Questions tagged [gm-techniques]

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

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1
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0answers
281 views

How do I deal with a problem player overstepping their boundaries in a 1-on-1 campaign? [closed]

I’m GMing a 1-on-1 campaign (it’s all homebrew, by the way). My player likes to weigh in on what’s happening, and sometimes oversteps her boundary into GMing territory. I let it slide a lot, since it ...
16
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2answers
3k views

Will it cause any balance problems to have PCs level up and gain the benefits of a long rest mid-fight?

I am planning an encounter for 4 level 2 players and I am planning to have them level up mid combat. I wanted to describe it sort of like a power within awakening like many popular animes have. To do ...
29
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7answers
45k views

How can I make combat more tactically interesting for me as a DM?

For me, I find it very difficult to enjoy DMing combat encounters. Combat is generally very dry and monotonous. What can I do to make combat more enjoyable for me as a DM? Some of the issues I have ...
6
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2answers
308 views

Designing 'Gandalf' NPCs [closed]

I'm designing an NPC that is meant to be a manager/mentor to the players. Contrary to the archetype I've just invoked by mentioning Gandalf, she isn't some divine force incarnate-she's just somewhat ...
26
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11answers
2k views

Excuses for opponents using nonlethal force? [closed]

In plotting out low-level encounters at the start of a campaign (especially with new players) I prefer to create opponents who don't want to kill the PCs right away. Instead, I generally have them ...
7
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6answers
1k views

Knocking out NPCs

Alright, so I'm thinking up a stealth based mission that involves sneaking into a guarded manor and stealing an artifact. Needless to say, it would be best if this was a quiet affair. I have most of ...
16
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5answers
4k views

What method can I use to design a dungeon difficult enough that the PCs can't make it through without killing them?

The first 'round' of my campaign will end with the deaths (and resurrections) of all of the players. Their role before catastrophe strikes is as teachers in a philanthropically funded school in an ...
1
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0answers
132 views

Which is easier to implement: a time based insurmountable obstacle or a “meat gate” one? [closed]

The first 'round' of my campaign will end with the deaths (and resurrections) of all of the players. Their role before catastrophe strikes is as teachers in a philanthropically funded school in an ...
13
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4answers
414 views

How can I encourage PCs to come back to Home Base when their quests are far from home?

I am new to DM'ing and I have been thinking of the option of a Home Base for my party. I like the idea of building up a base, with craftsmen and libraries, etc for research and training and also to ...
12
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4answers
1k views

How to track persistent area effects with TotM?

My group is trying theater of the mind (TotM) battles instead of using a mat with miniatures. A challenge we're having is when someone casts a spell like entangle, which affects a location. On a map, ...
3
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1answer
350 views

My players' characters tried to rob a jewelry store and failed. How do I play it out? [closed]

So, I am running a heroic campaign where a bunch of "god's chosen" people (led by the cleric in the party) are preparing to become the "spear's end" in the war with fiends who plan to invade the ...
21
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5answers
720 views

Dealing with leaving players

Somewhat similar to this, but this is a different case with different answers (Or so I hope). I've been playing "the dark eye", my PnP of choice, for a few years now and have recently taken up GM'ing ...
0
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2answers
289 views

Assign mini 'secret' quest to one of the party members? [closed]

I'm planning a Dungeons and Dragons campaign set in a province undergoing a separatist insurrection. I want the theme/shtick of the campaign to be the idea of choices and unintended consequences. The ...
0
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2answers
136 views

Gameplay-to-cutscene ratio: how interactive should I make the introduction to the campaign? [closed]

I'm planning a campaign with a specific backdrop-the characters are employees of a certain organization and this is their first day on the job. The organization and the job will no longer actually ...
2
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0answers
233 views

How can I get my players interested in my campaign again? [closed]

I am an experienced DM, having run a number of campaigns with the same group of players. We're all in middle school. I'm currently running a campaign that I made myself for D&D5e. Recently, my ...
47
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9answers
6k views

How can “mimic phobia” be cured or prevented?

This has actually happened to me as a player, and a player I've DM'ed in a oneshot. In short, when we delve into a dungeon, whenever a DM describes an object in a weird way, we become very cautious to ...
20
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7answers
2k views

Does asking a player to not to do something violate their agency?

This is something I am rather conflicted about as I have met with several gamemasters and I was told that asking players to not to have their character do something breaks their immersion and violates ...
11
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0answers
454 views

Faster inventory management [closed]

I have tended to hand-wave weight limits and encumbering rules and focus on fun, but the bulk of random items starts to really build up to ridiculous levels (even with a bag of holding). Doing time-...
30
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14answers
29k views

How do I design exciting, fun boss fights for my players?

So I've DM'd three separate games, of which one that I'm largely happy with. However, one consistent problem I run into is designing fun, exciting, and interesting boss fights. I've run into two major ...
56
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23answers
12k views

How to handle a rules-lawyer player?

As a game master, what strategy/strategies seem to work well for handling players that have spent more time reading through the rule books than you have? While it's helpful at times to have the ...
3
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0answers
244 views

What to do next after pulling a punch as the GM? [closed]

TL; DR: I just bailed my player out of a dangerous situation with plausible but still apparently contrived GM intervention. How do I follow that up with an action or situation that will preserve the ...
31
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6answers
3k views

Does limiting the number of sources help simplify the game for a new DM with new and experienced players?

I still consider myself pretty new as a GM. I have been running D&D 5e for about three years now (not regularly which is why I would say still newish). I am about to embark on a campaign with some ...
73
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13answers
8k views

How do I narrate a player's PC's actions without causing unintended consequences for the PC?

Daxius: "I'd like to roll an investigate check on Statue 1." Rolls. "Solid... 19." DM: "You walk around the statue, gliding your fingers along the rough outlines of it's crisp, defined ...
8
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3answers
849 views

A player has asked the DM to ignore the lore to enable his character concept. What are the pros and cons if the DM does so?

Context I'm posting this on behalf of a friend. She wants more than just our group's opinion. I don't know the other guy at all, but I was given screenshots of their conversations in order to get ...
7
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0answers
78 views

What techniques can I use prevent my players from missing important details? [duplicate]

I'm running a campaign with some experienced players that is pretty complex and long-term. (Short story: Acererak is returning to the Prime Material to enslave the population, and the only weapon ...
25
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2answers
3k views

How to GM as a Solar NPC who has high Intelligence and Wisdom scores?

I'm considering using a Solar (INT 25, WIS 25) as a semi-benevolent (but also kind of annoying) come-and-go guide of sorts to 3 high-level PC's in an upcoming campaign. While I would like to imagine ...
7
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2answers
448 views

Can the “Create a Monster” table be used to accurately change a creature's CR?

Related: How do I scale up a Monster for a big Party in D&D 5e? There have been a lot of questions about Mimics, so I'll use that, but this applies to any creature that doesn't match up with the ...
15
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4answers
525 views

How can I run a session where two opposing parties play at the same time?

A player of mine had an interesting concept where two parties who are opposed to each other would play at the same time in the same session. In essence the plot would be a group of thieves have been ...
60
votes
8answers
12k views

How can I handle a player who pre-plans arguments about my rulings on RAW?

When playing D&D, I have always taken the following approach: I will do my best to adhere to Rules As Written (RAW) If I don't know a rule off the top of my head I will look it up If something I ...
30
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6answers
6k views

How can I get my players to come to the game session after agreeing to a date?

I have been playing D&D-5e for a while with my friends and a lot of times, when they say they are completely sure they can come to a meet, they end up not coming. I would at least like to get them ...
58
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12answers
6k views

What can I do to encourage my players to use their consumables?

Frequently when I DM I will give my players consumables (i.e. potions and scrolls) in loot drops in place of gold. My intention is to give them more flexibility in strategy during exploration and ...
22
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3answers
3k views

How to satisfy a player character's curiosity about another player character?

I am new to DMing. I am starting off with the Lost Mine of Phandelver adventure to get my feet wet. One player in particular is playing a half-elf bard. They have watched a lot of Critical Role and ...
52
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11answers
10k views

How do I deal with a player whose character wanders off for no reason?

I'm a new DM looking for advice on a potentially(?) problematic player. One of the players in our group consistently has their character run off. She sees herself as "the wild card" and likes to ...
20
votes
8answers
657 views

Should Merits be given as rewards when the accomplishments match?

As a storyteller, are merits acquired only through experience after character creation, or do you reward your players with them for accomplishing their goals? Suppose a situation like the following ...
71
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12answers
8k views

What is the purpose of easy combat scenarios that don't need resource expenditure?

This is something I've been thinking about as a DM in my encounter design: Why have easy/medium/etc combat encounters that don't really require resources to successfully complete? Given the limited ...
49
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5answers
12k views

How should I handle players who ignore the session zero agreement?

My D&D group is currently playing a campaign. It went smoothly for the first half. And then, by request, I allowed two of the current players' friends to join the campaign, all of whom have no ...
5
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2answers
301 views

What's a good way to encourage players to use their encounter/daily powers more?

My players don't tend to use their encounter and daily powers during combat, to the point where they have run from encounters they could win fairly comfortably if they used their special abilities. ...
38
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14answers
6k views

How can I give a Ranger advantage on a check due to Favored Enemy without spoiling the story for the player?

The Scenario I am the DM for a group who have just entered a town that was attacked by cloud giants a few days before their arrival. The players and characters don't know this though, so part of the ...
50
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9answers
9k views

How to not let the Identify spell spoil everything?

I am currently DMing a campaign where there is a wizard with the Identify spell, the bane of my existence. Identify allows him to learn the properties of literally every single item the party ...
58
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9answers
16k views

How do I learn to become a good GM?

I have played and tried to GM games since I was in elementary school, beginning with games like Shadowrun, Earthdawn, and Champions. Recently, I've gotten dack into gaming with a variety of other ...
6
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0answers
93 views

Worried first time DM/general player of DnD seeking advice! [duplicate]

I need whatever help I can get with my first ever DnD session! To be honest, I have little to no experience with roleplaying games. I used to roleplay with my friends, but I wouldn't consider that ...
17
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5answers
2k views

Players preemptively rolling, even though their rolls are useless or are checking the wrong skills

Part of this answer made me think about my own situation: It's entirely possible that the ranger is the only one that has a chance at succeeding at the check and thus it would be inappropriate to ...
44
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8answers
6k views

Can party betrayal be done successfully?

After reading How much experience should a PC be worth? I was wondering if and how party betrayal can be done successfully, especially since it's a real possibility in my campaign. Criteria for ...
9
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2answers
245 views

How can I as GM control off-topic moments and get the players to maintain a serious tone?

My friends and I started playing RPGs at the same time without the help of any experienced person. I am the GM but I struggle to make the players focus on anything that can progress the story in some ...
4
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1answer
1k views

Are there any rules for handling distractions whilst performing skill checks?

Are there are any official rules for imposing some form of penalty on skill checks whilst the character is distracted or interrupted in some way? In another (Non-D&D) game I played recently there ...
32
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7answers
4k views

How do I implement a challenge where time runs backward?

I'm DMing a D&D 5e campaign that has pockets of "weird time" (areas where time runs faster or slower than normal). It seems like I shouldn't pass up the opportunity to have an area where time is ...
49
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6answers
6k views

How can I make my enemies feel real and make combat more engaging?

As a newer DM, I have trouble making some of the more routine combats feel unique or urgent. I believe this is because the enemies my PCs are fighting tend to act like an AI, or just attack until they ...
29
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5answers
5k views

How do I handle a blinded enemy which wants to attack someone it's sure is there?

Say my players blinded a goblin, through either magical or non magical means, and the goblin knew that there was someone within 5 feet of it from before it got blinded. That goblin decides to flail ...
39
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10answers
5k views

How can I enjoy being a DM when I have an explorer personality?

I live in a small Finnish town with my wife and we want to play. But we cannot find any GMs there. So I decided to try to be GM myself. The problem is - I love to explore the worlds, story, monsters, ...
88
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17answers
19k views

How do I communicate to my players that a door is, for the time being, absolutely locked to them?

I have a small dungeon in my campaign, a temple, that is a significant location for the broader story of my world. The players might very well enter this temple pretty early on in their adventuring. ...