Questions tagged [gm-techniques]

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

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22 votes
13 answers
4k views

How to make a NPC intimidating the party more effective?

TL:DR; My players don't act as though they find intimidating NPCs intimidating. How can I make NPC intimidation more effective while maintaining player agency? My Issue I have a recurring issue across ...
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9 votes
7 answers
5k views

Is it appropriate to bring a player character back after they had been "killed"?

A player character "died" in battle early on in this current arc I'm DMing, and I had already decided that either this character would be in pursuit by the big bad or would be taken captive. ...
2 votes
2 answers
330 views

How to implement the "show, don't tell" rule if it involves a "gotcha moment"?

First, sorry for the paranoia, but I want to make sure my players don't read this, so if you play with Gavarin and Lhasang, please don't read further, heavy spoilers involved. TL;DR: Is it OK to have ...
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8 votes
2 answers
245 views

How to justify time-sensitive encounters without it seeming convenient?

I'm running an encounter in Cyberpunk Red where the baddies are chainsawing a hole into an immobilized car to kill the driver, and our heroes have to rush in before the bad guys finish drilling! How ...
7 votes
4 answers
802 views

What are the techniques that can be used to give a fair view to every ideology?

In order to clarify. There are always factions in my games with a variety of ideologies ranging from political ideologies (such as monarchy or oligarchy or theocracy) to philosophical ideologies (such ...
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10 votes
1 answer
1k views

How to Scale a "Player" Character to Be a Villain/Boss?

I've been searching around, but I haven't been to find what I'm looking for via Google queries; but I presume that what I'm attempting would be pretty common. Anyhow, are there any resources that ...
4 votes
4 answers
294 views

Making disengaging interesting?

Let's set the scene; this is a Pathfinder 2e game. The PCs have recovered the target package from the area, they've fixed the carriage, they've looted everything, and they are ready to escape. ...
-6 votes
3 answers
2k views

In One D&D Character Origins Playtest how often will inspiration be awarded mechanically?

One D&D's UA 2022: Character Origins has introduced a concept of gaining inspiration without the DM awarding it. This is one of the biggest changes in One D&D so far, and I want to determine ...
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28 votes
10 answers
4k views

Strategy to roleplay conversations between groups of NPCs?

I'm a newish DM, and I'm having a hard time coming up with a strategy to roleplay conversations between NPCs. For example, in the game I'm currently running, there is a "town council" ...
27 votes
11 answers
2k views

How to handle deception skill rolls fairly based on the premise of the deception?

In a campaign I'm playing in, players have to come up with a convincing approach to be allowed to try a persuasion, deception, or intimidation skill check...but, at the end of the day, the players are ...
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17 votes
12 answers
4k views

How to help player quickly make a decision when they have no way of knowing which option is best

I am a semi-beginner DM (ran 2 campaigns, a bunch of oneshots and a few dungeon crawls so I’m not completely new but I don’t consider myself super experienced either) and a problem that I now have ...
  • 3,123
30 votes
12 answers
4k views

How can I build a mechanically interesting, winnable exhibition match against a vastly overpowered opponent?

For Plot Reasons™, the PCs challenge, or are challenged by, a vastly higher-level opponent to an exhibition match(1) of some sort. Maybe an elder gold dragon wants to test the PCs' mettle before ...
  • 21.8k
18 votes
1 answer
2k views

Running a non-English game

I'm DMing a game in Cantonese for some people from Hong Kong. For those who don't know, Cantonese is a spoken language similar to Mandarin Chinese, used by Hongkongers, and is dissimilar to English. I ...
-1 votes
3 answers
568 views

How prepared is "too prepared" for an endgame-like NPC?

I'm currently running a guild heavy campaign with the two major guilds being the Bandit's Guild and the Adventurer's Guild. The bandits guild runs in territories where noble rank and lord rank bandits ...
9 votes
6 answers
742 views

Handling witty jabs at the DM

Suppose as the adventure is about to kick-off the DM invites some discussion about what each character has been up to lately and after hearing each monologue embeds a bit of his own story telling into ...
7 votes
2 answers
3k views

How do I tell my DM that dice don’t need to dictate the story?

So while I like my DM, it's kind of hard to say that our game has a consistent story and that she legit decides everything on dice rolls. Oh you want to persuade that character? Yeah, that depends on ...
28 votes
10 answers
5k views

Creating a campaign that ends with a TPK by design

I'm creating a campaign that takes players from level 3 to level 15+. The premise is that the party is granted a special role by the reigning good King to protect and serve (essentially they are ...
  • 540
10 votes
1 answer
647 views

Translating in-game between player characters without breaking the game's rhythm

(I struggled to find a "decent" title that encapsulates the issue at hand, so if you have a title idea that fits the question better, I'll gladly take it over the current one) I recently had ...
  • 3,836
13 votes
5 answers
2k views

How can I add a layer of meaning to an evil campaign?

It's all but ubiquitous that a throwing a chaotic evil character into a heroic party can lead to hurt feelings and other stigmata. Some DMs don't even allow a chaotic evil while others attempt to ...
5 votes
0 answers
137 views

Usually, Character Creation isn't a roleplaying opportunity, but if you wanted it to be one, how would you do it? [closed]

I'm starting a brand new campaign (as GM) and I wanted to try to roleplay the actual character creation process. My plan is to have one on one sessions with each player where they would make narrative ...
  • 1,100
20 votes
5 answers
4k views

I have a suddenly small party and I was running a longer campaign, how do I handle this without giving up the campaign?

I am a DM with general experience, I am not a beginner, and I am certainly not an expert. My DnD group initially started as your typical four people, all casual friends, then one of the members had to ...
  • 303
8 votes
2 answers
2k views

As a GM, how can I balance weapon proficiencies that I grant to players for good roleplay?

I like a bit of roleplay in my games and I'm quite supportive of any players that play in dumb but in-character ways. I often give some advantages here and there but I am a bit worried about balance. ...
13 votes
3 answers
1k views

Running a oneshot for a group with no TTRPG experience

I'm running a short Pathfinder session for a group that is interested in TTRPGs but has no prior experience in it. What may be some particular issues that I should keep in mind, specifically for a ...
24 votes
5 answers
4k views

How to manage time pressure?

The game assumes multiple encounters per day. However, sandboxes or megadungeons give players a lot of control about how far and how long they want to push each day. Sure, factions can also act ...
2 votes
2 answers
177 views

How do I prevent a teleporting artefact from splitting the party? [closed]

During my campaign the players will find a magical diary. The diary is an artefact that, when read, transports the reader into the time period described therein. They can interact with the people and ...
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1 vote
1 answer
267 views

How to handle teleporting players into another character's memories?

In my world, I have an NPC (Baron) who made a deal with a devil (Stan) which requires Baron to maintain a diary in exchange for immortality. The many volumes of the diary serve to give Baron his ...
1 vote
0 answers
180 views

Trying not to make a twist too obvious [closed]

Me and my friend are making a campaign for the friend group and a twist which we are planning is that an important lore NPC will turn out to have been killed early in the story and impersonated by the ...
4 votes
1 answer
103 views

How do node-based scenarios interact with the GM vs. Players turn system in Mouse Guard?

With node-based scenarios, you plan multiple nodes and place three or more clues from the current node to adjacent nodes. The Alexandrian has a good series on them, that starts here. From what I ...
12 votes
3 answers
414 views

How to run tactical combat on the Plane of Air?

My party recently got themselves accidentally transported to the Plane of Air by way of a cursed throne that once belonged to a cloud giant. While there, I intend to run at least one combat where ...
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48 votes
12 answers
7k views

What to do when a player roleplays an extremely persuasive argument, but flubs their Persuasion check?

I have been the DM of a wonderful group of Stack Exchange friends playing an urban fantasy campaign of D&D 5e for some time now, and a question came up in our group Discord that has got me ...
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4 votes
3 answers
229 views

How can I manage player's secret actions on play by chat in Mouse Guard?

I'm planning on running Mouse Guard 1e in a play by chat environment without extra channels or private rooms. Part of conflict resolution (at least what I can remember, I can't find my rule book atm) ...
11 votes
5 answers
635 views

How can we help our DM to keep things moving?

Our DM started to master for us about two years ago, using published materials. We played Lost Mine of Phandelver, then Waterdeep: Dragon Heist and now Dungeon of the Mad Mage. All of this is good. ...
7 votes
4 answers
988 views

What to do when the monster is too strong for the players? [closed]

Good afternoon, I'm about to start an RPG campaign where the system has very strong monsters, and it's not to reveal that to the players either. I would like to know the following situation: What to ...
13 votes
4 answers
9k views

How much gold should a character gain per level?

I DM a group of 5 level 2 PCs, and currently they each have approximately 150gp each. I was just wondering if there's an average or recommended amount of gp that a PC should gain per level?
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33 votes
7 answers
7k views

How can I facilitate a faster pace of play?

I'm DMing a group that was supposed to run a small campaign, maybe 4 sessions long. But it's taken us over 10 sessions, and we aren't even halfway done. I run a party of 5 2nd level players. There's ...
  • 701
40 votes
7 answers
6k views

As a DM, how can I address players' frustration with in-game decision-making?

After last night's session, my players and I had a long after-action discussion in which they expressed frustration at how their own in-game decision making has led them to circumstances that they ...
11 votes
4 answers
3k views

How to communicate, in game, to a player that they are behaving sub-optimally in a specific section (that was designed for them)

So, I have a PC (Barbarian) who is having trouble hitting things. Even with advantage. They are just not rolling well, and can't hit above a 11 on the dice. The player has expressed some ...
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-2 votes
1 answer
545 views

Which monsters can scare players by harming their PCs long-term? [closed]

In 5e, most damage heals naturally over a long rest. Some monsters however have abilities or attacks that cause long-term harm, harm that is not cured by a long rest or by saving throws over time. ...
15 votes
4 answers
810 views

How to speed up combat by helping players to visualize the scene?

We play D&D 5e over Discord, using voice and chat channels, and use D&D Beyond for character sheets and most die-rolling. It generally works great, but sometimes combats lag, reasons for which ...
  • 28.2k
20 votes
7 answers
4k views

Did I overstep the players' agency by forcefully resolving conflict between one player and the rest of the group? [closed]

In my last game, conflict emerged between one of my players (let's call him Bob) and the rest of the team. Finally, I (as GM) stepped into it and forced the player to give up. Backstory A session ...
13 votes
3 answers
4k views

As a DM, how do I assassinate (or attempt to assassinate) one of my PCs within 5e RAW?

One of my players has a detailed backstory that has him being hunted by a rival guild. I want have him be the target of an assassin, and I can handle setting up the encounter, but I'm not sure how to ...
  • 1,177
22 votes
6 answers
4k views

As a DM, how can I keep martial characters relevant in non-combat encounters?

There's a lot of discussion around how/ whether casters outpace martial classes in combat, but in my game I've actually noticed the gap more in investigation, social, and stealth encounters. Some ...
  • 6,014
20 votes
3 answers
4k views

Metagaming Concern? Or just normal player culture?

I am a DM for 5e who recently gave the team a magical item. Everyone is very excited for it, however the player who chose to keep it in their inventory has been researching it. He has looked up how ...
6 votes
0 answers
149 views

How to encourage players to roleplay how their Race/Class Combo engages with the world? [closed]

This one has been getting me for years and years, and it happens pretty much like clockwork. Group is doing their GNC renbu, and Low and Behold, a Kobold Barbarian! Or some other off-kilter ...
17 votes
8 answers
2k views

How can I introduce twists to a heist when the dice always succeed?

I think it's pretty well known that the best heists are those where the party gathers information, makes plans, gets their gear together, and then in the middle of executing the plan something happens ...
37 votes
8 answers
2k views

How can I roleplay a vulgar character without using profanity?

In my new campaign, I have an NPC who I would like to have the personality trait of being extremely and unexpectedly vulgar. However I also have a few players who prefer not to use to hear profanity ...
  • 28.1k
6 votes
3 answers
336 views

How could I keep a player engaged if I can't bring his dead character back to life a for a few sessions? [closed]

I have a storyline I'm writing based in an Arctic setting. The party will have to engage in a battle of survival against the elements - kind of a Napoleonic retreat from Moscow - which is likely to ...
4 votes
2 answers
266 views

As GM, how to implement an enemy that erases the PC's memory [closed]

I like the idea of an innocent-looking enemy, or even just a zone, in some dangerous place, that slowly erases the memories of anyone near it, whether randomly or starting from the newest memories. ...
23 votes
6 answers
4k views

How to deal with a group of passive and non descriptive players?

I run a D&D 5e game for my SO and her family. They are all first time players and agreed to try it on my behalf. The group consists of: Me (25M) DM My SO (25F) Her father (54M) Her mother (49F) ...
7 votes
1 answer
275 views

Holding single player mini-campaigns before starting the main campaign with the full party? [closed]

Is there any precedent for the DM to have one-on-one mini-campaigns with some or all of the player, before the main campaign with everyone as a single party begins? I thought of a fun twist where ...
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