Questions tagged [gm-techniques]

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

Filter by
Sorted by
Tagged with
15
votes
5answers
4k views

How can I help one of my players be more tanky?

I'm running a game of four (currently) 5th-level characters. All of them are heavy damage-dealers (a wizard, warlock, ranger and paladin) with the paladin as the nominal tank. However, the paladin is ...
35
votes
10answers
7k views

How do I help a player terrified of their character dying in combat?

Relatively new DM with a group of 5 players (some with ttrpg experience, some not) through a twist on the essentials kit module. One absolute first time player is running a 3rd level rogue with low HP ...
3
votes
2answers
316 views

How to use Inspiring Leader so it's not a permanent HP increase for the whole party? [closed]

I wanted to ask the question "Is Inspiring Leader basicly a permanent HP increase for the whole party?", but apparently that question has already been asked and answered, even though it ...
0
votes
1answer
108 views

Making pit traps more interesting [closed]

I'm currently running the Barrowmaze campaign, which has many 10'x10'x10' pits, often in corridors, so there's no way around them. When reading the campaign, I thought they would be quite interesting, ...
23
votes
5answers
2k views

How can I have a villain restrain PCs in an “intelligent” way without killing or disabling some or all of them?

The 4th level party got captured during a showdown with a major villain at the end of the last session: three of them (Warlock, Ranger, Priest) were rendered unconscious and the survivor (Bard) got ...
11
votes
3answers
418 views

How do I keep the narrative alive during combats?

For years, I've had trouble keeping the players engaged in the narrative of combat and what happens during their turns. After the first 4 turns or so, it becomes hard to imagine what everyone does and ...
24
votes
3answers
3k views

How many dice does the GM roll when challenging the players?

I'd like to run a game of Roll for Shoes, but I'm not sure how many dice I roll when the characters face various challenges. I'm under the impression that it's supposed to be the same number of dice ...
20
votes
2answers
6k 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 ...
22
votes
8answers
5k 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 ...
256
votes
15answers
33k views

Managing a Medieval Low Orbit Ion Cannon

Sometimes I hate my players. My table is currently composed of five diabolically inventive players. They come from a mixed IT/Engineering background, so more often than not, I have to deal with some ...
26
votes
5answers
6k views

How do I kill the party?

I have twice before had a game in which, for story reasons, I wanted to kill the entire party all in one go. Once because I needed the players to enter the afterlife, the second because I wanted the ...
8
votes
2answers
270 views

How does a low Strength stat translate into the narrative?

I'm having trouble with something. In a ADnD 2e campaign how should a low Strength translate into the narrative/roleplay of the campaign? It's easy to figure out how high Strength would work when ...
29
votes
4answers
4k views

How can I make people fear a player with a monstrous character?

I am running Curse of Strahd at the moment and one of my players is using a Bugbear, which is causing me some challenge. The module specifically states: Barovians thus react to nonhuman characters ...
12
votes
3answers
938 views

How do I respond to a player's criticism that the breadth of feats available in Pathfinder 2e is by its nature restrictive?

Not sure how better to phrase the title. Let me explain. I recently migrated a 5e campaign across to PF2e. One player has been resistant to this move. As an example, he asked how a character might ...
9
votes
1answer
1k views

Do spell targets know they were targeted if they make their saves?

A lot of spells in D&D 5e either work or they don't, with no visual or audio effect. If your target cant see or hear that you are casting a spell, and they make their save for that spell... do ...
14
votes
6answers
3k views

How can I make my adventures more bard-inclusive?

For whatever reason, it seems that no one in my campaigns ever chooses to play a bard. I am beginning to wonder if it has something to do with the adventures I construct as our game's DM. These ...
15
votes
2answers
4k views

If an NPC and a PC roll identical initiative who goes first?

Normally, when 2 players roll identical initiative in combat, they decide between themselves the order they do things in and then stick to that on subsequent rounds. How should the DM handle it if the ...
8
votes
3answers
314 views

How to avoid alienation by expected but slow mood shift, and still keep players out of spoilers?

I run a My Little Pony(MLP) campaign. By design, at the start of the campaign what the citizens (PCs) know about the world is true, but it's not the whole and complete truth, and many issues of the ...
50
votes
7answers
6k views

How should I prevent a player from instantly recognizing a magical impostor without making them feel cheated?

In the campaign I'm running, I'm looking to introduce an NPC who is secretly an antagonistic oni in disguise. An oni's shapechange feature, however, is explicitly described as magical, and one of my ...
34
votes
9answers
10k 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)...
8
votes
4answers
2k 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 ...
6
votes
3answers
411 views

How do I introduce my BBEG's power without my pcs rushing in to fight them?

I made a homebrew creature that's supposed to be impossible for them to fight at the moment as that creature is the BBEG. I wanted to show the strength gap between the pcs start and how strong they ...
59
votes
20answers
9k 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 ...
17
votes
10answers
8k views

How can I effectively introduce hooks into a sandbox adventure?

I will soon DM a new D&D adventure. It's in a setting of my creation, and new characters will be created for it, with backstories tied at least in some ways to the setting. I intend to give my ...
12
votes
3answers
833 views

How to work with Portent for replacing enemy rolls

It seems like, RAW, if a Divination Wizard is in the party then the DM would have to ask that player whether they want to interrupt the roll ... on every single roll that any NPC makes. That's going ...
36
votes
3answers
2k views

How to Help Player with Tourette's

I have a friend who has Tourette's syndrome. He's a great guy, I've been friends with him for over a decade. We both love RPGs, and we've played many games together. However, his condition ...
63
votes
13answers
8k 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 ...
11
votes
3answers
7k views

How do I keep me and my player happy in a one-on-one game? [closed]

As a GM, my comfort zone is a group with about 3-5 players. I like the diversity of having multiple players. When I only have a single player, I feel I can already predict my player's actions, and we ...
13
votes
5answers
9k views

How do I handle initiative when a new force joins a combat that's already in progress?

I am DMing a small hunger-games-like adventure where there are multiple parties of NPC who also are participating. It is pretty likely that the PCs will happen upon some of the NPCs fighting some ...
16
votes
3answers
1k views

How should I set up and execute air battles in my session to avoid easy encounters?

I'm running the Storm King's Thunder campaign, and we are at the portion where the PCs get an airship to travel around in, the airship is about 1000ft in the air. There are approximately 5-6 lvl 7 PCs,...
9
votes
1answer
666 views

Does the ability check DC of Dispel Magic scale with the slot level or the original level of the spell cast?

We just played our weekly game and one of our PCs cast dispel magic and we got confused with the wording of the DC to dispel. Is the rise in DC based on the spell slot level used or the normal level ...
3
votes
0answers
44 views

How should I set up and execute air battles in my session to avoid easy encounters? [duplicate]

I'm running the Storm King's Thunder campaign in dnd 5e, and we are at the portion where the PCs get an airship to travel around in. There are approximately 5-6 lvl 7 PCs, and they have 3 or 4 hard ...
2
votes
1answer
203 views

How should I enforce my players to play the alignment they get? [duplicate]

So I started a new campaign, where my players may go to other planes, which are described in the DMG. There are several planes, which has a nice side effect, which will change the PCs alignment. My ...
32
votes
10answers
7k views

Is it ok to lie to players rolling an insight?

I've just started DMing (D&D-5e). I have a question about the Insight mechanic. I've formulated this problem using D&D but the system is otherwise irrelevant (I'm talking about every ...
13
votes
7answers
6k views

How to deal with player who won't roleplay, insists character-friction is bad, and doesn't take the game seriously?

I've browsed most of problem-players and still felt we needed more info, or more allegorical advice from experienced gamers but am now seeing stuff in gm-techniques I had missed that is somewhat ...
23
votes
10answers
5k views

How to reveal a time limit without videogaming it?

I am under the impression (so correct me if I'm wrong) that having a close time limit on objectives could be fun if there is not an abuse of the game mechanic. So one hand, I want my players in a game ...
25
votes
9answers
6k 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 ...
45
votes
8answers
28k views

How can I speed up combat?

Combat at my table (5 players plus me, the GM) takes a long time. Even only moderately-complex combats usually take about an hour. I find myself wanting to end the session early if the group is about ...
46
votes
23answers
14k views

How can I avoid problems that arise from rolling ability scores?

Rolling ability scores is a time-honored tradition across many editions of D&D. However, it can sometimes cause problems for players and/or the DM. For example, one player character may end up ...
6
votes
0answers
195 views

How do I ditch combat mechanics? [closed]

How can I run combat encounters with the least amount of combat mechanics, while still keeping my players engaged? I'm very intentional with my GM-ing choices, and combat-mechanics as an extended ...
6
votes
0answers
54 views

How can I narrate combat without it getting repetitive? [duplicate]

Although I mostly run D&D games I like to try and distract players from numbers as much as possible and keep the game narrative flowing at a smooth pace. For the most part, this is fine: lots of ...
16
votes
7answers
5k views

What to do when I accidentally kill the whole party?

So, my players' PCs were fighting 11 fifth-level orcs. They are five 5th-level characters in D&D 4e. It ended in an unexpected TPK. Thing is, their bard was new (he was put in place of their ...
10
votes
3answers
2k views

Handling a dragon lair's treasure consistently with treasure parcels

It's my first time as the DM of a D&D campaign and I'm planning an encounter against a dragon in his lair. Since dragons hoard large amount of treasure, I would like to know how you deal with all ...
29
votes
6answers
82k views

Is playing D&D 5e with two people feasible, particularly with the Starter Set adventure?

My girlfriend and I want to get into roleplaying games, we've both been interested in trying out Dungeons and Dragons. She has never played a pen and paper RPG before, I've played the Swedish Drakar ...
13
votes
8answers
4k views

How do I clearly foreshadow a potential out-of-combat death?

Let me first set the scene The group I DM for is in a position where they are at the mercy of a group of people who are contemplating what to do with the party. I have decided on a game of chance to ...
7
votes
1answer
526 views

When a spell that clouds the target's judgement is cast on a player character, how can I make sure they act accordingly?

If an NPC spellcaster, or any other magic source, magically clouds the judgement of a PC, how can I make sure the character acts according to the spell's nature? Is there anyway to do this without ...
5
votes
2answers
813 views

How do I rule on spells without casters and their interaction with things like Counterspell?

The players in my Curse of Strahd game have reached the Amber Temple. While there, they recently breached a certain door, for which the module indicates One of the PC's is a wizard, and he had a ...
5
votes
2answers
256 views

How accepted is it for GMs to “lie”? [closed]

Many GMs seem to be averse to declaratively stating any categorical untruth about the gameworld. If something that happens in a scene is not what it seems, they describe the event in terms of what the ...
40
votes
7answers
9k views

How do I explain to an AD&D player that items that increase Armor Class in D&D 5e are overpowered?

Context: I have recently started a campaign with a new player that comes from an AD&D background. He wishes to convert and import his character to the campaign. We did this once, and I helped him ...
10
votes
2answers
328 views

Paranoia Play-by-Post GMing Techniques

I am planning on running a play-by-post (pbp) Paranoia Troubleshooters game. Due to the nature of a pbp, we may lose out on the dramatic tension of a proper Paranoia game. What are ways to increase ...

1
2 3 4 5
33