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Questions tagged [gm-techniques]

The practical arts and methods applied to gamemastering.

8
votes
1answer
177 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. ...
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 ...
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 ...
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 ...
17
votes
1answer
637 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, ...
47
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 ...
38
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 ...
15
votes
6answers
1k 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 ...
25
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
5k 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 ...
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-...
52
votes
22answers
10k 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 ...
83
votes
11answers
22k 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 ...
28
votes
9answers
5k 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 ...
27
votes
7answers
874 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 ...
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....
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 ...
19
votes
3answers
755 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 ...
18
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
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 ...
42
votes
10answers
5k 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 ...
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 ...
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-...
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 ...
7
votes
3answers
283 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 ...
12
votes
4answers
2k views

How can I solve burst damage problem when rolling group initiative?

Problem The PHB states, at p. 189 The DM makes one roll for an entire group of identical creatures, so each member of the group acts at the same time. Honestly, I usually ignored this one, except ...
10
votes
2answers
390 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
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 (...
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 ...
14
votes
5answers
4k views

How do I deal with extremely high passive perception?

I recently noticed how crazy high your passive perception can get. Assuming you are a druid or cleric (i.e. Wisdom being your main stat) with one level in rogue, you can get expertise in perception (...
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)...
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 ...
55
votes
20answers
8k views

Need out-of-game solution for spell choice paralysis

I could really use some advice from someone with experience with new players dealing with D&D spell analysis paralysis. I'm about to kick off a second D&D 5e campaign for a set of friends ...
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 ...
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. ...
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....
8
votes
2answers
839 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 ...
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 ...
6
votes
2answers
502 views

How do I make shadows more obviously present and usable with Shadow Step, in Roll20 with pre-made maps?

One of my players is playing a Way of Shadow monk, and really likes the Shadow Step ability. However I have been having two issues with DMing effectively for him: Describing the shadows. I haven't ...
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 ...
96
votes
18answers
12k views

How can I make my PCs flee?

My players never run away or avoid conflict. Ever. I throw them ridiculous encounters, they will stay and fight. If I tell them, "You know you're not gonna make it, just run," they stay and fight and ...
29
votes
13answers
27k 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 ...
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 ...
96
votes
18answers
12k views

When should I fudge dice rolls?

When I started my first D&D campaign as a DM, I accidentally rolled and confirmed a crit on a PC from a goblin. It was an instant kill as our campaign had no cleric. That time I decided to fudge ...
18
votes
8answers
3k views

Players are “double dipping” on skill checks

The system we are using is Call of Cthulhu, which focuses heavily on investigation. My players will "line up" to re-do skill checks/rolls when they want to achieve something a certain way. In practice ...