The practical arts and methods applied to gamemastering.

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2
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1answer
103 views

How do I deal with a PC with an NPC's soul bonded to them? [on hold]

Brief version: an NPC's soul has just been bonded to a PC, but I haven't decided on the mechanics of what that means yet. How do I do this in a fun way? Background My party is currently on a ...
17
votes
4answers
923 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 ...
13
votes
6answers
2k views

How to end a game session smoothly

After my first (failed) attempt at playing tabletop RPG two years ago, I'm going to give it another try. Still as a GM. One thing I didn't do quite well last time was ending the game. I didn't know ...
58
votes
14answers
4k views

How do I keep the game moving without undermining player agency?

In basically every game I've run or played, regardless of the system, I've encountered the same problem: things that should be quick decisions end up taking ten, twenty or even thirty minutes, and not ...
19
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3answers
3k views

How to deal with players breaking the game mood by overplaying their characters

Following this question Imagine, that you are trying to create a dark and scary situation: haunted mansion, spooky forest, ancient crypt... There is something out there that definitely is malevolent ...
7
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3answers
315 views

How to manage play in a zombie RPG pre outbreak

I am planning on starting my newest campaign about the end of the world: a Zombie Apocalypse, with the game starting before the outbreak has occurred. Every zombie RPG I have encountered so far has ...
40
votes
9answers
4k views

How do you deal with metagaming based on die results?

I ran into this problem in a session I had earlier today. My characters were going through a dungeon and after a fairly lengthy fight with a person who lived there, they decided they would question ...
20
votes
6answers
1k 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 ...
0
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6answers
965 views

What should happen when a player does not follow his class at all? (i.e. plays his role badly)

I have a player who created a Druid and is mostly playing like a barbarian in combat and like a rogue the rest of the time. This means he kills animals, does not care for plants, does not use his ...
9
votes
3answers
394 views

How do I teach players to engage with a game in a rules-first way?

Among other ways, I often like to play in a rules-centric way1, where the rules are the "physics" of reality and dictate what can and cannot be true within the fiction. I especially like this for PvP ...
11
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3answers
1k views

How many dice does the GM roll?

I'd like to run a game of Roll for Shoes, but I'm not sure how many dice I roll when the characters face various challenges. I'm under the impression that it's supposed to be the same number of dice ...
11
votes
2answers
584 views

How do I handle a PC to NPC romance?

Our group consists of two couples. One player seems to like romance (which is just fine). This player's character flirted with her husband's character; he played up the fact that his character was not ...
10
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5answers
1k views

How to GM a zombie-apocalypse game?

I was asked, not a long time ago, to GM a zombie-apocalypse one-shot. Being versed in horror-GMing, I decided to approach the genre as I approach most other genres of horror, but I've encountered a ...
6
votes
5answers
162 views

How can I run a game with some players online and others at the table [duplicate]

A member of our group moved cross-country, and we'd like to include him in some of our games. Is it feasible to play a game with some players at the table and another online? If so, how do I, as the ...
41
votes
9answers
4k views

What to do when a player character does something that seems 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 ...
14
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6answers
1k views

How to prevent conflict between characters from becoming conflict between players?

I recently ran a game with several players that I knew didn't get on particularly well beforehand. I was hoping this wouldn't affect the game, but the end result was terrible. There were 5 players. ...
5
votes
1answer
165 views

How can I facilitate choice of one of a large number destinations in an off the rails game?

My players have become fugitives from the law, so they are fleeing the country. My problem is I haven't been able to get a concrete destination or travel path from them. We did manage to narrow the ...
1
vote
1answer
143 views

How to deal with stubborn players? [duplicate]

Okay, so my problem is that one of the people I have in my party (my brother) is VERY stubborn when it comes to playing a session of D&D, everything from getting on his tablet and getting ...
25
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7answers
3k views

Dealing with players of vastly different skill levels?

In my latest campaign (D&D 3.5), I have a player (let's call him P). P is on his fifth character. Yes, fifth. Except for P, only one other player has lost a character. The world P lives in is ...
24
votes
10answers
5k views

As DM, what should I do when players roll perception where there is nothing to be found?

I had my first session as Dungeon Master (DM) yesterday playing pathfinder ("First Steps In Lore" from the "Pathfinder Society" series) with a group of first-time tabletop RPG players (myself ...
50
votes
12answers
6k views

What to do when players bypass plot hooks

I am going to just start out by acknowledging that this is the best possible 'problem' a GM can ever have. My players are awesome, I just didn't know how awesome. They solved months of combat, ...
21
votes
5answers
815 views

How can I make puzzles a challenge for the character, rather than the player?

I'm designing an adventure, in which at one point the party meets a giant who will only let them pass if they solve some puzzles. However, the problem is that the riddles are a test for the player, ...
12
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2answers
842 views

Are risks of non-combat death exciting or just frustrating and discouraging? [closed]

I'm a brand-new DM (haven't had my first session yet but it is approaching) so I'm reading up about all DMing-related topics. I'm about to play Pathfinder. My question is about PCs having a risk of ...
9
votes
2answers
196 views

How to execute horror when there is safety in numbers

Questions such as this one and this one cover how to execute horror in a role-playing game fairly thoroughly. This process must be modified, however, when the traditional trappings of a game session ...
61
votes
12answers
5k views

Is it wrong to ask a player to justify their character's actions?

When a player has their character do something completely outside of the perceived norm for that character, is it okay to ask them for a justification? If they can not give satisfactory ...
5
votes
2answers
150 views

How many GMs is enough to run a Mega-Game?

My two friends and I are going to spend quite a bit of time preparing a mega-game. It will be a weekend long gaming session with around 20 players, and the three of us as GMs. We are trying to figure ...
1
vote
1answer
126 views

Example implementations of time limits on player actions in combat [closed]

Several questions (like this one) suggest imposing time limits on players to speed up combat. Those suggestions usually lack expertise on the topic. I’m looking for your experience on that matter. ...
8
votes
4answers
264 views

How to create a “TV Series”-style campaign with “episode” scenarios?

Followup of this answer to a question about short-stories lasting about one 4h play session or two max. I master a game of Vampire: The Masquerade, and I would like to find (and modify) or write ...
70
votes
10answers
9k views

Should I warn my players when they're about to do something stupid?

As a GM, I occasionally run into situations where the players want to do something very poorly thought-out. Honest mistakes, not intentional derailing. In these situations, I often feel the urge to ...
7
votes
3answers
318 views

How do I get a fairly new player interested in playing longer adventures?

My girlfriend is fairly new to roleplaying, having tried a bit of LARP as murder parties (one INSMV and one XFiles-style game, she loved each one), and playing in a Cthulhu campaign I have been GMing ...
15
votes
6answers
1k views

Are there negative impacts to having characters advance at different rates?

It's my first time running a campaign (D&D 3.5), and I'm trying to figure out how to assign XP to the players. I am used to playing in games where everyone gets exactly the same XP, whether they ...
8
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6answers
621 views

How should I award XP for traps?

I'm creating an encounter and planning to use traps. The section of the DMG that provides trap rules and sample traps (120-123) does not provide XP guidelines for traps. Noncombat Challenges on page ...
18
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4answers
2k views

How do I deal with high speed, blunt action declaration outside of combat?

Here's an example from a one-on-one playtest I've had, to better illustrate my question: My rogue player got a minor quest from a blacksmith to retreve an item. He instructs her that the road to ...
5
votes
3answers
283 views

How much creative and descriptive power should I offer my players? Is it different for sandbox campaigns? [closed]

I know that as a GM you have to have some skill with your words to make the descriptions really come to life. However, as I think more and more about my next sessions, which are probably going to be ...
14
votes
8answers
2k views

How do I introduce a larger-than-the-game villain (so that the players can beat him one day)?

I have a cool villain I really like. I mean, I love that character. I would squeal with excitement if my players could meet him, figure him out, confront him and foil his plans and maybe even kill ...
4
votes
1answer
218 views

How to handle a group of inexperienced players who split their party more often than I can handle

Recently I ran a steampunk themed one-shot where three of the five players were brand new to roleplaying. The session was successful, everyone enjoyed it and told me they'd like to play again. ...
5
votes
3answers
271 views

Mechanics for player retconning

I'm thinking of running a game based on the television show "Leverage". In the show, the characters run an elaborate scam on some rich and powerful bad guy. The episode shows how things look ...
5
votes
1answer
94 views

What is a good way to introduce D&D 4e at a mini-con?

I've been asked by my library to host an introduction to D&D at the Summer Reading Program Mini-Con. Last year, most of the people were new to the game (as in, "the cover art looked cool", or "I ...
1
vote
1answer
152 views

Creating an artifact that the heroes must destroy? [closed]

I'm on a Lord of the Rings kick, so I'm curious how you'd create a major plot device that is both the main antagonist and the strongest weapon they have without killing the party with Ring Wraiths (or ...
4
votes
2answers
490 views

Playing Dnd 5e with two players

My girlfriend and I want to get into roleplaying games, we've both been interested in trying out Dungeons and Dragons. She has never played a pen and paper RPG before, I've played the Swedish Drakar ...
1
vote
2answers
163 views

How to turn an ex-PC into a narrative device? [closed]

One of the players recently left the game and agreed to have me control her former character. I would really like to use that character and have permission to do so from the original creator. What I ...
15
votes
3answers
1k views

How to relay a game mechanic in character

This question came up during a round of Lamentations of the Flame Princess. Depending on the system this kind of question may already be answered in the rules. But I figure it's more of a general ...
14
votes
3answers
263 views

How do you turn a plot seed into a scenario

Given a plot seed, how do you turn that into a scenario complete with clues, conflicts, NPC's, places, etc.? e.g., players are Delta Green-style or Hunter the Vigil anti-supernatural secret agents, ...
20
votes
8answers
1k 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 ...
15
votes
5answers
786 views

How would you play test an RPG before all of its rules are complete?

I've been writing my own RPG, mainly to address some of the flaws / frustrations I've come across in other games. Luckily, I've found a few willing participants to help test the rules and mechanics in ...
8
votes
6answers
481 views

How to keep the group engaged when the party is split?

I recently pitched a game to my group, to which they were receptive. However they pointed out some problems I would have to solve before the game started. The Pitch The game is set in the ...
17
votes
4answers
2k views

How to easily come up with improvised dialogue

I'm a new GM, working with a few friends in a sci-fi campaign that I wrote using GURPS 4e. I think its going well, but the glaring flaw I've noticed in my work is that I can't come up with good, ...
6
votes
3answers
237 views

Using a 'confidence' buff to reduce party splitting up

I am GMing a game for the first time and we are 2 sessions in. We are playing D6 star wars, and its tending to be comic, which is great. There are 5 players, which manageable but quite busy. They are ...
10
votes
3answers
1k views

How can a DM run D&D 4e combat as theater of the mind rather than a grid?

I am DMing a new 4e group, and I am interested in approaching the game as a "theater of the mind" style combat rather than the traditional grid format. We are locked into doing D&D 4e because of ...
3
votes
0answers
73 views

How to deal with stubborn player who does not participate in missions? [duplicate]

One of the members of our group likes to choose characters with personal agendas or secret motives that prevent him from cooperating with the rest of the team. He will sit out of missions entirely if ...