Questions tagged [gm-techniques]

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

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7
votes
3answers
392 views

How can I communicate to my players, that I like them to roleplay their skills more?

I am playing in a campaign I made myself using homebrewed rules based on a German pen-and-paper RPG called Das Schwarze Auge (DSA; The Dark Eye in English). I heavily influenced the character ...
36
votes
4answers
2k views

How does GMing a game for middle-schoolers differ from older and younger players?

My daughter has asked me to GM a D&D5e game for her and her friends, who are all aged 13-15 years of age. In the US this puts them in middle school, an age of interesting transitions. With ...
16
votes
2answers
2k 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 ...
8
votes
2answers
277 views

Handling the Scenario After Wild Player Financial Success

Well, they did it. Your players went head-to-head against an antagonist with Superb Resources, and instead of taking critical social damage and retiring from adventuring, they took him for all he's ...
3
votes
3answers
695 views

How can I prevent one character 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 ...
81
votes
17answers
16k views

How should a DM resolve a smooth-talking player with a weak Charisma score PC? [closed]

This is an old problem, but one I am curious to find an answer to. One of our players is naturally a smooth talker, and his personality allows him to talk his way out of situations on the spot, and ...
20
votes
6answers
4k views

What should I do (If anything) to prevent my players from rushing to the end of the Lost Mine of Phandelver campaign?

I'm running the Lost Mine of Phandelver Starter Set adventure for a group of players ranging from "new to the game" to "experienced veterans". We finished Session 1 last week and they have captured a ...
36
votes
14answers
9k views

How do I run a maze scenario without using a map?

Inspired by a question on another site, what's the best way to add a labyrinth to an adventure scenario without making the challenges contingent upon player skill at mapping or navigation? I'd like ...
8
votes
12answers
1k views

How can I convince my players that this evil character is good for the duration of the campaign until the big reveal?

There is an NPC that I want to introduce soon, but I don’t want the PCs to be suspicious of her until a later big reveal that she is a major villain. The NPC My game has a woman who is a noblewoman. ...
18
votes
2answers
815 views

How do I get my players to make their own decisions?

I'm GMing a Dungeon World campaign with players completely new to tabletop RPGs. Every time I present them with a situation and ask them what they do next, none of them ever arrive at a conclusion, ...
8
votes
0answers
426 views

Does the Monster Manual supersede the Player's Handbook [closed]

How does a DM know, in D&D 5th edition, which source to refer to if there is a seeming conflict between two core rule books? During the discussion under this question, I noted the following ...
20
votes
3answers
3k views

How can I effectively run a sandbox campaign playing 2 hours every week?

Premise I'm a relative new GM who only run a 2 years long heavily railroaded fantasy campaign that went south for various problems and that I decided to drop. Now I started to run a sci-fi sandbox ...
21
votes
3answers
2k views

How do I reduce plot stalling in a collaborative roleplaying game?

My first attempt at running a session of Storybrewers' game Good Society completely stalled out in terms of plot. Good Society is a collaborative storytelling-style game. The facilitator's role is ...
2
votes
0answers
173 views

Is the rule “One Remote Player Per Session” Fair/Reasonable? [closed]

As a DM, I am not very fond of having some players "remote in" through my laptop/webcam, but due to everyone's busy schedule, I've recently made a rule to allow one person per session, first person to ...
9
votes
4answers
618 views

How can I “unify” a party mid-campaign?

In the beginning of our Pathfinder campaign set in Eberron, I used two gimmicks to bring the party together: An afternoon train wreck with a zombie attack that night, forcing everyone (players and ...
0
votes
2answers
456 views

How does one design encounters that accommodate a high burst damage build?

There are some really powerful burst damage builds out there that can pretty easily one shot the biggest threat in the room. As a DM how do I counter high burst damage builds so that the main threat ...
24
votes
8answers
5k views

How can I effectively keep track of the timeline of a campaign?

Introduction I've been playing table top RPGs for some twelve years now, both as a player and a frequent DM. During this time, I've had maybe half a dozen campaigns and none of them have been ...
64
votes
13answers
15k 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, ...
9
votes
4answers
1k 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. ...
7
votes
4answers
961 views

How do I encourage my players to … play? [closed]

I'm new to DMing. Of the many, many problems I anticipated I never expected to have players not do anything at all, and I'm not sure what to do with that. Its a small group with only 3 players. We've ...
32
votes
10answers
6k views

How can I utilize overly-violent PCs for character development / progressing the story?

I'm fairly new to D&D and especially DMing. I've started a new campaign with 2-3 people and more may be joining soon, which might make this question entirely useless to ask if the new players ...
26
votes
10answers
4k views

How effective are foreshadowing cutscenes that PCs would be unaware of?

In most story mediums, you will get "cutscenes" that the characters are unaware of - a figure in shadow gives an order to do something, you see the swat team enter the building but the characters don'...
7
votes
2answers
434 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 ...
5
votes
1answer
291 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 ...
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 ...
10
votes
2answers
994 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 ...
48
votes
10answers
2k views

Is it fair to press the players for decisions during combat?

My group tends to over-analyse during combat, which slows everything down. I press upon my players to make their decision and roll the dice quickly. My players are all experienced in the system and I ...
39
votes
10answers
6k views

Using a rash decision to move gameplay forward

I DM'd my first game recently, I'm pretty happy with how it turned out, and most of the group were pretty lax about the quality of it all, so it all went fairly smoothly. However, there is one thing ...
16
votes
6answers
2k views

How do you encourage group decisions over individual actions?

In my campaign (4th edition Dungeons & Dragons, but I've encountered the same problem in other systems) we sometimes arrive at a point where the group should make a decision, for example "should ...
26
votes
6answers
5k views

How to ease my players away from consensus-based decision making?

Dungeons and Dragons is a very popular RPG and most people I've played with have learned the art of role-playing with it. It favors gameplay around a tight-knit party that tends to stay together ...
26
votes
7answers
6k views

New player decision paralysis

I'm introducing a new player to RPGs. She struggles to put herself in the mindset of her character and make the decisions the character would make, which is the essence of role-playing. She can ...
29
votes
18answers
8k 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-...
27
votes
7answers
983 views

How can I communicate setting and campaign information to the PCs without providing direct exposition myself or through a DMPC?

In the past, I've almost always had at least one NPC that would travel with the characters as a type of "lore master" to expand on the story. I've tried to make the character witty and, once the ...
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 ...
42
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....
20
votes
3answers
846 views

How do I GM a partial on Spout Lore?

I tend to have a lot of trouble with the partial on spout lore. The text reads: On a 7–9 the GM will only tell you something interesting—it’s on you to make it useful. However I have trouble ...
19
votes
3answers
2k views

How can I encourage players to Spout Lore?

I have this rich setting with plenty of details and it's not a published one that players read and know by heart. I'd like to give them a lot of information contextual to locations and events ...
38
votes
7answers
9k 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 ...
42
votes
10answers
6k views

What can I do to give the players the same feel their characters would have about wilderness travel?

I find that in a lot of our group's games, traveling long distances through wilderness is too easy. In real life, it's quite arduous traveling overland. No one who's just walked a hundred miles is ...
16
votes
4answers
655 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-...
19
votes
4answers
2k views

How can I avoid plot pitfalls that are common to the Star Trek franchise?

We are about to start a Star Trek campaign and I'd like some suggestions on avoiding the obvious plot pitfalls that exist in canon Star Trek. I want the players to think through the plot points and ...
8
votes
3answers
397 views

Scaling encounter difficulties in Rolemaster

Rolemaster is by it's very nature a rather deadly rule system, up to the point where there are even some passages in the rule books mentioning this - alongside some advice for players to not neglect ...
10
votes
2answers
401 views

How does one reflect the players' actions on an NPC town/village/keep?

My players are... a little destructive. They have burned a town to the ground (slaughtering everyone in it) and just left a second town (in the same kingdom) with several buildings being lit on fire. ...
6
votes
4answers
280 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 (...
6
votes
1answer
854 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 ...
33
votes
9answers
8k 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)...
33
votes
5answers
2k views

How can I make an overbearing government's unwelcome attention convincing without it dominating screen time?

My players are newly awakened mages (Mage: the Ascension 2nd edition) living in a near future in a metropolis in the European Union which is developing into a surveillance and military state union—a ...
16
votes
6answers
596 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. ...
9
votes
3answers
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....
8
votes
2answers
913 views

How can Fate Accelerated be adapted to very short game time windows?

I'm running a roleplaying games club, and I have a rather difficult predicament. We have the capacity to meet weekly, but only for the span of about half an hour to forty minutes. The problem is ...