Questions tagged [gm-techniques]

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

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15
votes
6answers
156 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
5answers
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 ...
17
votes
3answers
323 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
91 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 ...
11
votes
3answers
457 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
7k 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
226 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 ...
36
votes
10answers
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
41 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 ...
49
votes
7answers
6k views

What to do if a player expected much more than DM gave?

I was not the DM in this session, it was my GF, but she does not speak English so I'm here to ask for all of us. We've faced an issue we can't seem to solve. It was our 2nd game, no one of us ever ...
15
votes
8answers
2k views

Can conflicting descriptions of the recent past be handled better than GM fiat?

I've been having a problem in RPGs lately where participants, myself included, have radically different ideas about what just happened on a basic factual level. For example, in a recent Pokémon RPG ...
8
votes
3answers
636 views

Group with split likes in D&D game: role playing and combat

I'm running a game for 4 people, 1 of which has played D&D before. I have only ran a first session. This session lasted for about 5 or 6 hours, and it seems that it was a lot of fun for them. I ...
16
votes
5answers
3k views

How can I handle a player who seems to utilize skills their characters don't have?

Well the tag is slightly misleading as these players do not cause problems. However I have encountered several players who exhibit skills their real life counterpart has without actually metagaming. ...
16
votes
9answers
2k views

How should I deal with a player who wants to circumvent combat when the rest of the party wants to fight?

I'm a very new DM running a homebrew DnD 5e campaign for a couple of friends. One of my players, who is by far the most experienced, plays a bard who is definitely optimised for roleplay, and that ...
24
votes
10answers
6k views

How do I deal with a player wanting to do an activity that takes weeks when the party doesn't want to?

I'm currently running a campaign with 5 players at level 3, one of which is a Wizard Dragonborn who's entire character is devoted to becoming a real dragon by the end of the campaign through some kind ...
35
votes
11answers
8k views

Consistency between “yes and” with “no, because I'm the DM”

Context: I enjoy running softer systems, with Numenera being my latest favorite. I discard rules left and right in favor of what feels right during the play. I love the "rule of cool" too, ...
37
votes
8answers
6k views

How do I present an unbeatable encounter without frustrating my players?

So, I have run Curse of Strahd sometimes, but every time I run it I find a new problem in my DM'ing haha. I will try to make it answerable without specifically CoS experience and keep it spoiler free. ...
1
vote
4answers
721 views

A player got upset because he made a wrong move and now I can't DM

Backstory I'm a newer GM (I've only run 3 3.5e games and 1 5e game over the last 20 years of playing RPGs). My group has a DM/player who is extremely experienced and knowledgeable about all things RPG....
49
votes
9answers
6k views

How can I check if a new group is OK with a plotline from an ethical standpoint without spoiling the plot?

TL;DR: I am unsure if the plotline I planned is "too dark" for a new group, and would like to discuss the level of grit with them without spoiling the plotline. How can I do this? I am ...
34
votes
9answers
5k views

My players want extra effects from their attacks. What should I do?

I'm DMing for a group of 4 players, that are currently at level 3. Two of them have played a fair bit of 5e before, and two of them are new. I'm also new to DMing, though generally familiar with the ...
6
votes
2answers
590 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 ...
5
votes
0answers
240 views

What is the best way to handle a player planning to go off piste? [closed]

At the culmination of the Critical Roll campaign, in an act that has now become canon in DnD Joe Manganiello's character Arkhan This is a great example of a player planning out and doing something ...
13
votes
6answers
353 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 ...
23
votes
2answers
404 views

How can I balance slightly erotic roleplay and story based roleplay?

I know this question makes me sound like a pervert but especially with the epidemic me and my girlfriend ended up unable to have much contact.(Not even calls since her roommates are always in the ...
9
votes
1answer
113 views

How can I enforce a low-power level in Mage: The Ascension?

I'm preparing for a Mage:The Ascension game as a storyteller. While my players and I enjoy many aspects of Mage and World of Darkness in general, we would like a much lower power level than seems ...
17
votes
3answers
2k views

How to describe that an enemy can avoid opportunity attacks?

I'm the DM of my group. When we are playing I try to describe the effects and actions of enemies and npcs without spelling out exactly what they are to keep some mystique to the actions. Like ...
2
votes
0answers
109 views

Instructions to make combat a combat encounter with a Chimera more interesting [closed]

I'm looking for tips for creatures or obstacles that could spice up an encounter. Background: The battle's purpose is to be an entrance test for the organization the campaign is centered around. The ...
3
votes
2answers
252 views

What effects can render a creature unconscious (but not also dead) to where magical healing won't awaken it?

Being a DM here. Trying to set up a plot that involves a high-rank NPC being unconscious after a big fight so that he missed some important event (and only just awoke before PC arrives). However, it ...
41
votes
7answers
8k views

How do I get a new player to stop rewriting my game to match his favorite fiction?

I have a D&D 5e game that I've been running for a year that is on pause because some players don't want to play online or go outside (stupid plague ruining my tabletop). So I offered my son and ...
21
votes
3answers
1k views

How do I run an adventure with the party in competition with an NPC party in a race for the MacGuffin?

I'm looking at the next leg of our campaign being a "race for the MacGuffin" scenario. The PCs (Rolemaster) have been chasing an evil sorceress for a while now. She is currently on her own but will ...
25
votes
8answers
7k views

How should I work with a player that doesn't take it seriously at all?

I am a GM and I really need advice regarding one of my players. I play with my group a campaign with FATE rules in a postapocalyptic dark and gritty homebrew world which is mainly horror based, ...
6
votes
1answer
167 views

Telegraphing Encounter and Obstacle Characteristics for Preparation Casters

(Note: I feel that this question is sufficiently different from this one to justify a new post, as my question is about specific information informing Wizard spell preparation) (Additional note: ...
14
votes
7answers
3k views

How to keep the players working together?

I am the GM of a group of 5 players, I know them as I usually play other games with them. Here is the composition of the group: a Barbarian (B) a Paladin who worships Tyr (P) a Rogue (R) a Cleric who ...
15
votes
4answers
641 views

How to manage rest with changing GMs and players

I have been running a west marches style D&D 5e game where the GM and the players (along with their characters) change between every session. Due to this, every session ends back in town and with ...
8
votes
1answer
634 views

How to make a simple deck of magical cards that will be drawn randomly?

Sorry if the question was asked before, but I didn't find any good answers for me. Im a new DM playing on Roll20 and I'm making a new Class that fights with magical cards, dice and coins. ...
5
votes
1answer
138 views

How can I increase the pace and intensity of a text based game as a GM?

Well long story short I have been running text based TTRPG's via Roll20 and Discord for a while now. I prefer them because they encourage roleplaying and describing your characters actions rather than ...
12
votes
5answers
2k views

Is there a formula or method of planning a flexible homebrew campaign or session?

Whenever I'm planning a session for my campaign I tend to prepare a very strict plot. It makes me feel comfortable, and though you can never feel entirely ready; it makes me feel somewhat ready to ...
15
votes
6answers
862 views

How to manage a party that runs better in smaller groups?

I've been running a pathfinder campaign for close to 4 years now. In my mind it has been quite successful and my players are generally active and engaged in the story. However, over the course of the ...
18
votes
8answers
3k views

How do I telegraph to players that the fortress is alert because they let the guards escape?

I'm DM'ing for a group of mostly first-time players, and this is my first time DM'ing. At the end of last session they approached their first big dungeon (goblin fortress), attacked some guards, and ...
2
votes
3answers
255 views

How do I deal with long travels?

My group has faced a lot of just traveling; so sometimes I just say it's been 3 days since you started traveling, because I don't really have anything big planned on that particular road. However in ...
14
votes
6answers
3k views

What goes into creating NPCs?

When I play as DM, I'm never sure how to create my NPCs. Do I have a whole page on them, with all their languages, proficiencies, weapons, ability scores and etc? Or do I keep it simple, like just ...
10
votes
2answers
203 views

How do I incorporate powerful allied NPC heroes in a fighting scene?

I understand what an powerful allied hero should do in a fight to make the fiction interesting (be powerful but not quite powerful enough to get it handled all by themself; be powerful but ignore ...
31
votes
9answers
4k views

How can I avoid static dungeons?

With many published adventures from different systems, and also with adventures I myself have created for my groups, I noticed that the dungeons in them feel static. You have 1 room with beasts that ...
2
votes
2answers
734 views

One of my players is thinking of abandoning the group and going off on her own, I don't know what to do? [closed]

So, I'm a new DM, this is my first time. One of the players in the campaign really wants to have her character abandon the group during the night or even while they're at a city; and just go off by ...
28
votes
4answers
3k views

Should the DM describe NPC spellcasting so that players can use Counterspell?

Going into battle, standing in front of a medusa and 2 nagas. I have line of sight on all 3. The DM says to make wisdom saving throw, without describing why. After failing the saving throw, I'm mind ...
6
votes
4answers
1k views

What should I do when every PC has really low charisma (and it bothers me)?

I am currently working on a PnP which is a mixture of Traveller, DnD and some of my own game mechanics. The attributes of PCs are pretty much the same as in DnD, and I also decided to have players ...
7
votes
4answers
539 views

How to handle friendly NPC treasure

I'm a relatively new DM - I ran some games back in the early 80's, basic dungeon crawls and we had a great time. Today, I'm starting with some of the intro 5e campaigns. I'd like to get an opinion ...
12
votes
1answer
1k views

Online D&D Module Purchase: Roll20, D&D Beyond or Both

I want to run Lost Mine of Phandelver online. I've looked at Roll20.net and D&D Beyond. Both sites sell the module for the same price. My understanding is that Roll20 is a "tabletop", whereas D&...

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