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Questions tagged [gm-techniques]

The practical arts and methods applied to gamemastering.

3
votes
2answers
80 views

How can I make sure every one is having a good time? [on hold]

I have recently started DMing for a group of six (I have only had groups of two before). I have a few quite players and some of them are more involved than others. But I don't want my quieter players ...
30
votes
6answers
3k views

How can I make an NPC useful without overshadowing the player characters?

I play DnD 5th and I find my group often has many NPCs accompanying them, like 4 players and 4 NPCs. Most have some form of tie to the group, but few are actually as useful as the group members, as ...
-2
votes
1answer
74 views

What the is the best way to create a world for Pathfinder? [on hold]

I have started a Pathfinder world and wanted to know how to create a good setting.
12
votes
5answers
1k views

How can I convey and sustain a level of realism in a given horror campaign? [on hold]

TL;DR: How to convey to the players, beyond explicit statements (which sometimes doesn't work), a level of realism that you as GM expect for a given horror campaign? How could this level of realism be ...
5
votes
5answers
444 views

How can I encourage players to role-play using their ability scores?

The physical ability scores (Strength, Dexterity, and Constitution), haven't been much of a problem. Feel free to include advice on role-playing these scores as well though. When it comes to the ...
14
votes
5answers
712 views

What are the consequences of telling players their character's thoughts as a method to help guide their actions?

I generally try to keep my campaigns fairly open-ended and avoid railroading my players, or keep it to a minimum when it is performed. Generally they always tend to have a plot hook or two that they ...
14
votes
5answers
994 views

Is it reasonable to punish a paladin for breaking an oath to protect a creature they did not realize was a major antagonist? [closed]

Backstory The events of my homebrew campaign take place after the fall of a powerful mage tyrant, assumed dead. About 6 sessions ago, my players recovered a living horse and dead human from a "...
22
votes
6answers
4k views

How can I help/encourage a wizard player with their bookkeeping?

One of my players is playing their first caster in 5e and chose a wizard. Unbeknown to them, the wizard class comes with a fair amount of bookkeeping both in long rests and downtime with their spell ...
22
votes
3answers
3k views

How can I make conversations with NPCs more succinct?

IMPORTANT: don't just read the selected answer, all of the answers to this question provide good techniques to apply in different scenarios when it comes to conversations with NPCs. I chose the one ...
7
votes
4answers
344 views

What are the advantages/disadvantages of sharing personal dream sequences with the party?

First time Storyteller here. Woooooo. There's a dream sequence that I'm writing for one of my characters and I'm not sure if it's considered kosher to share that (basically read it aloud) to the ...
4
votes
2answers
142 views

How can I get my group to care about developing a village?

I am currently planning out a scenario for a group where the scenario will involve governing a village and expanding it using kingdom building rules, all while also solving mysteries in the land (...
8
votes
2answers
254 views

How to plan/run interesting sessions where the PCs have extensive resources?

Our group has recently started a 40KRPG: Rogue Trader campaign. In this campaign, each session is basically standalone (we meet up too infrequently for anything more complex), though with consistent ...
6
votes
1answer
230 views

How do you transition from a one-shot to a campaign?

In previous games that I have both DMed and played, both homebrewed and published adventures, the games seemed to go nowhere. We went into the dungeon, slayed the things, looted the things, and left. ...
51
votes
11answers
20k views

How can I tell the DM that I wasn't having fun and that I fault him for it?

Yesterday I was playing one shot DnD 5e and didn't expect that I become salty. The Adventure The one shot start at level 5 and I made sharpshooter fighter and my character was neutral good. So my ...
8
votes
4answers
4k views

Is a DM allowed to add restrictions mid-campaign? How can I deal with that?

This afternoon we had our first session of D&D 5e with a group we found on the internet. After finishing our first encounter, I did the following: Put me next to the Wizard. Cast Guidance on him....
1
vote
1answer
262 views

How close is 5ft? [duplicate]

While this sounds kind of silly, I'm a DM and trying to settle on a question a player asked me. In the game I use a battlemat and place all creatures in melee adjacent to each other. However a player ...
31
votes
9answers
7k views

How can I discourage a player from making the same character if their current one dies?

This was inspired by this question: Should I allow players to recreate the exact same character if they die? Whilst it was closed as too subjective (because it asks whether one should want to do this)...
13
votes
13answers
2k views

How to balance combat encounter for magic user group that suddenly can't cast magic? [closed]

My campaign is set on a low-magic setting, meaning magic is not common. Magic users are generally welcome, although at some places they hate magic users. Most (80%) of my players start off as a magic ...
11
votes
8answers
4k views

How do I clearly foreshadow a potential out-of-combat death?

Let me first set the scene The group I DM for is in a position where they are at the mercy of a group of people who are contemplating what to do with the party. I have decided on a game of chance to ...
23
votes
5answers
3k views

How do I keep a published adventure playthrough “on rails” without removing player agency? [duplicate]

Split from: How do I deal with players who make friends with goblins? I want to run a campaign "from the book" for a group of new players (played RPGs before, but stuff much much lighter then D&D,...
42
votes
10answers
17k views

How do I deal with players who make friends with goblins?

I want to run a campaign "from the book" for a group of new players (played RPGs before, but stuff much much lighter then D&D, and I've not DMed this edition before. I DMed D&D 4e once: over ...
30
votes
6answers
4k views

What is the difference between giving advantage on a roll and reducing the DC?

I run a 5e campaign, and I like rewarding my players for thinking outside the box, roleplaying well, etc. Suppose we have the following scenario: Violet is a bard, and is attempting to intimidate a ...
27
votes
2answers
7k views

Is there a correct way to deal with “fish-in-a-barrel” type combat?

I'm wondering if there is an official way of dealing with "fish-in-a-barrel" type combat, and if so, what is it? Examples: Some examples might include: Monster in a cage and the PCs want to stab/...
2
votes
1answer
126 views

How should I implement a book of hidden lore? [closed]

I am DMing a game in which one of the main plot elements involves multiple different factions (several different groups of NPCs in addition to the PCs) searching for pages of a powerful book of lore ...
14
votes
5answers
492 views

How to show emotions differently for different NPCs?

I'm the DM of the group. This is more of an acting question rather than one about mechanics. As my group and I have progressed through our game I've introduced several recurring characters to it. ...
1
vote
0answers
338 views

How can I shape long-term plot challenges around character power/capabilities? [closed]

When planning a session or adventure, obviously one should take into account the approximate power level and capabilities of the players. For creatures and similar formal challenges, CR helps scale ...
5
votes
1answer
252 views

How can sapience be determined for monsters?

Whenever I DM (5e D&D), I tend to treat any creature without a language as bestial in its behavior (mostly in combat), especially if it has an intelligence score of 5 or less. This has never been ...
-1
votes
4answers
251 views

How do I prevent players following a dead end for too long? [closed]

I could use some suggestions on how to deal with in game events when I specifically don't want players to waste time pursuing an objective, either because it is: A) a dead end or B) they aren't ...
7
votes
2answers
838 views

How can I make my players settle their differences in-character?

I am currently running a game of Dungeon World as a first-time GM. In my party of 5 players, there is a barbarian who always rushes in to fight head-on, and also behaves very aggressively towards ...
13
votes
5answers
599 views

How can I make my players realize that if they use their consumables, I will get them to easily replace them?

I have recently started running a game of Pathfinder for a bunch of friends who hadn't played tabletop games before. H The problem They never use the scrolls or potions I give them, thinking that ...
2
votes
1answer
103 views

Planned action encounters in town [closed]

I'm presently running a campaign in a custom sci-fi universe (using Chaosium's BRP system as a ruleset) and my party have just finished getting through the equivalent of what in a fantasy game would ...
35
votes
19answers
5k views

How can I avoid problems that arise from rolling ability scores?

Rolling ability scores is a time-honored tradition across many editions of D&D. However, it can sometimes cause problems for players and/or the DM. For example, one player character may end up ...
17
votes
5answers
4k views

What is a generally polite and succinct response to player requests for mechanical changes?

I would like a script or block of text that is nicer than "No." Trying to keep the number of table rules and exceptions to a minimum requires turning down requests for mechanical changes. All such ...
4
votes
1answer
172 views

Avoiding losing much time on uninteresting scenes

As I understand it, the core idea of Fate is to only spend time playing scenes with an impact into the story and the characters. Still playing it I've seen much time being spend on scenes that are ...
20
votes
8answers
6k views

How can my campaign continue amicably despite an indestructible nymph PC?

I've been GMing a Pathfinder campaign that uses the monsters as PCs rules. It's been an blast, but recently things have been unbalanced. The party's equivalent to level 12 right now, and the PC ...
1
vote
0answers
188 views

Making Deals with Devils [closed]

I'm preparing for running my first campaign (Storm King's Thunder) and I've got most of the basic information down in terms of running the campaign with the information provided but I wanted to add a ...
3
votes
1answer
207 views

Is this social reputation point system balanced?

I am planning a "Houses and Humans" or "Suburbs and SUVs" one-shot (yes, based on the meme, title-pending) for later this year using the "Roll for Shoes" system, but the systems isn't terribly ...
31
votes
5answers
7k views

Is an unlikely coincidence bad storytelling?

I am the DM in a fairly new d&d 5e campaign. In it is a kobold barbarian who was once a dragon-shield in a now destroyed tribe. The black dragon wyrmling the tribe worshiped/protected is presumed ...
7
votes
3answers
232 views

How to make the game exciting for someone playing a child character?

I will be running a game of Dark Ages: Mage for a friend. She says that she has trouble associating herself with a character when the character is immediately thrown into the adventure. After some ...
17
votes
4answers
2k views

As a DM, is it improper of me to flirt with one of my players “off the clock”?

(I'm not sure if this belongs here or in interpersonal.SE; I decided to post here because I hope that others may have first- or second-hand experience.) The premise is simple: in my weekly 5e ...
14
votes
1answer
351 views

For a single party, how can I make Dead in Thay a “fast-paced assault” and not a drawn-out series of skirmishes?

I having been running adventure modules from Tales from the Yawning Portal for a single group of 3-6 players (i.e. I have 6 players, but sometimes as few as 3 can attend a session). Part of the reason ...
3
votes
2answers
204 views

How to convert hostile NPCs to party's side?

Party members have done their adventurer's job and basically wiped out gremlin's cave, murdering everyone but the beastmaster(that went unconscious and tied up). One of the players (who asked not to ...
11
votes
6answers
396 views

How can I practice my ad lib skills?

I am a new DM. Is there something I can do, or practice, that would enhance my ability to make up reactions to requests or actions from the players? For example I was reading through the most recent ...
7
votes
6answers
255 views

How to add more combat into an investigation-heavy campaign?

I have experienced such an issue with a previous run of our Fate RPG campaign. The setting is somewhat influenced by the Dresden Files, which means the campaign involved lots of investigation (...
19
votes
9answers
2k views

A player left the group at a moment's notice, and I am at a loss for what to do with his character

I had a player message me a few hours before our 5e session, "Hey I'm quitting the group, would it be too much of a hassle to kill off my character tonight?" I said that's fine, thinking I would fudge ...
20
votes
8answers
5k views

How can I prevent casters from stealing the spotlight from non-casters?

I have been running a game of D&D and the group is split with two non magic users (Fighter, Barbarian), one quarter-caster (Paladin), one half-caster (Bard), and two full casters (Cleric, Wizard). ...
10
votes
4answers
475 views

How can I force good NPC reactions to a bad player with Good Stuff?

So, I'm running an Amber Diceless game. One of the characters took 21 points of Good Stuff at the beginning, because they want to save up to 25 to buy Advanced Pattern Imprint after the game starts. ...
31
votes
7answers
5k views

How can I handle players who want to browse shops at random?

If one or more of my players decide to go on a shopping spree, I've previously had problems describing the shop's inventory, without going into much detail or making it seem like the shop has only 2 ...
14
votes
3answers
827 views

How can a GM control their use of specific words?

Often times when I am running a game, I find that plot points, characters, and setting features require the use of specific wording to be properly explained, develop identifiable characteristics, or ...
22
votes
11answers
5k views

A PC can't do any damage in combat. How can I keep the player interested?

I’m running my first campaign as a DM. One of the players has created a cleric that has been cursed—he takes 3x the damage he deals—and is therefore for all intents and purposes a pacifist. The player ...