The practical arts and methods applied to gamemastering.

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8
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3answers
199 views

Encouraging players to play games they normally wouldn't?

So one of my traditional groups has a member who's gone through a pretty serious health crisis, and in addition to that the remainder of the group is going on some traveling soon. Eventually we'll get ...
9
votes
4answers
160 views

How can I make sure I'm awarding the right amount of honor at the end of a session?

In the new version of Hackmaster, it suggests that you award -12 to +16 honor to each character over the course of a level. It suggests doing this by rating the character as per the 1-10 rating and ...
14
votes
7answers
385 views

How can I make my carrying mission interesting

Often my quest will boil down to Dungeons or Go to X because of Y to do Z (I may over simplify it but let's focus on that). Dungeons, I can make those as awesome as they can be. Awesome rooms with ...
24
votes
5answers
895 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 ...
10
votes
7answers
564 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 ...
25
votes
6answers
1k views

How to deal with players not taking things seriously?

As both a player and GM I play with my group of players (and close friends) on multiple occasions and they will often make fun of either my characters, NPC or a specific situation and won't stop ...
9
votes
3answers
170 views

How should I properly lay out the expectations of my players for the campaign, and how do I support these expectations?

I've been planning on running my 1000 point Wild Talents campaign for some time now, and I think it diverges significantly in how it will be played from campaigns we've run in the past. My group has ...
25
votes
9answers
828 views

How can GMs evoke the tone of danger in an RPG?

Forked from this question which focuses more on exploring signals of specific danger. Here, my question is: how can a GM evoke the feeling of danger during a game? How can they create tension that ...
15
votes
5answers
395 views

How can I mechanistically empower a prophecy or fortune without railroading the plot?

I am interested in the idea of incorporating fate (via prophecy or fortunes told) in my campaign. I would like to come up with a set of rules/mechanics to make a prophecy or fortune teller's ...
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 ...
38
votes
13answers
1k views

How to communicate to the players that an encounter can be solved also through diplomacy?

When you play D&D, you are not supposed to chat with the enemy during encounters. The system is made for fighting. However, in some circumstances, it would be nice to make the players conscious ...
1
vote
3answers
642 views

What CR adjustment should I make for Divine Rank 0

How do I calculate the the CR adjustment when adding Divine Rank 0? Note: Yes, I know that not everyone agrees with the CR but it is a useful overall guide. So, with that being said I need to make ...
31
votes
8answers
3k views

What are the essential features of a successful evil campaign?

Until this point, I have demanded that my players not build characters with evil alignments, as I am familiar with how to design campaigns and adventures around "good" or "redemption" themes. ...
31
votes
4answers
1k views

Resources for Complex Puzzle-Traps

I'm looking for resources for designing complex challenges - something that's not quite a puzzle and not quite a trap, but somewhere in between. There are tons of resources for really complex or ...
11
votes
3answers
300 views

Does an emissary of power HAVE to be known?

The Emissary of power power states that people recognize you as the arbiter of the entity that gave you the power. Could you play it though as if the entity of the power is unknown, and not easily ...
39
votes
11answers
1k views

How do I deal with GM burnout?

There are groups that share the role of GM/DM/Storyteller/Ref, and there are those that don't. In either type there is always the threat of burnout - too much responsibility is put into the hands of a ...
12
votes
10answers
603 views

How to motivate players without the promise of gold and XP?

The only way I seem to be able to motivate my players to go on adventures is the promise of gold or XP they don't seem to want to go anywhere unless some kind of physical reward is promised. For ...
14
votes
6answers
386 views

How to make players care about a community

I've built a lot of villages, some towns and a city or two but I've failed to bring them to life and make the PCs feel like they belong there (maybe not much belong but to just make them care about ...
13
votes
2answers
170 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, ...
17
votes
5answers
1k views

What do I do with a dissonant player?

We have a gaming group that has been playing the game for about 4 years. One of the players is my old friend, with whom I started gaming about 15 years ago. There is also another player, who has also ...
27
votes
9answers
1k 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 ...
19
votes
6answers
787 views

Bad/Rash character actions and consequences that don't kill my game

When a character (I mean the in-game character, not the player) makes bad decisions, there should definitely be in-game consequences that have an effect on the character. I'm not trying to punish the ...
4
votes
2answers
220 views

Evolving a region from war torn to merchant hub

Currently in my planning for my campaign I have a desert region that would make for a great way to travel, except tribes of Monkeys are at war. One side quest I have planned out has the players end ...
16
votes
7answers
458 views

How can I use a frame story and keep a sense of danger and mystery?

I am planning a campaign that I would like to present as a frame story: the heroes are recounting their adventures in a tavern in exchange for drinks (and then picking up the last leg of the adventure ...
10
votes
6answers
567 views

How can I introduce twists to the setting without asking the players

I'm starting a new game tomorrow and I'd like to throw something unusual at my players. The setting is a typical Tolkien-esque setting and the players are aware of that..but I'd like to introduce ...
24
votes
3answers
411 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 ...
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 ...
3
votes
1answer
151 views

How can I maintain game balance at extremely high levels of power in a point-build system?

More specifically, how do I keep the game fun when all parties involved are extremely powerful? The game I'm asking this about is a Wild Talents 2nd Edition game where everyone is built on a budget of ...
2
votes
3answers
338 views

How do you keep players from using out of game knowledge when their characters wouldn't know the answer? [duplicate]

A lot of times I find my players using their knowledge about the game to there characters advantage even when the characters would have no way of knowing certain information. Here is an example. ...
23
votes
19answers
2k views

What role-playing games have good gamemaster advice sections? [closed]

Which RPG's, in your experience, have good advice for gamemasters in their rulebooks, both for novice and experienced gamemasters? Please keep in mind that this question is not about good games for ...
16
votes
2answers
309 views

What are the main factors to consider when a PC gains a major airport in V:tM?

Depending on the type of Vampire: the Masquerade campaign, PC's may experience unusual growth in resources. This should generally come with a (potentially complicated) system of pros and cons as well ...
8
votes
2answers
364 views

Fantasy accent and dialect, or how do I speak like Tom Hanks in Cloud Atlas?

For example, inhabitants of Planescape setting say things like "chant" for news or gossip, "berk" or "cutter" for a kind of adventurer, "barmy" for crazy, etc. I want to portray a guy from a far away ...
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 ...
5
votes
1answer
225 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
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 ...
20
votes
9answers
1k views

How to Manage Player Frustration and Disengagement

Many RPGs have random elements, such as dice rolling, which can determine success or failure of an action. In some of these games, failure basically means the player character does nothing or ...
29
votes
6answers
694 views

How to maximize the opportunities of roleplaying military rank in a PC group, while minimizing the limitations on the players

Some games come with a predisposition toward the characters having military rank. This is typically an element of the setting material, and is intended to aid immersion, and produce interesting social ...
10
votes
10answers
964 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 ...
12
votes
9answers
1k views

How to help players who roll really badly? [duplicate]

Scenario: player rolls to attack, rolls a 1. Next round, rolls a 1. Round after that, rolls a 1. Fourth round, rolls a 2. This really happened today. He was going back and forth between two different ...
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 ...
12
votes
0answers
278 views

As a GM, how can I create and role-play diverse NPCs better? [duplicate]

I am new to GMing (and role-playing in general, for that matter) and I am having a somewhat difficult time making plausible and interesting NPCs. This is especially true with NPCs who are not "typical ...
22
votes
6answers
605 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 ...
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 ...
22
votes
6answers
424 views

Techniques for communicating setting and campaign information to the PCs?

In the past, I've almost always had at least one NPC that would travel with the characters as a type of "lore master" to expand on the story. I've tried to make the character witty and, once the ...
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
934 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 ...
8
votes
5answers
595 views

How do I reduce the number of encounters in D&D 4E without reducing the difficulty?

4E is setup very well for long chains of battles, especially in the form of a dungeon crawl. However, sometimes it doesn't make sense to constantly be in chains of combat. Here are but a few examples: ...
9
votes
4answers
562 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
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 ...
11
votes
7answers
563 views

Could a “Fog of war” prop break a game in any way?

I'm going to run the Pathfinder's Beginners Box scripted adventure that has a dungeon map printed. This is not only the first time GMing, it's my first time playing an RPG. All of the party are new ...