Questions tagged [gm-techniques]

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

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7
votes
3answers
333 views

How do I balance PCs ignoring fluff-only hindrances?

I'm GM'ing a Savage Worlds (Adventure Edition) campaign, where the PCs have hindrances as usual: some directly affect the crunch and some only affect the fluff, e.g. Vengeful. I don't want my (partly ...
3
votes
1answer
412 views

How do I generate spell component gems within the 5e Dungeon Master Guide rules as written?

I'm going to use diamonds as an example, but other spell component gems may have the same problem and solution. The DM Guide outlines specific tables for random generation of gems. Diamonds at ...
9
votes
2answers
484 views

First time DM; Curse of Strahd; Did I just rush my PCs? How to do better?

So running my first campaign (technically second, but the first never finished as the group dispersed). I'm running four PCs through Curse of Strahd, currently at Death House. Things were going pretty ...
27
votes
3answers
4k views

Should players know other creatures' HP? How do you deal with players not knowing the opponent's HP if not?

I recently started playing D&D, and I was wondering about this. I know it is up to the DM to choose whether or not players know enemies' remaining HP in combat: is it recommended to do so? ...
6
votes
0answers
76 views

How to determine a DC for a magical effect? [closed]

The DC guidelines in the DMG are in increments of five (DC 15 for a moderate task, DC 20 for a hard one, etc.). Yet, a lot of spells and magic items use DCs like 13 or 17. Are there any guidelines, ...
5
votes
2answers
381 views

How can I make the endings of game sessions exciting?

When I run game sessions, they start with a bang, a lot of action and the story keeps moving, but by the end of hour 2, they have slowed to a crawl, not a lot is happening, etc. How can I manage this ...
1
vote
0answers
106 views

How to complete my first session? [closed]

I'm preparing campaign for my friends. It's first time for all of us and I want to create a big bang at the beginning. My players are a high elf, a wood elf and a tiefling. They will start in quite a ...
7
votes
2answers
217 views

Reintroducing a character to a campaign after a leave of absence

A couple of weeks ago a session I was GMing left of on a bit of a cliffhanger with all of the party members scattered across different planes. The wizard, Teoru is in the overworld. the Druid Siobhan ...
33
votes
4answers
6k views

How do I handle the wizard's familiar invalidating exploration, outshining the rogue, at low to no cost?

I am having some issues trying to find a balance in what seems to me to be an overpowered spell (Find Familiar) considering its low level. I will state first that I have always considered the familiar ...
1
vote
0answers
197 views

Should the players know what monster they're fighting according to the rule book? [duplicate]

I've read through several rule books and modules, none of which specify whether or not the players should be told what monster they're fighting or if a description (and leave it at that) is enough. ...
6
votes
5answers
2k views

How do I make sure magic item distribution feels fair when there aren't enough items to go around?

I'm preparing a treasure hoard for a group of four level-two PCs (Cleric, Monk, Fighter, and Wizard). I decided to roll on the Treasure Hoard Table for CR 0-4, and take either the average result or my ...
31
votes
4answers
834 views

How can I ease a player into a table when they expect a hierarchical GM-player structure, and find none?

I am running a game with long-term established players. Our group numbers five, including myself. We have a very clear non-adversarial, non-hierarchical GM-player dynamic: we tell a story together, ...
15
votes
4answers
2k views

What check determines if a whip successfully latches onto a tree branch?

If a PC wants to use his whip to wrap around a tree branch and then swing on it, like Indiana Jones, what check would that require? Would it require an attack roll?
24
votes
7answers
6k views

Why Do We Keep Adventuring?

alright, so in general, I like 5e, it's got a lot of positives, but I'm noticing more and more that there aren't really any reasons for adventuring past a certain point. So, an example: Our group is ...
29
votes
2answers
2k views

As a GM, how do I make sure a self-contained session (an episode or one-shot) reaches its completion within the designated session length?

I'd like to convert my campaign over to more of an episodic format -- a complete hook, story, and conclusion in each session, with each session feeding into a bigger story/arc, just like a TV series. ...
4
votes
0answers
147 views

Running a Low Magic RPG for beginners [closed]

I'm running a campaign for a small group of friends- we're inexperienced with tabletop RPGs. The campaign leans heavily on the story I've written and I wanted it to be more character driven than ...
27
votes
9answers
3k views

How can I limit crafting and material-searching without limiting player agency?

I'm a new GM. Several of my PCs really enjoy crafting/potion-making/resource-farming and have builds that are well-suited to it. In the past I wanted to reward their enthusiasm for searching for new ...
12
votes
1answer
377 views

As a GM, how do I build a complete group of players that fit my style and preferences?

I've been GMing for some years now. During that time, I feel like I've developed somewhat of a style/preference with the kinds of games I like to run. While I feel my games can be enjoyed by a variety ...
70
votes
8answers
7k views

In a low-combat campaign, most PC abilities seem useless; what few fights there are barely use up resources. How do I deal with this as the DM?

As part of session 0, I discovered my group wanted a campaign with a heavier amount of intrigue, exploration, investigation, etc. Well, I did it. And I think the general perception is that it's going ...
13
votes
3answers
691 views

How to punish a character while not punishing the player?

In my last session where I am GM, an accident happened. My player attacked unwillfuly an NPC who wants to punish them for that. As they are actually my best player, I really don't want ruin their fun. ...
7
votes
1answer
253 views

Are there any rules outside of Chapter 7 of the DMG which prompt the DM to give a player an Epic Boon or Supernatural Gift?

The Aberrant Dragonmark feat from Ebberon, Wayfinder’s Guide to Eberron and in Eberron: Rising from the Last War says: At the DM's option, a character who has the Aberrant Dragonmark feat has a ...
17
votes
1answer
2k views

Speeding up combat inside a Darkness spell

So I'm a bit of a jerk when playing 5e. Last game, I was the warlock who cast darkness on the battlefield. I can see in the dark obviously, but no one else could. It did help us survive, but it ...
1
vote
1answer
506 views

Player misunderstood NPC, now misrepresenting quest goals to rest of party [closed]

Overview: One of my players had a conversation with an NPC in a language no other character or player was in on, and now the player's misunderstanding of what was said is making a simple side quest ...
5
votes
2answers
222 views

How to I run the Tomb of horrors better? [closed]

I'm having trouble with the Tomb of Horrors. My party is mostly newer players except for one veteran player, who happens to power build with another newer player (the overpowered clerics from Tasha's ...
14
votes
4answers
2k views

How do you handle role-playing NPCs as a DM? [closed]

I DM a 5e D&D campaign. I've been playing D&D for under a year. In this new campaign I'm planning to have a few NPC allies. While I'm able to roleplay less important NPCs, these NPCs feel more ...
9
votes
4answers
389 views

Using handouts in non-latin fonts

Many games have their secret languages, usually used by having players use phrases like "I say in <language>: ". For text on handouts, I have often seen GMs tack the note "In <...
37
votes
4answers
2k views

How can I help my players that are new to answering story-building questions?

It's common in Powered by the Apocalypse games, as a part of the narrative flow, to ask players questions about the world to which their character would know the answer. For example you might say: As ...
7
votes
1answer
112 views

As a GM, how could I interpret Wits damage caused by pushed rolls?

I'll give a short explanation for those non-familiar with Forbidden Lands. There are no hit points as such, damage goes to attribute points. Simplifying a bit, when you fail a roll you can "push ...
17
votes
8answers
3k views

Techniques for hiding dice rolls when an NPC/enemy has advantage/disadvantage

It's common to hide die rolls as a DM and there are some advantages to it. The problem is that they can still hear two dice or see when you're rolling twice. Although it's rarely useful to do so, you ...
31
votes
8answers
4k views

What are the DM's responsibilities when dealing with a character's death?

This facet of RPGs is the thing with which I have the least experience/comfort level.  I'm sanguine about the idea that Dungeons etc. are inherently dangerous places, and that the PCs behavior is ...
8
votes
5answers
2k views

Which CR 5-13 monsters can I use against an all-flying party? [closed]

If I run a 5e game for a crow-man party who naturally have all-day flight as part of their basic movement modes, which existing published monsters / encounter types am I left with who have either ...
2
votes
0answers
90 views

Homebrewing tips for multi-table campaigns? [closed]

To be clear, I am not looking for homebrew. I am only looking for tips for running games, with the current requirements I have set. Anyway, I am going to be running a campaign for some new players. ...
14
votes
3answers
665 views

How do I roleplay Prejudice/Xism?

The world is not always nice place, and typically neither are our pretend ones. There are plenty of times in games where Characters may come across others who are prejudiced in some form. Perhaps ...
2
votes
2answers
649 views

How to handle a party's bad choices? [closed]

Not too long ago I started a campaign in Pathfinder 2e, and at a certain point I hinted at an enemy group's location and (superior) strength, while telling the party to go somewhere else and complete ...
50
votes
6answers
9k views

How can I deal with a 'soft' alpha gamer player?

Alpha gamer is a type of player in cooperative games, who effectively makes a decision for another player. In this question I am asking how to deal with a 'soft' version of this player archetype, who ...
14
votes
13answers
2k views

How can I tell my players that necromancers are not bad guys? [closed]

I'm running a homebrew campaign where a group of necromancers made a town into their own base of research. World Context: The town was abandoned many years ago and the country had no more any form of ...
27
votes
3answers
5k views

Herding Maids to stop being creepy

MAID is a rather fun setting thing. And from a game design standpoint surprisingly well made for a game that is focused around trying to be a funny, sometimes sexy, harem Anime trope. But I have yet ...
1
vote
4answers
254 views

How to get my players to open an iron flask [closed]

So my players have just found an iron flask and inside is a Lich. The Lich is going to be the next main plot driving component and I need the players to open it in order to begin this phase. How do I ...
5
votes
3answers
910 views

What is the optimal breakdown for time the GM and players hold the floor?

One thing I keep on running into while playing or running games online is managing the amount of time the GM and the players have the floor. Anyone have a useful ballpark figure? As a player, I ...
36
votes
13answers
6k views

How to DM unlikely strength checks

A question for all DMs out there. So, part of the fun of D&D derives from the randomness of the dice, and to interpret their results in a sensible way -even within the broad boundaries of a make-...
1
vote
0answers
49 views

What are some resources/advice for GMs looking to hone improvisational skills? [closed]

In an effort to prep for a one-shot that I'm running next month, I'm looking for any guides, videos, podcasts, etc. aimed at helping a GM refine their improvisational skills. I'm giving our DM a ...
8
votes
4answers
624 views

How to handle when a player wants to frequently rebuild her existing character?

I'm a DM. One of my players like to frequently reimagine/develop her character in D&D 4th edition as follows: Change the ability scores (swap them) between levels to better optimize the character ...
37
votes
4answers
4k views

How do I handle questions about in-game things that I'm not prepared for?

I DM for my brother’s four kids. Their ages are 14, 13, 12, and 10. I made everything up in the world, so it’s not an official campaign. They’re asking questions that I didn’t even think that they’d ...
10
votes
4answers
967 views

How to handle pursuit over long distances, between cities?

in an upcoming session it is possible I might have to handle a chase between cities. I'm DMing Tyranny of Dragons and we are going a bit off book (not a problem, in fact I like where the players are ...
40
votes
13answers
6k views

How do I deal with instant-solution spells like Comprehend Languages?

I'm DM-ing an upcoming campaign and am considering banning or nerfing spells like Comprehend Languages because they can be used to instantly solve potentially interesting problems like reading an ...
3
votes
0answers
173 views

How should a GM go about handling a combat encounter against an enemy team of runners?

I have a group that is about to encounter another runner team in combat. They both want to do the same job and are going to be fighting for the package. The two thoughts I had were to make some of ...
1
vote
0answers
53 views

When writing and preparing a campaign should I include all the side stories and all possible encounters? [duplicate]

I have worked out an entire world with a story and several side stories (they'll be optional) should I just put them in the middle of the story of where they'd be available or should I put them into a ...
27
votes
9answers
6k views

Can you lower your AC on purpose?

For roleplaying reasons I would like to make a NPC appear weaker than it actually is. When the players first fight it, it should seem to have a very low AC and miss many attacks. Is this possible in ...
21
votes
4answers
4k views

How to handle when a player wants the DM to hard-bend the story for his/her epic idea of outcome?

I'm a DM. My level 11 player, at the first stepping stone of a Paragon Tier, started to fantasize, moreover, insist on a particular outcome for him for level 21 (Epic Tier). In short: he wants to die ...
8
votes
4answers
2k views

Is there a RAW way to resurrect the dead as an undead slave without changing its stats?

The trivial answer, of course, would be "Wish", but perhaps there is something more specific that I overlooked. I'm asking for a plot-device in my homebrew campaign. The idea is that the big ...

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