The practical arts and methods applied to gamemastering.

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32
votes
5answers
3k views

Dealing with players who try to run from everything?

I DM for a group with a guy who always suggests leaving the dungeon, area, or wherever the party is. It seems like no matter what I try or do to the setting he just won't relax and play the game – he ...
28
votes
6answers
1k 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 ...
67
votes
16answers
5k views

How do I stop my PCs from acting like insomniac monkeys on crack?

An issue came up in the last session of my Pathfinder campaign - that of chronic PC impatience. It happens especially when they go to cities and between major adventures. They go into a frenzy of ...
49
votes
11answers
8k views

How to ease down the munchkin factor?

I've been playing RPGs since the early eighties and have come to terms with the fact that not everyone enjoys this hobby for the same reasons as myself. I'm into it for the sake of the adventure, the ...
25
votes
10answers
7k views

What are some sources for in game puzzles for players?

I love to spice up campaign settings (dungeons in particular) with logic, mechanic or word-based puzzles. Can you propose valid resources for this ?
12
votes
5answers
676 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 ...
12
votes
2answers
286 views

Playing a pregame, how to keep sense of continuity in campaign

My players and I are currently playing a "pre-game" for a whole campaign I have written. I want the players to be aware of the "how did it get to be this way", so I make them play two games 4000 and ...
99
votes
20answers
7k views

How do you help players not focus on the rules?

Background - My Group's Gaming Style When I GM, I run games loosely from a rules standpoint, and do not feel bound to adhere to what the rulebook says when it doesn't make sense in a given situation. ...
9
votes
5answers
2k views

Is it a bad idea to steal characters from other media?

Sometimes I need a character type, say a lawyer and I start thinking about lawyers I know from TV or movies, like Saul Goodman from Breaking Bad. I have this general urge to just straight up rip the ...
7
votes
2answers
312 views

When players have settled into “routines” for runs, how to break them out of the rut?

One way or another almost 95% of all the Shadowruns I either played or was GM in, somehow got to the point where the players would either: gather building plans and/or use their existing collection ...
5
votes
4answers
512 views

How do I help players engage with plot despite giving me no good background hooks?

Two of my players are very excited about the game ("Super-Assassins Take On the Mafia, Ancient Evil") and made backgrounds with lots of good hooks I can use to tie them into the plot. The other two ...
7
votes
2answers
2k views

Is encounter balancing/creation in 5e different to previous editions?

I have been GMing for a group for a few sessions now and I have had a lot of trouble balancing encounters. I go by the rules that it should be the xp the party needs to level as a "balance" and you ...
20
votes
6answers
5k views

What to do in the first session of a campaign?

The first session of my new D&D 4e campaign is coming up pretty soon and I'm not quite sure how to go about the introduction into this new campaign. I have the geography and landmarks and things ...
6
votes
3answers
434 views

Revealing game world information

A player asked me the other night: "In the World of Darkness are Vampires able to enter without being invited in?". The answer to the question is, yes, and even if they weren't the area was a public ...
8
votes
7answers
745 views

Balancing character intelligence against players wits

This might be a broad topic, so let me focus on one scenario, where I would like to hear which actions and methods fellow GMs use. A fantasy campaign runs along. BLUE plays a character who is dumb as ...
8
votes
3answers
515 views

How can I GM in Faerie with True Fae PCs?

I'm running a game where the PCs discover that they're actually Fae. Obviously this isn't strictly canonical - Fae in CtL leave fetches in place of children, not their own young - but I'm otherwise ...
9
votes
2answers
326 views

GMing a combined-groups session

I'm GMing 2 tabletop Changeling campaigns at the moment. One of them takes place in Cambridge, while the other takes place in Inverness. As my birthday approaches, my players asked me to GM a session ...
29
votes
4answers
2k views

How does “failure” work in Dungeon World? How does it move the story forward?

I am having trouble understanding the specifics of failure Dungeon World. According to the rules, a GM should "make a move" against players when they fail, and that's alright, I get that. What I don'...
1
vote
0answers
145 views

Do you share your story titles with players? [closed]

I've started to taking to naming my stories, even for no other purpose than record keeping. However I've been thinking about sharing the names of the stories with the players. If you do it do before ...
5
votes
3answers
185 views

Can experiences in-game give Merits? Can Merits be used to purchase others?

As a player who is looking to actually branch off into GM'ing, my group and I ran into this conundrum recently: a technomancer of ours hacked into a corporations database at their security center. Per ...
18
votes
4answers
1k views

How do I compensate players who do not get to use the potent plot-important artifact?

Situation: the campaign deals around the players lugging around a plot-important artifact that makes the user significantly more powerful than their peers (like the Rod of Seven Parts, a fragment of ...
2
votes
4answers
653 views

How can I imprison my characters for a long period of time?

I want to imprison my characters for a long period of time, but I don't want them to use any spell or skill to escape before their imprisonment and I certainly don't want to kill them in the process ...
16
votes
5answers
923 views

Setting a table atmosphere that keeps players energetic during long encounters

In an upcoming session, my players will be fighting a really powerful dragon, who acts as the "boss monster" of this part of the story. The players already know where he is and more or less what they'...
12
votes
2answers
528 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 ...
23
votes
6answers
3k views

How to deal with players rolling dice before establishing the context of the action?

I've been running a lot of fate and cthulhu-dark games lately, and I've run into a common challenge with several players: They'll roll the dice before we establish what kind of action they're taking ...
47
votes
14answers
2k views

As a GM, how does one deal with all of the players playing nearly identical characters?

I'm running a Deadlands campaign with players who come entirely from D&D and have never played Savage Worlds before. All five people in the group have made nearly identical characters (gunslingers)...
13
votes
3answers
575 views

Are there tips on reconciling the playing differences in this group?

My Werewolf game is going along quite swimmingly to the point that the players will ask that I keep the server (We play using maptools) open so they can discuss the plotline for hours after each ...
9
votes
4answers
1k views

How do you keep track of the Moon?

The current phase of the Moon is slightly important in a werewolf game, how do you keep track of it in your game? this seems more problematic for me because I mostly haven't cared much about how much ...
20
votes
4answers
1k views

Should I use a GMPC to help a small party?

I am starting a Pathfinder game. It will be my first time DM'ing, though I have played 3.x and Pathfinder for a few years. The party will consist of my girlfriend, my best friend, and his girlfriend. ...
32
votes
6answers
2k views

How do I emphasize role-playing during combat?

Right now, the group that I GM for is very, very tactical-combat focused. To some extent, we may as well be playing a dungeon crawl board game for all the role-play we manage. Now, in and of itself ...
15
votes
8answers
534 views

Should Merits be given as rewards when the accomplishments match?

As a storyteller, are merits acquired only through experience after character creation, or do you reward your players with them for accomplishing their goals? Suppose a situation like the following ...
-2
votes
1answer
309 views

How do I deal with players that do not put much effort on character background? [closed]

My group is, on its majority, formed by young players. Even though we have shared Game Table for 4 years and are close friends of mine, they have a tendency to make shallow characters and observe my ...
8
votes
3answers
497 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?
5
votes
1answer
576 views

Danger and Location Moves in Dungeon World

What is a "danger move" or "location move" exactly? Are the danger moves part of the dangers from the description of the front (i.e. campaign or adventure)? Are location moves specific to a ...
18
votes
2answers
938 views

Apocalypse World without Fronts: Are we missing out?

I've been playing Apocalypse World in a few different groups, both as a GM and a normal player. While I love the game, I found defining Fronts a pain and therefore decided to only introduce them in ...
19
votes
4answers
1k views

How can I recognise when a Scene should be skipped?

There is a mode of thought that says RPGs should be like a movie or a TV show. We don't give screen time to the boring stuff. I had a scene play out where the players had to let a NPC know they were ...
20
votes
8answers
7k 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.
16
votes
2answers
578 views

How can a DM brighten the mood?

Sometimes a story can turn away from its original direction and take on a darker tone, what is a good approach to lightening the mood? As a new DM, I started a Pathfinder campaign a year ago with a ...
7
votes
4answers
526 views

How do you present plot hooks to string together premade adventures?

I am about to run my first adventure as a GM. I have never GM'd or participated in table top role playing before so I am following premade adventures (in this case starting with the 4e Redbox ...
3
votes
1answer
120 views

How can i change the outcome of history-charged events in ASoIaF RPG? [closed]

I'm new to this platform and I'm about to launch my first campaign in ASoIaF RPG. My players asked me if we can set our campaign right at the start of the Greyjoy Rebellion back in 289 AC and since i ...
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 ...
9
votes
2answers
1k views

How do I run a single player 4e essentials game for a Drow Hunter?

I am trying to create a set of encounters for my wife. She will be playing a Drow Hunter (controller) from the Essentials line of DnD 4e. I'm looking for advice on how to make encounters (2 levels ...
19
votes
3answers
1k views

Playing Fate with competitive players

I've just finished reading the Fate Core book, and I'm really surprised how well this system presents itself. But inevitably, I've started thinking about what-ifs - and one of them is playing with ...
26
votes
5answers
980 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 ...
22
votes
6answers
3k views

Is it appropriate to tell players the expected outcome of a throw?

I'm just getting into Pathfinder, as my first foray into RPGs. Of all the videos, tutorials and podcasts I've listened to, the GM tells the player to throw (for example, a perception check) and ...
11
votes
3answers
4k 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 ...
4
votes
3answers
763 views

How to improvise [closed]

I've read a short passage on GMing noting that improvisation is very important. But I can't seem to do it right. Does anyone have any suggestions for me that could help me improvise better? As in, is ...
13
votes
3answers
726 views

Contacts, and how to use them?

I'm starting a 5e shadowrun campaign for the first time and running into some issue with what I've read on how contacts function. Basically, I'm trying to find out how to leverage the contacts of ...
6
votes
3answers
212 views

How can I encourage the use of willpower?

I've never (or rarely, maybe once) seen anyone make use of willpower in a World of Darkness game, it seems like such a vastly underutilized resource. What can I do to encourage my players to remember ...
9
votes
3answers
471 views

How to handle a fair contest between PCs in Apocalypse World?

Assuming that (for whatever reason) two PCs decided to settle their disputes by means of a fair contest it seems like it would be difficult to determine which character had the 'initiative' to take ...