The practical arts and methods applied to gamemastering.

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9
votes
3answers
931 views

How can I use improvised consequences to make combat more interesting?

In DnD 4e, the consequences for being hit by basic attacks are a simple loss of HP, and narration is what gives the basic attacks their 'spice'. The use of encounter and daily powers is the main ...
47
votes
15answers
3k views

How can I make my PCs flee?

My players never run away or avoid conflict. Ever. I throw them ridiculous encounters, they will stay and fight. If I tell them, "You know you're not gonna make it, just run," they stay and fight and ...
20
votes
5answers
1k views

Sometimes, losing a big conflict is the better plotline. For D&D, how do you encourage this result?

It is practically an old adage that D&D parties will never let a fight end in a loss (short of a TPK.) And that the game mechanics (especially later editions) encourage this thinking. But ...
7
votes
9answers
678 views

How can I encourage role playing in a custom setting?

Since creating a fully living and breathing world for the players to inhabit is a time-consuming process, I have been feeding them background info as often as possible as it is relevant to the story. ...
19
votes
3answers
713 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 ...
2
votes
2answers
306 views

How do you determine the challenge rating of an encounter in 4e?

Recently my players decided to make the game as hard as possible for themselves by planning a jailbreak that will make them fugitives before they complete their mission to spy on the King. To make ...
9
votes
4answers
717 views

Plot granted special ability standards?

For the campaign in question, I'm running one person through a dungeon inspired by Vagrant Story. Clearly some things from the video game can't be emulated, and many of those are integral to the game: ...
19
votes
7answers
932 views

How to guide a new DM through his first game (as an experienced DM turned player)?

How can I guide and help a new DM through his first campaign (being an experienced DM myself) without having it look like a grab for power or that I think the new DM is incompetent?
20
votes
8answers
1k views

“Retiring” a maxed-out party

This question has a specific and a general sense. Eventually, if your game runs long enough, a party will be pretty much maxed out - reaching level caps, wielding top-level powers and abilities, ...
13
votes
4answers
2k views

How can I reduce crunch for my players without putting all pressure on the GM?

I'm ramping up to play Pathfinder, a system with which my players are not familiar, although they have a little bit of experience with D&D (so Pathfinder won't be very shocking to them). One of ...
15
votes
6answers
465 views

Dealing with high player churn?

In my current D&D 4e game we have extremely high player churn. Any given night we may have between 2 and 5 players (out of 10 to 12) leave and or join (leaving often takes the form of simply not ...
18
votes
9answers
2k views

How to approach sexual violence so that it adds to the narrative?

The popularity of this question has left me a bit confused as how exactly a GM can include sexual violence in their game. Let's assume that you have a mix of male and female players and characters and ...
28
votes
14answers
2k views

How can I deal with the challenges a player having Mind-Reading represents without negating their ability?

As I prepare for a campaign to run, I realize that several of the things I want to do in this campaign may be shortcut by mind reading and telepathy. Unfortunately, many of the solutions to defending ...
15
votes
13answers
7k 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 ...
10
votes
2answers
511 views

What is the best way to create custom weapons and armor for your PCs?

After quests have been completed, or during the course of completing them, my Player Characters might pick up new armor or weapons that I've put placeholders in for, but eventually I reach a point ...
9
votes
5answers
481 views

Good ways to handle presenting information to one or some members of the group?

What are some good methods for presenting information to a limited number of players in a gaming group so as to allow them to control when and how that information gets released to the rest of the ...
12
votes
1answer
358 views

Can Paranoia be revamped to be a cooperative game?

So, some of you may or may not remember a previous question that I had asked on this site. Now I may be asking for the exact opposite. My group wasn't very impressed with the whole "we're playing ...
29
votes
16answers
1k views

How do I get the PCs to visit scary places at night?

Sometimes when I design scenarios, I realize that my mental image of the adventure is only exciting because it takes place at night. When the players actually play through the adventure, they might ...
11
votes
7answers
508 views

What should the GM do when players constantly argue?

I've got a group that it seems no matter what I do, they always end up arguing about every single situation I put in front of them. This includes the more simplistic situations like, "Where do you ...
37
votes
14answers
2k views

How can GMs make their game worlds more inclusive?

Many published roleplaying settings reflect our own cultural biases, for example, by putting white people in the "core" of the setting with "exotic" (i.e., not white) cultures around the less-detailed ...
25
votes
8answers
848 views

Creating emotions

In the group that I GM, I ran an adventure a few months back that was generally considered very good by everyone involved (Including myself, which does not happen often). It included a little girl ...
8
votes
6answers
2k views

What strategies can I use to award treasure on the fly?

Due to a combination of tight scheduling and plain laziness, I never prepare any of my sessions ahead of time. At first it was hard to play this way, and the game was a bit sluggish, but now I think ...
11
votes
5answers
1k views

How can a PC craft armor?

I am DMing a dnd-4e game, and there was a wolf in the party's first encounter. After they defeated the enemy, the rogue wanted to skin the wolf in order to use it's hide for armor. I know there are ...
1
vote
2answers
70 views

Making Games Seem Late Middle Ages/Early Renissance [closed]

What things can I do or resources can I tap to make my fantasy games (system-independent) seem more late middle ages/early renaissance? e.g., the world as envisioned in Lamentations of the Flame ...
26
votes
8answers
1k views

What should I consider when creating a time travel adventure?

I'm sure that many would advise against doing so at all, but knowing that I will likely try to do so anyway, what are the factors I should consider when creating a time travel adventure? ...
26
votes
6answers
2k views

What good is GP?

I know the title sounds silly, but hear me out. I'm kinda new to DnD and I'm DM'ing a 1st level campaign for a group of people who have never played before. They've made their characters with what ...
13
votes
5answers
300 views

How do I resolve the conflict between realism and uniqueness when designing campaigns?

Whenever I am developing a plot-line, location or an NPC, there are two primary factors I take into account: Realism - Locations should be believable (no redundant corridors, random unfitting ...
16
votes
2answers
2k views

Are DCs supposed to be secret?

Are players not supposed to ask what is the DC for a roll? If you're the DM and someone asks, would you tell them you can't say? Would you instead tell them the difficulty in relative terms like, ...
11
votes
6answers
2k views

How much can/should a single owned item be worth at most?

How much can any single possession take up a character's wealth? For this question, I'd like answers that operate under the presumption that wealth-by-level isn't a minimum but instead a target. I've ...
36
votes
6answers
1k views

How do you handle verbal exchanges between NPCs without taking the PCs out of the spotlight?

One of the assumptions I make as GM is that the players should always be in the spotlight. Sometimes the players find themselves in a situation where they watch NPCs speak to each other. I don't ...
18
votes
5answers
501 views

What techniques can I use to improve flavor text?

I've been improving my GM skills lately, but there is one area in which my skills are very weak, and that is flavor text. For example, if my players go into the woods, I tend to say something stupid ...
6
votes
1answer
590 views

How can I create more compelling villains? [closed]

A consistent issue with the games that I've run comes through with villain characters. Not just at the end of an adventure, but overarching villains; movers and shakers of the world. I notice that I ...
16
votes
9answers
548 views

How can I encourage my group to become more well rounded?

My gaming group tends to each go in their own direction for character creation. Sometimes this leads to great games where folks are strongly opposed on dramatic elements and character interaction is ...
10
votes
3answers
248 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 ...
11
votes
6answers
372 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 ...
10
votes
3answers
1k views

How can I emulate TV Shows with only 2-3 main characters?

I watch a lot of TV. Probably too much. Shows like Buffy the vampire slayer and Firefly have a whole slew of characters, which is perfect for a gaming party as you fill in the slots to the point you ...
9
votes
1answer
214 views

Transitioning from a long running successful campaign to a new game with the same group of players

I have recently completed running an extremely successful, long running campaign that lasted over two and a half years. All the players absolutely loved it, and by the end they were each deeply ...
38
votes
5answers
1k views

GMing for [dis]abled players, specifically blind players?

What kind of measures should one take when running a game which includes a [dis]abled player (or players) such as a blind of deaf player? Are there any technologies or styles which are particularly ...
16
votes
7answers
669 views

How should a GM handle novice players?

In our game, we have 5 players - two are completely new to roleplaying, and one is new to the system we're playing (Pathfinder). At the moment, the GM grants the new players no leeway - if the player ...
18
votes
7answers
347 views

How do you maintain a balance between mystery and offering clues?

Giving good clues that offer just enough information can be difficult. I think I tend to not give the players enough information and then to overcompensate with a reveal that comes too easily. ...
18
votes
6answers
1k views

How do I handle lengthy (days+) actions without slowing the game

I run a D&D 3.5 game, but the system itself is not critical (the examples I use are from D&D though). Some of the characters have various crafting abilities, ranging from things like Alchemy, ...
25
votes
10answers
2k views

Strategies for dealing with turtle or roach players?

How should GMs deal with players who turtle or roach? By turtle I am referring to players who obviously wanted to play because they joined the game, but when they're actually at the table they keep ...
3
votes
1answer
809 views

Checklist of what a GM should cover when creating a campaign [closed]

I think the best way to explain what I mean is to explain the situation. I've been creating what will be my first serious fantastic campaign and I found myself creating a lot of content for one part ...
2
votes
0answers
309 views

Running a Game for a 2-man Party [closed]

I'm a fairly veteran DM, cut my teeth on 2nd edition DnD and have spent the bulk of my time with d20 and its derivatives. I have generally run campaigns for groups of 4-8 players and usually there are ...
6
votes
3answers
327 views

Tips to run engaging exploration in 4e

Fighting is a fun thing in D&D 4e, and every session we enjoy battles. The next sessions I will no doubt have some. But at this point in the adventure I'm running for my PCs, I think it would be a ...
17
votes
3answers
351 views

Is buying game ebooks practical?

I am looking into buying some game rules books as ebooks, but I want to know if anyone else has done this. Ebooks/PDFs are cheaper and easier to get, but I am wondering if that is worth the trade off ...
15
votes
6answers
490 views

How can I judge if combat in a dungeon room attracts attention?

A question that usually props up at my table is "If we start a fight in this room, will we attract any attention?" I guess usually this refers to the noise and din of combat. So, say the party is ...
24
votes
7answers
2k views

How to encourage a player's creativity without breaking the game?

I've just started a new D&D 4e campaign with a new group of players. One of my players came straight from 2nd edition, and has never played 4e before. She doesn't seem to grasp the layer of ...
21
votes
9answers
2k views

How do I kidnap my characters without bending the rules?

I'm about to start a new arc with my characters and I'd really like it to begin by having them be kidnapped. It would be easy for me to just do this by fiat and say that "You are knocked unconscious ...
22
votes
5answers
787 views

How do I learn to do accents?

I've always enjoyed playing in games where the GM/DM/ST makes use of a variety of accents to differentiate between NPCs. I've always wanted to learn how to do that, but I realize that I'm not ...