Questions tagged [gm-techniques]

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

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14
votes
0answers
387 views

How does a GM know they have done enough prep? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: When GMing a game, how much should you prepare in advance? How do you, as a GM, keep from getting into an endless prep loop and to know when you have enough to run a scenario, ...
14
votes
0answers
207 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 ...
14
votes
6answers
1k views

How to solve a player feeling like their socially-focused PC isn't useful?

I have a player (I'll call him Jeff) whose PC is a peaceful diplomat. He invested most of his points in Charisma and charisma-based skills. He also has minor telepathy (able to read and influence ...
13
votes
4answers
3k views

How can I handle a disruptive player with thin skin?

My problem is that I have a player who Takes everything that happens to his character personally and then throws tantrums, and Metagames consistently. We run a very homebrew game, all players know ...
12
votes
2answers
362 views

Playing a pregame, how to keep sense of continuity in campaign

My players and I are currently playing a "pre-game" for a whole campaign I have written. I want the players to be aware of the "how did it get to be this way", so I make them play two games 4000 and ...
12
votes
2answers
560 views

How do I add player agency to a canned adventure?

Our current GM is going to be out of town for a few weeks, so I have decided to try my hand at GMing our group using the We Be Goblins module from Pathfinder. The module is short and has good reviews ...
11
votes
3answers
678 views

How can I avoid making extended/prolonged encounters boring?

I have run this campaign for just over a year. Many encounters later, I have come to one snag; If I run an encounter that lasts for more than a few rounds, I lose all my flair. I just resort to "hit" ...
11
votes
7answers
964 views

How can I encourage my players to give me plot hooks?

Related: How can I help a player craft a backstory that gives me plot hooks? This question is about generating new plot hooks during play, rather than part of character generation, however. I prefer ...
11
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6answers
3k views

Combat without HP

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 ...
11
votes
3answers
5k views

Are there issues to using passive Perception?

Is it fair to only consider the result of "passive" Perception checks (same as Taking 10) for PCs to detect things, unless the player actively expresses attention to something (in which case a roll is ...
11
votes
3answers
6k views

Do you make death saving throws out of combat?

Death saving throws are made on each turn where you are dying and not stable. However, the rules specifically talk about making saves during combat rounds - so what about after combat? Two PCs are up, ...
11
votes
7answers
5k views

1st-level Pathfinder group without healer

I am a GM, and I just started a campaign of Pathfinder with a group formed by a rogue, a warrior, and a ranger. I came from Vampire and WoD games, so I don't have experience with a balanced game like ...
10
votes
3answers
837 views

How do I teach players to engage with a game in a rules-first way?

Among other ways, I often like to play in a rules-centric way1, where the rules are the "physics" of reality and dictate what can and cannot be true within the fiction. I especially like this for PvP ...
9
votes
2answers
633 views

How do I stop my players from jumping to conclusions?

Sometimes my players accidentally get ahead of me when they are excited. Example: I make an axe from the materials and use it to chop down the tree. The problem is that the player rushes to chopping ...
9
votes
1answer
430 views

How do I go about setting up a trial/investigation mission?

I have been running a freeform (no system, basic rules and sheets designed by yours truly), sandbox RPG with a friend of mine for about half a year now. It's my first GM experience and it's been ...
8
votes
3answers
2k views

As a GM, how can I adjudicate de-escalating combat?

As a sister question to How can combat be de-escalated once started by a player? In a D&D 5e game, a player rushed into combat with an NPC that wasn't particularly hostile. As a player, I wouldn'...
8
votes
3answers
340 views

How can I encourage the use of willpower?

I've never (or rarely, maybe once) seen anyone make use of willpower in a World of Darkness game, it seems like such a vastly underutilized resource. What can I do to encourage my players to remember ...
8
votes
5answers
845 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 ...
8
votes
0answers
560 views

Help with an apparently bored player [duplicate]

I have a group of 5 players, 3 are long time veterans and we have been playing together for 15 years, the other is a newcomer who is actually liking the game a lot, and there's a 5th player that ...
7
votes
9answers
1k views

How do I quickly get the PCs to a distant location for the next adventure?

I'm running a campaign with my friends. We started Keep on the Shadowfell a year ago, and finished it at our latest session. (We don't play often, one of them is a doctor, so it's hard to schedule ...
7
votes
4answers
600 views

How can my co-GM and I improvise together when running a game?

Here's the background - one of the players have to leave town for an exchange programmee lasting 6 months, but I have already filled his slot with another player. We are thinking of ways to include ...
7
votes
1answer
1k views

Danger and Location Moves in Dungeon World

What is a "danger move" or "location move" exactly? Are the danger moves part of the dangers from the description of the front (i.e. campaign or adventure)? Are location moves specific to a ...
7
votes
3answers
821 views

How do I get a fairly new player interested in playing longer adventures?

My girlfriend is fairly new to roleplaying, having tried a bit of LARP as murder parties (one INSMV and one XFiles-style game, she loved each one), and playing in a Cthulhu campaign I have been GMing ...
7
votes
1answer
626 views

Mechanics for interactive mass combats in 5e [closed]

I'd like to run a large melee in a mid-sized village for my players. There'd be several demons and devils running around both snatching villagers and dragging them off in to the darkness and also ...
6
votes
6answers
2k views

How to make my session Faster

What are good ways to make my sessions move faster and my plot to develop quicker? I like to keep a balance between roleplay and dungeoncrawling, and don't mind spending hours in a dungeon on purely ...
6
votes
3answers
530 views

How to get players to get familiar with the rules? [closed]

So I read this post: How do you help players not focus on the rules? and I can of course see the point that story is the main source of fun. I would like to ask the opposite question though: what if ...
6
votes
1answer
777 views

Manage a player character suffering amnesia?

I'm going to manage a group with one character suffering of deep amnesia, Warhammer 2nd edition. How do I manage the character's skills, talents and profile? I think the profile is the same and ...
5
votes
4answers
2k views

How can I introduce others to Pathfinder?

My school just started a Pathfinder club at the school after I got a petition to the principal. Because it is in the voluntary "activity block" of our schedules, it will mean that some people ...
5
votes
1answer
486 views

Should a DM disclose Armor Class or other NPC/monster information during encounters? [closed]

A neighbor and I are trying to get our kids (3 children, ages 10-13) into playing D&D. We started the Lost Mines of Phandelver campaign, which was OK for a certain amount of time, but it became ...
5
votes
1answer
199 views

Avoiding losing much time on uninteresting scenes

As I understand it, the core idea of Fate is to only spend time playing scenes with an impact into the story and the characters. Still playing it I've seen much time being spend on scenes that are ...
4
votes
2answers
555 views

Introducing Roleplaying in Combat [duplicate]

I am the kind of gamer that mostly enjoys the story and I love roleplaying. However this time I am the Dungeon Master and not a player. How can I encourage my players to roleplay during combat ...
4
votes
3answers
463 views

Starting a campaign with travel for new players

I'm starting a campaign with a new group, most of whom have never played a tabletop RPG before. Typically, I'd start with a good old-fashioned dungeon crawl, but due to the overarching plot I'm ...
3
votes
4answers
467 views

How can I get an uninterested group of players to listen to me, or focus on the game in general?

I am having some major trouble running a game of Pathfinder: Rise of the Runelords. As some people know this quite a hard campaign, and while it is the first one that I have ever really run, I am ...
3
votes
1answer
305 views

What's a good Difficulty for a 5-aspect 20-skill point FATE game?

I have both played and GMed FATE 2.0 a lot but, while deciding the target number for rolls as a GM has somehow always been easy, knowing what difficulties to expect as a player for a long time was ...
3
votes
0answers
2k views

How much should I prepare as a new DM for a play session? [closed]

I'll be a DM for a group of my friends soonish for a play through of the D&D 5 starter set campaign. I've played with this group for a few months but some more experienced players have been taking ...
3
votes
5answers
997 views

What's an efficient way to handle magical item identification? [closed]

Background I'm running an Eberron (read: "industrialized magic") campaign under the Pathfinder rule system. They have a (semi-GM) PC who is a warforged artificer, which at their APL of 8 means the ...
2
votes
1answer
209 views

Is there any good way to introduce an adventure? [closed]

So recently I have found myself trying to write my own adventures. With little bits from other games and such I have found myself able to write the adventure, encounters, and everything else, but I ...
2
votes
1answer
249 views

If the Wealth-By-Level is an indication of the value of Magic Items for Player Characters, does the WBL for NPCs have the same purpose?

If the Wealth-By-Level is an indication of the value of Magic Items for Player Characters to use in combat, does the WBL for NPCs have the same purpose, or is it there for some other purpose (to ...
0
votes
0answers
53 views

How do I calculate the difficulty of a multi-sided encounter? [duplicate]

From looking through the DMG for encounter building (p. 81-85), it seems clear to me that the rules for how to calculate encounter difficulty assume that there are only two sides in an encounter: PCs ...