This question is inspired by this answer which provides a named technique by which a GM can work around a specific situation.

My question is: what are the various established techniques that a GM can use to help run the narrative within a session?

An ideal answer would include examples on how each technique can be used and the situations where it is best employed.


Gating: Used to improve participation by providing a scenario where one potentially reluctant character is required to help solve a problem.

IE: "The inscription is written in Dwarvish, which the talker can't read. Pass a note to the party's dwarf."


I am not talking about things like tricks for tracking initiative, or miniatures vs 'theatre of the mind', just established techniques such as foreshadowing or gating (As in the example).

I am interested in techniques that will help D&D 5e; but I think this is probably best being system agnostic.

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    \$\begingroup\$ This question is way too broad as written. What you are asking for is a list of any GMing techniques that will help run the narrative. However, this is way too nebulous of a topic to be able to be handled here. If you had a specific issue that you wanted a technique to improve that would be something you should edit in. \$\endgroup\$ – Rubiksmoose Jun 26 '18 at 13:55
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Rubiksmoose not really, it was just something I was curious about. There are surely only a limited number of established techniques and while this may be hard for a single person to answer I don't think it is too broad, especially since I am looking for named and established techniques, not just 'what do you do'. In literature I would be willing to bet there is a list of established techniques; this is the RPG equivalent. \$\endgroup\$ – SeriousBri Jun 26 '18 at 14:20
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    \$\begingroup\$ Given that there is a practically unlimited number of different RPGs, and that the role and duties of a GM varies wildly between them, I highly doubt there is a reasonably sized answer to this question. \$\endgroup\$ – kviiri Jun 26 '18 at 15:14
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    \$\begingroup\$ More are being invented, or identified and named, or imported from other arts (improv, writing, acting) all the time. This is an infinite list on the time scale SE operates on. For a similar documentation project we tried and abandoned for those reasons: rpg.stackexchange.com/q/5475/321 \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Jun 26 '18 at 16:04
  • \$\begingroup\$ @SevenSidedDie Thank you, and that line of reasoning makes sense. \$\endgroup\$ – SeriousBri Jun 28 '18 at 6:54