Questions tagged [gm-techniques]

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

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41
votes
7answers
8k views

How do I get a new player to stop rewriting my game to match his favorite fiction?

I have a D&D 5e game that I've been running for a year that is on pause because some players don't want to play online or go outside (stupid plague ruining my tabletop). So I offered my son and ...
2
votes
0answers
89 views

Instructions to make combat a combat encounter with a Chimera more interesting [closed]

I'm looking for tips for creatures or obstacles that could spice up an encounter. Background: The battle's purpose is to be an entrance test for the organization the campaign is centered around. The ...
3
votes
2answers
231 views

What effects can render a creature unconscious (but not also dead) to where magical healing won't awaken it?

Being a DM here. Trying to set up a plot that involves a high-rank NPC being unconscious after a big fight so that he missed some important event (and only just awoke before PC arrives). However, it ...
14
votes
4answers
605 views

How to manage rest with changing GMs and players

I have been running a west marches style D&D 5e game where the GM and the players (along with their characters) change between every session. Due to this, every session ends back in town and with ...
33
votes
10answers
7k views

How do I prevent my players from abusing long rests?

I am a DM for a D&D 4e game. My players (especially the wizard) like to take an extended rest after every single encounter, because he resorts to using his daily powers in every single encounter (...
20
votes
3answers
1k views

How do I run an adventure with the party in competition with an NPC party in a race for the MacGuffin?

I'm looking at the next leg of our campaign being a "race for the MacGuffin" scenario. The PCs (Rolemaster) have been chasing an evil sorceress for a while now. She is currently on her own but will ...
25
votes
8answers
7k views

How should I work with a player that doesn't take it seriously at all?

I am a GM and I really need advice regarding one of my players. I play with my group a campaign with FATE rules in a postapocalyptic dark and gritty homebrew world which is mainly horror based, ...
5
votes
1answer
158 views

Telegraphing Encounter and Obstacle Characteristics for Preparation Casters

(Note: I feel that this question is sufficiently different from this one to justify a new post, as my question is about specific information informing Wizard spell preparation) (Additional note: ...
13
votes
7answers
3k views

How to keep the players working together?

I am the GM of a group of 5 players, I know them as I usually play other games with them. Here is the composition of the group: a Barbarian (B) a Paladin who worships Tyr (P) a Rogue (R) a Cleric who ...
15
votes
6answers
845 views

How to manage a party that runs better in smaller groups?

I've been running a pathfinder campaign for close to 4 years now. In my mind it has been quite successful and my players are generally active and engaged in the story. However, over the course of the ...
62
votes
14answers
60k views

Dislike how players accurately place fireballs. Is there an alternative?

I'm running 5e on a grid with minis. The one thing that I hate is when sorcerers or wizards casts a fireball that perfectly hits enemies in the AOE. The player counts the squares on the grid to ...
52
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10answers
11k views

How can I use powerful NPCs without overshadowing the player characters?

I’ve been playing P&P for years and have taken my first tentative steps into DM’ing over the last year, mostly leading One-Shots. I am also a passionate world-builder and so I jumped at the chance ...
17
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2answers
3k views

How do you deal with a player who always wants to be in the spotlight?

How do you deal during play with a player who makes things miserable for the others when he or she is not actively in the spotlight? Such miserable-making activities include frequently doing things in-...
7
votes
1answer
592 views

How to make a simple deck of magical cards that will be drawn randomly?

Sorry if the question was asked before, but I didn't find any good answers for me. Im a new DM playing on Roll20 and I'm making a new Class that fights with magical cards, dice and coins. ...
20
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5answers
8k views

What do you do when avoiding railroading just gives you stuck players?

I'm seeking some newbie GM advice. I'm an experienced rpg player, but am much less experienced as a GM I was recently running an D&D 5e adventure, where the players would be investigating in a ...
84
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12answers
23k views

Did I overstep my power as DM?

While playing a game with a previous group, in the middle of a combat, I had an enemy caster hidden from general combat, but still casting different spells like heal and other non-damage spells to ...
5
votes
1answer
133 views

How can I increase the pace and intensity of a text based game as a GM?

Well long story short I have been running text based TTRPG's via Roll20 and Discord for a while now. I prefer them because they encourage roleplaying and describing your characters actions rather than ...
25
votes
11answers
5k views

How should I introduce map drawing to my players?

I DMed my first session last week. We are playing the Lost Mine of Phandelver adventure from the D&D 5e Starter Set. My players haven't yet entered the first "dungeon" but will likely do so next ...
12
votes
5answers
2k views

Is there a formula or method of planning a flexible homebrew campaign or session?

When ever I'm planning a session for my campaign I tend to plan a very strict plot. It makes me feel comfortable, and though you can never feel ready; it makes me feel ready to play when I have a ...
2
votes
3answers
243 views

How do I deal with long travels?

My group has faced a lot of just traveling; so sometimes I just say it's been 3 days since you started traveling, because I don't really have anything big planned on that particular road. However in ...
18
votes
8answers
3k views

How do I telegraph to players that the fortress is alert because they let the guards escape?

I'm DM'ing for a group of mostly first-time players, and this is my first time DM'ing. At the end of last session they approached their first big dungeon (goblin fortress), attacked some guards, and ...
1
vote
4answers
411 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 ...
8
votes
3answers
2k views

In Roll20, how do you restrict PCs' vision in situations like fog?

For situations like Obscuring Mist and other vision impairment that overcomes Darkvision (and similar abilities), how have you successfully enforced that in Roll20? My PCs would probably meta-game if ...
37
votes
9answers
17k views

How can I handle players who want to browse shops at random?

If one or more of my players decide to go on a shopping spree, I've previously had problems describing the shop's inventory, without going into much detail or making it seem like the shop has only 2 ...
31
votes
9answers
4k views

How can I avoid static dungeons?

With many published adventures from different systems, and also with adventures I myself have created for my groups, I noticed that the dungeons in them feel static. You have 1 room with beasts that ...
4
votes
2answers
382 views

How much should I as a GM adapt the rules of my world to suit my players?

I'm DMing a DnD 3.5e game with some combat but mainly focused on narrative and building towards interesting moral themes. I told my players this in session 0. In the game for our last session the ...
14
votes
6answers
3k views

What goes into creating NPCs?

When I play as DM, I'm never sure how to create my NPCs. Do I have a whole page on them, with all their languages, proficiencies, weapons, ability scores and etc? Or do I keep it simple, like just ...
3
votes
3answers
805 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 ...
10
votes
2answers
178 views

How do I incorporate powerful allied NPC heroes in a fighting scene?

I understand what an powerful allied hero should do in a fight to make the fiction interesting (be powerful but not quite powerful enough to get it handled all by themself; be powerful but ignore ...
24
votes
4answers
5k views

Players get frustrated when they can't solve a hard diplomatic problem. How can I get them to think out of the box?

My players got themselves into a diplomatic problem that they know is probably above their pay grade in terms of difficulty. They spent a session trying to figure out this problem by talking to people,...
11
votes
5answers
1k views

How to follow up the adventure if the party split?

In the last session, the party I'm DMing got into a great fight against the spirit of the valley (a big dire wolf). In the heat of the fight the cleric was bitten to the point that he dropped to 0 hp (...
16
votes
4answers
2k views

How to handle a group of inexperienced players who split their party more often than I can handle

Recently I ran a steampunk themed one-shot where three of the five players were brand new to roleplaying. The session was successful, everyone enjoyed it and told me they'd like to play again. ...
15
votes
6answers
1k views

How to keep the group engaged when the party is split?

I recently pitched a game to my group, to which they were receptive. However they pointed out some problems I would have to solve before the game started. The Pitch The game is set in the near-...
8
votes
2answers
473 views

How to effectively divide spotlight time with a split party?

In a campaign I was testing, the party got split. They are now in separate parts of the world, without any long range communication. Now, we have only one day a week to play D&D, so separate ...
16
votes
2answers
2k views

Tasks for a split party

I'm running a 4th ed game, but I don't think that makes a difference in this case. Last session my party decided to split up for a couple tasks. The hybrid bard/rogue and the avenger (affectionately ...
2
votes
2answers
719 views

One of my players is thinking of abandoning the group and going off on her own, I don't know what to do? [closed]

So, I'm a new DM, this is my first time. One of the players in the campaign really wants to have her character abandon the group during the night or even while they're at a city; and just go off by ...
28
votes
4answers
3k views

Should the DM describe NPC spellcasting so that players can use Counterspell?

Going into battle, standing in front of a medusa and 2 nagas. I have line of sight on all 3. The DM says to make wisdom saving throw, without describing why. After failing the saving throw, I'm mind ...
6
votes
4answers
1k views

What should I do when every PC has really low charisma (and it bothers me)?

I am currently working on a PnP which is a mixture of Traveller, DnD and some of my own game mechanics. The attributes of PCs are pretty much the same as in DnD, and I also decided to have players ...
7
votes
4answers
522 views

How to handle friendly NPC treasure

I'm a relatively new DM - I ran some games back in the early 80's, basic dungeon crawls and we had a great time. Today, I'm starting with some of the intro 5e campaigns. I'd like to get an opinion ...
28
votes
7answers
4k views

How can a DM make a low-level melee rogue feel useful in combat when the party has no tank who triggers sneak attack for her?

I'm going to DM a short adventure for two players who have little experience with pen and paper role-playing games. One will be a druid, one will be a dual wielding melee rogue, and it was their ...
11
votes
1answer
786 views

Online D&D Module Purchase: Roll20, D&D Beyond or Both

I want to run Lost Mine of Phandelver online. I've looked at Roll20.net and D&D Beyond. Both sites sell the module for the same price. My understanding is that Roll20 is a "tabletop", whereas D&...
0
votes
3answers
182 views

how can I handle automatic rifles in my rules? [closed]

Due to the current situation me and my group decided to try something new for our first online-session. We agreed on a post-apocalyptic, post-modern setting in a Metro2033-style. This presents me with ...
3
votes
9answers
1k views

PC in chains, planned myself into a corner

In a game I'm hosted, the PC (there's only one) has just gotten captured by the enemy. This was part of a plan to give his NPC buddy some major characterization by the way she rescues him, but I've ...
10
votes
2answers
458 views

Save a dying PC without being too obvious

In my last session a PC left the party and engaged a one-to-eight fight. He is dying alone in an isolated place without many chances of becoming stable and the other players will probably need some ...
21
votes
2answers
322 views

Strategies for effectively running a temporary online game

Other questions have done a good job of outlining where to find online players and some of the tools available for ongoing virtual games (Roll20, Fantasy Grounds, etc). Many of those tools have a cost ...
23
votes
8answers
2k views

How can I avoid straw manning any belief I am against in my game? [closed]

Like every person in the world, I have my own opinions regarding politics and philosophies. Whether it be believing that the best way to govern the world is an A.I that decides everything, or saying ...
13
votes
5answers
4k views

How can I make combat retain challenge and balance without hit points?

Question Our group finds that combat takes too long, and part of this is down to HP grinding. At first we thought it might be due to too many dice rolls, but that's not the problem; the problem is ...
1
vote
1answer
94 views

Are there rules to create Troops of casters?

So a person I play Pathfinder with showed me the Troops sub-type which opens up a whole lot of possibilities for high level parties to deal with high numbers of enemies. But I don't find much about ...
7
votes
6answers
751 views

What can a GM do if player's rolls are just terrible?

I ran a game last night, a pre-written module (the game is not relevant) with a certain difficulty level (not so difficult in my opinion), and the party is composed of moderately experienced players ...
33
votes
11answers
6k views

Can I roll for a PC in secret?

As a GM, can I roll in secret so my players don't even know I rolled? For example, a PC walks past a secret door; if I ask the player to roll perception he may suspect there is something. Can I roll ...

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