23
votes
3answers
2k views

How can I play monsters and NPCs up to their potential?

In many cases discussions about balance in 3.5 will, inevitably, involve one side or another invoking an anecdote of the time they fought this monster, or a member of that class, and they didn't ...
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 ...
32
votes
8answers
9k views

Combat rules for large battles

In the later chapters of a future campaign I'm thinking of having a section where the players take charge of parts of an army and fight a larger battle. I don't want to hand-wave the strategy, I want ...
12
votes
2answers
9k views

Guidelines for creating homebrew classes (base/PrCs)

Is there any (official or not) guidebook to the creation of classes, both prestige and base, that does not simply state what you must pick for a class (BaB, saves, concept, profficiences), but ...
37
votes
9answers
1k views

Best answer for people concerned about RPG activities being occult or dangerous?

I've had many experiences where the very fact of roleplaying triggered some concerned comment from the "uninitiated," likely parents or neighbors. Some examples: A friend of mine hosted a Vampires ...
36
votes
7answers
4k views

How does D&D Vancian magic make sense in-game?

One thing that bugs me about Vancian Magic in D&D as I understand it is the following: How is "fire and forget" remotely believable when I can slot and ready more than one "copy" of a spell? Say ...
29
votes
12answers
3k views

What to do when your character is just too good?

I'm playing in the Paizo Pathfinder Jade Regent adventure path and we're having a good time so far (campaign blog and session summaries). However, as my character has gone up in power I'm now ...
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 ...
22
votes
5answers
6k views

A PC dies every session - bad tactics or the normal outcome of adventuring?

In the campaign I'm currently playing in we have had a lot of character deaths occurring recently, almost (if not every) session. The party are 13th–14th level and are taking on significant ...
21
votes
5answers
2k views

Tools/techniques for optimal tabletop gaming with one remote user

A member of our group has moved to Dallas and we're involving them in the game using Skype. The rest of us are sitting around a table. We have one laptop being used to show the player, and usually ...
29
votes
10answers
5k views

How do you make hacking useful without excluding other players?

My Shadowrun group has a reasonably typical composition: "face", technomancer, rigger, mage, adept, and street samurai. The problem I have is making sure that the technomancer can use her skills ...
15
votes
3answers
3k views

Can I use existing game mechanics in my own designs?

To what extent is it permissible to use aspects of a given system (for commercial use)? Say I wanted to have rules for how a skill check works, do I have to be careful that I am not using the same as ...
37
votes
6answers
2k views

How do you handle verbal exchanges between NPCs without taking the PCs out of the spotlight?

One of the assumptions I make as GM is that the players should always be in the spotlight. Sometimes the players find themselves in a situation where they watch NPCs speak to each other. I don't ...
25
votes
3answers
11k views

Is the old “Linear Fighters Quadratic Wizards” problem still around in 5e Basic?

(This question is a comparison to 3.x, though things might have been different in 4e) In 3.5e there is a large power and capability gap between fighters and wizards that fighters couldn't hope to ...
38
votes
13answers
5k views

Playing 4th Ed D&D for the first time, what should I read to avoid holding everyone back?

I've been invited to join a new game of D&D 4th edition this weekend, but haven't played proper D&D before. Are there any resources I ought to read or get before I turn up, so that I'm not a ...
29
votes
3answers
30k views

How does wizard & cleric spell preparation and casting work?

In 3.X wizards had spellbooks, while clerics had their entire spell list, but they both memorized/prepared spells every day from those lists, and had a certain number of slots for preparing spells in. ...
26
votes
4answers
2k views

How does “failure” work in Dungeon World? How does it move the story forward?

I am having trouble understanding the specifics of failure Dungeon World. According to the rules, a GM should "make a move" against players when they fail, and that's alright, I get that. What I ...
31
votes
6answers
16k views

What are the major differences between D&D 3.0 and D&D 3.5

I found a bunch of D&D books at a used bookshop, but am now realizing half are 3.0 and half are 3.5... How compatible are these with each other? What are the major rule changes I'll need to watch ...
18
votes
3answers
1k views

Is possible to Chain-Activate Pearls of Power?

I will start a campaing in a few days and my players are on the "Character Building" mode for this week, and they are asking me a lot of really creative questions regarding possible builds. That's ...
10
votes
11answers
1k views

Balancing players' rolls, not characters

I have been the worst dice-roller in my party as far as I can remember. Be it D&D 3.5, 4th Edition, or any other dice based system, the goddess of luck has always been mean to me. To give you an ...
6
votes
2answers
242 views

Reward distribution and story continuity with rotating players/GMs

There are some people who like to GM, and maybe even like it more than role playing themselves. If you have one of those rare specimen in your group consider yourself lucky. Others are not averse to ...
6
votes
3answers
7k views

Comprehensive list of WOTC D&D 4.0 products?

Is there a list of all the D&D 4.0 books to date, available on the web? Ideally sorted by release date, but I'm not picky.
33
votes
1answer
14k views

Why do Warlocks only have spells up to 5th level? What's the correct progression for their slots?

Instead of a “Spell Slots for Spell Level” table, the warlock just has two columns: one for number of slots and one for slot level, because all of their slots are the same level. However, the table ...
18
votes
8answers
1k views

How valid is lying to players about the rolls they are making in The Dresden Files?

In last weeks Dresden Files game, the players followed the bad guy using a tracking spell, and found him in the projects at an apartment that they knew little about. Seeing his car, they decided to ...
13
votes
3answers
1k views

Do you lose your prestige class features when you no longer meet its requirements?

Certain prestige classes detail a list of requirements that are possible for the player to lose (alignment, casting at a certain level), but not what happens if you no longer meet those requirements ...
7
votes
4answers
2k views

Where can I find transcripts of actual game sessions?

Some of us are getting together to play an RPG, but not everyone has been in one before. One of the prospective players has asked me for a transcript or something they could read to get a sense of ...
11
votes
2answers
756 views

Can a Half-Dragon's alignment change from their dragon's alignment type?

Is it possible for a Half-Dragon's alignment to change from their dragon's alignment type? For example, if a blue Half-Dragon (Lawful Evil) had an alignment-affecting spell cast on them, or was bitten ...
9
votes
3answers
5k views

How can I get more spell slots for my caster without resorting to the Extra Slot feat?

Im planning on building a wizard/Warmage/Ultimate Magus. By level 15 I will have caster level 11 in both classes, this leaves me with 5 levels left. I was planning on taking Dragon Disciple to ...
7
votes
2answers
174 views

Where are the rules about what sources are primary?

Maybe it's just too early in the morning and my brain does not properly connect with the rest of the body, but... ...yes, this is a question about primary sources. What happened is I was talking ...
7
votes
5answers
3k views

Can you cast spells with a Somatic component if you're holding a two-handed weapon?

I have a halfling cleric of Bahamut who wears his holy symbol as an amulet around his neck as a spellcasting focus (so material components are not an issue). However, as per this question, this does ...
6
votes
2answers
2k views

Which Fighter (TWF Fighter vs. Great Weapon Fighter) is better optimized for Dealing Damage?

With Basic's release the Fighter is given six different Fighting Styles to choose from at level 1. Each fighting style offers a solid mechanical benefit to the fighter, but both Great Weapon Fighting ...
5
votes
3answers
2k views

If my Initiator Level is high enough, can I take Stances of a level higher than 1st when I take my first level in a martial adept class?

Usually, a martial adept’s Initiator Level is equal to his class level, plus his class level in any maneuver-granting Prestige Classes, plus half his level in all other classes. This means a ...
45
votes
13answers
2k views

How do I make skill checks more than just sequences of die chucking?

I think I don't get skill challenges. As I understand it at some point I break the narrative by proclaiming: "This is a skill challenge. You need 5 victories before you reach 3 failures. Go" And then ...
58
votes
16answers
4k views

How do I stop my PCs from acting like insomniac monkeys on crack?

An issue came up in the last session of my Pathfinder campaign - that of chronic PC impatience. It happens especially when they go to cities and between major adventures. They go into a frenzy of ...
38
votes
17answers
1k 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 ...
38
votes
14answers
5k views

How to handle wealthy player characters as a GM?

One of the long-standing settings our group keeps returning to is classic medieval fantasy. (Examples are MERP, Rolemaster, The Dark Eye -- But this question is aimed to be system agnostic and is ...
63
votes
18answers
6k views

How should a GM deal with sexuality in an RPG?

I think it's a matter of fact that since the first moment a player realizes that he or she can interact with someone of the opposite sex romantically within the game, things get hairy. I had my fair ...
41
votes
14answers
4k views

How can I play dumb?

I have a half-ogre character at my local larp group, and one of the roleplay-enforced restrictions for half-ogres is that they have low intelligence. I often find myself biting my tongue not to say ...
32
votes
1answer
3k views

How has D&D changed over time in its guidance to DMs as to when to extrapolate from written rules and when to improvise?

This answer (to a question about a levitating character trying to catch an object that exceeds the spell's weight limit in D&D 2e) states that: The spell levitate has a maximum weight limit, ...
47
votes
13answers
13k views

My PCs have a plan that will get them all killed; how and why should I save them?

Related: How do I help my players figure out how to stay alive in a realistically-deadly sandbox campaign? I am running a sandbox game for a group of players who are used to more traditional ...
29
votes
5answers
12k views

Are melee combatants limited to standing around saying “I attack”?

Recently I heard a friend saying that melee combatants had fewer options than 4e or 3.x: Ranged combat was somewhat interesting in that you could deal with cover, aiming, and so forth. Fighters ...
66
votes
15answers
5k views

When should I fudge dice rolls?

When I started my first D&D campaign as a DM, I accidentally rolled and confirmed a crit on a PC from a goblin. It was an instant kill as our campaign had no cleric. That time I decided to fudge ...
48
votes
12answers
8k views

How can I reward a character that doesn't want magic items?

So I've got a campaign where one of the characters, a fighter, severely distrusts magical items. The party level is 6+, and it seems difficult to figure out a way to compensate this character in ...
36
votes
6answers
8k views

How to kill a character without making their player too angry

I have been DMing a game for a group of friends. In between two sessions, which ended with them facing a few enemy NPCs, I realized that these intelligent opponents had a very good way to kill one of ...
19
votes
5answers
1k views

When planning a campaign, should I know what the ending is before we start?

I am planning the next campaign while the current one comes to a close. Our group favours sandbox play and I facilitate that with Icar's event driven system. While writing down the list of events ...
23
votes
4answers
2k views

What about character death should be included in a social contract?

For a D&D (4e, primarily) game what about player-character death should be included in a group's social contract? What are some options for best reaching consensus about the possibility of death ...
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 ...
21
votes
10answers
8k views

What GM-less RPGs exist and are the mechanics adaptable to other systems?

I'm constantly looking for new systems to either steal from or at least try out for a one-shot. What systems are currently available that feature GM-less mechanics? Further, do any of these systems ...
19
votes
6answers
4k views

I'm fairly new to D&D but want to GM; where do I go from here?

I'm a 16-year-old male, and I have been interested in tabletop RPGs for a long time, especially D&D. I sorta dove into D&D really fast and hard by buying the Red box, Dungeon Master Kit, ...
16
votes
3answers
2k views

What updates should be done to older monsters to bring them in line with MM3 era monsters?

I know that to better balance paragon and epic level players against similar level monsters, WotC changed the math used for monsters for MM3, and I believe that they changed some of the types of ...

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