Linked Questions

132
votes
14answers
16k views

How can DMs effectively telegraph specific dangers in D&D?

There are some play-styles of D&D in which the spectre of player-character death is considered a feature of the game rather than a bug. For my own reasons (which aren't the point of the question), ...
99
votes
18answers
9k views

How do I not cheapen death, while also respecting my players' time?

I DM for a group of very busy people, for whom the commitment of several hours a week is a real sacrifice: that’s a sizeable chunk of their free time for the week that I’m asking for. Now,...
57
votes
17answers
12k views

Dealing with “fearless” players

I have some "badass" players in my group who do not fear death, 4 out of 6 to be precise, which causes problems for the rest players as they feel they are always getting dragged into trouble, trying ...
45
votes
12answers
8k views

Techniques for making undead scary again

Undead used to be scary things: dead, rotting bodies seeking to devour all life, outnumbering their foes, and replacing their fallen with slain enemies. But nowadays players see them and think '...
55
votes
11answers
5k views

Techniques for allowing character defeat without character death

Character death can be extremely disruptive to an ongoing RPG, particularly in a game where character agendas are the driving force behind the plot. However, for a good story with a sense of conflict ...
26
votes
9answers
13k views

How to kill a PC without hard feelings?

Reading this question, the accepted advice for killing a player is to talk to them first. My campaign is run in a Game of Thrones style setting; the good and honorable die doing what is right, and ...
27
votes
6answers
5k views

How do I convey that players can solve problems in ways that don't involve punching them?

I'm currently running an exalted 2e campaign, and the party (three solars and one lunar) got beaten horribly by a single infernal who wasn't much more powerful than any single one of the PCs. This ...
29
votes
8answers
5k views

How to deal with overly cautious players?

Recent encounters with hard to hurt opponents have left the party pretty beat up. The player is now seemingly scared by similar encounters and prefers fleeing. I'm GMing a solo game of Pathfinder for ...
16
votes
5answers
2k views

What are experience points?

Here it was suggested more than once that running away from a too dangerous encounter should add as much experience points as defeating it. This struck me as really odd and made me wonder what exactly ...
22
votes
5answers
3k views

Sometimes, losing a big conflict is the better plotline. For D&D, how do you encourage this result?

It is practically an old adage that D&D parties will never let a fight end in a loss (short of a TPK.) And that the game mechanics (especially later editions) encourage this thinking. But ...
21
votes
8answers
2k views

How can I make surrender or capture of the party a (more) acceptable outcome to the players?

In 99% of the D&D games I've played/DM'd across almost all editions (never did 1st and 4th though), the party is completely unwilling to surrender or let themselves be captured. The 1% accounts ...
28
votes
4answers
3k views

How do I telegraph that an encounter that was too difficult before is now achievable?

Assuming you used the techniques from How can DMs effectively telegraph specific dangers in D&D? and How can I make my PCs flee? to telegraph danger and the need to improve the characters skills/...
16
votes
5answers
4k views

What method can I use to design a dungeon difficult enough that the PCs can't make it through without killing them?

The first 'round' of my campaign will end with the deaths (and resurrections) of all of the players. Their role before catastrophe strikes is as teachers in a philanthropically funded school in an ...
10
votes
4answers
2k views

How can I make the players think outside their normal selves?

I have been DMing a custom campaign, and the players are starting to complain that I am being to "god like" and throwing "to powerful encounters" at them. The group is level 2's and 3's, and I have ...
11
votes
4answers
6k views

Allowing players at too low a level to enter Wave Echo Cave

I'm a new DM with new players working through the Lost Mines of Phandelver. The players were able to level up to 2 without too much trouble, but after a (too-brief) sojourn in Phandalin they decided ...

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