Questions tagged [gm-preparation]

For questions about the techniques that game masters use to prepare for a game session. (For preparing a campaign, use the [campaign-development] tag instead.)

Filter by
Sorted by
Tagged with
13 votes
6 answers
2k views

When do you consider a scene important enough to warrant a battlemap? [closed]

I was thinking about the act of looking for battlemaps, and was wondering when, in pre-planning, did you ever decide that a scene was important enough for a battlemap? Example 1: A room where you ...
user avatar
4 votes
1 answer
95 views

How do node-based scenarios interact with the GM vs. Players turn system in Mouse Guard?

With node-based scenarios, you plan multiple nodes and place three or more clues from the current node to adjacent nodes. The Alexandrian has a good series on them, that starts here. From what I ...
user avatar
48 votes
12 answers
7k views

What to do when a player roleplays an extremely persuasive argument, but flubs their Persuasion check?

I have been the DM of a wonderful group of Stack Exchange friends playing an urban fantasy campaign of D&D 5e for some time now, and a question came up in our group Discord that has got me ...
user avatar
  • 693
8 votes
2 answers
592 views

Shortcuts for GMs preparing a boss sheet

Due to time constraints, I simply do not have the time any more to read through the list of all the feats, all possible enchantments, and all the prestige classes, to then build a boss. What are the ...
user avatar
  • 1,302
2 votes
0 answers
83 views

Need clues that an NPC is hiding financial hardship. (Sci-Fi/modern) [closed]

I'm planning on running a Traveller game soon. The premise of the session is that an NPC has "stolen" his own artwork in order to get the insurance money (because it is insured for more than ...
user avatar
  • 213
12 votes
2 answers
4k views

Can I use a trap that will kill a character, if the party can either find a creative solution around it or cast Revivify?

We're running a series of one-shots with differing DMs every session, keeping the same characters and only swapping out the person who is DMing. The party is a little overpowered, and I wanted to do a ...
user avatar
  • 247
29 votes
2 answers
3k views

As a GM, how do I make sure a self-contained session (an episode or one-shot) reaches its completion within the designated session length?

I'd like to convert my campaign over to more of an episodic format -- a complete hook, story, and conclusion in each session, with each session feeding into a bigger story/arc, just like a TV series. ...
user avatar
  • 1,211
12 votes
1 answer
421 views

As a GM, how do I build a complete group of players that fit my style and preferences?

I've been GMing for some years now. During that time, I feel like I've developed somewhat of a style/preference with the kinds of games I like to run. While I feel my games can be enjoyed by a variety ...
user avatar
  • 1,211
1 vote
0 answers
53 views

When writing and preparing a campaign should I include all the side stories and all possible encounters? [duplicate]

I have worked out an entire world with a story and several side stories (they'll be optional) should I just put them in the middle of the story of where they'd be available or should I put them into a ...
user avatar
27 votes
3 answers
4k views

In the Forgotten Realms, what happens when a god dies?

By the end of next session, due to my PCs (through a mixture of burning temples, using dark magic, and killing avatars) a god in the Forgotten Realms that the PCs have a rivalry with will probably be ...
user avatar
  • 612
29 votes
1 answer
886 views

How do I accommodate a blind player at my remote table?

For remote play at our table, we use a camera stuck on a microphone-boom-arm that we can rotate by 360°. We found out that we prefer it to have our rest position at about 45°, instead of top-down ...
user avatar
  • 18.7k
5 votes
3 answers
7k views

What are the rules for mixing races?

As a DM I want to build an immersive and memorable, but also logically coherent world. I have a question about races. What are the rules for mixing races? For example, is it possible to be half elf ...
user avatar
  • 611
8 votes
1 answer
1k views

Troglodyte has two different bite stats?

I'm pretty new to this GMing thing, and am running a prebuilt Pathfinder module. I am setting up the next encounter for my party and noticed that the Troglodyte entry in the bestiary has two different ...
user avatar
  • 83
7 votes
1 answer
219 views

Gathering Intel - Strategies on balancing social time for different types of players?

I am both a DM and player for our group in two separate campaigns. Some of us are brand new and some are semi-moderately experienced. I have a noticed a pattern in both games where some players, (...
user avatar
30 votes
6 answers
7k views

I feel like my DMing skills are making the game less enjoyable

I'm DMing a party of five, a rogue, cleric, wizard, fighter, and a ranger that comes every other week. Everything goes well for the first hour and a half, but then after that I can tell my narrations ...
user avatar
6 votes
3 answers
361 views

How to scale up exploration challenges to mid and high levels?

As a DM, I feel like I have a pretty solid grasp on how to build interesting combat and social encounters for parties of any level. However, I often struggle to do the same for the exploration pillar ...
user avatar
  • 405
8 votes
4 answers
4k views

Preparing for so many quests on Dragon of Icespire peak

I am about to start Dragon of Icespire peak, and I'm a bit uncertain on how I should prepare for it: I read Slyflourish's tips for DoIP, and I'm aware of some of its pitfalls, including low leveled ...
user avatar
  • 517
7 votes
2 answers
823 views

Allowing your party to plan their own mission

Based on some feedback from my players, I'm going to allow them to plan their next mission, which will be a 'seemingly' straight forward heist affair onboard a moving vehicle (limiting their ...
user avatar
  • 185
13 votes
6 answers
432 views

Mind-maps conventions, best practices and approaches

I encountered this issue when prepping for a big arc in my campaign, let me explain: The players are entering a place where there are three main factions (A B C) and possibly minor ones (D E). The ...
user avatar
  • 1,855
17 votes
6 answers
2k views

As a DM, how can I manage a group with different amounts of free time?

I've started playing D&D 5e with a group of friends recently. I'm the DM and there are four players. One is still working and is only available during weekends, while the other three (and I) have ...
user avatar
  • 313
38 votes
2 answers
3k views

As a DM, what changes do I need to make to my preparation when transitioning to online play?

I, like many others, have been forced by the current situation to re-evaluate how my games are played. I current run/play in pathfinder 1e and D&D 5e campaigns that have been played entirely in ...
user avatar
  • 27.9k
16 votes
3 answers
3k views

How can I get rid of drama fatigue as a GM?

I GM several games each with different systems through the week. However with GM'ing so many games comes a certain amount of drama. The type of drama I would have to deal with once two-three months ...
user avatar
  • 18.5k
6 votes
0 answers
82 views

How to run a Explore and Search session/campaign? [closed]

So I am planning on running a section of my campaign where the party has to enter a mulitlayers pit, where each layer is a plane with its own eco system, monsters and effects. It's 13 layers stacked ...
user avatar
  • 61
25 votes
5 answers
3k views

How do I pick a location to play a tabletop RPG?

A group of friends and I have recently purchased a rulebook and pre-made adventure for a fun looking game. None of us have played a tabletop RPG before. We have all the material objects we need - ...
user avatar
  • 18.1k
16 votes
5 answers
5k views

Starting with D&D: Starter Set vs Dungeon Master's Guide

I have been GMing Call of Cthulhu 7th Ed. for some time and now want to try something different. I would like to go with D&D 5.0 since it will be available in my native tongue in a few weeks - the ...
user avatar
  • 409
5 votes
0 answers
218 views

How to prepare Cthulhu Confidential (Gumshoe One-2-One)?

I'm looking for some practical advice on how to prepare for a session of Cthulhu Confidential. I'm a novice GM with some dozens of sessions of other games under my belt, but this will be my first one-...
user avatar
  • 151
0 votes
1 answer
192 views

Using Causal Influence Diagrams for Plots and Quests [closed]

I'm analysing the possible outcomes of certain plots in my campaign. At some point I realised that keeping the possible causes and effects in purely text form was inconvenient. Luckily, thanks to an ...
user avatar
4 votes
2 answers
246 views

What happens after conceding a conflict, and how much should the winning party gain?

I am starting a game based somewhat off Atomic Robo the Roleplaying Game which is based off Fate Core and in this case it should not really matter. This will be my first time GMing and first time ...
user avatar
3 votes
0 answers
103 views

What would be good starting encounters in a village to start a campaign? [closed]

Following things are in the village area, a forest, lots of farms, a tavern, in the forest is an old battlefield. The PCs are green (lvl1,Novice, ...). The players like dark fantasy.
user avatar
  • 125
10 votes
2 answers
278 views

What do I do with this NPC "handout"?

I'm setting up to start running some Shadowrun Missions scenarios for my gaming group. We're starting with Season 2 (available free here), converted from SR4 to SR4A. I'm very confused by the "...
user avatar
  • 3,403
29 votes
5 answers
9k views

How can I effectively map a multi-level dungeon?

My players are getting awfully close to entering a multi-story pagoda dungeon that exists in my game. I think it'll be a fun adventure, but I find that I am worried about trying to map it all out for ...
user avatar
  • 423
0 votes
2 answers
349 views

Assign mini 'secret' quest to one of the party members? [closed]

I'm planning a Dungeons and Dragons campaign set in a province undergoing a separatist insurrection. I want the theme/shtick of the campaign to be the idea of choices and unintended consequences. The ...
user avatar
9 votes
1 answer
509 views

How can I kill a tough druid NPC off-scene for the sake of the plot? [closed]

In a campaign I made myself, there is an 8th-level Druid NPC (good guy) that have an item that I want the bad guys to steal (killing him in the way, for dramatization). My main concern is that he ...
user avatar
23 votes
5 answers
5k views

How can I deliver in-universe written lore to players without it being dry exposition?

I DM for a D&D (5e) group in a custom campaign setting which I worldbuild as we go. One of my players is very much interested in the history and lore of the world and often tries to find out bits ...
user avatar
18 votes
2 answers
6k views

How can I prepare for DMing the Curse of Strahd adventure effectively?

Before I move into the question there are no spoilers here. I am about to embark on a lengthy D&D adventure with some new players that will start with the Lost Mine of Phandelver (LMoP) and then ...
user avatar
  • 4,232
2 votes
0 answers
248 views

Room and floor numbering conventions for large to midsized dungeons: most popular, advantages and disadvantages? [closed]

Introduction I have been creating some multi-floor dungeons. It took awhile, but with time I found software, a notation format, and fidelity level that suited my needs. The one thing I'm still not ...
user avatar
28 votes
2 answers
3k views

How to GM as a Solar NPC who has high Intelligence and Wisdom scores?

I'm considering using a Solar (INT 25, WIS 25) as a semi-benevolent (but also kind of annoying) come-and-go guide of sorts to 3 high-level PC's in an upcoming campaign. While I would like to imagine ...
user avatar
  • 8,283
21 votes
3 answers
2k views

How do I reduce plot stalling in a collaborative roleplaying game?

My first attempt at running a session of Storybrewers' game Good Society completely stalled out in terms of plot. Good Society is a collaborative storytelling-style game. The facilitator's role is ...
user avatar
  • 221
1 vote
1 answer
458 views

Can a Gargantuan Object that is divided into parts be Animated as distinct parts?

I'm GMing a group of players for the second time. Most of them were first time players on the first go, and are now feeling more confident in their D&D skills. We've decided as a group to keep ...
user avatar
  • 8,283
18 votes
4 answers
5k views

As a DM, how far should I prepare ahead in a premade campaign?

As a first time DM I found a group to play Storm King's Thunder. I have been reading the first part of the story to prepare. So far I have read up to level 5 till after the flying with the giant to ...
user avatar
  • 4,660
4 votes
1 answer
205 views

Can I create a tree structure to my The One Ring games to help guide the player?

I am trying to be a Loremaster (LM) for a session of The One Ring. Right now the only player is my wife, who loves LOTR series. I am trying to create a campaign using the Marsh Bell ready-to-play ...
user avatar
  • 247
32 votes
10 answers
7k views

How can I utilize overly-violent PCs for character development / progressing the story?

I'm fairly new to D&D and especially DMing. I've started a new campaign with 2-3 people and more may be joining soon, which might make this question entirely useless to ask if the new players ...
user avatar
  • 423
4 votes
3 answers
317 views

What are the potential drawbacks of this in-fiction solution for a varying player group?

This question is a child of Potential problems running a large and varying group in DW, I give full background there, but the important part is that I expect to be GMing a Dungeon World campaign which ...
user avatar
3 votes
0 answers
515 views

Is this possibly deadly encounter fair to run? [closed]

The Situation One of my players angered a very dangerous guild of assassins, by killing one of their members, that of course got him a nice bounty for his head. In a attempt to deceive the guild, ...
user avatar
5 votes
4 answers
448 views

Simulating a "Living" world [closed]

One of the classic things a GM wants to do is have his game world react convincingly to the actions of his players, as it adds a sense of consequence and verisimilitude to the world. If, for example, ...
user avatar
  • 2,911
10 votes
1 answer
682 views

What pacing problems for the DM does Murder in Baldur's Gate pose when running the adventure?

This question is directed at DM/GMs who have run the adventure Murder in Baldur's Gate. I am prepping to run this adventure, and it seems that this module's ten phase / three faction plot structure ...
user avatar
15 votes
3 answers
3k views

How can I quickly adjust encounters for variable party sizes?

Problem I'm running a campaign with 6 players, but they can't always show up1. That, by itself, would not be a problem, if I knew how many would come with enough time to prepare for it. The thing is: ...
user avatar
  • 35.9k
18 votes
4 answers
2k views

How to prepare to DM sessions when we intend to play daily for a whole week?

I will be DMing Storm King's Thunder in about two months. Me being a first-time DM and my players only having played a year ago or never before. The special thing is that we will be in a flat for a ...
user avatar
  • 721
3 votes
1 answer
2k views

Increasing CR for more players

I am currently running a short Pathfinder published adventure (We Be Goblins Too!) as an interlude between campaigns. For reasons not relevant to this question, I have 7-8 player coming each week. ...
user avatar
  • 2,683
7 votes
1 answer
2k views

How to prepare good session break points in LMoP?

Context I'm starting a new D&D5e table with 6 players. As the sessions will be played during the week, mostly at night, and most of us need to be up by the morning the next day, our time is hard-...
user avatar
  • 35.9k