Questions tagged [gm-techniques]

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

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9
votes
1answer
627 views

Does the ability check DC of Dispel Magic scale with the slot level or the original level of the spell cast?

We just played our weekly game and one of our PCs cast dispel magic and we got confused with the wording of the DC to dispel. Is the rise in DC based on the spell slot level used or the normal level ...
3
votes
0answers
44 views

How should I set up and execute air battles in my session to avoid easy encounters? [duplicate]

I'm running the Storm King's Thunder campaign in dnd 5e, and we are at the portion where the PCs get an airship to travel around in. There are approximately 5-6 lvl 7 PCs, and they have 3 or 4 hard ...
15
votes
3answers
1k views

How should I set up and execute air battles in my session to avoid easy encounters?

I'm running the Storm King's Thunder campaign, and we are at the portion where the PCs get an airship to travel around in, the airship is about 1000ft in the air. There are approximately 5-6 lvl 7 PCs,...
2
votes
1answer
163 views

How should I enforce my players to play the alignment they get? [duplicate]

So I started a new campaign, where my players may go to other planes, which are described in the DMG. There are several planes, which has a nice side effect, which will change the PCs alignment. My ...
22
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10answers
4k views

How to reveal a time limit without videogaming it?

I am under the impression (so correct me if I'm wrong) that having a close time limit on objectives could be fun if there is not an abuse of the game mechanic. So one hand, I want my players in a game ...
30
votes
10answers
7k views

Is it ok to lie to players rolling an insight?

I've just started DMing (D&D-5e). I have a question about the Insight mechanic. I've formulated this problem using D&D but the system is otherwise irrelevant (I'm talking about every ...
6
votes
0answers
166 views

How do I ditch combat mechanics? [closed]

How can I run combat encounters with the least amount of combat mechanics, while still keeping my players engaged? I'm very intentional with my GM-ing choices, and combat-mechanics as an extended ...
6
votes
0answers
52 views

How can I narrate combat without it getting repetitive? [duplicate]

Although I mostly run D&D games I like to try and distract players from numbers as much as possible and keep the game narrative flowing at a smooth pace. For the most part, this is fine: lots of ...
0
votes
0answers
24 views

Trying to ask the moderator a question but don't have 20 rep to ping in general Chat. How do I PM the moderator? [migrated]

Last post was deemed an advertisement by moderator. Not trying to place ads but see if anyone wants to play a new game we have. How can you do that without mentioning the name of the game? It is ...
13
votes
7answers
5k views

How to deal with player who won't roleplay, insists character-friction is bad, and doesn't take the game seriously?

I've browsed most of problem-players and still felt we needed more info, or more allegorical advice from experienced gamers but am now seeing stuff in gm-techniques I had missed that is somewhat ...
7
votes
1answer
512 views

When a spell that clouds the target's judgement is cast on a player character, how can I make sure they act accordingly?

If an NPC spellcaster, or any other magic source, magically clouds the judgement of a PC, how can I make sure the character acts according to the spell's nature? Is there anyway to do this without ...
5
votes
2answers
239 views

How accepted is it for GMs to “lie”? [closed]

Many GMs seem to be averse to declaratively stating any categorical untruth about the gameworld. If something that happens in a scene is not what it seems, they describe the event in terms of what the ...
5
votes
2answers
796 views

How do I rule on spells without casters and their interaction with things like Counterspell?

The players in my Curse of Strahd game have reached the Amber Temple. While there, they recently breached a certain door, for which the module indicates One of the PC's is a wizard, and he had a ...
25
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7answers
6k views

Help! My PCs polymorphed my boss enemy! What do I do?

Our Druid has recently gotten access to the polymorph spell and has started polymorphing the opponents I so lovingly crafted for our (well, mostly my) enjoyment. (So far, he has been turning them into ...
-7
votes
2answers
225 views

In this joke, what should the Dwarf have said? [closed]

Link to joke Context: the party is traversing a mountain pass in a blizzard a la Lord of the Rings scene. DM has everyone roll the dice to see if they don’t fall down the cliff, and dwarf warrior in ...
53
votes
5answers
5k views

How do I prevent myself from freezing up during a game I'm DMing?

I'm a new DM/player with only a few weeks of experience in playing the game at university. My flatmates and I decided that we should all have a D&D game after I explained the concept to them. They ...
29
votes
12answers
5k views

How to avoid killing player characters due to a single (un)lucky roll?

Especially at low levels, Pathfinder characters can usually be killed easily by a single enemy attack, provided the dice fall in said enemy's favor. An example: The PC has a Constitution score of 10 (...
31
votes
4answers
5k views

How to alleviate the tedium of PC death at higher levels?

In our high-level Pathfinder game, player characters die relatively often, whether to save-or-die or just to high damage. When a PC dies, then players either defeat the enemy or escape, and unless the ...
1
vote
3answers
139 views

Should players see maps of locations they are in? [closed]

I am currently DM'ing Storm King's Thunder. The book contains many maps, and each of them has a DM version and a player version. I am wondering if other DMs/GMs show their players these maps. For ...
7
votes
1answer
171 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, (...
12
votes
6answers
3k views

How can I prepare my party to reasonably be able to bring down a prismatic wall?

Background In my campaign I have a villain who uses misdirection and avoidance as their main combat methods. They won't fight directly, but they use summoned creatures, minion allies and illusions to ...
10
votes
2answers
320 views

Paranoia Play-by-Post GMing Techniques

I am planning on running a play-by-post (pbp) Paranoia Troubleshooters game. Due to the nature of a pbp, we may lose out on the dramatic tension of a proper Paranoia game. What are ways to increase ...
39
votes
7answers
9k views

How do I explain to an AD&D player that items that increase Armor Class in D&D 5e are overpowered?

Context: I have recently started a campaign with a new player that comes from an AD&D background. He wishes to convert and import his character to the campaign. We did this once, and I helped him ...
38
votes
7answers
7k views

I gave a too powerful magic item at too low level for a bad reason, what to do?

When a paladin in the game I run went into the local store ran by an ex adventurer, he went to the back to see the fancy swords, and asked if any looked like his holy symbol. The god he follows is ...
4
votes
1answer
281 views

Campaign in already existing world and story - fear of NPC domination

I am attempting to create a campaign utilizing a setting and lore from an already established series, World of Warcraft, but I fear my players may feel their story and characters overshadowed by this ...
6
votes
1answer
94 views

How should players purchase supernatural backgrounds when using a Prelude?

Hunter: The Reckoning has a concept of of a "prelude". A prelude is essentially a one-shot or one-session adventure which tells the story of how a normal, mundane human became called to the ...
36
votes
14answers
8k views

My players have a habit of always torturing enemies they capture for information, how can I make our adventure less macabre? [closed]

So I'm running the lost mines of Phandelver as a new DM and we're about 5 sessions in. I've noticed a pattern that seems to repeat itself: the players defeat and capture an evil NPC character that ...
28
votes
6answers
6k 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 ...
1
vote
0answers
163 views

The road not taken, or should a GM allow replays? [closed]

Some people say adventures are supposed to be unique experiences that cannot be recreated. What if the player wants to replay the same thing from the beginning, but try a different fork in the road? ...
3
votes
3answers
239 views

Total catastrophic failure, or should a GM ever allow re-rolls and do-overs? [closed]

It's a critical moment in the game at the end of a marathon session, everyone is on the edge of their seats, and the player rolls... a 1. Evil bad guy wins, party dies, game over. As a GM, what should ...
15
votes
2answers
3k views

If an NPC and a PC roll identical initiative who goes first?

Normally, when 2 players roll identical initiative in combat, they decide between themselves the order they do things in and then stick to that on subsequent rounds. How should the DM handle it if the ...
6
votes
4answers
416 views

I'm not good at DMing, but I don't think they really care… do I quit? [closed]

So I've been doing some thinking and essentially realized I'm a garbage DM. I am literally the embodiment of Railroading and unwillingness to listen to their wishes. I love my lore way too much and ...
1
vote
1answer
195 views

The BBEG wants to delay the party in the final battle… (spells)

I have thought of a few methods they might accomplish this. The easiest, mechanically, is to give him spells to accomplish this. Some details about the campaign/fight (major spoilers for Paizo's Ruins ...
9
votes
8answers
3k views

The BBEG wants to delay the party in the final battle… (narrative delay?)

I have thought of a few methods they might accomplish this. In this question, I am wondering about a potentially more controversial option. I am considering having them attempt to monologue or engage ...
3
votes
1answer
105 views

NPC Gear Advice

I'm GMing a 1st Edition Pathfinder campaign after a long hiatus from GMing and starting up NPCs has never been a strong suit of mine - typically I try an officially made, appropriate statblock for the ...
17
votes
5answers
5k views

How can a BBEG deal with a Wall of Force and Sickening Radiance spell combo without trivializing it?

This question has already been asked in general form here, but was closed as too broad: "How to deal with broken combos?". I'm going to make an effort to make the scenario I'm asking about ...
4
votes
2answers
204 views

DC of Knowledge arcana/religion for information about spell mechanics

What's the DC on knowledge arcana/religion checks to know the mechanics of a higher level spell? In my current campaign, the players try to find a scroll of true resurrection to revive a dead party ...
29
votes
8answers
4k views

Can a persuasion roll avoid battling the BBEG?

So yesterday I was DM’ing our weekly D&D 5e session. For practical reasons it was a one-shot. At some point, one of my players, a Lvl 10 Bard, ends up in the BBEG’s lair alone (an adult red dragon,...
24
votes
8answers
6k views

How to deal with low agency players?

I have a group of four players who meet in-person and are very intent on playing "Dungeons & Dragons" specifically, but suffer from astoundingly low agency. In discussion, the group very ...
49
votes
9answers
5k views

How do I handle when my players overestimate the importance of an encounter/a location?

TL;DR: How can I (and should I) make the players' efforts worth their while when they overestimate the importance of an encounter or a location? I am running a homebrew DnD 5e adventure where the ...
20
votes
6answers
2k views

How to provide knowledge to players?

I've read a lot of articles on player vs. character knowledge, where the crux of the article is always that players know more than their characters, and metagaming is an issue. For good or for bad, I ...
18
votes
3answers
711 views

How to make Arcane Eye and our game style fit better together?

Our DM works fairly improvisationally, which results in a playstyle that is fluid and responsive to our actions. We have relatively short sessions, so we like to keep the game moving. There is no ...
14
votes
5answers
3k views

GMing with an overtuned skill monkey

I have a player in one of my games, who has managed to create a build that can roll a minimum of 41 by level 7 across a large plethora of skills (mostly excluding dex/str based skills). They use these ...
5
votes
2answers
260 views

What can remove the bane effects of Elder Runes in Dungeon of the Mad Mage?

In the campaign Dungeon of the Mad Mage there are bane effects on Elder Runes that are cast like symbol. One of the runes mentions specifically that it can be dispelled by remove curse or greater ...
10
votes
3answers
702 views

I have a player who will not stop cheating [closed]

As the title says, I have one particular player that has a digital file version of Curse of Strahd and is hellbent on cheating. They have done just about everything from faking dice rolls, using ...
33
votes
15answers
8k views

How can I make players still feel rewarded after looting a dragon hoard?

Disclaimer: This question is tagged dnd-5e, since consideration of the value of money or the magic item system might be relevant. I do, however, doubt that an answer based primarily on these would ...
8
votes
2answers
247 views

How do I model time passing differently for different characters?

I am the DM in this situation and a character has wandered into a small area which links to another plane. In this plane time passes differently, so 1 minute in that plane would be 1 hour in the real ...
10
votes
5answers
2k views

How do I DM for this group when we can't handle a large group properly, but also can't count on any smaller group all attending?

I just concluded an online game with my players. (We played 5E, but I want to move to Dungeon World.) I started with four players, and that has since grown to around ten people wanting to play, which ...
39
votes
12answers
6k views

How can I make crime meaningful for rich players?

For the D&D 5e campaign I'm DMing, the party has been caught for a murder of a government official and put on trial. Out of character, a player pointed out that his character can just pay for a ...
2
votes
0answers
43 views

How should XP be awarded when facing enemies with class levels? [duplicate]

A lot of games I've been in have had either enemies with player levels or straight up PvP. How should XP be awarded when facing enemies like that? Should you attempt to calculate the CR of the enemies ...

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