Questions tagged [gm-techniques]

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

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28
votes
11answers
7k views

How can I deal with the Remove Curse spell spoiling my plot hooks?

My players met Fiachra, cursed to be a raven unless she brings the Scepter of McGuffin to Ebil Wissard III (grand son of the legendary Ebil Wissard). Of course, the Cleric in the group casts the ...
20
votes
4answers
3k views

How to handle when PCs taste a potion that is actually poison?

I will soon be DM for the first time. As preparation, I have been reading the DMG and I found this rule on identifying a magic item page 136: Potions are an exception; a little taste is enough to ...
4
votes
2answers
243 views

How does increasing PCs' wealth beyond the WBL table affect power disparity between character class tiers?

It's well-known what happens when characters get less gold than they are supposed to according to the wealth-by-level (WBL) guidelines. Basically, the well-known power disparity between casters and ...
19
votes
4answers
4k views

The Bard wants to convert a Goblin to the good side. Are there any rules against this?

Upfront: I DMed a lot from 1990 to 2005, but not D&D. So I'm decent quality and experienced, but rusty and a total novice with the 5e rules. I do believe that fun trumps rules, and that alignment ...
25
votes
3answers
2k views

Is it a bad idea to only start enforcing rules late in a campaign?

I'm a pretty new DM. My players are almost at session 20 in my first campaign and it's going great. One of my players has been using a monk. I wasn't familiar with the class, so I'd usually just ask ...
13
votes
2answers
242 views

Avoiding all or nothing on “short-lived” partials

A sort of common trope I encounter in pbta games is moves with a partial that has you succeed but with the effect "lasting only a moment" (or some similar phrasing). The example I am going to work ...
7
votes
3answers
347 views

Is it incorrect to use Passive Insight to tell Players what their Characters already know about NPCs?

I have a party of 4 noobs, 1 is a pro on other games but new to 5e (like myself - but I haven't played in years), 3 are actually playing their first characters ever. Ages run from 13 to 50 (I love a ...
5
votes
8answers
807 views

How can I combine very different role-playing systems with D&D 5e?

I'm planning on making a D&D 5e campaign for my friends so they can experience what an okay DM is like rather than a bias and railroading DM which is so far their only experience of Dungeons and ...
12
votes
3answers
3k views

How do I choose a villain in the Waterdeep: Dragon Heist adventure?

In the first pages of Dragon Heist, you're told to When you run this adventure, you choose its main villain at the outset. Your choice determines the season of the year in which the story takes ...
126
votes
9answers
21k views

How to stop players from making the game X-rated

After 30 years, a few of my friends and I finally managed to get together and play D&D. We've managed to play 2hrs once a week for the last 6 weeks. I unfortunately ended up being the DM. My ...
24
votes
3answers
6k views

What rolls should players get to see?

I'm a new DM and over the last few weeks I've been slowly learning the game and how it runs. My party consists of 5 PCs. One thing I have been wondering after our last two sessions is: What rolls ...
9
votes
9answers
3k views

How can a GM continue to progress the campaign if the player characters cause a plot-critical item or NPC to be lost/killed? [duplicate]

I'm not familiar with role-playing games so apologies if this question is poorly worded. As an example of what I'm thinking of, suppose the player characters are on a ship, which capsizes. While ...
128
votes
18answers
24k views

What can I do when I accidentally gave out an overpowered item?

In our last game, the players worked their way through a series of fiendish traps into a high security vault, where they recovered a Staff of the Magi. After the game I looked at the stats, and ...
51
votes
13answers
15k views

How to handle wealthy player characters as a GM?

One of the long-standing settings our group keeps returning to is classic medieval fantasy. (Examples are MERP, Rolemaster, The Dark Eye -- But this question is aimed to be system agnostic and is ...
109
votes
11answers
30k views

I failed to open a lock. Now what?

Picking a lock typically requires a DC 15 Dexterity check (Basic rules, p. 49). Likewise for manacles (p. 50), which can alternately be escaped with a DC 20 Dexterity check or broken with a DC 20 ...
10
votes
9answers
2k views

How can I organize my counter collection?

I have just gotten a large collection of monster counters and am wondering how can I store them neatly and in an organized manner after I have punched them out? I am also thinking of ways to easily ...
8
votes
6answers
1k views

How do I encourage players to make characters appropriate to the tone and theme of a game?

I have been a GM for many years and have experience with many different systems and settings of different themes and moods, but my current group seems to be having issues I've never had to deal with ...
56
votes
7answers
3k views

How can I make my game more “noir” as a GM?

I ran a couple of Shadowrun games at Dexcon, my first time GMing at a con. It's not my first time running Shadowrun; I based the games off of a couple jobs my players did in a then-ongoing campaign. ...
12
votes
5answers
948 views

How to convey the tone of Shadowrun?

Reading the core book I realized how different Shadowrun is from my usual game of Dungeons & Dragons. We usually play the good guys saving a village from a tribe of goblins. Most of the time we ...
29
votes
4answers
1k views

How does a GM fix the rules when they goof?

I think it happens to the best of us. I'm not the best of us, so I get to goof a bit more often. The specific example I'm going to mention was using Dresden Files (a derivative of FATE for those who ...
19
votes
8answers
4k views

How can I deal with a “goof-ball” player in my WoD group?

I am a storyteller in a World of Darkness group, and I'm about to start designing a new scenario. However one of my players (let's call him Eric) is worrying me. Eric usually goes the goofball route ...
16
votes
2answers
1k views

How can I figure out what my players have deduced about hidden aspects of the story without hinting at the secret?

New DM here; our group is in the very early stages of a D&D 5e campaign. My players have been hired to provide security for the wedding between Lord P (whose nefariousness was established in ...
9
votes
2answers
313 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 ...
17
votes
5answers
910 views

Adding comic relief

As a GM, I would like to add comic relief to my sessions. Comic relief is the inclusion of a humorous character, scene or witty dialogue in an otherwise serious work, often to relieve tension. ...
14
votes
4answers
2k views

How to go from a humorous campaign to a more serious one?

I am currently running a D&D 4E game. The game started off kind of goofy (we have a thrikreen rogue with glowing blonde hair, an ale-obsessed dwarf battlemind, a ditzy human wizard, and a dwarf ...
11
votes
5answers
901 views

How can I create a more serious atmosphere when playing with siblings?

At our gaming table the players are always making jokes, and some make nonsense noises for some strange reason. My players generally act like hooligans. Getting a new group is not an option – they're ...
38
votes
6answers
5k views

How to deal with players not taking things seriously?

As both a player and GM I play with my group of players (and close friends) on multiple occasions and they will often make fun of either my characters, NPC or a specific situation and won't stop ...
16
votes
2answers
1k views

How to cut back on pre-game joking?

When preparing for a new game (be it a one shot or a campaign) our party, yours truly included, often slips into a humorous mode. It's usually light-hearted fun, and most of us like it, but some, ...
8
votes
5answers
860 views

Help with 3D combat

I recently asked this question, in which one of the comments mentioned there might be problems with 3D combat. My campaign will be nearly entirely underwater, in the deep sea where 3 dimensional ...
17
votes
3answers
2k views

What does “Be a fan of the characters” mean?

My group is currently planning to switch system from DnD 5e to some other system. One of the system I've been eyeing is Dungeon World, from the reviews of my community in Discord. Right now I'm ...
15
votes
9answers
7k views

How do I force a party from the Astral Plane?

I am running a high-level, low magic campaign, currently 13th level. When the seas iced over thanks to a Levistus activating an elder relic, the possessed warlock of the party spent some time ...
31
votes
7answers
4k views

What's wrong about addressing the players in Dungeon World?

One of Dungeon World's gamemastering principles is “Address the characters, not the players”: Addressing the characters, not the players, means that you don’t say, “Tony, is Dunwick doing ...
1
vote
0answers
134 views

Are there statistics on how many encounters-per-day most tables have? [closed]

Is there a consensus on how many combat encounters most players experience in a DnD 5E adventuring day? From the DMG, pg 84: Assuming typical adventuring conditions and average luck, most ...
20
votes
5answers
976 views

How do I make a single combat in a day challenging and interesting?

4e is a game of resource attrition. I can't find the quote in DMG right now, but from memory and experience, it works best with about 3-5 combat encounters in an adventuring day. That way, some of the ...
15
votes
7answers
634 views

Role-playing within role-playing [closed]

Suppose that the PCs are actors that have to play roles in film, television, theatre. Or that they are some sort of spirits that process other people and make them do their bidding without letting ...
14
votes
0answers
220 views

How can a GM calm down the group when they're chatty? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: When and how should I get the players to cut back on their out of character chatter? Now and then the groups I play in or GM can get rather chatty. They're talking and joking ...
38
votes
19answers
7k views

How can I take a powerful plot item away from players without frustrating them?

I am GMing for a group of ex-College friends, who are quite new to role-playing (six month or so), in a custom universe using a lot of characters inspired by Arthurian legends, including the sorcerer ...
21
votes
12answers
7k views

How to prevent discontent among the players when one player murders the others' characters?

I've recently had an idea for a one-shot game (in my own homebrew system that I've been using for a while) where I collaborate with a player to make things more interesting. My plan is to make it look ...
3
votes
0answers
102 views

What makes a convincing mafia? [closed]

I am currently in the process of creating my own world, in a Victorian Era/Industrial Revolution/Steam Age setting. It's not overly steampunk but light elements of it are acceptable, as well as some ...
1
vote
2answers
618 views

Can Infernal Tiefling Always Fly?

Swords of The Coast lists the flying ability for the Winged Tiefling. One player in a group I DM created a "Tiefling (Infernal) Warlock (Undying)" which he has been very specific and detailed about ...
16
votes
6answers
13k views

How can I make a player vs. player fight without it being obvious?

I'm a fairly new DM and am trying to plan my own story, I'm having trouble envisioning an important part however. I have the group getting separated and eventually meeting up. Before they realize it'...
16
votes
3answers
2k views

How to find the line between an investigation and railroading

I'm a fairly experienced GM creating and running a series of Delta Green games (a modern supplement for Call of Cthulhu). While my players and I enjoy the game, there are parts that bog down and get ...
2
votes
0answers
95 views

How can I include a ouija board in an RPG scene? [closed]

I’d like to incorporate a ouija board in an RPG scene. (Campaign specific detail: using one allows PC’s to hack into the GodMachine’s network to ask for specific information). I plan to adapt the ...
9
votes
2answers
400 views

How can I discourage gluttony while still granting buffs?

In Wendy's Feast of Legends, characters gain bonuses for foods eaten by their players. The game explicitly mentions that buffs stack and there are a total 6 different food items (briefly: burger, ...
6
votes
3answers
427 views

What precedent is there in an adventure for luring a party with will-o'-wisps?

We are looking to use will-o'-wisps in a Feywild adventure but face a challenge. Since the earliest editions of DnD to the latest, will-o'-wisps have been described as creatures that "lure other ...
2
votes
1answer
161 views

Is players adversarial focus RPG even possible to execute? [closed]

I am new to the RPG community, when I am thinking of a adversarial relationship, I generally think of players co-operate to fight against GM controlled mobs in a campaign. But talking about game ...
3
votes
2answers
117 views

How do I know how much my player can sell his old gear for?

I have a PC who is a dwarf blacksmith in a homebrew world. He's making a new suit of armor and wants to sell his old stuff. How should I decide what he'll get for it? How do I decide what players ...
72
votes
11answers
9k views

How can I run an open-world game with vast power differences, without resulting in constant TPKs?

I would like to run a game with an open world, where the party can explore unconstrained. I would like to do it in D&D 5E, but the power differences are very stark between levels. How can I make ...
6
votes
3answers
306 views

How can I provide the most challenging combats allowed by official 4E rules?

I'm am planning on running a 4E campaign for a fully optimized group of five players. I would prefer to use officially published material and tweak where needed. These players love to be challenged (i....
-1
votes
2answers
150 views

When running animated water as a creature, how can I get stats quickly?

A subquestion of How does animated water work? When a player conjures a creature formed of animated water, for example a Small horse, I find it works best to model that animated water as a CR0 ...

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