Questions tagged [gm-techniques]

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

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15
votes
2answers
986 views

How to play a devious character when you are not personally devious?

I am GMing a low-fantasy GURPS game, and I find that my amoral or immoral NPC's are easily seen through. On several occasions, I have tried to have an NPC dupe my players into being pawns. And every ...
22
votes
3answers
3k views

How to engage Decker in the actual run?

In my role as a GM for a SR5 group i often have the problem, that the decker in our group is not in the field with the rest of the team, which is perfectly fine. But after the fact complains, that he ...
36
votes
6answers
5k views

How can I communicate feelings to players without impacting their agency?

As a Game Master I'd occasionally like to communicate premonitions or sensation to my characters, as a benefit of their backstory, or as a means to give them opportunity to be deeper tied into the ...
8
votes
1answer
258 views

How can I discourage gluttony while still granting buffs?

In Wendy's Feast of Legends, characters gain bonuses for foods eaten by their players. The game explicitly mentions that buffs stack and there are a total 6 different food items (briefly: burger, ...
87
votes
11answers
9k views

As a girl, how can I voice male characters effectively?

I was curious how to voice my male NPCs. I don't want to fill my world with female NPCs just because I can't voice male characters. I want to get more into the roleplay aspect of the game, but my ...
20
votes
4answers
4k views

How do I deal with too many NPCs in my campaign?

I'm a first-time GM using the Fate Core system. I got into RPGs to help me work on my storytelling while having fun with my friends, so I've been GMing a homebrew campaign for about a year now. ...
11
votes
4answers
701 views

How to run NPCs with complicated mechanics?

When I need a run of the mill NPC I use the NPC classes which have simplified mechanics. These classes are great and make it really easy to quickly run their mechanics during combat without needing to ...
14
votes
4answers
481 views

How to flavor my narration of a fight in a creatively plausible way without affecting mechanics?

I'm DMing a recently-started campaign with 5 new players. They are completely new to RPGs and roleplay. In a combat, they often phrased their attacks in ways such as "I aim at the eyes in order to ...
27
votes
5answers
3k views

How can I describe hit point damage without talking about wounds?

The PHB's description of hit points (p. 196) says: Hit points represent a combination of physical and mental durability, the will to live, and luck. Creatures with more hit points are more ...
1
vote
0answers
145 views

How does a DM announce loot? [closed]

Say the party finds an altar, and laying on it are a Wand of Wonder and a lapis lazuli worth 10 gold. How much information does the party get? As DM, do I say "you find a strange wand and a blue gem", ...
10
votes
2answers
260 views

Granting inspiration on a natural 1

I’ve seen Critical Role run their 826LA promotion where they pledged $100 to the charity for every natural 1 they rolled on the show, and I’ve seen Dungeon World’s rule of marking XP on a miss. I’m ...
7
votes
2answers
167 views

How to pass a world to a different DM

I'm about to pass the campaign setting I've been working on to a different DM. I've given them the references I made and I've done some slight explaining of certain elements. Is there anything else I ...
23
votes
8answers
4k views

How to handle inventory and story of a player leaving

A player left my group recently. It was mutual and not-unexpected, and during the last session, the character left for an unspecified purpose. The character (lawful-good wizard) who left had a few ...
4
votes
0answers
124 views

Player offering other characters advice during combat [duplicate]

How do you keep the one very experienced player from offering advice during encounters, combat, etc.? Hes a great player, knows his stuff extremely well, but can't seem to keep his mouth shut, even ...
0
votes
3answers
130 views

How do you get the characters to meet? [duplicate]

How do you have your group meet, besides the age old, tried and true method of, "You all meet in a tavern"?
3
votes
2answers
203 views

How can I keep my players motivated?

I am running a Star Wars (d20) campaign in which the players are playing as a group of smugglers. Originally, I was going to use debt as a motivator, and I gave them 350k credits of it (mostly for ...
15
votes
3answers
3k views

Can a DM change an item given by another DM?

If a player received a specific end reward and doesn't like it, can the new DM change that item's traits (whether or not the item was created differently than in the book)? We are playing home games, ...
3
votes
0answers
205 views

Categorisation of GM Types [closed]

RPG theory seems to recognise the differences between player interests, and acknowledge a few loose categories/archetypes thereof - the tongue-in-cheek four in the Munchkin File, expanded to the more ...
8
votes
4answers
341 views

What should I keep in mind when running a Star Wars game?

It is our group's first time running a Star Wars campaign ever, and it seems that the role of GM has fallen to me. (For context, our group has previously played: D&D 5e AD&D 1e Call of ...
7
votes
5answers
354 views

How to introduce a new PC into the party after character death?

In the D&D 4e campaign that I am running, there has recently been lots of character death. The death itself is not the problem, because the players seem perfectly fine generating new characters (I ...
10
votes
5answers
436 views

How can I help my players to better immerse into my game world?

Obligatory: 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). Introduction I am a GM for a ...
10
votes
5answers
2k views

How to handle a player that cannot be convinced his actions are a problem for both GM and party

Background You can skip to the end for a (very) short summary though... We are a group of good friends, we've all known each other for 7+ years, since high school, and have been playing DnD since ...
8
votes
1answer
270 views

Best practices in portraying racism and its effects in a game [closed]

This question and its fantastic answers help answer NPC interactions with PCs. However, the question doesn't really touch on a immersion level involving NPCs. I don't anticipate my players playing a ...
31
votes
9answers
6k views

How do I run a game when my PCs have different approaches to combat?

Following on from the question How can I make sure my players' decisions have consequences?: I'm frustrated as a DM because I feel like the different players / PCs in my (level 5) group want ...
25
votes
6answers
7k views

How can I make sure my players' decisions have consequences?

Last session, my players got into what was meant to be a fairly minor battle. The wizard misjudged the strength of the enemies and used both of his third level spell slots, and the druid acted sub-...
4
votes
3answers
325 views

What options do my players have for hiding their cart while they enter a dungeon? [closed]

I am running my first ever D&D 5e campaign for a completely new party using the Lost Mines of Phandelver adventure. My party have just decided that they wish to go to Cragmaw hideout following ...
11
votes
2answers
400 views

Are one-shot sessions before the main adventure helpful for a party of new players?

TL;DR: As the DM, I want to prepare my group of newbie friends for the best first experience I can give them. I'm concerned about halts to give explanations ruining the flow of the game and negatively ...
3
votes
3answers
404 views

How do I handle a player who wants to burn everything down?

In my most recent adventure, the party was attacking a wooden goblin fort when the dragonborn PC had the bright idea to use his fiery breath to burn it down. I thought that it was a clever idea and ...
10
votes
4answers
2k views

Is it okay to retroactively change things when running a published adventure?

This question came out of another post on here of mine, so there may be some similarities. An answerer/commenter on that question suggested splitting it off, so here goes: I'm a new DM, using Lost ...
59
votes
7answers
7k views

As a DM, how to avoid unconscious metagaming when dealing with a high AC character?

In my previous campaign, a player started the campaign with a tanky fighter build with a chain mail, a shield, and Defense fighting style, for a total of 19 starting AC. For a level 1. I was still ...
6
votes
2answers
352 views

How can I encourage PCs to be more intellectual and less physical?

My friends and I created a roleplaying game. We don't like having many rules or having to find if a rule applies, so for an action a PC uses one of the following 9 statistics: Strength: For all kind ...
36
votes
8answers
7k views

How can I deal with a player trying to insert real-world mythology into my homebrew setting?

I have just started GMing a homebrew campaign with a group of relatively inexperienced players. I have only played with one of them before (I have GMed for him as well as been a fellow player with him)...
14
votes
2answers
455 views

How do I plan sessions that are still fun even if they don't move the plot forward?

I'm fairly new to DMing, but I really enjoy it. My campaign is still pretty early in, and plot is moving forward pretty well; last session actually revealed a huge chuck of the relevant current events....
6
votes
2answers
218 views

How can I make a fight more than just a bunch of numbers?

There was an encounter in my most recent D&D 4e adventure in which the players fought several (16) minion skeletons. Because all of the skeletons were minions, the encounter was not difficult, but ...
8
votes
2answers
693 views

As a Game Master, how should I handle a situation where a character can and does do everything?

I have made a number of characters that can do everything in a party across a wide variety of role-play systems, and seen several more as both a GM and as a player. I have also seen these characters ...
15
votes
4answers
580 views

What interesting ways can I “hunt” my players beyond simple combat?

I have a lovely quartet of players trapped in the wilderness, at least 10 days march from the nearest settlement, which is their destination. There is an antagonistic force in the area, and I had ...
7
votes
1answer
203 views

Is my idea for handling space combat in my setting any good?

I've been using a homebrewed system and hard sci-fi setting (not originally designed for tabletop RPGs, but for writing stories and as my worldbuilding project) with a group of friends for a while now ...
-2
votes
2answers
499 views

As GM, how do I deal with a player who makes a “do everything” build? [duplicate]

I have made a couple of builds that do everything, and seen several more as both a GM and as a player. These are builds that go beyond powerbuilding, and into the realm of taking over for the entire ...
62
votes
6answers
10k views

My players like to search everything. What do they find?

I am currently running a D&D 4e campaign. Every time my players defeat/subdue the monsters in a room, they decide to search the room. However, I never have anything interesting for them to find. I ...
5
votes
4answers
342 views

What are good rewards for players (other than XP and items)?

Inspired by what I saw in "Dragon Age" series, I have a main quest of the story line have the character "dream" into the astral plane where they have several fights towards an unfolding that will ...
14
votes
2answers
650 views

How can an inexperienced GM keep a game fun for experienced players?

Along the same lines as this question from a players perspective, I am interested in possibly running a game for some friends and co-workers, where they have much more experience in gaming than I do ...
18
votes
3answers
454 views

How can I limit my second-person POV narration?

I have come to the conclusion that in materials I am preparing myself, I want to add more variety to narration by introducing information to the players without using second person point-of-view ...
25
votes
4answers
4k views

Handling a player (unintentionally) stealing the spotlight

Quite recently, I replaced a friend as DM for a D&D game. During that game, I came across something I did not expect: One of the players was just too good. When I am saying "too good" I am not ...
41
votes
7answers
5k views

A player is constantly pestering me about rules, what do I do as a DM?

Okay I admit I'm new to D&D. I've been playing for 2 years now and only been playing 5e. I don't learn by reading the entire manual in one sitting, I have learnt everything from actually playing ...
30
votes
2answers
1k views

What are the benefits of using the X Card safety tool in comparison to plain communication?

I am aware that this question may come across as ignorant or as an attempt at trolling. While I cannot prove it, I hope enough people believe that this question was asked in good faith and with the ...
6
votes
2answers
265 views

How do I introduce magic to my PCs part way through an adventure?

I am playing through a slightly modified version of the Pathfinder adventure Rise of the Runelords with a group who are all brand new to any form of RPG. After around ten sessions, I still haven't ...
12
votes
2answers
1k views

How do I choose a villain in the Waterdeep: Dragon Heist adventure?

In the first pages of Dragon Heist, you're told to When you run this adventure, you choose its main villain at the outset. Your choice determines the season of the year in which the story takes ...
4
votes
3answers
245 views

Where can I find mechanics to manage a character's career/advancement within an organization?

I run a game where characters apart of their mechanical advancement can become part of various organizations to gain standing and influence. At the moment the barbarian became chief of a small tribe, ...
14
votes
1answer
607 views

Skills with different abilities: How to adjudicate what combination to use?

In the D&D 5e Player’s Handbook, there is a variant option called Skills with Different Abilities: Normally, your proficiency in a skill applies only to a specific kind of ability check. ...
2
votes
2answers
254 views

Are there issues with allowing parties to succeed at encounters in a published adventure with specified checks/DCs using creative roleplay instead?

During Waterdeep: Dragon Heist, there are a number of faction missions, one of which is: With a suggested solution: Given that a suggested solution involves the party spending money and checks of a ...