The practical arts and methods applied to gamemastering.

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How, if at all do GMs deal with secret actions? [duplicate]

I am a novice at Role-Playing, in fact I played once or twice, a while back and enjoyed it but never have since. I'm thinking of starting again. My question is this. Suppose you have an evil ...
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0answers
65 views

What goes into making a good megadungeon setting [on hold]

From reading some other posts, I've seen people talking about megadungeons. Due to people not always being able to attend, one of our GMs moving away for work, and the other strictly doing intensive ...
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3answers
174 views

How can I prepare the map for a combat without alerting the players that combat is about to begin?

I am running an adventure in Pathfinder and I use a very large square board and some homemade model walls to define areas such as dungeons or houses and other stuff. However, building maps on the ...
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1answer
60 views

Question on game journal publication content design [on hold]

The session design that I will try to use now is to start the session with a combat and have a cliffhanger for a combat at the end of each session. It is a railway approch with "illusion of choice". ...
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1answer
119 views

Should all play happen in scenes in Fate?

After reading the core rules and playing a first — very pleasant — session (I was the GM) I wonder how many time in a game should be spend in a formally declared scene? In our last ...
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14answers
3k views

How do I run a maze scenario without using a map?

Inspired by a question on another site, what's the best way to add a labyrinth to an adventure scenario without making the challenges contingent upon player skill at mapping or navigation? I'd like ...
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2answers
684 views

How to deal with players that fight villains but are worse than them?

The long story I started a Warhammer fantasy campaign with 4 players. Two of them were totally new to RPGs, and two others just slightly experimented. They created "good" characters, not a chaotic ...
56
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17answers
9k views

What can I do when I accidentally gave out an overpowered item?

In our last game, the players worked their way through a series of fiendish traps into a high security vault, where they recovered a Staff of the Magi. After the game I looked at the stats, and ...
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3answers
457 views

The World Will End, But Not Tomorrow (or How to Manage Unwarranted Urgency in Players)

For the last couple of years my group’s been playing two high-tempo D&D 3.5 campaigns (I’m the DM in one of them). The PCs, their families, their homelands and their worlds have been constantly ...
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12answers
2k views

How to begin a role-playing scenario in medias res?

If I am running a pre-planned role-playing scenario, how and when can it work to start the session in medias res? The narrative technique can work so well in literature, film and video to increase ...
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5answers
554 views

How can I discover if players would react positively to a change of tone for a game without them knowing of the change?

I'm currently running a game of Cyberpunk 2020 for a couple of friends. Things are incredibly silly so far and the group seems to really like it. To get an idea of what I've run them through so far: ...
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4answers
762 views

How do you handle monsters using social skills vs PCs?

I've checked the books and can't find an answer by RAW other than the DM decides, so I'd like to know how people handle this in their games. What happens if a thug tries to intimidate/persuade the ...
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1answer
672 views

What concrete rules can you point a GM to that is stuck in non-storytelling paradigms for Fate?

Inspired by a response to my answer to Can you concede by dying in Dresden Files?, I was wondering what concrete rules can you point a GM to that is stuck in non-storytelling paradigms in Fate? I ...
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4answers
380 views

Advice for Running the “In Between Times”

I usually run published adventures which may or may not be related to each other. During and in between the adventures there are often times when the two main facets of RPGs, story role-playing and ...
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8answers
7k views

How to make a game enjoyable for a monk?

One of the players in my campaign decided to play monk. We are all pretty new, so I couldn't have alerted him to this, but from what I understand now, monks are weak. Very weak. This player in ...
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6answers
479 views

Running a campaign alternating GMs every session

The group with which I usually roleplay has a consistent problem: someone will say "Hey, I want to run a campaign in X system with Y setting." Everyone will make characters (which can take quite a ...
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1answer
160 views

Do you make Pulls for encounters that could have happened, but didn't?

I've played a couple of Dread games (4/5 players) and usually one player survives. In a recent Dread RPG game the GM had us pull multiple times at random moments. Situation: We camped for the night ...
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6answers
8k 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 ...
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3answers
297 views

How to do mystery based storytelling in Fate?

One of the answers in What better not to use Fate Core for? was that story lines where information is withheld from the players were less suitable for Fate. However, people commented they had been ...
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0answers
105 views

How to justify a Lord dedicating much needed resources to a meaningless village? [closed]

I am running a D&D campaign, in which my players are helping a village on the edge of a large empire. The empire has just won a war against a Daemon race and they are busy restoring order to the ...
15
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9answers
3k views

How do I deal with players that pick very situational skills for a Campaign?

Well, luckily I don't have Power Gamers, in my game table, they all like to tailor skills according to the character background; however in many situation this makes them pick skills that are rarely ...
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10answers
3k views

How can I invoke actual fear in my players?

I'm a DM that focuses heavily on story, description and setting. My goal is to send players home wanting — no, longing — to actually be part of the mythos I've created. The ultimate goal for me as a ...
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2answers
453 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 ...
21
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3answers
967 views

How do I cater to the Three Stooges and good roleplayers at the same time?

As a little background, in case it matters: most of the players in my group (but not all) are college aged, and all of them are personal friends of mine. We're playing D&D 3.5. I myself am the ...
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6answers
740 views

How can I help my players be interested in others' characters?

In asking this question I realized something that I never have before: my players aren't interested in each other's characters. How can I, as DM but also game session organizer and facilitator, help ...
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9answers
2k views

What can I do to give the players the same feel their characters would have about wilderness travel?

I find that in a lot of our group's games, traveling long distances through wilderness is too easy. In real life, it's quite arduous traveling overland. No one who's just walked a hundred miles is ...
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7answers
744 views

Techniques for skimming through travel (fast travel) without meta-teleportation

In most of my group's campaigns, we spend a lot of time traveling. Unfortunately, this leans one of two ways: Uninteresting or distracting obstacles. If you want to spend time but keep it fresh, ...
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9answers
3k views

How do you make loremaster characters more than just a GM mouthpiece?

You know, like how the Mouth of Sauron is just a mouthpiece and nothing more. Even his name was forgotten. Many a time, I have see this type of exchange when dealing with a lore master character ...
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12answers
4k views

How can I secretly notate which squares on a combat map are traps?

The party has ventured underground. One of the civilizations where they are is kobolds. I (GM) went trigger-happy with pit traps, falling block traps, and a couple of others. The kobolds have one path ...
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0answers
132 views

What tabletop system should I use? (specific details inside) [closed]

I'm starting a tabletop game with my group and I'm not sure which system to use. I am looking for a system that: Allows for personalized character creations and flexibility- like the Fate system and ...
21
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5answers
897 views

GMing against type: adding levity

When I GM, I tend to make the scenarios/campaigns "serious" -- they're grim and gritty, much more about drama (and violence) than anything else. In addition, I tend to focus on some degree of realism ...
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5answers
549 views

How do I encourage players to make characters appropriate to the tone and theme of a game?

I have been a GM for many years and have experience with many different systems and settings of different themes and moods, but my current group seems to be having issues I've never had to deal with ...
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5answers
4k views

Punishing a player for instant-actioning

I GM a home-made D&D-style game which my friends and I play, and we had a scenario go as follows: After a player-character threw something at the wall, the players rolled a one and I was ...
7
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2answers
377 views

How to deal with rude players? [duplicate]

The Situation I am Co-GM'ing in a group of 7 players - 6 male, 1 female. One of the male players is constantly making sexist remarks, such as "I'm gonna f_ck some b_tches when we get back to town" or ...
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2answers
922 views

Making relaying information less awkward

I recently started DMing for a group of friends that are new to pathfinder. Combat and group conversations went well, but after having the characters roll perception for what they see or after ...
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4answers
564 views

My players are one-hitting everything in The Dragon's Demand. How do I toughen up the opposition?

I'm running my first campaign and decided to start out with a module called The Dragon's Demand, which brings players from level 1 to level 7. I've heard that modules are fairly easy for both DM and ...
24
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10answers
2k views

How do I hint at events outside the scope of the current quest?

I'm GMing a long-term game with some friends, and they are the sort who, as soon as I drop a hint about anything, go "Let's investigate that!" I want there to be an overarching story arc, but it's ...
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5answers
3k views

How do I handle offended players as GM?

We're playing Shadowrun5E. Currently, the Shadowrunners are defending Kaurs Farm (I think it's a mission from Sprawl Wilds in English) but even though the NPCs clearly stated that they should only do ...
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9answers
4k views

How can DMs effectively telegraph specific dangers in D&D?

There are some play-styles of D&D in which the spectre of player-character death is considered a feature of the game rather than a bug. For my own reasons (which aren't the point of the question), ...
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6answers
2k 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 ...
19
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5answers
1k views

How do I get the party back together after a major PvP conflict?

In the previous adventure, the characters left on bad terms after the Monk betrayed the other two party members by trying to take their captured criminal back to her (equally criminal) monastery ...
26
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9answers
1k 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 ...
42
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4answers
2k views

How to get my Paranoia players to stop cooperating and start killing each other?

I've read some of the questions and answers on paranoia here, but I seem to be missing some kind of key element to play. I ran Robot IMANA-665-C and I didn't seem to be able to get the players to ...
10
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4answers
303 views

How do I make players more comfortable in an unusual historical setting?

I run a lot of games/write systems set in specific historical/cultural contexts, because I like rpgs as a way to explore them and think they provide a great sense of place. However, I tend not to ...
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6answers
3k views

Dealing with Argumentative Players

I am currently a GM running a four person campaign that has been going for a couple months. I have one player in particular that is fairly inexperienced and has this habit of skimming technical ...
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13answers
13k views

My PCs have a plan that will get them all killed; how and why should I save them?

Related: How do I help my players figure out how to stay alive in a realistically-deadly sandbox campaign? I am running a sandbox game for a group of players who are used to more traditional ...
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14answers
5k views

How to handle wealthy player characters as a GM?

One of the long-standing settings our group keeps returning to is classic medieval fantasy. (Examples are MERP, Rolemaster, The Dark Eye -- But this question is aimed to be system agnostic and is ...
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8answers
507 views

How do I quickly get the PCs to a distant location for the next adventure?

I'm running a campaign with my friends. We started Keep on the Shadowfell a year ago, and finished it at our latest session. (We don't play often, one of them is a doctor, so it's hard to schedule ...
16
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6answers
1k views

I keep forgetting about lighting in the heat of a session. How do I remember my notes?

One thing I’ve been struggling with as a newbie GM is keeping track of how light or dark a certain room is. My players and I have been playing a D&D 5e starter campaign with me as the GM. I might ...
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2answers
276 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 ...