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Questions tagged [gm-techniques]

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

1
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0answers
128 views

How do I deal with a problem player overstepping their boundaries in a 1-on-1 campaign? [on hold]

I’m GMing a 1-on-1 campaign (it’s all homebrew, by the way). My player likes to weigh in on what’s happening, and sometimes oversteps her boundary into GMing territory. I let it slide a lot, since it ...
31
votes
3answers
3k views

Should I discuss the type of campaign with my players?

The campaign I’m preparing is designed to give the illusion of choice via side quests and an open world (not really open), but with a main story line that will be pushed into them sooner or later. The ...
12
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3answers
446 views

How can I convey to my group that they have to discipline their murderhobo?

Introduction I guess most GMs have had a group of murderhobos in their sessions before and there are quite a few nice answers dealing with how to react to them, these threads have nice answers, but I ...
16
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2answers
3k views

Will it cause any balance problems to have PCs level up and gain the benefits of a long rest mid-fight?

I am planning an encounter for 4 level 2 players and I am planning to have them level up mid combat. I wanted to describe it sort of like a power within awakening like many popular animes have. To do ...
12
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4answers
3k views

How can the DM most simply and fairly choose 1 out of an odd number of players to be targeted by an attack or effect?

When DMing and randomly determining a character to take damage or an effect, it's easy to roll a die if you have an even number of players. But what about if you have an odd number of players? What ...
4
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2answers
238 views

Designing 'Gandalf' NPCs [closed]

I'm designing an NPC that is meant to be a manager/mentor to the players. Contrary to the archetype I've just invoked by mentioning Gandalf, she isn't some divine force incarnate-she's just somewhat ...
16
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5answers
4k views

What method can I use to design a dungeon difficult enough that the PCs can't make it through without killing them?

The first 'round' of my campaign will end with the deaths (and resurrections) of all of the players. Their role before catastrophe strikes is as teachers in a philanthropically funded school in an ...
1
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0answers
117 views

Which is easier to implement: a time based insurmountable obstacle or a “meat gate” one? [closed]

The first 'round' of my campaign will end with the deaths (and resurrections) of all of the players. Their role before catastrophe strikes is as teachers in a philanthropically funded school in an ...
13
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4answers
343 views

How can I encourage PCs to come back to Home Base when their quests are far from home?

I am new to DM'ing and I have been thinking of the option of a Home Base for my party. I like the idea of building up a base, with craftsmen and libraries, etc for research and training and also to ...
3
votes
1answer
284 views

My players' characters tried to rob a jewelry store and failed. How do I play it out? [closed]

So, I am running a heroic campaign where a bunch of "god's chosen" people (led by the cleric in the party) are preparing to become the "spear's end" in the war with fiends who plan to invade the ...
0
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2answers
116 views

Gameplay-to-cutscene ratio: how interactive should I make the introduction to the campaign? [closed]

I'm planning a campaign with a specific backdrop-the characters are employees of a certain organization and this is their first day on the job. The organization and the job will no longer actually ...
0
votes
2answers
181 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 ...
2
votes
0answers
195 views

How can I get my players interested in my campaign again? [closed]

I am an experienced DM, having run a number of campaigns with the same group of players. We're all in middle school. I'm currently running a campaign that I made myself for D&D5e. Recently, my ...
46
votes
9answers
6k views

How can “mimic phobia” be cured or prevented?

This has actually happened to me as a player, and a player I've DM'ed in a oneshot. In short, when we delve into a dungeon, whenever a DM describes an object in a weird way, we become very cautious to ...
20
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7answers
2k views

Does asking a player to not to do something violate their agency?

This is something I am rather conflicted about as I have met with several gamemasters and I was told that asking players to not to have their character do something breaks their immersion and violates ...
11
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0answers
346 views

Faster inventory management [closed]

I have tended to hand-wave weight limits and encumbering rules and focus on fun, but the bulk of random items starts to really build up to ridiculous levels (even with a bag of holding). Doing time-...
3
votes
0answers
204 views

What to do next after pulling a punch as the GM? [closed]

TL; DR: I just bailed my player out of a dangerous situation with plausible but still apparently contrived GM intervention. How do I follow that up with an action or situation that will preserve the ...
7
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0answers
75 views

What techniques can I use prevent my players from missing important details? [duplicate]

I'm running a campaign with some experienced players that is pretty complex and long-term. (Short story: Acererak is returning to the Prime Material to enslave the population, and the only weapon ...
7
votes
2answers
303 views

Can the “Create a Monster” table be used to accurately change a creature's CR?

Related: How do I scale up a Monster for a big Party in D&D 5e? There have been a lot of questions about Mimics, so I'll use that, but this applies to any creature that doesn't match up with the ...
15
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4answers
449 views

How can I run a session where two opposing parties play at the same time?

A player of mine had an interesting concept where two parties who are opposed to each other would play at the same time in the same session. In essence the plot would be a group of thieves have been ...
58
votes
8answers
11k views

How can I handle a player who pre-plans arguments about my rulings on RAW?

When playing D&D, I have always taken the following approach: I will do my best to adhere to Rules As Written (RAW) If I don't know a rule off the top of my head I will look it up If something I ...
21
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3answers
3k views

How to satisfy a player character's curiosity about another player character?

I am new to DMing. I am starting off with the Lost Mine of Phandelver adventure to get my feet wet. One player in particular is playing a half-elf bard. They have watched a lot of Critical Role and ...
7
votes
4answers
642 views

A player has asked the DM to ignore the lore to enable his character concept. What are the pros and cons if the DM does so?

Context I'm posting this on behalf of a friend. She wants more than just our group's opinion. I don't know the other guy at all, but I was given screenshots of their conversations in order to get ...
30
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6answers
5k views

How can I get my players to come to the game session after agreeing to a date?

I have been playing D&D-5e for a while with my friends and a lot of times, when they say they are completely sure they can come to a meet, they end up not coming. I would at least like to get them ...
72
votes
12answers
8k views

What is the purpose of easy combat scenarios that don't need resource expenditure?

This is something I've been thinking about as a DM in my encounter design: Why have easy/medium/etc combat encounters that don't really require resources to successfully complete? Given the limited ...
49
votes
5answers
12k views

How should I handle players who ignore the session zero agreement?

My D&D group is currently playing a campaign. It went smoothly for the first half. And then, by request, I allowed two of the current players' friends to join the campaign, all of whom have no ...
49
votes
9answers
8k views

How to not let the Identify spell spoil everything?

I am currently DMing a campaign where there is a wizard with the Identify spell, the bane of my existence. Identify allows him to learn the properties of literally every single item the party ...
6
votes
0answers
91 views

Worried first time DM/general player of DnD seeking advice! [duplicate]

I need whatever help I can get with my first ever DnD session! To be honest, I have little to no experience with roleplaying games. I used to roleplay with my friends, but I wouldn't consider that ...
58
votes
12answers
6k views

What can I do to encourage my players to use their consumables?

Frequently when I DM I will give my players consumables (i.e. potions and scrolls) in loot drops in place of gold. My intention is to give them more flexibility in strategy during exploration and ...
17
votes
5answers
2k views

Players preemptively rolling, even though their rolls are useless or are checking the wrong skills

Part of this answer made me think about my own situation: It's entirely possible that the ranger is the only one that has a chance at succeeding at the check and thus it would be inappropriate to ...
37
votes
14answers
6k views

How can I give a Ranger advantage on a check due to Favored Enemy without spoiling the story for the player?

The Scenario I am the DM for a group who have just entered a town that was attacked by cloud giants a few days before their arrival. The players and characters don't know this though, so part of the ...
4
votes
1answer
841 views

Are there any rules for handling distractions whilst performing skill checks?

Are there are any official rules for imposing some form of penalty on skill checks whilst the character is distracted or interrupted in some way? In another (Non-D&D) game I played recently there ...
9
votes
2answers
209 views

How can I as GM control off-topic moments and get the players to maintain a serious tone?

My friends and I started playing RPGs at the same time without the help of any experienced person. I am the GM but I struggle to make the players focus on anything that can progress the story in some ...
29
votes
5answers
5k views

How do I handle a blinded enemy which wants to attack someone it's sure is there?

Say my players blinded a goblin, through either magical or non magical means, and the goblin knew that there was someone within 5 feet of it from before it got blinded. That goblin decides to flail ...
49
votes
6answers
6k views

How can I make my enemies feel real and make combat more engaging?

As a newer DM, I have trouble making some of the more routine combats feel unique or urgent. I believe this is because the enemies my PCs are fighting tend to act like an AI, or just attack until they ...
2
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0answers
155 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 ...
31
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6answers
3k views

Does limiting the number of sources help simplify the game for a new DM with new and experienced players?

I still consider myself pretty new as a GM. I have been running D&D 5e for about three years now (not regularly which is why I would say still newish). I am about to embark on a campaign with some ...
-1
votes
2answers
333 views

Dealing with an abusive player [closed]

Continuing on my last question, which I will congratulate all the answers that I got, some of the answers were about that other player I mentioned. He plays a Druid (lv.3), and he is in a party ...
3
votes
4answers
427 views

How can I get an uninterested group of players to listen to me, or focus on the game in general?

I am having some major trouble running a game of Pathfinder: Rise of the Runelords. As some people know this quite a hard campaign, and while it is the first one that I have ever really run, I am ...
3
votes
3answers
344 views

What can I do when a player gets discouraged by low rolls that cause poor PC performance?

TLDR: What can I do when a player is getting upset by low rolls causing poor PC performance? I'm running a duet gestalt Pathfinder campaign in Roll20 with an Incanter/Conscript (from the Spheres). ...
9
votes
4answers
493 views

How can I avoid “railroading” my players by giving them a limited set of choices with only basic descriptions?

I play Dungeons and Dragons 5e. I have a habit of highlighting certain choices, without realizing I'm doing it, because what I feel like I'm doing, is telling not showing. I have a problem with my ...
20
votes
7answers
4k views

Am I acting unreasonably or do I rein in my players?

I'm a very new but very eager DM. Me and my friends have long been wanting to play and as always we had no DM so I took up the reins. My players are very extremely creative and I want them to be able ...
25
votes
2answers
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 ...
32
votes
7answers
4k views

How do I implement a challenge where time runs backward?

I'm DMing a D&D 5e campaign that has pockets of "weird time" (areas where time runs faster or slower than normal). It seems like I shouldn't pass up the opportunity to have an area where time is ...
7
votes
3answers
343 views

How can I communicate to my players, that I like them to roleplay their skills more?

I am playing in a campaign I made myself using homebrewed rules based on a German pen-and-paper RPG called Das Schwarze Auge (DSA; The Dark Eye in English). I heavily influenced the character ...
8
votes
2answers
259 views

Handling the Scenario After Wild Player Financial Success

Well, they did it. Your players went head-to-head against an antagonist with Superb Resources, and instead of taking critical social damage and retiring from adventuring, they took him for all he's ...
36
votes
4answers
2k views

How does GMing a game for middle-schoolers differ from older and younger players?

My daughter has asked me to GM a D&D5e game for her and her friends, who are all aged 13-15 years of age. In the US this puts them in middle school, an age of interesting transitions. With ...
20
votes
6answers
3k views

What should I do (If anything) to prevent my players from rushing to the end of the Lost Mine of Phandelver campaign?

I'm running the Lost Mine of Phandelver Starter Set adventure for a group of players ranging from "new to the game" to "experienced veterans". We finished Session 1 last week and they have captured a ...
38
votes
10answers
5k views

How can I enjoy being a DM when I have an explorer personality?

I live in a small Finnish town with my wife and we want to play. But we cannot find any GMs there. So I decided to try to be GM myself. The problem is - I love to explore the worlds, story, monsters, ...
8
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0answers
343 views

Does the Monster Manual supersede the Player's Handbook [closed]

How does a DM know, in D&D 5th edition, which source to refer to if there is a seeming conflict between two core rule books? During the discussion under this question, I noted the following ...