The practical arts and methods applied to gamemastering.

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8
votes
3answers
341 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
301 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 ...
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 ...
15
votes
4answers
661 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 ...
9
votes
3answers
370 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 ...
9
votes
1answer
405 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 ...
5
votes
4answers
531 views

How do I deal with absent players?

If a player is absent and nobody chooses to play this absent character and instead I let it vanish for a while with a suitable reason or excuse, does this missing player gain levels and XP with the ...
4
votes
2answers
1k views

Pathfinder monster races: Broken?

I've played an ogre barbarian/fighter with a one-hit-one-kill concept, and he can put out more damage than anything in the party. I've played a serpentfolk wizard whose DCs were so high, creatures 10 ...
4
votes
5answers
971 views

How to impose consequences for breaking the Paladin's Code without coming off as a insensitive GM? [closed]

It all started when we were going through a premade adventure's flavor text and got to the bit when the party walked into the town of Night Falls. One PC, a paladin, used his class ability to detect ...
12
votes
5answers
588 views

What is a challenge to a Perfect character?

Solars are Perfect at whatever skills they choose to develop and use. This doesn't make the job of the storyteller easy. Perfect in this case means a charm that allows them to avoid a roll entirely ...
0
votes
1answer
127 views

How many XP points should an enemy have?

How can I assign an amount of XP points to an enemy that I have created for a campaign that I am writing? What would be a good way to decide, and still be fair? The campaign that I wrote is for the ...
36
votes
6answers
1k views

GMing a setting when your players are more familiar with it than you

My players often ask me to GM games in specific settings we all like. Most of the time, they know FAR more than me about that setting. They will object to events I have happen or how I play an NPC, ...
8
votes
2answers
239 views

Mechanics and methods for playing a quantum-superposition of worlds

I'm looking for game mechanics and story telling methods that convey the atmosphere that characters don't just live in one world, but in a multiverse adhering to something similar to the many-worlds ...
18
votes
5answers
484 views

What field-specific puzzles can I give to engineering and psychology students?

A few sessions ago, I gave my players a puzzle that involved converting a decimal number to binary to figure out the correct sequence to open a door. Since my group consists primarily of computer ...
9
votes
3answers
638 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 ...
39
votes
7answers
823 views

How can I quickly get a player back into a session after their character dies?

As a GM, what kind of techniques could I use to help a player re-join the gaming session after their character dies? I want to avoid any major interruptions to the flow of the adventure. I would also ...
11
votes
6answers
834 views

How can I make my adventures more bard-inclusive?

For whatever reason, it seems that no one in my campaigns ever chooses to play a bard. I am beginning to wonder if it has something to do with the adventures I construct as our game's DM. These ...
10
votes
12answers
627 views

How do I design a Christmas-themed horror adventure?

'Tis soon the season and I want to treat my players to a Christmas-themed adventure as part of my ongoing horror campaign. I want to keep the horror element, but I don't mind mixing in a bit of humor ...
12
votes
3answers
421 views

Single player games suitable for session preparation

I found a demo version of How to Host a Dungeon, and somehow the idea really grew on me. Not just creating dungeons, but actually having methods of making gm prep work into a game. I haven't seen ...
21
votes
10answers
274 views

Keeping a published module interesting when some players have already played.

When running a published adventure which some players have already played, such as a RPGA module, are there any suggestions for keeping it interesting for all involved ?
26
votes
8answers
1k views

Can party betrayal be done successfully?

After reading How much experience should a PC be worth? I was wondering if and how party betrayal can be done successfully, especially since it's a real possibility in my campaign. Criteria for ...
19
votes
9answers
827 views

How can I create within-party intrigue without destroying group cohesion?

I am a novice GM playing with several more experienced D&D players (who happen to be good friends). I wanted to spice up the game for them and take advantage of their own intelligence/experience ...
11
votes
8answers
315 views

Using Boardgames or Card Games to improve GMing or Playing [closed]

Do you know of any cases of successfully using props or cards from board games/card games (all kinds) to run a campaign, ease preparing for a session or the playing itself? I am interested both in ...
11
votes
2answers
353 views

Tips for keeping track of NPC stats and conditions

Is there a good paper based solution to keep track of NPC stats so they are avaliable when you need them in-game but don't take hours to keep up to date? I have a bunch of NPC notes and lists of ...
14
votes
3answers
329 views

Reducing Preparation time for Gumshoe GMs

As a new player in a game of Mutant City Blues, it has struck me that the GM has a very large workload when prepping the investigation scenes if there is to be any real interaction with that scene for ...
14
votes
5answers
435 views

As a GM, what aids could I use to create adventure scenes on the spot?

As a GM, many a time I run into a situation that I know nothing of, am not prepared about, and need something, NOW! Maybe it is a freeform adventure and plot was not prepared, maybe I prepared some ...
10
votes
3answers
378 views

In Lady Blackbird, how do you NPC the characters people haven't picked?

My normal Apocalypse World crew was down a player this week, so I ran Lady Blackbird for 'em. It was my first time running the game (and we all had a blast), but I got rather confused when playing the ...
7
votes
3answers
374 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 ...
6
votes
3answers
254 views

When should I separate encounters?

I had a session this week involving a fairly large battle at sea. The encounter involved a couple of boarders while the enemy ship was still at quite a distance, and the larger group still on the ...
13
votes
5answers
293 views

As a GM, how do I encourage PCs to share and play out their backstories?

My players have trouble creating deep backstories for the characters. I have decided to go with that, but provide opportunities in-game for filling out the gaps. I'm considering leading some ...
9
votes
4answers
587 views

How to make spell components relevant again?

The spell components mechanic has always seemed a bit ham-fistedly handled in D&D since 2nd edition. What should be an interesting way of defining a wizard generally becomes "I have my pouch" and ...
11
votes
4answers
225 views

Building a sense of desperation

For a GUMSHOE game I want to build up the suspense through the more subtle, but very effective, buildup of a sense of desperation. This is a medical drama and the characters will be in quarantine. I’m ...
28
votes
8answers
1k views

Introducing new players to GURPS

So, I have a group of players who have played a variety of other systems - D&D 3.5, D&D 4th, Shadowrun, White Wolf, etc. Some have played GURPS in the past and had some less than ideal ...
8
votes
2answers
155 views

How can I add Character Advancement in Diaspora Without Breaking the Game?

How can I add some measure of mechanical character advancement in Diaspora without breaking the game? I'm considering using Diaspora to run a game idea I've had for a while. I really like many of ...
14
votes
5answers
422 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 ...
20
votes
10answers
1k views

Flaws that aren't flaws

What do you do when a system gives points at character creation for flaws/disadvantages when a player can permanently remove the effects of that flaw by buying something or spending other points to ...
2
votes
1answer
198 views

Techniques for Different Length Game Sessions [closed]

I have been both a player and GM for a long time. Currently, life takes up most of my available gaming time. Thus when I do get a chance to game, I'd like to make it as close to optimal as possible. ...
17
votes
8answers
622 views

What happens in adventure locations between adventures?

I'm running a sandbox with several adventure locations that have been visited, but not entirely cleared, and ones that have been left open for new residents to arrive. I'm looking for a method for ...
8
votes
3answers
263 views

System for tracking hunger in a World of Darkness game

I'm GM-ing a WoD setting where the players have a very limited food supply(if any) are there any good methods for making sure that they have to eat to survive and applying penalties if they don't?
11
votes
3answers
305 views

Stopping rule questions from overrunning encounters

A common problem I observe is that the players start flooding the GM with questions regarding rules during an encounter (within and outside their respective turns). From the perspective of a GM, how ...
14
votes
6answers
577 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 ...
3
votes
0answers
152 views

Dealing with power gamers [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: How to Handle a Powergamer / Munchkin I'm pretty sure this was asked before but I couldn't find it How do you deal with power gamers? That player who is clearly maxing ...
42
votes
12answers
931 views

How do I make weather an important part of the game?

We're starting up a dark ages fantasy game, using some homebrew rules similar to D&D. As the GM, how can I make weather an important part of the game? To be clear, I'm not trying to just toss in ...
8
votes
4answers
316 views

Are there any problems with spies amongst the players?

As GM, I'm planning to, at some point, invite a friend from out of town who plays RPGs, to join our game with a appropriately levelled character. This character (and the new player) is actually a spy ...
13
votes
5answers
639 views

How to deal with intimidating amount of rules in Shadowrun

I started to read about Shadowrun as a setting and I'm currently reading the rules and they are really intimidating. There's a lot to know as a player since every aspect of the game as it's own set of ...
10
votes
3answers
717 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 ...
17
votes
9answers
598 views

How to help players settle down and focus?

We have a weekly game in the evenings; however, we often don't start playing for a few hours after we get together, if at all. This has been exacerbated recently by other events with the same people ...
25
votes
5answers
762 views

Dealing with people who turn up late for sessions

I run sessions every Monday evening at a pub in the centre of London, and most people come to play straight from work. Up until recently we were attempting to start at 7pm, but there were one or two ...
2
votes
4answers
324 views

How would society adjust if use of fire is reserved for the elite?

This is an extraction of one of the central questions arising from my original (overly broad) question. In a society where the use of fire has been restricted, due to religious indoctrination, to the ...