The practical arts and methods applied to gamemastering.

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9
votes
5answers
762 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
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 ...
10
votes
6answers
751 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
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 ...
8
votes
2answers
461 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
837 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
705 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', ...
16
votes
6answers
2k views

Tools for tracking NPC/PC relationships and attitudes [closed]

I have always had difficulty keeping track of NPCs, their attitudes and their relationships with each other and the PCs. I find relationship webs/diagrams are helpful, but find them difficult to keep ...
12
votes
4answers
472 views

How can you convey that the majority of the world isn't supernatural?

In games that exist within a supernatural/urban fantasy/modern horror setting, usually only a very small percentage of the population is actually supernatural. Using World of Darkness as an example, ...
1
vote
0answers
133 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 (...
9
votes
4answers
714 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 ...
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
540 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
757 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 ...
19
votes
8answers
2k views

How to introduce and encourage role playing in non-roleplayers?

I'm going to be hosting a game at the end of the month. Myself, I am a semi-experienced DM but I will be playing with those who know only the basic mechanics of the game or have never roleplayed ...
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 ...
35
votes
7answers
3k views

How much do I tell new players about new monsters?

Background I am a brand-new DM, about to lead a game for brand-new players. I have a lot of knowledge of rules from playing Baldur's Gate and Neverwinter Nights over and over, leafing through a ...
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 ...
2
votes
1answer
276 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 ...
13
votes
7answers
6k views

Are balanced groups important in D&D 5e?

In my 4e campaign the group (4 players) often ran into trouble in combat if they didn't have one person was in each role of Striker, Defender, Controller & Leader (especially for published ...
7
votes
6answers
484 views

How do I create and use NPCs that actually matter?

My players love to interact with my NPCs in my Savage Worlds game, make friends, allies, enemies, make characters fall in love, etc. But I always end up with either bland NPCs that don't matter much ...
8
votes
5answers
2k views

Role playing/plot focused one shot sessions

I am faced with a challenge with creating a one shot session for a couple of friends. From experience I can see that it is difficult to indulge players into setting, plot, world, characters in a ...
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 ...
0
votes
0answers
107 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 ...
11
votes
3answers
699 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 ...
11
votes
5answers
814 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: ...
17
votes
1answer
753 views

What concrete rules can you point a GM to that is stuck in non-storytelling paradigms for Fate?

Inspired by a response to my answer to Can you concede by dying in Dresden Files?, I was wondering what concrete rules can you point a GM to that is stuck in non-storytelling paradigms in Fate? I ...
9
votes
4answers
491 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 ...
25
votes
8answers
11k views

How to make a game enjoyable for a monk?

One of the players in my campaign decided to play monk. We are all pretty new, so I couldn't have alerted him to this, but from what I understand now, monks are weak. Very weak. This player in ...
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 ...
19
votes
3answers
550 views

How to do mystery based storytelling in Fate?

One of the answers in What better not to use Fate Core for? was that story lines where information is withheld from the players were less suitable for Fate. However, people commented they had been ...
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 ...
15
votes
9answers
3k views

How do I deal with players that pick very situational skills for a Campaign?

Well, luckily I don't have Power Gamers, in my game table, they all like to tailor skills according to the character background; however in many situation this makes them pick skills that are rarely (...
10
votes
2answers
525 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 ...
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 ...
36
votes
9answers
3k views

What can I do to give the players the same feel their characters would have about wilderness travel?

I find that in a lot of our group's games, traveling long distances through wilderness is too easy. In real life, it's quite arduous traveling overland. No one who's just walked a hundred miles is ...
18
votes
7answers
814 views

Techniques for skimming through travel (fast travel) without meta-teleportation

In most of my group's campaigns, we spend a lot of time traveling. Unfortunately, this leans one of two ways: Uninteresting or distracting obstacles. If you want to spend time but keep it fresh, ...
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 ...
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 ...
2
votes
0answers
243 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 ...
22
votes
5answers
958 views

GMing against type: adding levity

When I GM, I tend to make the scenarios/campaigns "serious" -- they're grim and gritty, much more about drama (and violence) than anything else. In addition, I tend to focus on some degree of realism ...
7
votes
2answers
917 views

How to deal with rude players? [duplicate]

The Situation I am Co-GM'ing in a group of 7 players - 6 male, 1 female. One of the male players is constantly making sexist remarks, such as "I'm gonna f_ck some b_tches when we get back to town" or ...
11
votes
2answers
978 views

Making relaying information less awkward

I recently started DMing for a group of friends that are new to pathfinder. Combat and group conversations went well, but after having the characters roll perception for what they see or after ...
8
votes
4answers
1k views

My players are one-hitting everything in The Dragon's Demand. How do I toughen up the opposition?

I'm running my first campaign and decided to start out with a module called The Dragon's Demand, which brings players from level 1 to level 7. I've heard that modules are fairly easy for both DM and ...
25
votes
10answers
2k views

How do I hint at events outside the scope of the current quest?

I'm GMing a long-term game with some friends, and they are the sort who, as soon as I drop a hint about anything, go "Let's investigate that!" I want there to be an overarching story arc, but it's ...
20
votes
5answers
4k views

How do I handle offended players as GM?

We're playing Shadowrun5E. Currently, the Shadowrunners are defending Kaurs Farm (I think it's a mission from Sprawl Wilds in English) but even though the NPCs clearly stated that they should only do ...