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Questions tagged [gm-techniques]

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

71
votes
12answers
8k views

What is the purpose of easy combat scenarios that don't need resource expenditure?

This is something I've been thinking about as a DM in my encounter design: Why have easy/medium/etc combat encounters that don't really require resources to successfully complete? Given the limited ...
49
votes
5answers
12k views

How should I handle players who ignore the session zero agreement?

My D&D group is currently playing a campaign. It went smoothly for the first half. And then, by request, I allowed two of the current players' friends to join the campaign, all of whom have no ...
50
votes
9answers
9k views

How to not let the Identify spell spoil everything?

I am currently DMing a campaign where there is a wizard with the Identify spell, the bane of my existence. Identify allows him to learn the properties of literally every single item the party ...
6
votes
0answers
92 views

Worried first time DM/general player of DnD seeking advice! [duplicate]

I need whatever help I can get with my first ever DnD session! To be honest, I have little to no experience with roleplaying games. I used to roleplay with my friends, but I wouldn't consider that ...
58
votes
12answers
6k views

What can I do to encourage my players to use their consumables?

Frequently when I DM I will give my players consumables (i.e. potions and scrolls) in loot drops in place of gold. My intention is to give them more flexibility in strategy during exploration and ...
17
votes
5answers
2k views

Players preemptively rolling, even though their rolls are useless or are checking the wrong skills

Part of this answer made me think about my own situation: It's entirely possible that the ranger is the only one that has a chance at succeeding at the check and thus it would be inappropriate to ...
38
votes
14answers
6k views

How can I give a Ranger advantage on a check due to Favored Enemy without spoiling the story for the player?

The Scenario I am the DM for a group who have just entered a town that was attacked by cloud giants a few days before their arrival. The players and characters don't know this though, so part of the ...
4
votes
1answer
993 views

Are there any rules for handling distractions whilst performing skill checks?

Are there are any official rules for imposing some form of penalty on skill checks whilst the character is distracted or interrupted in some way? In another (Non-D&D) game I played recently there ...
9
votes
2answers
226 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 ...
29
votes
5answers
5k views

How do I handle a blinded enemy which wants to attack someone it's sure is there?

Say my players blinded a goblin, through either magical or non magical means, and the goblin knew that there was someone within 5 feet of it from before it got blinded. That goblin decides to flail ...
49
votes
6answers
6k views

How can I make my enemies feel real and make combat more engaging?

As a newer DM, I have trouble making some of the more routine combats feel unique or urgent. I believe this is because the enemies my PCs are fighting tend to act like an AI, or just attack until they ...
2
votes
0answers
161 views

Room and floor numbering conventions for large to midsized dungeons: most popular, advantages and disadvantages? [closed]

Introduction I have been creating some multi-floor dungeons. It took awhile, but with time I found software, a notation format, and fidelity level that suited my needs. The one thing I'm still not ...
31
votes
6answers
3k views

Does limiting the number of sources help simplify the game for a new DM with new and experienced players?

I still consider myself pretty new as a GM. I have been running D&D 5e for about three years now (not regularly which is why I would say still newish). I am about to embark on a campaign with some ...
-1
votes
2answers
370 views

Dealing with an abusive player [closed]

Continuing on my last question, which I will congratulate all the answers that I got, some of the answers were about that other player I mentioned. He plays a Druid (lv.3), and he is in a party ...
3
votes
4answers
448 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
3answers
372 views

What can I do when a player gets discouraged by low rolls that cause poor PC performance?

TLDR: What can I do when a player is getting upset by low rolls causing poor PC performance? I'm running a duet gestalt Pathfinder campaign in Roll20 with an Incanter/Conscript (from the Spheres). ...
9
votes
4answers
531 views

How can I avoid “railroading” my players by giving them a limited set of choices with only basic descriptions?

I play Dungeons and Dragons 5e. I have a habit of highlighting certain choices, without realizing I'm doing it, because what I feel like I'm doing, is telling not showing. I have a problem with my ...
20
votes
7answers
4k views

Am I acting unreasonably or do I rein in my players?

I'm a very new but very eager DM. Me and my friends have long been wanting to play and as always we had no DM so I took up the reins. My players are very extremely creative and I want them to be able ...
25
votes
2answers
3k views

How to GM as a Solar NPC who has high Intelligence and Wisdom scores?

I'm considering using a Solar (INT 25, WIS 25) as a semi-benevolent (but also kind of annoying) come-and-go guide of sorts to 3 high-level PC's in an upcoming campaign. While I would like to imagine ...
32
votes
7answers
4k views

How do I implement a challenge where time runs backward?

I'm DMing a D&D 5e campaign that has pockets of "weird time" (areas where time runs faster or slower than normal). It seems like I shouldn't pass up the opportunity to have an area where time is ...
7
votes
3answers
357 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 ...
8
votes
2answers
266 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 ...
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 ...
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 ...
39
votes
10answers
5k views

How can I enjoy being a DM when I have an explorer personality?

I live in a small Finnish town with my wife and we want to play. But we cannot find any GMs there. So I decided to try to be GM myself. The problem is - I love to explore the worlds, story, monsters, ...
8
votes
0answers
382 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 ...
2
votes
0answers
167 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 ...
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 ...
0
votes
2answers
441 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 ...
7
votes
4answers
901 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 ...
81
votes
17answers
15k 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 ...
8
votes
12answers
977 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. ...
9
votes
3answers
228 views

How can I make a smart character act smart without prohibiting less intelligent characters from participating as well?

Preface 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). My Problem I have a very ...
5
votes
1answer
278 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 ...
9
votes
4answers
817 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. ...
10
votes
2answers
985 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 ...
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 ...
63
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, ...
3
votes
3answers
665 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 ...
29
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-...
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 ...
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 ...
7
votes
2answers
419 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 ...
4
votes
1answer
100 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 ...
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....
16
votes
4answers
551 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-...
6
votes
1answer
556 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 ...
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 ...
38
votes
5answers
5k 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
187 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 ...