21
votes
6answers
4k views

D&D 5e and “Theatre of the Mind” in combat

Our target play style for combat encounters would be to use battle boards roughly half the time (when there is enough of interest in play that the tactics are fun to play out), and to skip that with ...
56
votes
15answers
4k 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 ...
46
votes
12answers
7k 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 ...
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 ...
22
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 ...
19
votes
6answers
2k 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, ...
19
votes
5answers
869 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 ...
19
votes
10answers
6k 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 ...
15
votes
3answers
2k 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 ...
15
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 ...
15
votes
6answers
3k views

Relationship Mechanics for D&D/Pathfinder?

My Pathfinder/D&D games tend to involve relationships - romantic, friendly, etc. - between PCs and NPCs alike. 3.x only has the Diplomacy mechanic for any kind of relationship mechanic. I'm ...
29
votes
10answers
878 views

What can I include in my character's background to help the GM build a better story?

Whatever the system or the world used, what can a player add to his character background that will help the GM make the game more interesting. Games are much more interesting with the addition of ...
24
votes
7answers
2k views

How to encourage a player's creativity without breaking the game?

I've just started a new D&D 4e campaign with a new group of players. One of my players came straight from 2nd edition, and has never played 4e before. She doesn't seem to grasp the layer of ...
17
votes
9answers
588 views

Dealing with a changing set of players in a continuous campaign

I have a group of players who have all been integrated into the game. However we all live in different counties and at any one time only a subset of the players can play at any one time. I try to ...
11
votes
3answers
650 views

Adapting literary works into RPG adventures

Beowulf is a classic tale which has been translated many times and has had many film adaptations. Seamus Heaney's new translation and Frederick Rebsame's translation are good starts if you have not ...
41
votes
11answers
3k views

Is there a limit to Rule 0?

Rule Zero: All other rules can be changed by the GM. I appreciate that there is a massive amount of work that goes into be a GM and the last thing that any GM wants or deserves is to have his ...
29
votes
5answers
1k views

Should the GM in Dresden Files be telling us what the target numbers are for thaumaturgy spells and skill checks?

In the Dresden Files game I'm in, the game master never tells us the target numbers for thaumaturgy spells and skill rolls. We roll, he tells us whether we succeeded, life goes on. I've heard this ...
20
votes
5answers
5k 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 ...
15
votes
5answers
524 views

As a GM, what aids could I use to create adventure scenes on the spot?

As a GM, many a time I run into a situation that I know nothing of, am not prepared about, and need something, NOW! Maybe it is a freeform adventure and plot was not prepared, maybe I prepared some ...
13
votes
4answers
901 views

How do I start DMing a new game after the Red Box?

I finished playing the D&D beginners Red Box with my friends. Now how do I start DMing another game? Where do I go from here?
29
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?
25
votes
4answers
1k 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 ...
24
votes
7answers
4k views

How do I use Passive Perception to have some characters notice parts of the environment?

I'm new to DM'ing and have an issue I'm not sure how to deal with. The situation is this: It's pitch black outside and the PC is walking, with a lantern in hand, toward a building. A bird is ...
22
votes
6answers
479 views

Techniques for communicating setting and campaign information to the PCs?

In the past, I've almost always had at least one NPC that would travel with the characters as a type of "lore master" to expand on the story. I've tried to make the character witty and, once the ...
21
votes
10answers
2k views

What defines the “old school renaissance”?

I'm aware that the old school renaissance (OSR) is all about hearkening back to old versions of D&D and the play styles of the 70's and 80's, but what characteristics really define this movement? ...
19
votes
3answers
4k 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 ...
18
votes
5answers
3k views

Covertly casting a spell

This question about Charm Person got me musing about a problem with the spell. Obviously, you can't cast Charm Person in the middle of a forum to sway an interlocutor to your side without the other 20 ...
15
votes
13answers
6k views

How to mitigate glass cannon syndrome in Pathfinder?

This is the more gamey part of my other question, What to do when your character is just too good? In D&D 3.5e and Pathfinder, damage output grows very, very quickly. Much more quickly than hit ...
14
votes
5answers
2k views

How much experience should a PC be worth?

Long story short, I'm about to betray my party (by trying to kill them). I'm playing this betrayer on behalf of the GM. Assuming they defeat me, how much experience should they get? I am a level 14 ...
12
votes
3answers
2k views

Animate Objects vs Animate Dead - is there anything stopping the Good-aligned 'Necromancer'?

Is there anything stopping you using Animate Objects, with or without Permanency, to affect a bunch of corpses? If so, what? And would that qualify as an Evil, Chaotic, or Neutral act? Have you ...
9
votes
1answer
7k views

What are the best ways to move and full-attack in the same round?

One of the most important things for any physical fighter to accomplish is to maximize the amount of time you spend full-attacking. Once you have BAB +6, not full-attacking halves your potential ...
8
votes
2answers
990 views

Burrowing, Large Creatures, Opportunity Attacks, Drowning, and Z-Axis Movement [closed]

In our D&D 4th Edition campaign, the players have recently encounter Bulettes, monsters with the Burrow movement mode, and we had a few issues dealing with their movement. Monster Manual 1 states: ...
6
votes
3answers
6k 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.
18
votes
8answers
980 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 ...
16
votes
6answers
2k views

How do you rule halfling tossing as a combat action?

The party I am GMing has three characters over 6' tall with 20+ strength as well as a halfling and a kobold, both small and about 3' tall. A couple of times, they have wanted the big characters to ...
16
votes
5answers
1k views

Where does the D&D concept of a dwarf come from?

Where does the modern D&D of a dwarf come from? I've noticed it's fairly far from the old Germanic concept of a dwarf. Where did Gary Gygax and company get the idea for the current long bearded, ...
14
votes
6answers
3k views

How to deal with rope trick in particular circumstance

Foreword: As it's my first post here, I can't insert more than a couple of links, so you'll have to find information on some of these feats and spells yourself on d20srd. The Question: Let's say in ...
13
votes
3answers
495 views

Do PCs retain memories of undeath once resurrected?

If an NPC has been turned undead and later destroyed/resurrected, do they retain the memory of being undead? Specifically the actions they took part in against the PCs? But also any details to the ...
13
votes
3answers
1k views

How can I decrease the difficulty of a scene on the fly?

I was a DM for the first time yesterday. It was a lot of fun, and all things considered, I think I've made a pretty darn good first session. It was, however, too difficult. I've based the various ...
12
votes
3answers
7k views

Can a Rogue (D&D 3.5) use sneak attack on both the first and second attack?

I know this seems like a question you can simply Google but the answers vary and my clan is under the impression that I can only use it on my first attack (once per round) and not on my second attack. ...
12
votes
7answers
2k views

Is casting the spell Blood Transcription an evil act?

A player of mine in a recent game of Pathfinder was playing a Lawful Neutral Magus and was about to drink blood from a fallen spellcaster to get his prepared spells for the day by using the spell ...
12
votes
3answers
2k views

What is Exalted Paranoia Combat?

Having spent some time reading, and occasionally posting on, the official Exalted forum, I've come across a number of people talking about "paranoia combat" What does this mean? They also generally ...
11
votes
6answers
2k views

Is there a reason to ignore/adjust the Wealth By Level chart?

While reading this Cohort Question I was kinda struck by a quote in there and instead of asking an unrelated question in that area I figured it would be good to make a separate question. The quote ...
8
votes
2answers
403 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 ...
8
votes
1answer
860 views

Is it possible to use rules from OGL or GSL in a computer game?

I'm experimenting with making an RPG game for mobile phones, and I could save some time if I used an established system for stats and combat etc. From a quick read of the licenses I'm not sure whether ...
8
votes
2answers
3k views

How compatible are D&D 4th Edition and Essentials? Can you use Essentials encounters with 4th edition characters?

I've seen posts about how (un)convertable D&D Essentials characters are to 4th edition. This is a question about monsters/encounters/adventures. People have been raving about the Essentials ...
6
votes
1answer
1k views

Attacks of Opportunity from moving within a threatened area?

I'm curious about moving in threatened squares, say I'm a fighter and I'm already in a square fighting a monster with normal melee range and I move to the opposite side of him so that an ally can move ...
15
votes
3answers
2k views

Can a Specialist Wizard multiclass to cast spells from his prohibited schools?

I've had DMs rule both ways on this..I haven't seen any official RAWs on this so I was hoping someone here could point me in the right direction? If a Wizard specializes (giving him 1-2 prohibited ...
11
votes
2answers
316 views

What are the commonly accepted definitions of reskinning and refluffing?

I have come across this comment that seems to say there is a globally accepted definition of reskinning and refluffing and that it's not the same thing (I thought it was). What are the commonly ...
8
votes
2answers
544 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 ...

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