Not related to any one particular system or rules. You want solutions to the question that are not directly tied to a game's mechanics.

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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 ...
9
votes
3answers
393 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 ...
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 ...
11
votes
2answers
583 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 ...
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
141 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 ...
5
votes
2answers
118 views

Is there a good guidleline for “Assumed Character Actions” vs Necessary Descriptions? [closed]

It should go without saying that to some extent in any given role playing setting there needs to be a general set of assumptions made about the actions of the characters. Some of these are naturally ...
12
votes
4answers
283 views

Is there a system for creating visuals of characters?

I'm thinking something like this, except for fantasy games like D&D or Pathfinder. Base models of various races (gnome, human, half-orc, whatever), each with compatible artwork of equipment. It ...
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
2answers
208 views

How to get others interested in restarting a very old campaign?

I am a part of a pretty regular little RP group, we have played several games together, and every person has had a turn GMing on or another game. However, over time, life happens, other things get in ...
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 ...
4
votes
2answers
249 views

What is a fractal style of story generator?

Inspired by this question: I have never heard of a Fractal style story generator, I did a quick google and am somewhat uncertain as to how this differs from developing a normal story arc. So, what ...
4
votes
3answers
288 views

Is there a “campaign background” story system or method?

microscope is a historical fractal story system that I've used successfully to generate background worlds for several campaigns, what it does it does very well. What I'm looking for is something ...
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 ...
17
votes
7answers
3k views

What's the best way to kill a character in a way that is memorable, and treated with respect by players?

Sooner or later they're going to die. Most games have a risk of death in them and that means that a character is going to get killed and is not coming back, no way, no how. It's new character time. ...
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, ...
26
votes
4answers
4k views

How to handle public displays of affection between players during the game?

Is there anything I can do about a player and his girlfriend constantly making out instead of playing the game without full support of the rest of the group? I’ve recently started a campaign with my ...
15
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 ...
14
votes
5answers
5k views

How to deal with a quiet player?

I have an ongoing game of Mage: the Ascension. While everything is going quite OK and I am pretty happy about what is going on around the table, I noticed that one of my players is a bit quiet and ...
20
votes
16answers
3k views

Dealing with large amount of dice rolls for a single damage roll without making it drag on

There are a number of spells and abilities that involve large amounts of dice rolling. For example, a high level rogue can have up to 10d6 in Sneak Attack, and a high level Wizard can have a ...
17
votes
4answers
767 views

GMing against type: adding levity

When I GM, I tend to make the scenarios/campaigns "serious" -- they're grim and gritty, much more about drama (and violence) than anything else. In addition, I tend to focus on some degree of realism ...
1
vote
2answers
105 views

Which kind of magic fits a celtic-based setting? [closed]

I'm preparing a campaign set on mythic ireland-wales; and I would like to know which kind of spells, spellcasters, rituals and such could fit best to this scenario. Spoken incantations? Brewed ...
8
votes
1answer
478 views

Is there an online random setting generator?

Ages ago, when I was still pretty new to the whole role-playing thing, I came across an online app for generating random settings for RPGs (or novels, comics, whatever). I've searched for it several ...
5
votes
2answers
288 views

How can I retain a classical (rather than medieval) feel in my game?

I'm running a campaign (D&D 3.5, moderately houseruled, but my question is general) set in a world in a classical era. You might compare it to the Han dynasty, or to the Roman Republic--Roman ...
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 ...
6
votes
4answers
291 views

How can you convey that the majority of the world isn't supernatural?

In games that exist within a supernatural/urban fantasy/modern horror setting, usually only a very small percentage of the population is actually supernatural. Using World of Darkness as an example, ...
18
votes
5answers
4k views

How to play boring everyday tasks

I am about to run a Traveller rpg game using the Outer Veil setting by Spice publishing. I am having the players be very much like the firefly crew, needing to work to keep their ship barely flying. ...
8
votes
2answers
343 views

How to run short sessions?

I am currently DMing for a group of people whom I only recently met. We've been playing for some time, but we have a bit of trouble getting together regularly, but since everyone seems to enjoy that, ...
18
votes
2answers
721 views

How to make your players hate your villain, but not your game

How does one build the character of a villain such that the players (playing heroic characters) hate the villain as much as possible without detracting too much from the quality of the game? What ...
13
votes
3answers
780 views

How to make a great villain who your players hate more than anything else? [closed]

I'd love to hear from you guys what you consider to be the best way to make the motive that drives the players to defeat the villain to be something personal and even passional. I believe a villain ...
8
votes
5answers
555 views

Keeping a group together in a Zombie RPG

Being fairly new to GMing I am having trouble with keeping my PC's from turning on each other, and every thing in sight. It doesn't matter how much I punish them for killing obvious allies, or ...
5
votes
5answers
506 views

Looking for “high dark” fantasy setting

I'm looking for a fantasy setting which should fit these rather specific key points: Overall dark feeling. This will be a Monster Hunters game, so heroic sillyness, a comic-book feel, and so on are ...
40
votes
6answers
4k views

What's the best way to make travel time more interesting?

My players are going from Neverwinter to Comyr in D&D 4e Forgotten Realms. So, what I do everytime they travel is, learned from The Order of the Stick, a single random encounter (which, honestly, ...
47
votes
12answers
8k views

How do I make an unwinnable fight fun?

In one of my campaigns, it's possible that I'm going to have to pull off a Hopeless Boss Fight depending on the choices of my player (we're playing one-on-one). The gist is that they're interfering ...
32
votes
2answers
2k views

How do I convince players that I'm not necessarily a murderous cretin?

I am a crew member with a sci-fi LARP system. Rather than having a player character, I usually play as a disposable mook, and my characters spawn in, attack the players, then die in an entertaining ...
16
votes
5answers
2k views

How much information about NPCs and enemies is appropriate to show players?

I am a first-time GM trying to run a short Dragon Age campaign. During our first game, I hid the character sheets of the NPCs and enemies from the players. Is this appropriate? Should I give the ...
47
votes
6answers
4k views

How do I make interrogations interesting?

Throughout my gaming career, one type of interaction has consistently failed to engage me: interrogations. All of the interrogations that I have seen in roleplaying games follow this formula: ...
3
votes
3answers
333 views

Dialogue Interaction Between NPCs [duplicate]

What is a good way to have NPCs interact with each other without it feeling clunky? Say I want to have 2 or more NPCs be a part of the dialogue with the party as a means to reveal plot to the players. ...
7
votes
6answers
707 views

Should there be in-game consequences for taking too long to plan? [closed]

As a player in a D&D 5e campaign, our party was presented with a battlefield with several different environmental features (in this case, a goblin cave entrance with an alarm system and two ...
4
votes
2answers
176 views

Random weather in flight-centric campaigns

This is inspired by a quick gander at the answers (in particular, the Empire Weather tables) to Randomly-generating weather for a sandbox campaign. How do you adapt Empire Weather, or a similar ...
22
votes
5answers
851 views

How do I use God as an NPC while being sensitive to players' real-life religious beliefs?

I'm currently running a 3-year long campaign that is coming to an ending in which God is likely to appear as an NPC. Since this is the end of the campaign I won't need to manage it for very long, but ...
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 ...
7
votes
4answers
408 views

How to create meaningful relationships with NPCs

How do I help the PCs to create meaningful relationships with NPCs? Maybe it is a result of my group playing too many one-dimensional adventures trying to find whatever MacGuffin they are after each ...
13
votes
3answers
2k views

How do I handle large conversations with multiple NPCs?

To begin I've read How do you handle verbal exchanges between NPCs without taking the PCs out of the spotlight? but I don't believe that it answer my question, because it focuses more on dialog simply ...
18
votes
6answers
3k views

Is studying rules and pointing out which ones we've stretched or broken ok?

My group is mostly new to Pathfinder (including the GM), and we sometimes take "Accidental Liberties" while playing. For instance, my character has a spear with the "Brace" feature. I had been using ...
27
votes
6answers
2k views

How can I learn how to lay out an “evidence scene”?

I feel like I'm particularly bad at any kind of scene where I want to drop clues. I'm hesitant to use the term "crime scene" because it's not always being investigated by "police", and some of these ...
0
votes
3answers
196 views

How do you GM well for a party of characters of vastly differing ability and interest [closed]

I'm still looking to be ready to GM an Anima: Beyond Fantasy game and, while my previous problem has still not been solved (shameless plug here), I've run into another one: how to GM for characters of ...
2
votes
1answer
129 views

Free-floating magical effects and planetary rotation [closed]

Many magic systems allow the creation of magical effects such as teleportation portals which are not anchored to a physical object, but rather conjured floating in the air. However, many settings are ...
4
votes
1answer
319 views

How can you safely handle one of the PCs being central to the plot?

I'm trying my hand at writing my own RPG campaign, but I've run into a potentially fatal flaw in my story idea in that it's dependent upon a rather specific kind of character being a member of the ...
63
votes
21answers
13k views

How to deal with player MacGyver-ism?

Role playing is an excellent hobby to train your problem solving skills. You learn to look at situations from different view points (i.e. the characters) and you have various skills and resources at ...