"Game Master" or "Game Moderator". This is the person who is in charge of running the game, including having final say over how actions are resolved. Also referred to as Dungeon Master (DM), Referee, Storyteller, Master of Ceremonies (MC) or other titles, depending on the game.

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13
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11answers
3k views

How do I select background music for my RPG campaign?

Music is an essential component of my games. When running games set in the Star Wars universe, the music of John Williams adds a new dimension to the experience, both for me and for my players. Now ...
15
votes
6answers
512 views

How do I find artwork to inspire adventure design? [closed]

Often when I find a cool piece of artwork online, I build some scene in my upcoming adventure around it and then show the image to the players during the session. The more cool artwork I have access ...
10
votes
3answers
3k views

What is a good starting point for GMing Pathfinder Society Games?

So I am considering GMing a few Pathfinder Society (PFS) modules (probably home games at first, the PFS group that plays at our local gaming store doesn't meet more than once a month), and I was ...
4
votes
5answers
619 views

What's a good text only adventure game to improve my storytelling for DMing?

I've been trying to think of good ways to improve my narration of scenes when I can't actually practice firsthand with my group. On idea I had was to find some old text-only adventure/RPG games and ...
6
votes
2answers
148 views

How to Use Module Maps

I found a module I'd like to run. It includes some great maps. What's the best way to use them in a gaming session? They're too small to use as-is, so I'm wondering how other people use maps from ...
5
votes
4answers
306 views

Building Campaigns to Characters' Strengths and Weaknesses

When I GM a game, I try to make sure that the skills the characters have can be used. If someone takes "Music", then I make sure there's a point in the campaign where someone needs to impress someone ...
21
votes
4answers
595 views

Transitioning from GM to Player; or how to recover from GM burnout

A few months ago, I reached the point of "GM burnout." Having been (almost) the exclusive GM for our group for several years, and seeing the number of players and their commitment dwindle combined ...
16
votes
6answers
414 views

Techniques for speeding up a game with many players at the table?

I have a table of six players already, and have more people interested in joining my game. I wanted to consult people who had experience with running large tables to see if running for larger groups ...
5
votes
2answers
139 views

In Ubiquity powered games, what number Style points keeps tension and heroic action in balance?

Characters in games using the Ubiquity Roleplaying System often begin play with fewer than 2 Style points. Methods of gaining them, and situations for using them are clearly defined in the various ...
12
votes
3answers
2k views

Does anyone have any templates for Scrivener?

I want to start using Scrivener to plan a game and am looking for some templates for characters, locations, encounters, etc.
13
votes
8answers
925 views

Out-Of-Control Characters

As I review the suggestions in the D&D 4E DMG (pg32), I wonder what other suggestions that are realistic. I know that if a player is out of control (ie: killing masses for no reason) a DM would ...
11
votes
5answers
204 views

Overcoming realism and uniqueness block

Whenever I am developing a plot-line, location or an NPC, there are two primary factors I take into account: Realism - Locations should be believable (no redundant corridors, random unfitting ...
13
votes
9answers
424 views

How can I encourage my group to become more well rounded?

My gaming group tends to each go in their own direction for character creation. Sometimes this leads to great games where folks are strongly opposed on dramatic elements and character interaction is ...
4
votes
2answers
198 views

Is there a tested spell-research like mod for D&D 4e?

I'm looking for a mod to D&D 4e which reintroduces spell-research in a balanced way. Are there any of them around, which have been play tested and seem to work without unbalancing things too far?
14
votes
18answers
916 views

When GMing a game, how much should you prepare in advance?

Obviously you need to have some high level idea of what's going on in the world around the players, and where you are heading with the story, but in an ongoing game at some point players will be ...
12
votes
2answers
5k views

Dungeons and Dragons Treasure Parcels

I'm new to D&D and would like to distribute treasure evenly in my dungeon for my level 1 PCs. I've read up briefly on the treasure packages but am still a little fuzzy on how they exactly work and ...
10
votes
5answers
6k views

Calculating encounter level with mixed CR enemies?

In D&D 3.5 how do you calculate the Encounter Level of an encounter when the encounter involves elements (usually enemies) of multiple CRs? For example an encounter involves 4 Zombies (CR1/2) ...
7
votes
6answers
188 views

How do you keep the book keeping/game management work balanced between players?

For most games, the work required in running a game is, by default, distributed unevenly between a "master" and the "player characters". In our group, many/most of the group members have had ...
9
votes
2answers
526 views

Where can I find a horror adventure/campaign writing guide?

I seem to remember an old (ebook format?) book I read, with instructions on how to write a quality adventure based in the Ravenloft universe. The book was distinguished by writing in a general style, ...
10
votes
4answers
219 views

Introducing Guest-Stars in Ongoing Campaigns

I've got a situation I'm dealing with tonight and that I've dealt with before, but I've never had rpg.se to ask about it. So here goes: Are there any tried-and-true methods for dealing with ...
11
votes
4answers
545 views

How to challenge legendary characters?

As characters get to Legendary in Savage World (Fantasy) they abilities soon seem to out class the Powers the creatures have. For example, most powers are saved with a attribute, say Agility, if you ...
4
votes
2answers
289 views

How to include equipment level in planning D20 Modern encounters?

Obviously equipment matters a lot in modern combat. A tank crew in a modern tank can almost always defeat men armed with only small arms. The d20 modern system does not take this into account when ...
37
votes
6answers
933 views

What is a good way to become a better NPC/monster actor?

One of the biggest problems I have as Game Master, (going on 30+yrs) is in portraying NPC and Monsters in any RPG. Is there a good resource for becoming a better 'actor'? Instead of just saying... ...
9
votes
4answers
241 views

What to do in Labyrinth Lord when both PCs and Foes are surprised?

In Labyrinth Lord, when there is a possibility of surprise for both PCs and foes, both sides roll 1d6. A 1-2 indicates that side is surprised for the first round. If both sides roll a 1-2, both ...
18
votes
5answers
329 views

What techniques can I use to improve flavor text?

I've been improving my GM skills lately, but there is one area in which my skills are very weak, and that is flavor text. For example, if my players go into the woods, I tend to say something stupid ...
17
votes
6answers
597 views

Am I designing my campaign setting to be too specific?

I'm a first time DM (3.5e), and, being a passionate writer, I decided to create the entire campaign and campaign setting myself. It's been good fun, and I have about 12 pages of (elaborated upon) ...
20
votes
10answers
377 views

Campaign is on hiatus. How do I keep it on life support?

My regular campaign has ground to a halt due to scheduling problems. At this point, we don't really know how long it will be until we play again. Everyone is still interested, at least for now. Is ...
2
votes
3answers
993 views

What race/class combinations would you like to see in pregenerated characters? [closed]

I am running a one shot for the local gaming association and am making pre-generated level one characters for people to use. So what Race/class combinations would work best in a group of ...
13
votes
7answers
382 views

What major differences are there between convention DMing and home DMing?

I've been DMing for a while in 4th edition D&D, but I've only been DMing for Living Forgotten Realms and D&D Encounters. Now I'm thinking of starting to do some home games in various systems. ...
7
votes
5answers
298 views

Dealing with high player churn?

In my current D&D 4e game we have extremely high player churn. Any given night we may have between 2 and 5 players (out of 10 to 12) leave and or join (leaving often takes the form of simply not ...
17
votes
10answers
829 views

Strategies for dealing with turtle or roach players?

How should GMs deal with players who turtle or roach? By turtle I am referring to players who obviously wanted to play because they joined the game, but when they're actually at the table they keep ...
15
votes
6answers
2k views

Using the iPad as a GM-tool

Anyone have any experience using the iPad as a GM-ing tool? If so, how did you use it? Any apps that are particularly good for GMs?
18
votes
4answers
7k views

How to randomly generate a village or town for old school D&D game?

There is a lot of material written on random generation of dungeons for play. But inevitably characters have to return from the to spend those ill-gotten gains. And where else but a nearby ...
9
votes
5answers
452 views

Good ways to handle presenting information to one or some members of the group?

What are some good methods for presenting information to a limited number of players in a gaming group so as to allow them to control when and how that information gets released to the rest of the ...
18
votes
7answers
2k views

Roleplaying as a job. Skills and background?

A friend of mine is a great DM, and we always told him that he should be paid for his skills. He smiles and says that it's enough to have fun, but seriously, can you make a living out of role playing ...
25
votes
14answers
706 views

Story Arc vs. Player Creativity

I want to put the players in a challenging spot by putting them in a no win situation and having them captured and stripped of their equipment (assuming they might get it back as they make their ...
5
votes
3answers
157 views

Scaling for battles when the number of players is unknown?

I play in a D&D 4e game at the local game shop where the number of players who shows up can vary from five to fifteen. Obviously a normal battle for fifteen characters would be overpowering for ...
28
votes
14answers
373 views

How do I retain momentum in an irregular game?

For years I have had a regular weekly evening group but as we've all aged, it has become more difficult to meet. I tend to get the same players but we do not play every week. Long gaps mean that it is ...
6
votes
6answers
583 views

Approaches to GM-less (or lessened GM reliance in) RPGs

A question about transitioning players to GM-less gaming already exists (and it's a good one). I, however, am looking for a more exhaustive description (thus CW) of approaches to GM-less gaming. As ...
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 ...
15
votes
6answers
246 views

How do you maintain a balance between mystery and offering clues?

Giving good clues that offer just enough information can be difficult. I think I tend to not give the players enough information and then to overcompensate with a reveal that comes too easily. ...
14
votes
9answers
270 views

How to encourage the GM-curious?

I have a couple of players who might be interested to try GMing, but have so far been reluctant to "take the plunge" and start up their own games. I think this is mostly because they're not sure that ...
15
votes
13answers
2k views

Sunrods, should they be used?

Sunrods, those banishers of darkness, are they a problem or not, I've met a number of DMs that don't want them in their games. Are they a problem?
32
votes
15answers
793 views

Your friend wants to learn the ways of the Dungeon Master, what do you do?

I believe that all tabletop role playing gamers should at one point or another try their hand at Dungeon Mastering. However, it's a goal that at times can feel overwhelming. What advice would you ...
11
votes
4answers
217 views

Megadungeon or modules for a weekend of play?

I've been having gaming/camping weekends with some friends and we've only played Call of Cthulhu so far, using modules. This time I plan on running an OSRIC/1e game, and would like to run the ...
14
votes
3answers
553 views

Do marks go away when one of the parties is dead or incapacitated?

While DMing for DnD Encounters, I had an interesting rules concern come up, that I can't see handled in the rules specifically. We always assumed that when a character or monster goes unconscious via ...
23
votes
8answers
651 views

How do I run a game for a larger group?

I am currently running a Dungeons and Dragons 4 campaign for a group of 9 players. Whittling the group down to a more manageable size is not really an option since they are all family. When we do ...
23
votes
9answers
878 views

Third-Person Limited Narration or Third-Person Omniscient Narration?

What are the advantages/disadvantages to using either a kind of "Limited Narration" or an "Omniscient Narration" style when running a game? i.e. Does saying... None of the characters notice the ...