Questions about becoming or tutoring a game master (GM) serving for the first time. (See the full tag wiki for important usage notes.)

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14
votes
3answers
1k views

How do we tell our new GM that we don't like some elements of his campaign?

Our current GM is quite new to GMing, and has stumbled into a few pitfalls. To give a few examples, he killed my character (by accident) and brought him back via deus ex. He locked the party in a ...
38
votes
6answers
1k views

What is role-playing, and where do I start?

I have been told that roleplaying is great fun. I've looked and looked and it all seems so complicated. Could anyone tell me a good place to start, and what sort of things you end up doing in ...
19
votes
4answers
1k views

New to Tabletops. Have kids. How do you handle distractions?

A friend of mine picked up the starter kit for 5E. After some discussion, we have 4 players and a GM ready to start a campaign. Three of us have little or no experience, while the other two have a few ...
11
votes
1answer
709 views

What are the main differences and similarities between Pathfinder and RuneQuest?

As the question suggests, I'm interested in the main differences and similarities between Pathfinder and RuneQuest. I'm fairly familiar with the RuneQuest system. I've heard a bit about Pathfinder ...
2
votes
2answers
184 views

D&D good edition for newbies [closed]

I'm totally new to D&D having only played 2 games neither of which I GM'd, one being 3.5, the other being heavily home brewed version of 3.5. I want to GM a game. I have a group ready, but I was ...
21
votes
10answers
3k views

How to introduce a pen-and-paper RPG to family?

My brother and I have dabbled in D&D when we were younger. Also, at the last place where I worked, we had a weekly Pathfinder game session, which was fun. Usually at our family get-togethers my ...
8
votes
2answers
360 views

How much, and what kind of, advance planning is appropriate for a sandbox campaign?

New GM attemping to get ideas for a campaign down something similar to a tabletop fallout game. How much info is too much info for general prep? Can there ever be too much? Or is there a general ...
10
votes
3answers
703 views

How do you determine what good roleplaying is? [closed]

How can I determine if players are roleplaying well? World of Darkness (not the only system that does this) offers the option of giving experience for good roleplaying, but how do I as a GM determine ...
36
votes
17answers
978 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 ...
12
votes
8answers
1k views

How do I deal with an experienced player who doesn't interact well with my group?

My group and I just migrated from a DM whose very incongruent storytelling and deliberate punishment of non-hack & slay-solutions scared us off. We (mostly) kept our characters (since they are our ...
4
votes
8answers
3k views

Is one of the characters in my group overpowered?

I'm starting my first stint as a DM, in DnD 4E, and one of my players insisted on rolling dice for his stats. I was ok, provided, as I said, "that the character was balanced with the rest of the ...
20
votes
6answers
440 views

How do I analyze and improve myself as a GM?

I'm pretty new to tabletop RPG and recently started to GM a campaign with a group of friends. None of us has much experience, so it's a learning curve for all of us. I've found myself completely ...
19
votes
5answers
548 views

How do I tell how long my adventure is going to be?

I'm a new DM starting a campaign I've written myself. I have a party of 4 players right now- three have been playing for years, one has never played before. My problem is I'm not sure how to tell how ...
3
votes
2answers
583 views

Creating a Racial Template (DnD 3.5)

So I had an idea for a race for my world. But the more I thought about it, the more I realized I needed it to be a template, not a race. I'm trying to create a version of Elves, but the origin of ...
5
votes
3answers
274 views

How to be a Dungeon Master? [duplicate]

About a year ago, a saw a Dungeons and Dragons beginner set on Amazon. I was curious because I heard so much, but didn't know anyone who played. I bought it, read the books that came with it. And then ...
19
votes
7answers
791 views

How to guide a new DM through his first game (as an experienced DM turned player)?

How can I guide and help a new DM through his first campaign (being an experienced DM myself) without having it look like a grab for power or that I think the new DM is incompetent?
17
votes
9answers
324 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 ...
14
votes
4answers
1k views

Fate/Freeport as a first RPG?

I've kicked around the idea of starting some roleplaying games with my son (11) and his friends. I played AD&D when I was a kid (stopping around 1987, not sure what version that was). While I ...
12
votes
1answer
742 views

What kind of steps can I take to avoid overwhelming a new, support-heavy party?

I'm a new DM looking to introduce my group to D&D 4E via a brief, low-level (3-4) custom adventure. My hope is that I can later expand into a full campaign after my players have become comfortable ...
18
votes
10answers
1k views

My friends and I are new to RPGs and need a system I can DM and they can pick up. Suggestions? [on hold]

My friends and I are trying to get into tabletop RPGs but have ran into some difficultly finding a system/setting that fits. We gave Eclipse Phase a shot but found it to have a pretty high barrier to ...
7
votes
4answers
636 views

How much custom content is too much

So, I'm a relatively new GM (having only run a quick foray into the Tomb of Horrors for fun) and I've got an idea for a city-based custom campaign. I feel pretty good about my story telling abilities ...
29
votes
8answers
4k views

How do I learn to become a good GM?

I have played and tried to GM games since I was in elementary school, beginning with games like Shadowrun, Earthdawn, and Champions. Recently, I've gotten dack into gaming with a variety of other ...
1
vote
0answers
48 views

Essential Reading for New GM/DM [duplicate]

I'm preparing to take the plunge into GM'ing. What would you be consider essential reading for a new gm? Books, websites, etc.? I really want to focus in on being a good story teller.
35
votes
6answers
2k views

Did I do a bad job as a GM?

Last night we played our first RPG (ever!) and I'm not sure if it went well. The game was Deathwatch and the basic story was to find someone. There were three possible places where he could be; then ...
26
votes
3answers
3k views

Is there a core campaign setting for DnD 4e?

I'm completely new to RPGs in general, so I apologize in advance if this is an odd question. There's such an overwhelming abundance of lore on all the different campaign settings for DnD that I've ...
7
votes
4answers
357 views

How do you present plot hooks to string together premade adventures?

I am about to run my first adventure as a GM. I have never GM'd or participated in table top role playing before so I am following premade adventures (in this case starting with the 4e Redbox ...
24
votes
8answers
3k views

As a newbie DM, is it OK to borrow plots from MMOs for my game?

I am an inexperienced GM. I have minimal to none experience game-mastering, although I DO have some experience as a player, and I wanted to prepare a game for a great friend of mine who is a very ...
6
votes
2answers
735 views

How can I decide whether being the GM is right for me?

I haven't played a table top RPG before. I've played RPGs in video game form for my entire life, though. I also write a good deal, and I've won like... two contests for short stories. I assume that's ...
11
votes
4answers
506 views

Making time meaningful?

The party wishes to leave the village and go to the dungeon. This will require a few hours of venturing through a forest. How do I keep the passage of hours meaningful to the players? I want to avoid ...
5
votes
3answers
267 views

How much are the players supposed to know?

My final question (for now) deals with the knowledge of the players of what is actually happening in AD&D 1e. Take for example AD&D's initiative system. I'm not sure whether or not the ...
2
votes
2answers
95 views

Advice for AD&D 1e without miniatures or tiles?

My group has agreed that we will not use miniatures or tiles to play AD&D 1e. Instead, we will rely upon the "Theater of the Mind" style gameplay. This will be a major change for me as a DM, as I ...
6
votes
3answers
176 views

AD&D 1e and “Skill Checks”

I've been reading the Quick Primer for Old School Gaming and I have found it enlightening, to say the least. One of the issues it brings up is the use of skill checks to determine whether or not ...
9
votes
10answers
1k views

Creating a campaign everyone can DM in?

So I have a group of players I'm playing D&D 4e with. Two of them are hardcore gaming nerds, my brother and his friend. His friend actually has a job but it's not intensive, my brother on the ...
16
votes
9answers
2k views

New players missing the big picture?

Ok so I've just started my two daughters on their first ever Pathfinder campaign using the pre-built TC1 "Into the Haunted Forest". It's going ok, they are having fun, but they seem to be overlooking ...
7
votes
5answers
1k views

How do I make an interesting escape from a fire?

So, the last session I tried to make an encounter where my players had to escape from a burning house. Unfortunately, it turned out to be a boring bunch of pass-or-suck checks. How can I make this ...
7
votes
4answers
1k views

How do I deal with my players not roleplaying at all? [duplicate]

I know I should "let them have fun" or something, but the game isn't really working. I'm GMing a pathfinder campaign, but this isn't system-dependent. My players aren't roleplaying at all. Ok, they ...
12
votes
5answers
6k views

Choosing DnD 4th edition or Essentials for a new group and DM?

Recently I've got interested in roleplaying. My background is more or less hardcore boardgamer, I have played quite a large number of board games, even some of the most complicated ones and found it ...
3
votes
3answers
313 views

How can I quickly come up with random encounters and puzzles?

I'm DMing my first campaign in D&D 4e using my own setting, and I need to create some random encounters throughout the map surrounding the starting village. I only have a week available between ...
8
votes
3answers
367 views

How do intelligent enemies attack based on player threat?

How do I determine how intelligent enemies attack? For beasts and plants and such, I usually roll to randomly determine a player, then attack based off that. But intelligent, even semi-intelligent ...
8
votes
7answers
2k views

Turning a Campaign Evil Leads To “Problems”

Prologue : So, the campaign I'm running right now has a noble-kinda purpose. To kill the Evil Witch and save the world etc, you get the point. As a plot twist I am thinking to turn the campaign to ...
4
votes
4answers
914 views

Changing Type Of Enemy During Combat

Hypothetic scenario: A ranger does a stealth check and succeeds. While moving he notices two patrols and decides to attack them using Two Fanged Strike. The patrols are normally minions. He gets to ...
4
votes
2answers
235 views

How to use Time Paradox In-Game

Position/State of Players : Trapped in the Underdark Goal : To use time travel A small explanation : While they are there, I want to make them travel back in time. However I have no idea on how to ...
6
votes
4answers
644 views

Being a more “flexible” Dungeon Master [closed]

[The following question is about avoiding to railroad the players, and has nothing to do with breaking or following rules.] I am playing a campaign of my own with my friends, and the thing is that I ...
4
votes
2answers
192 views

Introducing Roleplaying in Combat [duplicate]

I am the kind of gamer that mostly enjoys the story and I love roleplaying. However this time I am the Dungeon Master and not a player. How can I encourage my players to roleplay during combat ...
2
votes
2answers
1k views

Free Pathfinder low-level urban adventures?

Are there online some free adventures that I can download as .pdf? (Not piratery, just free adventures.) I'm a new GM and I'd like to read some professional adventures to see how they work. I need a ...
21
votes
5answers
825 views

Learning to use spells comfortably

I'm hoping to get a little but of advice. You see, I've been running Rise of the Runelords, although the fact that I'm using Pathfinder probably isn't too relevant. Point is, I'm relatively new to ...
25
votes
12answers
8k views

How to discourage players from rushing?

I recently started GMing for my D&D group, and it was my first time as GM. My group often tries to rush through things before I can describe their environment ( ex: running through a cave before ...
5
votes
2answers
274 views

Pricing items as a DM

I seem to be struggling with pricing items that players can purchase. In particular magic items such as scrolls/potions ect. I read the rules and have scoured the internets to try figure it out but ...
7
votes
4answers
598 views

Is there a better way to run a “rules light” or “beginner” D&D 4th edition game?

I've been attempting to play 4E with my two kids for a while now. I've had some false starts trying to run very simple adventures partly due to lack of DM experience/prep time (demanding job for Dad) ...
3
votes
1answer
1k views

How to calculate attack roll for a monster?

I'm a total Pathfinder newb and I have a question that will probably reveal just how "newb" I am. According to the Core Rulebook, to calculate an attack roll, you use the following formula: d20 + ...