The practical arts and methods applied to gamemastering.

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26
votes
9answers
3k views

How do you make loremaster characters more than just a GM mouthpiece?

You know, like how the Mouth of Sauron is just a mouthpiece and nothing more. Even his name was forgotten. Many a time, I have see this type of exchange when dealing with a lore master character ...
21
votes
7answers
2k views

I keep forgetting about lighting in the heat of a session. How do I remember my notes?

One thing I’ve been struggling with as a newbie GM is keeping track of how light or dark a certain room is. My players and I have been playing a D&D 5e starter campaign with me as the GM. I might ...
24
votes
3answers
1k views

How do I cater to the Three Stooges and good roleplayers at the same time?

As a little background, in case it matters: most of the players in my group (but not all) are college aged, and all of them are personal friends of mine. We're playing D&D 3.5. I myself am the ...
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 ...
2
votes
1answer
843 views

How can I become more akin to my “Mary Sue” Player? [duplicate]

I've been playing for about 3 years with this guy on my group. He's a very nice and encouraging person and I actually appreciate him as an individual; however I just can't come to enjoy his presence ...
29
votes
9answers
4k views

As a group unfamiliar with RPGs, how do I encourage my players to read the rulebook?

A little bit of background: We are a new DnD group, living in a country where DnD is obscure, at best (the Philippines). We have no prior background to any kind of RPGs except in video games and MMOs. ...
12
votes
5answers
542 views

Are deckers or technomancers required in a shadowrun group?

From playing Shadowrun for a bit, I get the impression in a typical shadowrun group, you just need a decker or technomancer. Sure, the characters probably have contacts that can get them all the ...
10
votes
3answers
2k views

Does Wild Shape actually allow [Monster] feats?

Background I have never had a problem with Druids in my games take things such as, Multiattack, Improved Multiattack, and Improved Natural Attack. However, I reached a 'scratch my head' moment ...
3
votes
8answers
662 views

How do I quickly get the PCs to a distant location for the next adventure?

I'm running a campaign with my friends. We started Keep on the Shadowfell a year ago, and finished it at our latest session. (We don't play often, one of them is a doctor, so it's hard to schedule ...
0
votes
0answers
60 views

How should you handle players forgetting information as opposed to their characters? [duplicate]

I'll start with the actual scenario that occurred in our last session. Our party, of which I am one of the PC's came across a nasty trapped/warded dirt wall. We figured out that the trap was only ...
1
vote
4answers
699 views

How can I balance the power of loot between players?

The 5e dmg only gives proximate levels of item strength: common, uncommon, rare, very rare, and legendary. The item levels don't really seem to help me judge if two items of the same rarity will be ...
9
votes
1answer
264 views

How can I make the most out of a reliable, close, helpful player in a group of players new to the system?

I have little experience GMing Fate. In fact, my only experience so far is a "twosie"/one-on-one one-shot with my best friend, Z. I've been researching an enormous amount of materials, as well as ...
1
vote
1answer
192 views

Do cinema/film-like descriptions ruin immersion or do they improve games? [closed]

Ok, this might sound silly, but I've seen several examples of descriptions from both players and GMs that actually illustrate a cinematographic technique, such as: GM: The camera pans out to ...
3
votes
2answers
274 views

How do I make character making easier for new players?

Whenever I need a player to make a character, usually above level one (e.g. TPK) they usually miss more details than I can manage, sometimes the player takes a terrible spell on his spells known, and ...
18
votes
8answers
3k views

How can a GM alleviate a new player's analysis paralysis when creating a character?

My players are paralyzed about making their characters and as a GM what can I do to help? The players are new to role playing games let alone D&D 5e, and are getting bogged down. They tried out ...
20
votes
6answers
3k views

What's the best way to present a sandbox world to your players?

In my sessions, I let my players play in a sand-box world. There is a main story that I always plan that they could follow, and I have no problems with them doing so. However, I would like my players ...
3
votes
1answer
290 views

How do I deal with a PC with an NPC's soul bonded to them? [closed]

Brief version: an NPC's soul has just been bonded to a PC, but I haven't decided on the mechanics of what that means yet. How do I do this in a fun way? Background My party is currently on a long-...
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 ...
15
votes
6answers
2k views

How to end a game session smoothly

After my first (failed) attempt at playing tabletop RPG two years ago, I'm going to give it another try. Still as a GM. One thing I didn't do quite well last time was ending the game. I didn't know ...
17
votes
3answers
2k views

How many dice does the GM roll when challenging the players?

I'd like to run a game of Roll for Shoes, but I'm not sure how many dice I roll when the characters face various challenges. I'm under the impression that it's supposed to be the same number of dice ...
10
votes
3answers
582 views

How do I teach players to engage with a game in a rules-first way?

Among other ways, I often like to play in a rules-centric way1, where the rules are the "physics" of reality and dictate what can and cannot be true within the fiction. I especially like this for PvP ...
6
votes
5answers
389 views

How can I run a game with some players online and others at the table [duplicate]

A member of our group moved cross-country, and we'd like to include him in some of our games. Is it feasible to play a game with some players at the table and another online? If so, how do I, as 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 ...
15
votes
6answers
2k views

How to prevent conflict between characters from becoming conflict between players?

I recently ran a game with several players that I knew didn't get on particularly well beforehand. I was hoping this wouldn't affect the game, but the end result was terrible. There were 5 players. ...
5
votes
1answer
260 views

How can I facilitate choice of one of a large number destinations in an off the rails game?

My players have become fugitives from the law, so they are fleeing the country. My problem is I haven't been able to get a concrete destination or travel path from them. We did manage to narrow the ...
1
vote
1answer
405 views

How to deal with stubborn players? [duplicate]

Okay, so my problem is that one of the people I have in my party (my brother) is VERY stubborn when it comes to playing a session of D&D, everything from getting on his tablet and getting ...
25
votes
10answers
6k views

As DM, what should I do when players roll perception where there is nothing to be found?

I had my first session as Dungeon Master (DM) yesterday playing pathfinder ("First Steps In Lore" from the "Pathfinder Society" series) with a group of first-time tabletop RPG players (myself included)...
12
votes
2answers
932 views

Are risks of non-combat death exciting or just frustrating and discouraging? [closed]

I'm a brand-new DM (haven't had my first session yet but it is approaching) so I'm reading up about all DMing-related topics. I'm about to play Pathfinder. My question is about PCs having a risk of ...
9
votes
2answers
356 views

How to execute horror when there is safety in numbers

Questions such as this one and this one cover how to execute horror in a role-playing game fairly thoroughly. This process must be modified, however, when the traditional trappings of a game session ...
6
votes
2answers
249 views

How many GMs is enough to run a Mega-Game?

My two friends and I are going to spend quite a bit of time preparing a mega-game. It will be a weekend long gaming session with around 20 players, and the three of us as GMs. We are trying to figure ...
1
vote
1answer
174 views

Example implementations of time limits on player actions in combat [closed]

Several questions (like this one) suggest imposing time limits on players to speed up combat. Those suggestions usually lack expertise on the topic. I’m looking for your experience on that matter. ...
8
votes
4answers
514 views

How to create a “TV Series”-style campaign with “episode” scenarios?

Followup of this answer to a question about short-stories lasting about one 4h play session or two max. I master a game of Vampire: The Masquerade, and I would like to find (and modify) or write ...
78
votes
10answers
10k views

Should I warn my players when they're about to do something stupid?

As a GM, I occasionally run into situations where the players want to do something very poorly thought-out. Honest mistakes, not intentional derailing. In these situations, I often feel the urge to ...
7
votes
3answers
483 views

How do I get a fairly new player interested in playing longer adventures?

My girlfriend is fairly new to roleplaying, having tried a bit of LARP as murder parties (one INSMV and one XFiles-style game, she loved each one), and playing in a Cthulhu campaign I have been GMing ...
19
votes
4answers
2k views

How do I deal with high speed, blunt action declaration outside of combat?

Here's an example from a one-on-one playtest I've had, to better illustrate my question: My rogue player got a minor quest from a blacksmith to retreve an item. He instructs her that the road to ...
5
votes
3answers
368 views

How much creative and descriptive power should I offer my players? Is it different for sandbox campaigns? [closed]

I know that as a GM you have to have some skill with your words to make the descriptions really come to life. However, as I think more and more about my next sessions, which are probably going to be ...
53
votes
13answers
7k views

What to do when players bypass plot hooks

I am going to just start out by acknowledging that this is the best possible 'problem' a GM can ever have. My players are awesome, I just didn't know how awesome. They solved months of combat, ...
9
votes
2answers
541 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. ...
6
votes
1answer
106 views

What is a good way to introduce D&D 4e at a mini-con?

I've been asked by my library to host an introduction to D&D at the Summer Reading Program Mini-Con. Last year, most of the people were new to the game (as in, "the cover art looked cool", or "I ...
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)...
1
vote
1answer
189 views

Creating an artifact that the heroes must destroy? [closed]

I'm on a Lord of the Rings kick, so I'm curious how you'd create a major plot device that is both the main antagonist and the strongest weapon they have without killing the party with Ring Wraiths (or ...
11
votes
5answers
12k views

Playing Dnd 5e with two players

My girlfriend and I want to get into roleplaying games, we've both been interested in trying out Dungeons and Dragons. She has never played a pen and paper RPG before, I've played the Swedish Drakar ...
15
votes
6answers
1k views

Are there negative impacts to having characters advance at different rates?

It's my first time running a campaign (D&D 3.5), and I'm trying to figure out how to assign XP to the players. I am used to playing in games where everyone gets exactly the same XP, whether they ...
15
votes
3answers
1k views

How to relay a game mechanic in character

This question came up during a round of Lamentations of the Flame Princess. Depending on the system this kind of question may already be answered in the rules. But I figure it's more of a general ...
1
vote
2answers
193 views

How to turn an ex-PC into a narrative device? [closed]

One of the players recently left the game and agreed to have me control her former character. I would really like to use that character and have permission to do so from the original creator. What I ...
18
votes
4answers
2k views

How to easily come up with improvised dialogue

I'm a new GM, working with a few friends in a sci-fi campaign that I wrote using GURPS 4e. I think its going well, but the glaring flaw I've noticed in my work is that I can't come up with good, ...
3
votes
0answers
106 views

How to deal with stubborn player who does not participate in missions? [duplicate]

One of the members of our group likes to choose characters with personal agendas or secret motives that prevent him from cooperating with the rest of the team. He will sit out of missions entirely if ...
4
votes
2answers
220 views

When to and when not to apply comic relief? [closed]

A recent talk with my players revealed that they wanted me to add characters akin to a comic relief character I presented in an earlier campaign. While I have really wanted to add more comic relief ...
6
votes
3answers
276 views

Using a 'confidence' buff to reduce party splitting up

I am GMing a game for the first time and we are 2 sessions in. We are playing D6 star wars, and its tending to be comic, which is great. There are 5 players, which manageable but quite busy. They are ...
14
votes
8answers
3k views

How do I introduce a larger-than-the-game villain (so that the players can beat him one day)?

I have a cool villain I really like. I mean, I love that character. I would squeal with excitement if my players could meet him, figure him out, confront him and foil his plans and maybe even kill him....