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Questions tagged [gm-techniques]

The practical arts and methods applied to gamemastering.

5
votes
1answer
164 views

Do ability scores force a character to act in a certain way? [duplicate]

As a group, most of the players at our table are fans of rolling for stats. This leads and has led to multiple amazing characters and some .. a bit less amazing. Something that is rather consistent ...
8
votes
1answer
178 views

How to handle players who push fun aspects way too far?

I'm a DM running a Naheulbeuk campaign with coworkers on lunch time. The Dungeon of Naheulbeuk is a humorous french podcast adventure, which parodies RPG, fantasy pop culture and tabletop games. ...
9
votes
2answers
915 views

How can I be fair while using a GM vs. players style?

I am planning to run an one shot where it will be me against the players, with me running the game as the dungeon lord (AKA final boss) and the players will be playing as adventurers. However, as the ...
24
votes
5answers
4k views

How do I handle players attempting to intimidate enemies with non-enchantment spells?

I'm a DM for the first time and I'm running LMoP with a group of 5 very experienced players. I have difficulties in handling situations in which the players try to intimidate the enemy roleplaying ...
55
votes
11answers
12k views

How can I impose consequences when PCs commit severe crimes?

For context, this is my first adventure as a DM. The PCs are level 2. About 40 minutes into the first session, while investigating the rumours about a ghost ship, the group meets with Aleyd Burrows, ...
2
votes
2answers
412 views

How can I prevent one guy from leaving the group to do his own thing?

I have recently made a rather epic story for my players to play though. (In the sense of a long overarching story). I have been running for a few sessions but a particular player is constantly trying ...
28
votes
18answers
7k views

How can my villain intimidate my players' characters into submission?

I'm planning a new campaign where the villain will force the party to do his bidding, starting from level 3. The opening will be an encounter with the villain, where he will "ask" them to do not-so-...
7
votes
3answers
2k views

How do I handle initiative and turns for a group of monsters?

A monster group consists of three kobolds. Firstly, as DM do I roll initiative once for the whole group? Secondly, when it is the kobolds turn, do I roll a separate attack for each kobold? If so ...
38
votes
7answers
8k views

How can I, as DM, dictate the emotions and actions of the players (magically)?

(Some of) my players are trying to role play in a meta-gaming sort of way. For instance, I had an array of weapons in a dungeon, and when they took them, they had to make a Wisdom saving throw, else ...
6
votes
1answer
321 views

How can I motivate my players' characters to explore, when they have teleportation?

My group and I are playing a Superhero Campaign. We are using the Fantasy Flight Games Roleplaying system used in their Star Wars series, with a mixture of the Marvel Heroic Roleplaying. In the Marvel ...
4
votes
1answer
83 views

How to include The Crooked's Crew as a Keeper

I've run 4 sessions for a group of friends now, and one of my players picked a Crew for one of their starting moves. They ended up being pretty fun characters for everyone to interact with, but when ...
41
votes
6answers
6k views

How do I keep my players from focusing too deeply on unimportant details?

A little bit of backstory. Me and a few friends from my job decided to play D&D 5e while we're kinda stuck in one place and were quite bored. So we got everything we needed and they chose me to DM....
16
votes
4answers
391 views

How to deal with players who take up most of the time by doing solo actions?

I am sure this has been asked already, as this is probably a very common problem, but I didn't find anything. I am playing in a campaign I made myself using homebrewed rules based on a German pen-and-...
6
votes
1answer
196 views

Mechanics for one-shot (stealth) incapacitation [closed]

I feel like the rules of 5e (I'm not familiar with other editions) are really lacking in department of stealth opportunities. I'm mostly talking about one shot kills, but not necessarily. Examples: A ...
15
votes
4answers
2k views

When do I tell my players when they're under an NPC's class effects that cause disadvantage on attacks?

There's a pretty good chance that my PCs will enter a team-battle tournament soon. One of the characters that they might fight has an ability that would give disadvantage to attack someone other than ...
38
votes
5answers
4k views

What information do I actually need from my players’ character sheets?

I am a DM for two D&D 5e games. I always ask for character sheets when we first start out, so I can have a general sense of what I'm in for, and to get working on incorporating backstories. Our ...
3
votes
2answers
158 views

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

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 ...
34
votes
7answers
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 ...
12
votes
5answers
1k views

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

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 ...
8
votes
5answers
552 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
748 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
1k 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 ...
23
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
370 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 ...
6
votes
4answers
248 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
265 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
270 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 ...
9
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
278 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 ...
32
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
128 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 ...
16
votes
6answers
572 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
547 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
279 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
274 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
856 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
625 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
109 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 ...
5
votes
1answer
178 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 ...