The practical arts and methods applied to gamemastering.

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11
votes
4answers
974 views

Divided party on a deserted island

My gaming group (and some NPCs) are shipwrecked on a deserted island. I'd like the characters cooperate to survive in this hostile environment, because I want to make the game world really dangerous (...
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 ...
4
votes
3answers
279 views

How do I convey that Traveller and the Outer Veil setting are more deadly than RPGs my players are used to? [closed]

I am about to run the "Beyond the Veil" scenarios for the outer veil setting for Traveller. I am concerned about how to set the tone for players not used to this setting or the ruleset. As death can ...
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 ...
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 ...
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, ...
11
votes
5answers
1k views

How do I deal with two players who dislike each other and disrupt the game?

I have lately had a problem with some players in a campaign I am running. Basically, they don't get on well together, for various reasons. I don't really understand it, but then again, I am looking in ...
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 ...
38
votes
9answers
9k views

How do I run a successful and engaging campaign without combat?

I'm thinking of starting my own campaign with a few of my friends with me as DM, primarily because I wasn't extremely impressed with the campaign my friend was DMing. When I started thinking about the ...
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 ...
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 ...
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 ...
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 ...
14
votes
3answers
1k views

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

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 ...
20
votes
3answers
997 views

Do you have to reveal your NPC's aspects?

Important NPCs may have hidden aspects that PCs are supposed to assess somehow before using them: can such a NPC invoke one of his hidden aspects without the GM revealing it to the players? Example: ...
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-...
9
votes
3answers
858 views

How to manage play in a zombie RPG pre outbreak

I am planning on starting my newest campaign about the end of the world: a Zombie Apocalypse, with the game starting before the outbreak has occurred. Every zombie RPG I have encountered so far has ...
20
votes
6answers
1k views

What should a DM do if a player wants to do something impossible?

If a player wants to do something a little out of the ordinary such as punching down a wall with his bare fists, what should I do? Do I make a DC for it? Do I make it so that no matter how much he ...
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 ...
10
votes
5answers
4k views

How to GM a zombie-apocalypse game?

I was asked, not a long time ago, to GM a zombie-apocalypse one-shot. Being versed in horror-GMing, I decided to approach the genre as I approach most other genres of horror, but I've encountered a ...
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 ...
46
votes
9answers
5k views

What to do when a player character does something that seems suicidal?

Every now and then a player character does something extremely risky because "it would be fun." What are some good ways to handle this as a GM, for the different styles of play? I like playing non-...
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 ...
26
votes
6answers
3k views

Dealing with players of vastly different skill levels?

In my latest campaign (D&D 3.5), I have a player (let's call him P). P is on his fifth character. Yes, fifth. Except for P, only one other player has lost a character. The world P lives in is ...
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 ...
68
votes
12answers
6k views

Is it wrong to ask a player to justify their character's actions?

When a player has their character do something completely outside of the perceived norm for that character, is it okay to ask them for a justification? If they can not give satisfactory justification,...
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
515 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 ...
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 ...
8
votes
6answers
3k views

How should I award XP for traps?

I'm creating an encounter and planning to use traps. The section of the DMG that provides trap rules and sample traps (120-123) does not provide XP guidelines for traps. Noncombat Challenges on page ...
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 ...
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....
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 ...
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 ...
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 ...
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 ...
14
votes
3answers
287 views

How do you turn a plot seed into a scenario

Given a plot seed, how do you turn that into a scenario complete with clues, conflicts, NPC's, places, etc.? e.g., players are Delta Green-style or Hunter the Vigil anti-supernatural secret agents, ...
19
votes
8answers
2k views

How can I make downtime interesting?

My group is running a set of published adventures, so there's a pretty linear path between them. But between modules, there is the opportunity to go back to town, spend some money, and get some good ...
15
votes
5answers
1k views

How would you play test an RPG before all of its rules are complete?

I've been writing my own RPG, mainly to address some of the flaws / frustrations I've come across in other games. Luckily, I've found a few willing participants to help test the rules and mechanics in ...
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, ...