

How do I get the party back together after a major PvP conflict?

In the previous adventure, the characters left on bad terms after the Monk betrayed the other two party members by trying to take their captured criminal back to her (equally criminal) monastery ...
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 ...
30
votes
9answers
1k views

How to add a player who joined after the campaign started?

I started running a game, and then a friend of mine expressed interest in playing, so I invited him to join us. He created a character and came along to the next session. As the rest of the party was ...
6
votes
4answers
460 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 ...
6
votes
4answers
344 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 ...
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 ...
3
votes
6answers
2k views

What should happen when a player does not follow his class at all? (i.e. plays his role badly)

I have a player who created a Druid and is mostly playing like a barbarian in combat and like a rogue the rest of the time. This means he kills animals, does not care for plants, does not use his ...
9
votes
4answers
1k views

Exalted Limit Breaks - How do I get them to occur more often?

So one of the biggest problems I have had with GMing an Exalted game is getting the players to actually limit break. Flavor wise, it is one of the biggest flaws of an Exalt, Solars in particular, but ...
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?...
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
4answers
679 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 ...
30
votes
11answers
5k 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 ...
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 ...
8
votes
2answers
335 views

Reward distribution and story continuity with rotating players/GMs

There are some people who like to GM, and maybe even like it more than role playing themselves. If you have one of those rare specimen in your group consider yourself lucky. Others are not averse to ...
21
votes
3answers
713 views

What are the main factors to consider when a PC gains a major airport in V:tM?

Depending on the type of Vampire: the Masquerade campaign, PC's may experience unusual growth in resources. This should generally come with a (potentially complicated) system of pros and cons as well ...
21
votes
10answers
2k views

How to have a realistic set of languages without making adventuring prohibitively difficult?

"Do you speak Common?" "Of course I do! Everyone speaks Common..." My group is starting a somewhat experimental campaign. We're using a setting that is neither canon (e.g. described in a book) nor ...
7
votes
3answers
1k 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 ...
41
votes
12answers
4k views

How can I prevent a TPK without obvious Deus Ex Machina?

I've gotten into a situation in my Pathfinder game where I will certainly kill my entire party (perhaps excepting one or two who can flee quickly) if I let the situation play out. We arrived in this ...
9
votes
2answers
544 views

How to handle a group of inexperienced players who split their party more often than I can handle

Recently I ran a steampunk themed one-shot where three of the five players were brand new to roleplaying. The session was successful, everyone enjoyed it and told me they'd like to play again. ...
65
votes
14answers
14k views

My PCs have a plan that will get them all killed; how and why should I save them?

Related: How do I help my players figure out how to stay alive in a realistically-deadly sandbox campaign? I am running a sandbox game for a group of players who are used to more traditional ...
40
votes
8answers
9k views

How do I learn to become a good GM?

I have played and tried to GM games since I was in elementary school, beginning with games like Shadowrun, Earthdawn, and Champions. Recently, I've gotten dack into gaming with a variety of other ...
13
votes
6answers
627 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 ...
7
votes
7answers
840 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 ...
8
votes
2answers
424 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 ...
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
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
942 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 ...
12
votes
7answers
652 views

How can I help my players get into a vengeful mindset?

I've often attempted to run Hunter: the Vigil (part of the New World of Darkness gameline) for my players. Unfortunately I frequently run into the same problem; namely, when I set up villains with the ...
5
votes
1answer
277 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
4answers
445 views

Mechanics for player retconning

I'm thinking of running a game based on the television show "Leverage". In the show, the characters run an elaborate scam on some rich and powerful bad guy. The episode shows how things look (roughly)...
43
votes
10answers
7k views

How do I handle a group that does not understand the 'assumption rule'?

1st rule of D&D (as of 3rd edition/pathfinder): The GM is the final arbiter on all rules. I understand this, completely, and do not disagree. That said, I'm having trouble with a group that doesn'...
14
votes
5answers
1k 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" ...
14
votes
7answers
2k views

Alternatives to death in a character and narrative-driven campaign?

I'm currently running a Pathfinder game where the characters make the decisions and shape the plot. However, I'm worried about what will happen if one of the characters dies, simply because the ...
23
votes
7answers
2k views

How do I handle a PC to NPC romance?

Our group consists of two couples. One player seems to like romance (which is just fine). This player's character flirted with her husband's character; he played up the fact that his character was not ...
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 ...
10
votes
3answers
502 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" ...
9
votes
5answers
706 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 ...
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) ...
10
votes
2answers
291 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 ...
10
votes
6answers
750 views

How to keep the group engaged when the party is split?

I recently pitched a game to my group, to which they were receptive. However they pointed out some problems I would have to solve before the game started. The Pitch The game is set in the near-...
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 ...
8
votes
2answers
460 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 ...
8
votes
6answers
829 views

How do I encourage players to make characters appropriate to the tone and theme of a game?

I have been a GM for many years and have experience with many different systems and settings of different themes and moods, but my current group seems to be having issues I've never had to deal with ...
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 ...
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 ...
7
votes
1answer
701 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', ...