The practical arts and methods applied to gamemastering.

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12
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5answers
2k 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 ...
4
votes
2answers
159 views

Techniques for fast paced storytelling [closed]

I'm a long time GM who is a storyteller at heart. Thus when characters wander through a city and try to haggle for prices I like playing that out. Now what I have observed the last year is that my ...
2
votes
0answers
258 views

How to master a game where the player group is not a group IG [closed]

So, I've had this crazy idea of making a new type of pen and paper RPG, the goal is to enforce two principles : The players are important in their own, not as a group There is no prerequisite for ...
10
votes
4answers
2k views

How to handle a Summoner with his Eidolon having too much “stage time”?

In the group of six players I am GMing (all on level 1), there is a player using a summoner who chose his eidolon to look like a human. The result is, that he has a lot of stage time (once for the ...
1
vote
2answers
157 views

How can I improve my pregame introduction? [duplicate]

I've been running a game for three sessions now, and each time I feel uncertain as to how to raise the curtains, so to speak, to let everyone know that we're entering the magic circle and it's time ...
3
votes
1answer
263 views

How do I create and use NPCs that actually matter?

My players love to interact with my NPCs, make friends, allies, enemies, make characters fall in love, etc. But I always end up with either bland NPCs that don't matter much to the game and get ...
3
votes
2answers
959 views

Making the most of Adventure Bonds

D&D 5e has a new D&D concept called Bonds. Bonds are pieces of your background that tie you to the campaign world. These can either be connections to NPCs, or a homeland, or even a particular ...
36
votes
14answers
3k views

How can I replace a player character with an impostor without alerting the group?

I recently picked up a book of example NPCs (the Pathfinder NPC Codex, incidentally) and came across an entry for a "master spy". In the flavor text, it describes how his "secret identities have ...
38
votes
15answers
2k views

How can I help a player craft a backstory that gives me plot hooks?

I have a new player joining my game soon who has taken the place of another player. Unfortunately, the character's backstory is lacking. It doesn't tell me a lot about the character. Because I draw ...
21
votes
10answers
3k views

How can I create a world with realistic demographics that won't overwhelm my level 1 PCs?

While creating the world for my sandbox campaign, I saw that the demographics in the DMG allowed for the existence of quite powerful NPCs. Their existence is logical of course, but it might pose a ...
6
votes
6answers
262 views

How to make my session Faster

What are good ways to make my sessions move faster and my plot to develop quicker? I like to keep a balance between roleplay and dungeoncrawling, and don't mind spending hours in a dungeon on purely ...
55
votes
7answers
8k views

How can I effectively drop clues of corruption in my campaigns?

In many games I GM, corruption plays a big role. Either in my fantasy games with a church with a firm hand on the king or dystopian future like Shadowrun. Almost every time in my games, corruption is ...
12
votes
3answers
640 views

Avoiding plot pitfalls in Star Trek RPG

We are about to start a Star Trek campaign and I'd like some suggestions on avoiding the obvious plot pitfalls that exist in canon Star Trek. I want the players to think through the plot points and ...
57
votes
23answers
5k views

How can a GM quickly create interesting, engaging NPCs?

What techniques do people have for coming up with interesting personalities and histories for non-player characters? I'm mostly interested in the GM side of things. I don't want to do a ton of prep. I ...
60
votes
15answers
5k views

When should I fudge dice rolls?

When I started my first D&D campaign as a DM, I accidentally rolled and confirmed a crit on a PC from a goblin. It was an instant kill as our campaign had no cleric. That time I decided to fudge ...
4
votes
2answers
595 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 ...
-1
votes
1answer
358 views

How would you handle a D&D 4e Total Party Kill without killing them? [duplicate]

I have a lot of story planned and it's just as lame for me as it is for them. I accidently threw a couple Mud Lashers that were too difficult after they had defeated the huge Mudbeast. This was ...
33
votes
5answers
798 views

How to support useful Intraparty Conflict

This is a question calling for tried and tested methods for facilitating entertaining CvC intraparty conflict. Although Player versus Player (PvP) seems to be the accepted term among a large ...
2
votes
2answers
147 views

How should I handle Brash Assault?

Brash Assault is a 1st level Warlord at-will power, the Hit line is equivalent to a melee basic attack, but the Effect is more interesting: Effect: The target can make a melee basic attack against ...
5
votes
1answer
216 views

How to generate requests to PC with decision power and keep track of their conclusions

Background My players are officially recognized deputies, underlings of clan capital's chief magistrate, the most likely pretender to being next clan chief magistrate (same position but for whole ...
29
votes
12answers
5k 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 ...
5
votes
3answers
350 views

Increase power of or control over accidentally discovered abilities? [closed]

TL;DR: PCs discovered magical powers by accident, should further practice increase control or power? Magic is often something that either exists or doesn't, but I find it much more intriguing to ...
9
votes
4answers
1k views

What should I do if I have one PC that has optimized his character and is throwing off the party's CR?

Tonight out group just finished up our second session into our latest campaign. Everyone is enjoying it and it has been running rather smooth. I have realized, though, that one PC in particular is way ...
8
votes
5answers
568 views

How to get the most out of an encounter by combining foes

I am an new GM playing DnD-4E and i am looking for advice on how to compose challenging encounters. I have played with my group ~10 times so far and what i really like is to challenge them. Not a TPK ...
11
votes
3answers
829 views

How do you determine what good roleplaying is? [closed]

How can I determine if players are roleplaying well? World of Darkness (not the only system that does this) offers the option of giving experience for good roleplaying, but how do I as a GM determine ...
13
votes
9answers
1k views

Out-Of-Control Characters [closed]

As I review the suggestions in the D&D 4E DMG (pg32), I wonder what other suggestions that are realistic. I know that if a player is out of control (ie: killing masses for no reason) a DM would ...
42
votes
7answers
1k views

What is a good way to become a better NPC/monster actor?

One of the biggest problems I have as Game Master, (going on 30+yrs) is in portraying NPC and Monsters in any RPG. Is there a good resource for becoming a better 'actor'? Instead of just saying... ...
8
votes
0answers
461 views

Help with an apparently bored player [duplicate]

I have a group of 5 players, 3 are long time veterans and we have been playing together for 15 years, the other is a newcomer who is actually liking the game a lot, and there's a 5th player that ...
4
votes
0answers
149 views

How do I handle information in Investigations without “bottlenecking” clues? [duplicate]

I'm playing a "Monster of the Week" style campaign with friends based on shows like Supernatural but with lots of gritty combat, using Savage Worlds as our system because of the fighting scenes. I've ...
5
votes
5answers
552 views

Bringing the Team together

Here is the Team Concept: All characters are currently mortal but they'll be transitioning soon, so I've noted what they want to change into. How do I get them to work together? My original approach ...
19
votes
4answers
2k 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 ...
5
votes
6answers
988 views

How do I make random adventures relevant to player motivations in a Sandbox Hexcrawl Campaign?

I've spent my vacations planning my very first sandbox, however, I noticed that, being a hexcrawl, most of the time my players will be exploring the world and sometimes, they might spend a lot of time ...
9
votes
7answers
731 views

Giving Players the Game They Want

Currently I am running a game of Legend of the Five Rings, 4th Edition that is an extension of my 3rd Ed campaign. The current setting is a courtly endeavor, which dredges up certain problems. When ...
25
votes
5answers
3k views

How do I prevent my players from hopping on a railroad when I'm not railroading?

All my previous GMing experience is with tightly-plotted railroads, and my players are used to (and generally happy with) riding the rails. Right now I'm setting up a sandbox campaign to break out of ...
28
votes
7answers
2k views

How do I deal with a player who takes things personally?

Been running a great campaign for a few months now with very in-depth story and characters and, generally, everything goes pretty well. Unfortunately, I have a particular problem that, for a long ...
3
votes
2answers
157 views

Starting kit in RoleMaster during an unusual start

In RM players tend to start out with gear that they choose (or can afford to buy based on their wealth roll) to a limited degree and get rolls on the Special Items tables and what have you. I'm ...
0
votes
4answers
165 views

Arch-enemy or situational obstacle? [closed]

I am running a campaign where my players have a set arch-enemy. A person dedicated to the same goal as the players, but does everything in his power to stop the PCs getting to it first. He would even ...
28
votes
10answers
5k views

How do you make hacking useful without excluding other players?

My Shadowrun group has a reasonably typical composition: "face", technomancer, rigger, mage, adept, and street samurai. The problem I have is making sure that the technomancer can use her skills ...
33
votes
10answers
4k 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 ...
16
votes
7answers
771 views

As an experienced GM, what pitfalls should I watch out for? [closed]

I've been GMing for 20 years and have recently started to question if I need a GM-makeover. We are still having fun but could the game be more fun if I shed some bad, and well ingrained habits? I ...
7
votes
4answers
838 views

How do you make an encounter actually match its CR level?

I recently started using encounter generators and tables. I've noticed that there are encounters like "8 Cave Spiders" or similar. While the number of enemies will result in an encounter that "should" ...
7
votes
2answers
544 views

How can I make non-violent combat alternatives actually fun and interesting? [closed]

Most of my group and I share a trait: We all hate the idea of monsters who can be talked or negotiated with, it kills the scary, dangerous part of a monster; that combined with the fact I suck at ...
14
votes
7answers
531 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 ...
13
votes
2answers
612 views

Game design process to create a White-Wolf-like setting?

I have noticed that there seems to be a pattern at work in most oWod/WoD products, which when followed results in settings with the following properties: Each new PC starts with many possible ...
18
votes
6answers
2k views

What are possible ways to deal with a player who frequently switches characters?

I have had problems in the past with players who are serial character creators. What I'm referring to are the players who cannot seem to stick with a character more than two sessions at a time without ...
22
votes
3answers
2k 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 ...
19
votes
5answers
981 views

When planning a campaign, should I know what the ending is before we start?

I am planning the next campaign while the current one comes to a close. Our group favours sandbox play and I facilitate that with Icar's event driven system. While writing down the list of events ...
8
votes
1answer
190 views

How do I go about setting up a trial/investigation mission?

I have been running a freeform (no system, basic rules and sheets designed by yours truly), sandbox RPG with a friend of mine for about half a year now. It's my first GM experience and it's been ...
7
votes
7answers
643 views

Arbitrary timer on a breach and clear style scenario

I'm writing up a scenario base on the idea of a breach and clear of a hostage situation. I imagine it being a failure if it lasts more than about 30 seconds and as a round is about 5 seconds i ...
27
votes
17answers
2k views

Introducing an unorthodox setting the players know NOTHING about

Just a while back, there has been a question concerning GMing a setting the players know better than the GM. Now, let me ask you sort of an inverse of that question. I.e. how to introduce and ...