This tag is for game-participant dynamics including dealing with sensitive topics, managing group composition, and other table-level interactions. For questions dealing with the actual party of characters in the game, use the party tag.

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63
votes
12answers
6k 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 ...
59
votes
22answers
3k views

How can I avoid players spending too much time planning?

Several times when I have played in or ran a game in which the players had an objective and reasonable resources, a lot of (real) time was spent trying to plan for every contingency. For example, ...
47
votes
13answers
2k views

How do I deal with GM burnout?

There are groups that share the role of GM/DM/Storyteller/Ref, and there are those that don't. In either type there is always the threat of burnout - too much responsibility is put into the hands of a ...
46
votes
19answers
8k views

Problems with Party Formation: “You're the DM, you can figure it out.”

Sort of related to Is it wrong to ask a player to justify their character's actions? Scenario Player 1 wants to be a male drow necromancer that reveres Kiaransalee. Player 2 wants to be a male ...
42
votes
13answers
6k views

How to secretly talk to one of the players while DM'ing?

To cut it short, the players (it's a 3 people party) are in some kind of a Secret Service of a rebel prince who wants the throne. One of my players is working for the current king secretly, feeding ...
41
votes
6answers
2k views

What to do when you seem like you do not fit in with a group?

I'm looking for some advice and input on a situation I've found myself in as a player. To give a little background, my gaming group (4 men, 2 women, between the ages of 25 and 32) is about to end a ...
38
votes
6answers
3k views

How can I check whether an extremely adult/mature plot idea would be accepted by players without revealing any details of the idea itself?

I am running a post-apocalyptic zombie game with a dark and mature story, exploring a number of adult themes. I have complete buy-in from the players; some of them have stated it is their favourite ...
34
votes
5answers
2k views

Is the same page tool overkill for brand new players?

I'm about to run the D&D 5e starter set for a group, most of which are entirely new to RPGs. The Same Page Tool looks like a great resource for a new group playing together, but not necessarily ...
34
votes
5answers
857 views

How to support useful Intraparty Conflict

This is a question calling for tried and tested methods for facilitating entertaining CvC intraparty conflict. Although Player versus Player (PvP) seems to be the accepted term among a large ...
34
votes
4answers
619 views

How can the players reduce the workload of a game master?

As you know DMs do most of the job for the campaign (maps, plot, NPCs etc) and quite a bit of storytelling. Players, on the other side, bring in their creativity and add extra spice to the game ...
32
votes
14answers
1k views

Narrativist Gaming: How do you transition more traditionally-trained players into them?

This was obviously inspired by the corresponding question on GM-less gaming. For the past couple of years I've become really interested in RPGs that are less about dungeon-crawling and combat and ...
31
votes
15answers
849 views

Where's my share of the loot?

How do you handle loot disputes as a DM? Say we are doing a random loot drop from a felled enemy, and there happens to be one thing that two players really want. Do you make an initiative roll to see ...
31
votes
6answers
1k 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 ...
30
votes
8answers
2k views

How do I make my role playing group a not exclusively male one?

My role playing groups have been, almost exclusively, male. What are some ideas/options for making the group and the experience more likely to attract, and retain, female players?
29
votes
8answers
5k views

Should a new player call out a “bad” GM?

I've started playing my first D&D game. The group I'm playing with wants me to be the GM, but since I've never played D&D before this I wanted to play as a normal player first. There was one ...
28
votes
9answers
2k 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 ...
28
votes
5answers
3k views

How to transform a bunch of strangers into a friendly group?

I am about to start a game with a bunch of strangers. I posted a flyer in a friendly local game shop (FLGS) and some folks responded enthusiastically. I talked a little bit to them about what sort of ...
27
votes
5answers
3k views

How do I quit a long-term game gracefully?

I've been in a game for a while and I've been distracted for several sessions because the game simply hasn't been very interesting to me. The setting and story set by the GM aren't very gripping and ...
27
votes
5answers
1k views

Dealing with people who turn up late for sessions

I run sessions every Monday evening at a pub in the centre of London, and most people come to play straight from work. Up until recently we were attempting to start at 7pm, but there were one or two ...
26
votes
5answers
2k views

Problems with a party of only Spellcasters?

Given a party of only spellcasters (and only unique classes, i.e. only one character can take any specific class), what are possible roadblocks or problems the group may run into? Should they be ...
26
votes
6answers
567 views

Mixed non-native speakers trying RPGs for the first time

I'm among a group of people which doesn't share the same mother tongue. We are speaking English every day and can communicate very well in daily situations and even in an academic way. Some of them ...
25
votes
10answers
7k views

Can I be a follower of an evil god and not be evil?

I'm playing a warlock, a follower of the old god Cthulhu (chaotic evil). My character is chaotic neutral, and has been doing some not-so-neutral things (in my opinion). My patron god is a big part of ...
24
votes
4answers
4k views

How to deal with a player who doesn't understand party roles?

In our group (specifically Pathfinder), we have a player who's playing a master summoner (a very squishy class), and doesn't understand that his character can't solve every problem like the rest, ...
23
votes
8answers
2k views

How do you deal with a player that's determined to play the game in a way that is detrimental to the advancement of the story?

I GM a Dresden Files campaign, and I have a first time role-player that has become a problem in terms of advancement of the story. At first I chalked it up to inexperience, but its become more and ...
22
votes
6answers
3k views

How to DM mind control effects without angering my friends?

I have a bit of a problem, particularly relating to a custom monster I created. D&D has a lot of effects and abilities that change a character's behavior, ranging from a simple intimidate check ...
22
votes
6answers
989 views

Any advice on how to politely approach a friend on problems with her character(s)?

I've been playing with a good friend of mine for a couple of games now (Exalted and Pathfinder) with another friend as GM. In a few weeks, I'm going to be running a new game because the GM is getting ...
21
votes
10answers
4k views

Is the DM Always Right?

I recently got into a disagreement with my DM for a DND 5E game regarding a use of Prestidigitation. The argument was that since it could create a Non-Magical Trinket, and Music Boxes are ...
21
votes
6answers
5k views

How do you deal with a DM who says “no” to everything?

I am in a campaign with several players who also DM, on a rotating schedule. One DM in particular has a control issue, in my opinion. He tends to say "no" to just about any action the PC wants to ...
21
votes
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 ...
21
votes
5answers
742 views

Maintaining a party in a world of mistrust

In essence, how would you keep a colorful group of players together in a world filled with mistrust, without going too much meta? Here is the scenario : Our hero consists of members of a special ...
20
votes
11answers
1k views

How can you find a balance between effective/optimised characters and creative characters?

When creating characters, I often face a dilemma between making a character. It feels like they can either be optimized so they can "pull their own weight" or having a character I think is creative ...
20
votes
5answers
3k views

Group social issues when roleplaying as the opposite gender

Some time ago I was thinking of a character for a system (which I won't mention, to avoid any bias) who was of the opposite gender. I'm fairly convinced that it's because of the characters background, ...
18
votes
11answers
1k views

Encouraging out-of-the-box thinking in combat encounters

I'm a GM currently running D&D 3.5. I try to think of situations that present the players with a number of possible solutions. The players, however, always resort to the same pattern of killing ...
18
votes
5answers
4k views

How should I go about stabbing my friend in the back? [closed]

I'll let that title sit there for a second while I explain my situation. So, first off - recently the DM let slip that his current campaign is loosely based on the Star Wars trilogy (which one ...
18
votes
6answers
499 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 ...
18
votes
9answers
769 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 ...
18
votes
4answers
2k views

How to behave in the first session?

For the first time I have been invited in a group where I don't know almost anybody (it's me and a friend of mine and random people we met in a game association). Since I have social anxiety I am ...
18
votes
3answers
403 views

What techniques can help players reach consensus quickly on group actions?

A frequent problem in my D&D 5E group (4-6 players plus DM) is prolonged discussion about group actions. Upon reaching a point where the group has to make a decision, players will argue about the ...
17
votes
5answers
1k views

How do I convince my group to try a new system without always having to DM it first?

I always play roleplaying games with the same friends. We have a lot of fun, but I'm always a bit frustrated by the fact that they always resist when I propose to try new roleplaying games. Even ...
17
votes
5answers
1k views

As a player, how can I help other players explore their characters on a deeper level?

I'm playing in a group with a diverse group of players. Some have everything about their character planned (like myself and one other player), others came to the table with a concept and nothing else. ...
17
votes
6answers
747 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 ...
16
votes
5answers
803 views

Cooperative character building?

I'm aware of games where the players cooperatively build elements of the story world (I hear Dresden Files does this), but are there any where the players cooperatively build their characters? What ...
16
votes
4answers
1k views

Maintaining balance with a very large group

I played DnD 3.5 while in the military and due to a shortage of DMs, was constantly flooded by players. Some of my games would include up to 10 or 11. I discovered quickly that balancing for this in ...
15
votes
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. ...
14
votes
10answers
3k views

What's a GM to do when the party is intent on killing each other?

I have recently taken over running a Dnd 4e campaign where the party is constantly trying to kill each other, even in the middle of encounters. Despite reading the rule books, I cannot find any advice ...
14
votes
10answers
3k views

How can I allow one character to sneak off and assassinate an NPC without boring the other players?

Setup In my campaign, one of the PCs is an assassin. Before the game started, I gave the player a list of assassination targets. One of the targets happens to be friends with the party's warlord. ...
14
votes
3answers
1k views

Dealing with a disgruntled player leaving my campaign

So I've been running a game of Shadowrun over the internet for the past few weeks online, and I've had a hectic personal schedule, so I haven't been able to do lengthy sessions. I've got a player who ...
14
votes
3answers
1k views

How do I deal with a bored or distracted player bringing down the group?

My group have been playing various D&D style games for a few years, I have one player however that often will drift off and start playing on his phone and several times has actually fallen ...
13
votes
6answers
500 views

Finding time to play

How do people find time to play an RPG with friends, around work, study and partners? I've a preference for weekly play but I just can't find the time to dedicate to roleplaying anymore. And when I ...
13
votes
2answers
1k views

What are the advantages and disadvantages of Player-driven versus GM-driven mechanics in Pathfinder

According to some people: Players shouldn't state the skill they want to use for a given situation, they should state their intentions. As the Game Master, you know how that intended action can be ...