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The practical arts and methods applied to gamemastering.

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0answers
43 views

What can PCs do with extra money? [duplicate]

More specifically, are there official ways my PCs can “upgrade” their character by spending their gold once they’ve purchased all the basics? I’m composing a campaign in which I want to provide my ...
5
votes
2answers
178 views

How can I best narrate the position of an unhidden invisible skeleton?

While fighting through a wizard's tower, the party breaks into an unexplored storeroom to take cover from enemies down the corridor outside the room. Unbeknownst to them, there is an invisible ...
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0answers
230 views

How do I recover from an awful DMing session? [on hold]

Protip to anybody out there. If you're running on little to no sleep and an extremely high fever, don't try to run your game. I'm running an online campaign on Roll20, and I - in my deluded, slightly ...
20
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9answers
3k views

How to handle dungeons involving only one party member?

In part of a campaign I'm creating, I'm considering creating a challenge that only involves one party member at a time. I have in mind a colosseum-esque challenge in which party members have the ...
10
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1answer
388 views

Is the Pathfinder Core Rulebook a good standard to use for what is balanced within its system?

I'm asking about the practice of using the book as a measuring rod to decide if other official content in the system is balanced in comparison.
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votes
5answers
465 views

What rules are there for deciding what specific items to award when the loot table is unclear?

I'm currently creating my first completely homebrew campaign and I'm planning on using the the DMG treasure tables (p.136 - 149) to generate treasure in my campaign. I want the world to feel organic ...
3
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4answers
2k views

How to deal with a player that ignores the DM [on hold]

I am running a campaign during which all the gods left for various reasons. Because of this, I changed up the Paladin and Cleric classes, by providing an alternate source of power for paladins which ...
17
votes
7answers
4k 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 ...
4
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1answer
338 views

Group gives all rewards to one member instead of distributing them [closed]

We're playing D&D 5E. I've got a good party of 4 players. They've completed 4 mini-quests and made significance progress on the first stage of the main campaign. After each mini-quest, I've ...
5
votes
3answers
279 views

Is it best practice to reveal monster information about resistances/vulnerabilities/immunities to the players?

I was recently running a game with my players, whose characters were in combat with a Scarecrow. According to the Monster Manual, Scarecrows have immunity to poison damage, but my players weren't ...
32
votes
3answers
4k views

As a DM, do I have to declare the actions that NPCs ready?

A question arose when I was reading the PHB's section about "Actions in Combat: Ready" that reads: Sometimes you want to get the jump on a foe or wait for a particular circumstance before you act. ...
37
votes
6answers
8k views

Players constantly capture enemies and question them, how to deal with it?

I'm running a campaign for five sixth level players and the bard has hypnotic pattern. Whenever the party runs into any fights with enemies who can speak, they always find some way of making an enemy ...
76
votes
16answers
16k views

How do I communicate to my players that a door is, for the time being, absolutely locked to them?

I have a small dungeon in my campaign, a temple, that is a significant location for the broader story of my world. The players might very well enter this temple pretty early on in their adventuring. ...
33
votes
8answers
3k views

Is it wrong to use monsters other than how they appear in the Monster Manual?

A one-shot I joined last week was tasked with fighting a bunch of tribal orcs. At one point the orcs drew longbows (with what was at least a +6 to hit as the DM was asking if 25 AC hits). At this, ...
31
votes
6answers
4k views

Does having a recurring NPC ally incur the same risks as having a GMPC?

I'm brand new to table-top RPGs and I am my group's DM (D&D 5e). I've been brainstorming ideas to work into our next campaign after LMoP, and I'm liking the idea of recurrent NPCs who are on their ...
16
votes
6answers
3k views

How can I plausibly let my Runners escape an Ares Corporation facility?

I am gamemastering a Shadowrun 4 adventure (fan-made) and have maneuvered myself into a situation that I don't know how to get out of. I do not have much experience as a GM, only as a player, and I am ...
7
votes
3answers
501 views

By asking my players to match my roll, am I making their checks harder?

Sometimes I ask my players to make a roll to see if something random happens (winning a game of chance, for instance, or a wilderness encounter). These rolls won't involve adding any modifiers, they'...
17
votes
2answers
753 views

How can I keep the players tense after combat has ended and there is no longer an obvious need for initiative?

I'm currently running Curse of Strahd and due to the "horror" nature of the setting, I'd love for there to be after battle tension especially when it comes to undead and such. For example, maybe he ...
18
votes
4answers
2k views

How to make running away interesting/engaging?

In many role-playing games, and especially Pathfinder, combat is interesting and engaging because (among other things) players have a lot of options to choose from. When it comes to other aspects of ...
5
votes
2answers
330 views

How could Lost Mines of Phandelver be adjusted/altered to run as a one-shot?

I bought the DnD starter set that includes the adventure Lost Mines of Phandelver, intending to play it with some friends. While the opportunity never came up, the idea of running it as a much shorter ...
6
votes
2answers
292 views

Stopping Each Player From Rolling Every Check? [duplicate]

This is a problem that many a DM has faced, but only one I've run aground of recently. I'm running a campaign with a group of fairly new gamers, and as such they are playing to win. And I mean win at ...
19
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4answers
5k views

What to do between battles while traveling for 1 week with no gold?

I am writing a campaign in which the party will likely be traveling through a savanna over a distance that will take them a week. The characters in the party are each at level 1, and the only ...
5
votes
1answer
201 views

Should a DM disclose Armor Class or other NPC/monster information during encounters? [closed]

A neighbor and I are trying to get our kids (3 children, ages 10-13) into playing D&D. We started the Lost Mines of Phandelver campaign, which was OK for a certain amount of time, but it became ...
16
votes
2answers
553 views

How do I GM a partial on Spout Lore?

I tend to have a lot of trouble with the partial on spout lore. The text reads: On a 7–9 the GM will only tell you something interesting—it’s on you to make it useful. However I have trouble ...
6
votes
3answers
237 views

How do I efficiently track time during a dungeon delve?

This is a question about how to track time during a (mega-)dungeon delve, especially concerning the granular spell durations of 3.X D&D. So in the older editions, time during a delve is tracked ...
7
votes
1answer
153 views

How do I get better at describing things? [closed]

Inspired by this question and the fact that I keep saying 'washing machine' when my brain goes blank (Seriously, I forgot the word stone the other day when describing cave walls) I figured I would ask ...
6
votes
1answer
73 views

Distinguishing base obstacle from disadvantages

In Burning Wheel, the base obstacle of a test and disadvantages are treated separately. (By "base obstacle" I mean the obstacle without conditional modifiers; this terminology might not appear in the ...
4
votes
2answers
256 views

How can I better prepare my players for roleplaying online?

I tried switching a game from in person to online a few months back playing mainly via discord (due to poor internet connections, otherwise we would have used video) with Roll20 for visuals. I was ...
11
votes
4answers
386 views

How can a GM challenge players with high stats?

I've been running Dungeon World games for two years now and from my experience, once a player's dominant combat ability scores reach 18, it becomes very difficult for opponents to put up a fight ...
5
votes
4answers
311 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, ...
12
votes
2answers
216 views

Online play: How to keep the group focused?

I'm the default GM for a group of friends who have been - in some constellation or another - playing together through two major campaigns and various shorter ones over the past decades (plural). ...
10
votes
5answers
676 views

The PCs are boring; how do I involve them in the story?

I just started running my first D&D campaign, and I've run into this problem. I want the story to go to places that involve the PCs personally, and help the players feel more invested. One player'...
13
votes
5answers
1k views

Is it common practice in 3.5/Pathfinder to give players loot they can use as gear?

I just saw this question about loot division and it struck me as a very odd question to even have to ask, because in every game I've ever played or run (with the notable exception of some artifacts in ...
23
votes
7answers
5k views

How can I introduce an “enemy” faction NPC without players killing them?

I have a campaign I'm running that heavily involves cultists working to save the planes in a kind of "we live here too and would prefer not to die" motivation. There is a cultist that one of the ...
55
votes
11answers
9k views

How can I show-not-tell my players that they are The Bad Guys?

My players have an interesting habit of changing their behavior on a dime. Between objectives, they'll be trying to fix problems at small towns they pass through and helping the locals, but once they ...
21
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5answers
2k views

How can I describe unknown items without giving away what they are?

I am currently working in my first D&D 5e campaign and I feel confident enough to the point where I will make a custom world with lore written by me. The idea is basically a world that is ...
11
votes
5answers
2k views

How to balance encounters for unbalanced parties?

I am running a D&D 5e West Marches style game. We have a pool of around 10 players, who all have one character. This game kills off a character around once every 1.5 months due to the nature and ...
38
votes
5answers
5k views

Keeping the world alive whilst PCs take a rest mid-adventure?

My players and I just started up Lost Mines of Phandelver and upon discovering the Cragmaw Hideout at the start of the adventure, they decided to double back to where they left the oxen at the initial ...
1
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0answers
145 views

What narrative techniques should a GM know? [closed]

This question is inspired by this answer which provides a named technique by which a GM can work around a specific situation. My question is: what are the various established techniques that a GM can ...
6
votes
3answers
192 views

How to balance encounter difficulty in a “live” ecosystem?

I know the headline might seem weird but i couldn't think of anything better. What I want to do for my next Pathfinder campaign is to have the monsters be as smart and organized as PCs (when their ...
8
votes
3answers
644 views

How to handle irresolvable player character motives?

Background Up until recently, I ran a 5E game for five players: a sorcerer, two wizards, and two warlocks (all level 3 humans). All five are familiar with 5E. This is my first attempt at running an ...
25
votes
5answers
3k views

How can I speed up 5e combat?

Combat at my table (5 players plus me, the GM) takes a long time. Even only moderately-complex combats usually take about an hour. I find myself wanting to end the session early if the group is about ...
12
votes
4answers
2k views

How can I solve burst damage problem when rolling group initiative?

Problem The PHB states, at p. 189 The DM makes one roll for an entire group of identical creatures, so each member of the group acts at the same time. Honestly, I usually ignored this one, except ...
8
votes
2answers
154 views

How do I GM a team engineering problem in fate core?

The ship is under attack! I am GM. My PC is first mate on a space ship. The ship is being attacked by some tiny hard-to-detect UFOs. PC wants to work with the engineering team to rig up some better ...
9
votes
2answers
1k views

In a Hard combat game, how do I hint that the story will be combat-light?

This is the last game I will have with my current play group before moving 10k+ Km. So the characters they will create won't be useful in the future. I want my players to play a short story (about ...
56
votes
7answers
8k views

GMing for a hyper optimized character

One of my players loves building characters that are, for lack of a better term, broken. I don't mean he min/maxes them, I mean he builds characters that are way more powerful than they should be ...
2
votes
0answers
51 views

Finding Play Testers [duplicate]

Any advice on communities or forums where I can find play testers for a new tabletop role play game? It's designed for casual players to game together virtually. So imagine pen & pen style RPG ...
64
votes
12answers
14k views

How do I indicate to my players that an NPC is no longer useful and that they should move on?

I am a rather new DM, still learning stuff. So I have noticed that my characters tend to talk too much with the NPCs, trying to get a lot of information, and probably even trying to 'cheat', thinking ...
5
votes
2answers
357 views

How do I know if I'm sending too many encounters at the party?

The party is currently 3 level 2 PCs: a fighter, a rogue, and a wizard. They don't work well together, but that's to be expected: all of them are new to role-playing. Soon they'll add another PC—a ...
7
votes
2answers
224 views

Dealing with too powerful forms of transport

I am preparing a game with Call of Cthulhu mechanics using S.T.A.L.K.E.R (the game based on the book Roadside Picnic) as a setting. The game's main locale is an unnatural area that is surrounded by ...