The practical arts and methods applied to gamemastering.

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26
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8answers
2k 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 ...
8
votes
4answers
1k views

Responding to players paying exclusively with gold coins

I noticed that my players would pay everything in gold. A simple piece of bread? 1 copper. "Here, have a gold and keep the change." They get into a tavern. A beer! Here, have a gold coin and keep the ...
8
votes
3answers
202 views

Introducing a complex game world to players unfamiliar with its fiction whilst still hitting the ground running with character creation?

I am preparing to start up a Hellfrost game using the Savage Worlds system. Although I've run Hellfrost before, it has always been for people who are already familiar with its fiction and fluff. In ...
5
votes
2answers
169 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 ...
22
votes
6answers
608 views

How to get players to be curious and ask questions?

I have recently noticed that my players don't really try to find out much about the world and story beyond the direct "what do we see?" I want to have them interact more with their environment and ...
10
votes
10answers
966 views

Is It OK To Sic Assassins On My PCs?

L5R has the most specific example in my immediate memory. In one game, the players were in a diplomatic situation and a Shosuro Shinobi (ninja) was sneaking around to stir the pot. This was a ...
5
votes
2answers
166 views

How can I gauge the strength of my PCs in Legend?

I've been trying to run Legend on and off lately, and I find myself faced with a frustration. Though I find the Mook rules easy enough to comprehend, I can't seem to create appropriate challenges for ...
21
votes
9answers
942 views

How do I help my players get past an obstacle I didn't intend?

Here's the situation. There's a locked door that prevents any further progress into the dungeon. There's a keyhole in the door and a message basically saying that the key needs to be wished for. In ...
18
votes
6answers
3k views

How to kill a character without making their player too angry

I have been DMing a game for a group of friends. In between two sessions, which ended with them facing a few enemy NPCs, I realized that these intelligent opponents had a very good way to kill one of ...
10
votes
7answers
568 views

Ending combat: should I “kill” monsters prematurely?

Out of time constraints (my group can generally only meet for 3-4 hours every other week), as a GM I frequently find myself prematurely "killing" off monsters when it seems clear to me that the ...
9
votes
4answers
563 views

Making epic combat interesting and challenging but not complicated

I'm running up on the tail end of a year-and-a-half 4e campaign, and epic levels are exhausting to GM. Everyone has more weird powers than you can shake a dragon at, and that includes the NPCs ...
12
votes
13answers
3k views

How to mitigate glass cannon syndrome in Pathfinder?

This is the more gamey part of my other question, What to do when your character is just too good? In D&D 3.5e and Pathfinder, damage output grows very, very quickly. Much more quickly than hit ...
1
vote
6answers
798 views

GM developed recurring villain

I have started my first 3.5 campaign and had the idea that as the GM I could still enjoy playing by making a character using the normal rules and running it as the villain. It would gain the same ...
12
votes
3answers
373 views

Tips and pitfalls for a variable-size group

My gaming group has very fluid attendance. From week to week it's been known to fluctuate between ten and two players, usually hovering around three to five. I've become reasonably adept at building ...
16
votes
4answers
1k views

Please stop giving the town sheriff a noogie!

Related to this question but more closely related to this question. How can I get my PCs to not cause a single or small handful of characters to become the butt of a joke when that humor could easily ...
14
votes
5answers
490 views

Should the DM try to actively fix party wealth in a sandbox game?

This question is inspired by this WBL question. The consensus seems to be that WBL is important. But in a sandbox game , where the course of action is determined by the players, what should be DM's ...
35
votes
10answers
2k views

How can I invoke actual fear in my players?

I'm a DM that focuses heavily on story, description and setting. My goal is to send players home wanting -- no, longing -- to actually be part of the mythos I've created. The ultimate goal for me as ...
14
votes
7answers
346 views

Advantages and disadvantages in using a one-shot pre-gen to introduce a new system

In questions about how to learn new systems, or teach them, a common suggestion is to run a single-session game with pre-made characters and a pre-made scenario. In your experience as a GM and/or ...
11
votes
4answers
1k views

Is there a reason to ignore/adjust the Wealth By Level chart?

While reading this Cohort Question I was kinda struck by a quote in there and instead of asking an unrelated question in that area I figured it would be good to make a separate question. The quote ...
9
votes
2answers
246 views

What should be considered when deciding if and how to use props?

GMs and players who have experience with props in their games, what do you think about when considering props to use and how to use them? How might props be used to further the game, instead of ...
24
votes
6answers
1k views

How to deal with overly cautious players?

Recent encounters with hard to hurt opponents have left the party pretty beat up. The player is now seemingly scared by similar encounters and prefers fleeing. I'm GMing a solo game of Pathfinder for ...
7
votes
1answer
195 views

How much, and what kind of, advance planning is appropriate for a sandbox campaign?

New ZM attemping to get ideas for a campaign down something similar to a tabletop fallout game. How much info is too much info for general prep? Can there ever be too much? Or is there a general ...
10
votes
2answers
567 views

DM organization ideas for Sandbox campaign

I have over the past couple months been putting together Ideas on how I would run an All Flesh Must Be Eaten campaign. How do other DMs organize their Bads or Locations that the PC's might wish to ...
4
votes
3answers
621 views

DM going from D&D 3.5e to AD&D 1st edition [closed]

I recently purchased the following seven AD&D books: Player Handbook, Monster Manual, Dungeon Master's Guide, Fiend Folio, Monster Manual 2, Unearthed Arcana, and. Deites and Demigods. Based on ...
13
votes
1answer
372 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 ...
15
votes
7answers
2k views

How Can I Make Supplies Matter In D&D 3.5e?

On long journeys we always forget to track supplies so I am looking for a way to make supplies actually matter in D&D 3.5.
23
votes
4answers
724 views

How do I explain stress to a d20 crowd?

In the next month or so I'm going to start running the Dresden Files RPG soon with a group that has most of its experience in D&D 3.5 and 4e. We're all new to FATE, and I tried to explain the ...
10
votes
5answers
389 views

How can I create a more serious atmosphere when playing with siblings?

At our gaming table the players are always making jokes, and some make nonsense noises for some strange reason. My players generally act like hooligans. Getting a new group is not an option – they're ...
15
votes
5answers
581 views

How can I add story to every encounter so that they don't seem like I'm just piling monsters on the characters for xp?

I am running a Viking themed 3.5 adventure and the party is traveling to confront a barbarian king on the way though they have just been fighting wild animals and it feels like these encounters don't ...
9
votes
5answers
629 views

How to Determine *Honest* Sincerity

The specific example I am working with is the Sincerity (Honesty) skill in L5R but there is a certain factor of curiosity for any other system: How do you really roll to tell the truth and logically ...
10
votes
5answers
391 views

How to go from a humorous campaign to a more serious one?

I am currently running a D&D 4E game. The game started off kind of goofy (we have a thrikreen rogue with glowing blonde hair, an ale-obsessed dwarf battlemind, a ditzy human wizard, and a dwarf ...
9
votes
1answer
222 views

How can I estimate difficulty in a FATE based game?

In a recent game of Diaspora, I pitted three of my "5 cap" player characters against four "3 cap" and one "4 cap" character in physical combat, and was surprised to see that the characters came away ...
16
votes
2answers
1k views

How can I play monsters and NPCs up to their potential?

In many cases discussions about balance in 3.5 will, inevitably, involve one side or another invoking an anecdote of the time they fought this monster, or a member of that class, and they didn't ...
14
votes
2answers
448 views

How can I make diseases non-trivial?

As noted here, diseases in 4e seem more trivial than I think they were intended: they rarely last more than one increment! What rules can I make/break, or what actions can I take, so that contracting ...
21
votes
6answers
774 views

When GMing in a high-tech game world how do you handle potentially disruptive tech?

This question stems from my Eclipse Phase campaign, but applies to any high-tech setting. While the setting books describe a wealth of technology, there are plenty of tools that are not listed. That's ...
1
vote
2answers
548 views

Good RPG System/Game/style for just a single DM and single Player? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: 1 GM and 1 Player games and game systems? I am looking for a system or style of play (or even contained game/game module) which would be fun for just one player---myself ...
19
votes
8answers
607 views

Systems giving XP based on roleplay - How to avoid jealousy/party balance problem

I used to play systems where XP is usually allowed to the group and shared equally no matter how well the players roleplayed or got involved in the story. But now I started Shadowrun and karma (or XP) ...
6
votes
2answers
482 views

Increasing experience gain in session

I want to increase the experience gain per game season for several reasons: My group does not play too often, something like once a month, therefore some players seem to loose sense of achievement ...
4
votes
1answer
338 views

How to upgrade Pathfinder Beginner Box games and characters to Pathfinder Core Rules?

Similar to this question on Red box to 4e core rules upgrade, what problems are there overcome with or good ways to achieve moving games and characters from the Beginner Box rules to Pathfinder Core ...
5
votes
1answer
226 views

What considerations to make introducing a new player to an existing party, especially wealth and items?

As well as mechanics for introducing new players what considerations should I take for introducing a new player to an existing party? My example is that I'm I'm running the Pathfinder Beginner Box ...
11
votes
5answers
584 views

How do I encourage player-GM storytelling collaboration without “breaking” my game?

I've DM/GM'd for several gaming groups, young and old, and have found that one of the things that separates my younger players from older players is their eagerness to elaborate/collaborate in the ...
16
votes
4answers
430 views

How would I quickly put together a believable map of an area?

As part of my "Closed Circle" campaign, I'm looking for ways to quickly put together a believable map of a college campus and surrounding area, complete with believable building placement. "Quickly" ...
12
votes
3answers
349 views

How can I build open-ended questions into a scenario in a GM driven world?

Inspired by this question. In a game where the GM has the traditional role of answering all the questions about the world, what is the benefit of building open-ended questions into the scenario for ...
24
votes
5answers
900 views

Problems with a party of only Spellcasters?

Given a party of only spellcasters (and only unique classes, i.e. only one character can take any specific class), what are possible roadblocks or problems the group may run into? Should they be ...
26
votes
8answers
2k views

How can a GM justify changing a player's alignment?

Lately, in one of my campaigns, I've been having problems with a character who everyone agrees is acting out of alignment. Everyone, that is, but him. The problem, of course, is that he's playing a ...
8
votes
3answers
335 views

How do I keep track of “hidden” in game variables without getting bogged down?

I'm currently designing a campaign that has a monumental amount of in-game variables to keep track of, which I'll need to check every time a certain kind of event happens. Reducing the number of ...
9
votes
6answers
294 views

What are the pitfalls when swapping characters between players?

I have a plot hook that I want to use where the entire player character team gets gassed and wake up feeling "different". I want to simulate that by swapping characters between the players for one ...
5
votes
3answers
133 views

When should I put an NPC card on the table?

I'm running a game of Diaspora, which is my first FATE based game. The manual talks about playing with everything in the open and I'm all for that, but when should I actually make up a card for an ...
9
votes
1answer
398 views

How can GMs quickly calculate the effects of level drain?

I've GM'ed a few Pathfinder games, and while I really enjoy the setting, I just can't wrap my head around some of the crunchy mechanics. In particular, how do you (quickly) deal with effects like ...
9
votes
3answers
368 views

How do I keep me and my player happy in a one-on-one game?

As a GM, my comfort zone is a group with about 3-5 players. I like the diversity of having multiple players. When I only have a single player, I feel I can already predict my player's actions, and we ...