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Questions tagged [gm-techniques]

For questions about the practical arts and methods applied to gamemastering (GMing).

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6 votes
2 answers
222 views

Preparing a murder mystery for player consumption

At this stage in my homebrew sandbox game, the PCs are Lv14, Rogue, Cleric, Wizard and Fighter. They are also filthy rich by the usual standards of D&D, having been sailing around the world in a ...
Monty Wild's user avatar
  • 2,594
2 votes
0 answers
82 views

How do you all make travel interesting for players? [duplicate]

I'm curious on how you all make travel more interesting for your players. I want to honor the geography of the world (aka you don't just teleport anywhere) and I've tried some things that have been ok,...
J T's user avatar
  • 141
12 votes
6 answers
7k views

As a DM, what should I do if a person decides to play a rogue? [closed]

I am planning to start a D&D group next year and last year I got a teacher who would do it. This would be the first time, and I'll most likely have to be the DM. @enkryptor (at Intelligence vs ...
Elvina Moonlight's user avatar
12 votes
6 answers
2k views

How to make D&D easier for kids?

I have a 12-year-old brother who I noticed wanting to play RPG with his friends. I told him I would be okay to be the master and help them create the characters. I asked them for the weapon they ...
HQSantos's user avatar
  • 231
6 votes
5 answers
529 views

How to properly foreshadow NPCs

I am new to DMing. I have done two sessions as of now (two one-shots). The world is a homebrew of mine. The idea is to make a one-shot and see if the players (3 friends) are interested in it, and ...
Benjamin Bernigaud's user avatar
7 votes
3 answers
533 views

Conjure Animals Control Range

I've got a question on the Conjure Animals spell. I was DM'ing a game, and a player used it. They summoned their creatures within 60' of themselves, and then directed them to attack the bad guys. The ...
Thystra's user avatar
  • 73
25 votes
11 answers
10k views

My players think they found a loophole that gives them infinite poison and XP. How can I add the proper challenges to slow them down?

(I'm the game master.) The party (lvl. 4) reached a Kobold village. It has several dozen Kobolds, many of them pretty powerful. The players aren't supposed to kill everyone in it, but to solve the ...
J Eti's user avatar
  • 369
8 votes
3 answers
514 views

How to remind myself of important matters in the heat of running the game?

I want to improve my Game Master skills - so I analyze what went well during session, synthesize findings, formulate advice and even put reminders on my GM screen. Then when doing next session review ...
AGrzes's user avatar
  • 1,305
11 votes
4 answers
2k views

How do you keep the horror spooky when your players are a bunch of goofballs?

I've been out of the Call of Cthulhu game for a while, because when I run games, my players are just constantly cracking jokes and derailing the game with references and wisecracks. We have fun, of ...
order's user avatar
  • 4,413
16 votes
4 answers
2k views

How do I manage the Deck of Many Things?

I'm considering adding a Deck of Many Things to my campaign. How would I balance this? Is there a way to stop it from upending my entire campaign? How do I keep the story on track? How do I manage the ...
Daemons's user avatar
  • 271
6 votes
6 answers
2k views

How to provide opportunities for role playing in a single player campaign focused on travelling and wilderness survival?

I am preparing to run a single person campaign for a friend and I'm not quite sure how to provide them enough roleplaying opportunities, especially since a big part of the campaign will involve ...
AnnaAG's user avatar
  • 11.3k
8 votes
7 answers
3k views

How to introduce a dangerous looking character to the rest of the party?

So, I am running a DnD campaign, and we have another player joining. Not really in the middle of the campaign, but the party already played a few sessions without him. Now the problem is, that the new ...
TymC 's user avatar
  • 89
2 votes
0 answers
140 views

How to make a session that doesn't have combat, NPC's or dialog? [closed]

My group will be heading into a strange, alien wilderness that will have no NPC's, no dialog and no combat. Without the back and forth or dialogue, meeting new characters, etc. I'm having trouble ...
DeeCeptor's user avatar
  • 129
8 votes
3 answers
825 views

How do you physically handle aspects at a table to avoid slowing down play?

When running FATE at a physical table, I've run into the following problems: PC aspects are on the players' character sheets, and therefore not visible to me (the GM) at a glance, so I don't remember ...
J E K's user avatar
  • 365
15 votes
4 answers
2k views

How can I help my players resume mid-battle with the same energy?

We had an unexpected interruption mid-battle. I did a quick scramble to save our place, then I put everything away. It will be days until we can pick up again. Usually, battles start in a way that ...
Raeyin's user avatar
  • 163
12 votes
2 answers
429 views

How to help engage an ADHD player over Zoom

My wife and I have always played D&D together. It’s my first time DMing a large group of 6, her included. We have newer players who struggle to engage, and tons of new player questions. I’ve seen ...
Bennyboii493's user avatar
8 votes
3 answers
622 views

How to handle a plot twist for a character arc?

One of the characters of our roleplay is an elf with amnesia. His background is that he lost his memory and is looking for someone but doesn't remember who he was. I asked the player for more details ...
Alexis Mercado's user avatar
11 votes
3 answers
858 views

How to model collateral damage in Cortex Prime

I'm running a superhero campaign in Cortex Prime. During a bank robbery scenario, one of my players decided to get into the bank by shattering the front window. In addition to looking cool, he hoped ...
DLosc's user avatar
  • 293
8 votes
3 answers
1k views

How can I make online combat more interesting?

I'm a fairly new GM, this coming Saturday is going to be about my 4th session, I think, and I'm playing a 5e reskin of a video game with a good group online via Discord and the Owlbear Rodeo VTT. So ...
Daniel's user avatar
  • 89
28 votes
4 answers
12k views

As a DM, how can I use Power Word: Kill without ruining my players' fun?

I'm currently designing an encounter with a lich for my 13th-level party. They've cruised through more level-appropriate combat encounters, and they like to come up with creative ways around difficult ...
Tack's user avatar
  • 6,586
19 votes
9 answers
4k views

How to make "becoming lost" interesting?

Multiple wilderness adventures, ranging from the venerable B2 - Keep on the Borderlands to the more contemporary Tomb of Annihilation use rules for getting lost, as does the DMG under "Becoming ...
Nobody the Hobgoblin's user avatar
21 votes
7 answers
3k views

Keeping the story moving after failed interrogation rolls

When GMing D&D 5e (and similar games), I occasionally run into a situation like this: The party has captured a member of a hostile scouting party. They have them cornered, and want to get some ...
Kaia's user avatar
  • 753
17 votes
8 answers
5k views

Player has a great character Idea, But it seems difficult to balance

I have recently started a small scenario with a couple friends which have all come up with interesting character ideas. But one player in particular has something really... exotic. Basically he plays ...
Feideus's user avatar
  • 181
13 votes
3 answers
3k views

Do players/characters know when a monster uses its Legendary Resistance?

Assuming that players are causing a monster with the Legendary Resistance ability to make enough saving throws that it will use them all up, should the players be aware when that point has come? (As a ...
Kerrick's user avatar
  • 4,054
4 votes
3 answers
1k views

How to make physical character's combat become more tactical and interesting?

My situation: The fighter-type PCs (fighter, ranger, monk) feels the combats are boring for them. They have nothing to do rather than attack. Their maneuvers (trip, disarm, etc.) usually fail because ...
Terry Windwalker's user avatar
3 votes
2 answers
281 views

Gracefully roleplaying the end of the world without implying mass extinction [closed]

I am currently running a campaign that I have set in a world that is fading slowly. The idea is that, while the players cannot stop the end of the world (it's kinda similar to the heat death of the ...
Moonbird's user avatar
2 votes
5 answers
784 views

How do I run stealth and perception? Passive perception vs active perception

I'm a new dm and I want to introduce some ambush style encounters in my game. I told my players recently that I will not ask them if they want to be steathly when moving around a dungeon because I ...
Nightwing94's user avatar
10 votes
4 answers
1k views

How can we streamline a game with seven players in DnD 5e?

The question is: how do I balance gameplay when it comes to initiative? The game is in person, every other week or so. My party is comprised of 7 players, two of whom are noobs. I, myself, and also ...
DunMas101's user avatar
  • 109
2 votes
3 answers
234 views

Magic Items and their allocation [closed]

I have a predicament I've come across in a campaign I'm running. Here it is. In a past session my DM (a friend of mine) challenged me to complete the entire trial with strict restrictions. The ...
Mox's user avatar
  • 37
6 votes
2 answers
717 views

How should I as a game master motivate my players to pursue their mysteries?

I recently started running the Nights of Payne Town campaign with my TTRPG group. We play with custom-created characters, not pre-builds. All of us are long-time TTRPG players but are completely new ...
Deeps's user avatar
  • 5,917
25 votes
4 answers
5k views

How do you manage the impact of deep immersion in RPGs on players' real-life?

In a recent fantasy campaign, one of my players had trouble separating from their character after very immersive session. When her character's mentor figure died protecting the party she seemed ...
Uk rain troll's user avatar
12 votes
3 answers
1k views

How to Encourage Players to Engage in Diplomacy and Negotiations Instead of Resorting to Combat?

I've noticed that my players tend to lean heavily into combat as their go-to solution for just about every problem. Now, don't get me wrong, I love a good battle as much as the next person, but I've ...
Uk rain troll's user avatar
16 votes
3 answers
3k views

In the final act, how to drop clues without causing players to feel "cheated" they didn't find them sooner?

I'm a bit of an "on the fly" GM: in terms of writing a story, I prefer to sketch out the skeleton, and add flesh as the players move along the limbs. The quest to find the Plot Device, at ...
order's user avatar
  • 4,413
17 votes
9 answers
5k views

Does the DM need to declare a Natural 20?

I see a lot of D&D content out there and when combat starts eventually someone gets a roll of 20, a so-called Natural 20, shouts out "Nat 20" and everyone cheers. The DM then does some ...
ItsScottish's user avatar
  • 1,411
13 votes
13 answers
6k views

How to take large amounts of money away from the party without causing player resentment?

So, basically, last session, the person the players were escorting went back to his hometown, where he owes a massive debt to the residents. The residents of the town threatened to repossess his boat ...
JoJo Yawson's user avatar
13 votes
3 answers
2k views

How to describe a scene that a small creature chop a large creature's head off?

So let's assume a halfling (small size) wielding a Vorpal dagger attacking a storm giant (huge size), and the Vorpal ability gets triggered. As a DM, how should I describe this scene? Would the dagger ...
Terry Windwalker's user avatar
13 votes
1 answer
720 views

How to role-play monsters with Diplomacy ranks?

I see a lot of monsters have diplomacy ranks on their sheet, and some of them even have a pretty high rank of it. I assume that means those monsters should be able to (and would likely tend to) use ...
Terry Windwalker's user avatar
13 votes
5 answers
3k views

Pulp campaign - end game?

I've seen "pulp" used more and more to describe the opposite of the cataclysmic trope whereby a campaign has arch-villains threatening to destroy the world. It's not hard to see what a lot ...
Arash Howaida's user avatar
17 votes
7 answers
3k views

How to handle it if one player wants to take a risky course of action that nobody else wants?

Here is a situation that happened in a game that I was DMing: The PCs had the option to ambush another group of adventurers, but this was highly risky: the PCs would be in trouble if caught. I ...
Alex319's user avatar
  • 3,268
31 votes
5 answers
5k views

When should I tell my players that they have forgotten something?

My players have been operating out of a certain small town for my whole campaign. They've adventured around the area nearby quite a bit already (just finished Session 23). Recently, my intended ...
Izzy's user avatar
  • 1,730
20 votes
9 answers
3k views

How do I encourage players to use items and strategy in combat, instead of just standing there and saying "I attack"?

Scenario: I am a first time DM, playing with two of my best friends, who are first time players. One of them plays a Dwarf Cleric, the other one a Wood Elf Fighter. We played "Dragons of ...
fraenzz's user avatar
  • 408
16 votes
6 answers
5k views

How do I include players too scared to take action?

I have started running Keys from the Golden Vault with my group. We just finished the first heist, the Murkmire Stone, which we ran at level 1. This caused one of the players to take (relatively) ...
Shadomew's user avatar
  • 1,606
2 votes
0 answers
59 views

I'm a rookie GM with rookie players using a published campaign. How do I let players run the campaign after narratives without stepping in? [duplicate]

The title mainly explains my situation. I'm using The Dragon of Icespire Peak campaign from the D&D Essentials Kit. I want to run as the GM, but am unsure of what to do if players don't know what ...
TieflingDragon84's user avatar
6 votes
4 answers
4k views

How do I run a campaign that only goes to 6th level, and want to go to 20th level?

I want to be the DM of a published adventure: The Dragon of Icespire Peak, but am unsure of how to run it beyond 6th level. It offers suggestions to run beyond 6th level that I just don't understand. ...
TieflingDragon84's user avatar
2 votes
0 answers
566 views

I want to pivot our campaign to Curse of Strahd, but the party is level 13. What should I do? [closed]

I'm a newbie DM running a remix of Waterdeep: Dragon Heist. Our version of this adventure is less about speedy chases and clock ticking, but more about politics, alliances, mystery and deception. We'...
Lisa's user avatar
  • 1,929
17 votes
6 answers
2k views

Is it possible to run a combat tournament without players feeling left out?

One classic trope of shonen anime is the tournament arc. Characters get to show off their individual skills and personalities, you get the opportunity to introduce and spotlight lots of interesting ...
Caleb Compton's user avatar
5 votes
0 answers
111 views

How to start Role Playing as a complete group of beginners? [closed]

As the title says, we are a group of 4 complete beginners in Role Playing but we are very determined to start by one or two sessions. We thought of using the D&D system, with everyone preparing ...
Guigzer's user avatar
  • 59
13 votes
7 answers
3k views

How to arbitrate climactic moments in which characters might achieve something extraordinary?

A common plot point throughout the kinds of fantasy literature that inspire D&D settings can be described as a central character growing beyond themselves, reaching a previously unknown peak of ...
nben's user avatar
  • 2,894
20 votes
3 answers
2k views

How should I handle an unidentified deck of many things?

I know some people hate and fear the deck of many things, but as a GM running a high-lethality sandbox campaign, there's many things I like about it - and I'd like to deploy one for my players to find....
GMJoe's user avatar
  • 22.4k
19 votes
4 answers
3k views

How to make the exploration loop more interesting (exploring rooms etc.)?

Situation One issue that I have experienced very often in the past, both as a player and a DM, with beginners and experienced people, is this phenomenon: The party enters a dungeon or building, and ...
AnoE's user avatar
  • 921

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