The practical arts and methods applied to gamemastering.

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5
votes
4answers
353 views

How does a DM handle time limits in-game?

An upcoming arc I have planned requires a thirteen-hour time limit to escape from an area. How do I plan for that in game time, and how do I keep the players aware of the time? I usually run six ...
7
votes
1answer
336 views

How do I get my players to make their own decisions?

I'm GMing a Dungeon World campaign with players completely new to tabletop RPGs. Every time I present them with a situation and ask them what they do next, none of them ever arrive at a conclusion, ...
14
votes
7answers
839 views

As a DM, how to save a creature from being killed by players and not be cheap?

If you put a creature you want to use at a later date in an encounter, how could I save that creature near the end of the battle without sounding cheaty. E.g. The evil mage has only 1 hit point left ...
11
votes
5answers
658 views

What's the likely law enforcement response to my PCs in Nidal?

This question is fairly specific to the shadow-haunted, torture-porn, evil Cenobite god worshiping country of Nidal in Paizo's world of Golarion, but could also apply to other "lawful evil nations" ...
16
votes
7answers
2k views

How Can I Make Supplies Matter In D&D 3.5e?

On long journeys we always forget to track supplies so I am looking for a way to make supplies actually matter in D&D 3.5.
7
votes
1answer
275 views

How can I add a cultural game mechanic to Pathfinder?

I was reading this article on how most people play all races exactly the same. The author hinted at replacing races in Pathfinder with a culture mechanic, but didn't really go into the details. I ...
7
votes
4answers
437 views

How to deal with dead characters' gear?

A few of my PCs have died. It happens. But now what? Specifically, now what happens to their items? They are rolling up some new characters and I assume they should follow the character wealth ...
15
votes
4answers
740 views

Unknowingly improving my players' luck

As a GM, I'd like to give my players a lucky item, one that improves their dice rolls. However, I don't want them to immediately realize that the item is improving their rolls. One thought I had was ...
25
votes
10answers
1k views

How can I fool my players into being pawns for the villain?

Concept I want to get a generally benevolent party to unwittingly further the villain's motives. More than parcel delivery - I'd like to tap into their sense of right/wrong, justice, vigilantism, ...
24
votes
7answers
4k views

How do I use Passive Perception to have some characters notice parts of the environment?

I'm new to DM'ing and have an issue I'm not sure how to deal with. The situation is this: It's pitch black outside and the PC is walking, with a lantern in hand, toward a building. A bird is ...
3
votes
1answer
189 views

Unkillable Advantage and the afterlife

In a GURPS 4e campaign, when a character dies, I want it to run through an afterlife, which would be easy to escape (maybe a combat or a few puzzles, like a variation on the Halls of Mandos), and then ...
11
votes
2answers
446 views

How can I keep the nature and capacity of NPCs hidden to generate a fear of the unknown?

In traditional games such as D&D, the mechanics of the NPCs you face are generally an unknown quantity. The players and the characters only have a rough idea of what an NPC is capable of, based on ...
8
votes
1answer
580 views

Running Microscope for the first time using online

I'm planning to run a game of Microscope for the first time with players who've never played it before as well (hello deep end!) and it's going to have to be online as my players of choice are ...
22
votes
4answers
418 views

How do I construct an individual session as part of a larger campaign?

I've been GMing/DMing on and off for years. I prefer playing. Mainly because when I run a game, I'm more a fly by the seat of your pants kind of dm, and it works sort of.. My problem is that, while I ...
32
votes
15answers
2k views

How do I keep NPCs from just sounding the alarm?

When I design adventures, I often come up with situations where the NPCs could realistically thwart the PCs quickly by sounding an alarm. This is especially common in science fiction settings, where ...
22
votes
7answers
1k views

Building a good comedy adventure?

I was wondering how to build a comedic adventure for D&D (or at least get some tips on it). The DM guide mentioned the multiple ideas for campaigns and one of them was comedy! I tried to start ...
6
votes
4answers
729 views

Are there rules for dropping on an enemy as an attack?

In our current campaign, our ninja decided to try to drop on a monster from a ledge 25 feet up, blade first. I house ruled that it would require an extra 10 to the Tumble of falling without damage, ...
31
votes
7answers
931 views

Using a Time-Skip as a Plot Device

In the game that I'm currently running, the PCs have traveled to the Realm of the Fae to gather information on their (im)mortal enemy, a Lich. When they emerge from the Fae Realm, I was planning on ...
4
votes
3answers
1k views

Tips for dealing with intentionaly aggressive player? [closed]

Well, I don't know whose responsibility is, but I'll tell you the whole problem. I only have one player, and we've been playing for a while together; I live in a country where role playing is very ...
32
votes
14answers
2k views

How to deal effectively with a player unable to lose?

How do you effectively handle a player that overreacts to any loss of his character (level drain, death) ?
24
votes
8answers
1k views

How can I help the party survive a rather tough adventure?

The party is on an implicitely timed mission: children have been abducted by bad guys and it is now known that they're in danger of being sacrificed in the near future. The module I'm using doesn't ...
8
votes
5answers
570 views

How can I as GM handle situations where players bicker about tactics?

I'm current running 13th Age, and there are two players who are quite tactical. The issue is both of them thinks differently and one is pushy, and the other is stubborn. Every now and then the both of ...
8
votes
6answers
370 views

How to make a confinement situation interesting without railroading players?

There are many scenarios where players will be confined for a period of time in a location: Prison, castle under siege, mega dungeon adventure (like Undermountain) or a labyrinth. I'd like to play the ...
5
votes
4answers
409 views

Knocking out NPCs

Alright, so I'm thinking up a stealth based mission that involves sneaking into a guarded manor and stealing an artifact. Needless to say, it would be best if this was a quiet affair. I have most of ...
4
votes
2answers
289 views

How do I run Paranoia for just one player?

I have not run a game of Paranoia before, but I would like to try with one of my players. I intend to run what was once referred to as "Paranoia XP" and should be able to handle the general running of ...
32
votes
7answers
2k views

What to do when a player character does something 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 ...
15
votes
3answers
2k views

What is all the backstory in an Adventure Path for if the players never see it?

I'm new to tabletop RPGs (although I have been interested for a long time, just had difficulty finding like-minded companions, and the funds required to get some of the stuff). When I was finally ...
6
votes
2answers
485 views

Are there issues to using passive Perception?

Is it fair to only consider the result of "passive" Perception checks (same as Taking 10) for PCs to detect things, unless the player actively expresses attention to something (in which case a roll is ...
9
votes
2answers
296 views

How do I encourage players to use Fate Points for declarations?

I have hacked Fate Points into my 13th Age game and I notice two things that are happening - the players hoard them, and often use them for the re-roll effect instead for declarations. (Irrelevant ...
12
votes
5answers
985 views

How to give a Rogue ways to shine

I'm DMing a pathfinder campaign and it's been going pretty well. The Barbarian is having a grand time cleaving hordes of weak enemies, the Cleric is doing fantastic in the undead segments, and the ...
18
votes
1answer
1k views

How is a play-by-email game actually played?

I'm currently interested in learning more about play-by-email RPGs. Searching the Web, I've found many forums and sites promoting PbeM campaigns (Aelyria and Blue Dwarf, for instance), but nothing ...
1
vote
3answers
159 views

Regaining lost limbs as a catalyst for the story?

I'm currently playing a Swedish-developed RPG called Götterdämmerung, a d100 based game, set in the 18th-century. Currently my players are fleeing by carriage from a risen being of supernatural ...
47
votes
13answers
2k views

How should GM deal with 'standing orders'?

I once got this scenario. This is what the player says as he infiltrates an enemy NPC's mansion. I am always checking for trap wherever I go. Assume that I am always looking around me wary and ...
9
votes
2answers
337 views

Managing plots with multiple simultaneous GMs

I'm working with some fellow GMs to prepare a campaign in which we each host separate groups of players, but in the same shared world. This means that the actions of my players might actually ...
12
votes
2answers
419 views

How can I work on my improvisation skills in regards to running a campaign?

I'm writing a campaign for 3.5 at the moment and, as a new DM, it's been hard for me to decide what I need to write now, and what I'll need to write later. Because it's going to be my first campaign ...
8
votes
4answers
441 views

How do I run a dungeon crawl, communicating how various rooms/passages look?

I have never run a dungeon crawl before, such as the one linked here. How do you tell the players what they see? Some examples from older ROG books I have have description in the form of "You come to ...
18
votes
6answers
559 views

How to implicate the players in the horror?

Good horror implicates the watcher/reader, at least in drama. There is always moment when the audience should cry out, "no, stop, don't!" but of course we don't because we're a well-behaved audience, ...
15
votes
5answers
523 views

Adding comic relief

As a GM, I would like to add comic relief to my sessions. Comic relief is the inclusion of a humorous character, scene or witty dialogue in an otherwise serious work, often to relieve tension. ...
5
votes
1answer
262 views

How can established settings contact each other, and are there rules about it?

I've actually had some of my questions answered browsing through the forums; however, I wanted to address some issues that may come of my conclusions! First off, I haven't DM'd since the first ...
6
votes
6answers
381 views

How should I inform players about 'meta-objectives'?

I am planning a couple of scenes where the PCs could gain some benefits if they choose a particular route. For instance, when they first enter a certain town, they would be set upon by a group of ...
3
votes
2answers
161 views

Giving the PCs good reasons enter a dungeon camped by a enemy army (Rescue at Rivenroar)

This question is specifically for the module "Rescue at Rivenroar", but it's applicable to any dungeon-crawl with the following premise - the antagonists have just attacked a village/town, and have ...
12
votes
5answers
1k views

What do I do when I suspect players may be fudging rolls online?

I suspect my players may be fudging their rolls in an online IRC and Skype game. While I can't confirm this (for obvious reasons), I'm highly suspicious. I logged all their rolls over the course of ...
10
votes
5answers
308 views

Is it okay to take power/actions away from PCs to add drama?

In the game I have running right now, one of the PCs have had a run in with a local "gang" of sorts. An encounter between the two is approaching, but I'm struggling to think of the best way to set up ...
13
votes
2answers
679 views

How to cut back on pre-game joking?

When preparing for a new game (be it a one shot or a campaign) our party, yours truly included, often slips into a humorous mode. It's usually light-hearted fun, and most of us like it, but some, ...
23
votes
11answers
816 views

Dealing with skill rerolls by several players

I could use some advice as a GM on how to handle rolls which get repeated by several players one after the other. Example 1 The PCs stand in front of a locked door and try to force it open. The ...
13
votes
4answers
480 views

Murder mystery and high fantasy magic - how to make it work?

I am intending to have a murder mystery for my next game, set in a high fantasy setting in 13th Age. The setting we are playing in is very close to Eberron in tone, where magic is prevalent and powers ...
8
votes
3answers
453 views

How to develop arcs for player characters

If you've got a vague idea for an overall plot arc, how do you go about developing individual plot arcs for player characters (if that's something you do)? I'm running two Savage Worlds campaigns, ...
1
vote
1answer
427 views

Addings things to a story and how to deal with players who have issues with it [closed]

I am currently running a long, in-depth, story-focused campaign that has been going on for months and seems to be well-liked among my group. As you might imagine, creating a world that we play in for ...
2
votes
2answers
588 views

How should a DM recover from major player plot derailment? [duplicate]

Raj Got Stuck in the Crystal I’m a relatively new DM, and I ran into an issue with my group recently that I think I could have handled better. For our campaign, I designed a world where the continent ...
33
votes
5answers
1k views

How can we make overcoming a language problem interesting?

I am currently involved in a game of Fate Accelerated, and one of our goals is learning the system and experimenting with it. In this game, two characters may have a language barrier to overcome. One ...