The practical arts and methods applied to gamemastering.

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12
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5answers
1k views

How do I make a PC's religion help drive the story?

As a GM, how can I make a player-character's religion help drive the story? I'm going to be making up a local religion for the region that most of the party is from, and I'd like it to really matter ...
20
votes
6answers
3k views

How can I let a wild and reckless character shine?

We're playing a rather serious story of political intrigue with a bit of magic thrown in. Most of the players are fairly sensible, trying to figure out who poisoned the duke, or how to safely dispose ...
3
votes
1answer
123 views

How can I apply the abstract range system used by 13th Age in my D&D 5e game to reduce reliance on diagrams and drawn maps?

I have been reading through some of the 13th Age rules on combat and I was particularly interested in the way that system handles combat range. While I am loving D&D 5e, tracking distance and ...
34
votes
8answers
8k views

How do I get my players to form a PC party without just forcing them to?

I believe that it is generally a good thing that all the PCs travel together, as a "party". This way the GM has to manage one environment – not, say, five. The problem is how the GM can ensure such a ...
18
votes
14answers
5k views

Is making characters who go off the rails unlucky a good technique for keeping the plot moving?

I will soon be the GM of a 4 players party. It will be my very first game as a GM, and one thing that terrifies me is to let players make the choices they want and lose them far away from the plot. I ...
13
votes
4answers
1k views

How can I handle a disruptive player with thin skin?

My problem is that I have a player who Takes everything that happens to his character personally and then throws tantrums, and Metagames consistently. We run a very homebrew game, all players know ...
29
votes
8answers
3k views

How can I encourage combat as war-style play in my campaign?

I've recently begun a new D&D 5e campaign with a group of players who have all just come from a Pathfinder adventure path. I was the GM for that campaign and it was a very on-the-rails adventure ...
14
votes
3answers
2k views

How can I keep players, whose characters are unconscious, entertained?

In each session, I always try to gradually crank up the tension and danger, so that the final combat encounter (assuming that it is a combat encounter) is the most difficult (read deadly). However, ...
9
votes
4answers
438 views

How does the GM effectively help players find Traits?

I've encountered a problem in Burning Wheel in the past, and I'm looking for a better way to address it in the future. The default Traits List in the Burning Wheel Gold rulebook (p310-355) contains, ...
20
votes
11answers
965 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 ...
6
votes
4answers
407 views

Introducing new players to a Campaign mid-adventure

I am running a campaign where all of the players are members of an army, and the small group acts almost as a form of "special forces" in this Pathfinder campaign, taking on enemies that no one else ...
36
votes
19answers
6k views

Dislike how players accurately place fireballs. Is there an alternative?

I'm running 5e on a grid with minis. The one thing that I hate is when a sorcerer or wizards casts a fireball that perfectly hits enemies in the aoe. The player counts the squares on the grid to ...
13
votes
5answers
514 views

How to solve a player feeling like their socially-focused PC isn't useful?

I have a player (I'll call him Jeff) whose PC is a peaceful diplomat. He invested most of his points in Charisma and charisma-based skills. He also has minor telepathy (able to read and influence ...
60
votes
17answers
3k views

How can I help my PCs remember clues that they found?

I'm a new DM running my first adventure in D&D 4e. I've heard of the "three clue rule", that there should be at least three independent pointers to any plot element you want the PCs to take note ...
4
votes
7answers
1k views

Should the GM point out when a PC's behaving contrary to the world as the GM sees it? [closed]

Should the GM point out when he believes a PC is acting against what the GM believes is reasonable behavior? And, if so, should the act of pointing this out be obvious or subtle? For example, a PC ...
53
votes
11answers
4k 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 ...
71
votes
15answers
4k views

How should a GM deal with “standing orders?”

I have a player who always tells me whenever he goes into a dungeon or other hazardous location, I am always checking for traps wherever I go. Assume that I am always looking around, wary and ...
14
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 ...
7
votes
4answers
227 views

How can I scale traps in a published adventure for a larger party?

I'm about to start DMing for a group of 7, mostly new to Pathfinder. I myself have not DMed Pathfinder before, and haven't played it recently. We'll be going through the Mummy's Mask adventure path, ...
16
votes
2answers
727 views

How to GM “An arresting skinner” in a balanced, fair and fun way

In Apocalypse World, the social and beauty oriented class Skinner has a move called "An arresting skinner" which does pretty much what it promises: An arresting skinner: when you remove clothing, ...
21
votes
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
votes
3answers
610 views

What can I do to help me remember details about the area the PCs exploring?

I've recently started DMing Curse of Strahd. The players took the bait and ended up in the Death House. Our currently first and only session of this module ended with the party just reaching the third ...
31
votes
5answers
5k views

How to explain to a new player that metagaming is encouraged in this group

I am part of a social board games group that meets most weekends to play short (max one session) games that usually involve role playing of some kind. Recently someone invited a friend from another, ...
12
votes
9answers
4k views

How should I deal with metagaming?

I'm the GM and author of my own system, which we have been playing for a couple of years now. Last year, four completely new members joined. Two players are giving hints to others even when their ...
11
votes
3answers
2k views

How can PCs find how to restore Horrifying Visage aging?

The Horrifying Visage attack of a D&D 5e ghost involves a Wisdom saving throw with a haunting failure ramification: If the save fails by 5 or more, the target also ages 1d4*10 years. ...
14
votes
2answers
522 views

Way to manage world factions and events

Abstract I have a loosely interconnected world where news travel slowly, but steadily so when a trader from a far off place comes visiting your place, what does he know? Whats his latest perspective ...
18
votes
5answers
2k views

How can I deal with players that get bored waiting for their turns playing online?

All of my friends (and my only and favorite role playing group) live far away from me now. One of them still lives in the city, the other three are in Nicaragua. We've spent great moments roleplaying ...
10
votes
4answers
1k views

I want to run a trial in D&D 3.5, but how can I avoid invalidation by magic?

The Background I'm a pretty new DM, and I'm running a casual game of D&D 3.5 (with some rulings from Pathfinder added to the mix, for practical reasons) and I like doing special things for my ...
114
votes
18answers
12k views

How to deal with players who like to use the local authorities to solve their problems

The problem I have a player in my group which tends to approach local authorities (may it be guards or churches) when facing a threat. He thinks that, given his role (a bard in a medieval world, so, ...
34
votes
8answers
6k views

How should I respond to a player who roleplays too selfishly?

In our last session, a player of mine spent the last 30 min blowing up on me for "restricting" her character's story, and the story of the campaign, when I would not allow her to bring back another ...
11
votes
4answers
538 views

How do I get the non-magic-user in the party to feel more valued?

Issue: I'm running a long campaign and recently one of my players mentioned feeling a bit left out, not being a caster. I kind of have to agree; all the PC's are pretty well-rounded so there isn't ...
34
votes
6answers
3k views

How to deal with players not taking things seriously?

As both a player and GM I play with my group of players (and close friends) on multiple occasions and they will often make fun of either my characters, NPC or a specific situation and won't stop ...
15
votes
4answers
2k views

What is the impact of sharing GM notes with the players? [closed]

Recently I've finished a game with my GM (tips hat) having no problem with answering "most of some questions" about the setting, plot, game etc. but wasn't comfortable with sharing his GM notes. ...
30
votes
6answers
5k views

How to deal with a player who “jumps the gun” with premature rules-lawyering?

My question is somewhat similar to this question, however I feel I have a different situation in which my question is not covered by the answers stated. I have a player in my campaign group of 5 ...
7
votes
4answers
353 views

How can my co-GM and I improvise together when running a game?

Here's the background - one of the players have to leave town for an exchange programmee lasting 6 months, but I have already filled his slot with another player. We are thinking of ways to include ...
2
votes
2answers
190 views

How can I provide a challenge for a powergamer? [duplicate]

One of the players in my game is the most fervent powergamer I've ever met. I know it's how he gets enjoyment from the game, and so far it doesn't intrude on the other players' enjoyment, so I've ...
10
votes
2answers
384 views

Running an RPG with fast Drop-In-Drop-Out capability for an open day

Our university will have some Open Days for prospective students over summer, and our gaming society wants to present itself. Any somewhat traditional way of playing an RPG will take too much of ...
9
votes
3answers
2k views

Should “resistance to damage from non-magical weapons” continue to affect monster CR once the party has magical weapons?

My 5e group has reached level 5 and all have acquired +1 weapons. This renders the monster ability of "resistant to bludgeoning, piercing and slashing damage from non-magical weapons" a moot point. ...
8
votes
3answers
1k views

As a GM, how can I adjudicate de-escalating combat?

As a sister question to How can combat be de-escalated once started by a player? In a D&D 5e game, a player rushed into combat with an NPC that wasn't particularly hostile. As a player, I ...
52
votes
6answers
5k views

How should the DM manage the discrepancy between the player's memory and their PC's memory?

It may happen that, during a session, players don't remember the name of a NPC that they met (or, more generally, information about something that happened) during the previous session. Obviously, ...
1
vote
0answers
62 views

Somebody has any GM/PC experience in Harry Potter RPG by Matthew A. Kearns? [closed]

My girlfriend really fun of Harry Potter "universe" and I like it too. She use to ask me to tell her interesting stories since I am a history teacher. I thought it could be much more interesting to ...
52
votes
8answers
11k views

The PC claims to know an NPC they just met, how should I react as the DM?

My friends and I are new to RP and we've only had one session of dnd-5e trying out the starter set. As we are quite into fantasy in general, we thought we could make our own PCs. So instead of playing ...
17
votes
5answers
2k views

How to get players to do something without them feeling railroaded?

I'm DM'ing a play-by-post campaign and I'm at a point in the adventure where the group all meets for the first time. They've all had something stolen from them at the same time and saw a creature that ...
12
votes
5answers
2k views

“Epic Level” Shadowrun

Recently I've run into an issue with my Shadowrun campaign for a number of reason, the most key of which is that my players have hit the 180-250 karma level where they've started to ascend to levels ...
47
votes
9answers
16k views

What are the essential features of a successful evil campaign?

Until this point, I have demanded that my players not build characters with evil alignments, as I am familiar with how to design campaigns and adventures around "good" or "redemption" themes. ...
3
votes
1answer
86 views

Guidelines for attacking objects

So in 3.5, there were some suggestions for assigning AC and hit points to common objects, but in 5e we're left to speculate - the PHB has precious little, and I didn't see anything in the DMG. DM fiat ...
15
votes
3answers
336 views

How to keep track of the current situation in a setting?

When a GM creates his own setting (e.g. two neighboring kingdoms), he details it with important people, political relationships, events and so on. During a campaign, PCs' actions alter the setting's ...
18
votes
6answers
2k views

How can I get my players to do extra “homework”?

I've noticed a problem with my PC's lacking rich backgrounds, or players lacking knowledge of the mechanics of their own characters. This has lead to me giving the players "homework", which I have ...
13
votes
6answers
797 views

How do I motivate players to do character sheet updates outside of session?

I run a weekly campaign with one session every Sunday. My core group (4-5 people) always show up, with the occasional person who joins from time to time (either playing a new character they wanted to ...
16
votes
7answers
3k views

How do I balance an all-spellcaster party?

This here campaign I'm about to unfold is going to feature 2-3 players, 2 of which definitely want to get spellcasting characters and the third is very likely to go down the same path. Q: How do I ...