Questions tagged [gm-techniques]

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

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7
votes
3answers
478 views

Group with split likes in D&D game: role playing and combat

I'm running a game for 4 people, 1 of which has played D&D before. I have only ran a first session. This session lasted for about 5 or 6 hours, and it seems that it was a lot of fun for them. I ...
8
votes
6answers
330 views

How to add more combat into an investigation-heavy campaign?

I have experienced such an issue with a previous run of our Fate RPG campaign. The setting is somewhat influenced by the Dresden Files, which means the campaign involved lots of investigation (...
24
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3answers
4k views

How to satisfy a player character's curiosity about another player character?

I am new to DMing. I am starting off with the Lost Mine of Phandelver adventure to get my feet wet. One player in particular is playing a half-elf bard. They have watched a lot of Critical Role and ...
38
votes
1answer
1k views

How can I DM with aphantasia?

For those who don't know, aphantasia is a condition where a person basically lacks a mind's eye. As such, I cannot imagine characters or places that I read about, let alone create them in a way that ...
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 ...
8
votes
1answer
615 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. ...
37
votes
6answers
3k views

How do I emphasize role-playing during combat?

Right now, the group that I GM for is very, very tactical-combat focused. To some extent, we may as well be playing a dungeon crawl board game for all the role-play we manage. Now, in and of itself ...
41
votes
6answers
7k views

How can I best handle monsters/NPCs using social skills vs PCs?

I've checked the books and can't find an answer by RAW other than the DM decides, so I'd like to know the best way to handle this in my games. What happens if a thug tries to intimidate/persuade the ...
28
votes
11answers
36k views

A player rolled very bad stats, how to make sure they still enjoy the game?

Question How to make sure that a player that rolled awful stats will still have an awesome time at the table? What possibilities are available for the DM? Would it feel cheap to find stat-boosting ...
15
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5answers
2k views

How can I handle a player who seems to utilize skills their characters don't have?

Well the tag is slightly misleading as these players do not cause problems. However I have encountered several players who exhibit skills their real life counterpart has without actually metagaming. ...
22
votes
10answers
5k views

How do I deal with a player wanting to do an activity that takes weeks when the party doesn't want to?

I'm currently running a campaign with 5 players at level 3, one of which is a Wizard Dragonborn who's entire character is devoted to becoming a real dragon by the end of the campaign through some kind ...
35
votes
11answers
8k views

Consistency between “yes and” with “no, because I'm the DM”

Context: I enjoy running softer systems, with Numenera being my latest favorite. I discard rules left and right in favor of what feels right during the play. I love the "rule of cool" too, ...
7
votes
5answers
5k views

How can I balance the power of loot between player characters?

The 5e DMG only gives proximate levels of item strength: common, uncommon, rare, very rare, and legendary. The item levels don't really seem to help me judge if two items of the same rarity will be ...
16
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9answers
2k views

How should I deal with a player who wants to circumvent combat when the rest of the party wants to fight?

I'm a very new DM running a homebrew DnD 5e campaign for a couple of friends. One of my players, who is by far the most experienced, plays a bard who is definitely optimised for roleplay, and that ...
48
votes
9answers
6k views

How can I check if a new group is OK with a plotline from an ethical standpoint without spoiling the plot?

TL;DR: I am unsure if the plotline I planned is "too dark" for a new group, and would like to discuss the level of grit with them without spoiling the plotline. How can I do this? I am ...
35
votes
8answers
6k views

How do I present an unbeatable encounter without frustrating my players?

So, I have run Curse of Strahd sometimes, but every time I run it I find a new problem in my DM'ing haha. I will try to make it answerable without specifically CoS experience and keep it spoiler free. ...
1
vote
4answers
633 views

A player got upset because he made a wrong move and now I can't DM

Backstory I'm a newer GM (I've only run 3 3.5e games and 1 5e game over the last 20 years of playing RPGs). My group has a DM/player who is extremely experienced and knowledgeable about all things RPG....
34
votes
9answers
5k views

My players want extra effects from their attacks. What should I do?

I'm DMing for a group of 4 players, that are currently at level 3. Two of them have played a fair bit of 5e before, and two of them are new. I'm also new to DMing, though generally familiar with the ...
35
votes
9answers
8k views

Players better at dealing damage than taking damage

I'm currently DM'ing a high powered D&D 3.5 game with 4 PCs (Wizard, Druid, Rogue/Assassin and Bard) and a DMPC (Minotaur Barbarian) at ECL 11. My concern is that whenever I try to create a ...
23
votes
2answers
368 views

How can I balance slightly erotic roleplay and story based roleplay?

I know this question makes me sound like a pervert but especially with the epidemic me and my girlfriend ended up unable to have much contact.(Not even calls since her roommates are always in the ...
109
votes
11answers
30k 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 ...
13
votes
6answers
338 views

Mind-maps conventions, best practices and approaches

I encountered this issue when prepping for a big arc in my campaign, let me explain: The players are entering a place where there are three main factions (A B C) and possibly minor ones (D E). The ...
30
votes
6answers
15k views

How to manage a mute PC?

I am GM in a custom universe I created (medieval fantastic), and a player asked me if he could create a mute character. I refused because I was afraid it would be too hard to manage, and not fun for ...
6
votes
2answers
578 views

Allowing your party to plan their own mission

Based on some feedback from my players, I'm going to allow them to plan their next mission, which will be a 'seemingly' straight forward heist affair onboard a moving vehicle (limiting their ...
50
votes
12answers
16k views

What to do with players who have done something very stupid, but unwittingly?

I'm starting a new campaign. All fresh players. In the first session I gave them a very shoddy, small barge, which I planned to have them trade for a ox-drawn carriage, as the ship itself didn't have ...
12
votes
5answers
2k views

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

Whenever I'm planning a session for my campaign I tend to prepare a very strict plot. It makes me feel comfortable, and though you can never feel entirely ready; it makes me feel somewhat ready to ...
11
votes
3answers
4k views

Does Wild Shape actually allow [Monster] feats?

Background I have never had a problem with Druids in my games take things such as, Multiattack, Improved Multiattack, and Improved Natural Attack. However, I reached a 'scratch my head' moment ...
22
votes
4answers
2k views

How do I deal with high speed, blunt action declaration outside of combat?

Here's an example from a one-on-one playtest I've had, to better illustrate my question: My rogue player got a minor quest from a blacksmith to retreve an item. He instructs her that the road to the ...
10
votes
3answers
929 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 ...
43
votes
6answers
12k views

Players constantly capture enemies and question them, how to deal with it?

I'm running a campaign for five sixth level players and the bard has hypnotic pattern. Whenever the party runs into any fights with enemies who can speak, they always find some way of making an enemy ...
46
votes
5answers
6k views

Keeping the world alive whilst PCs take a rest mid-adventure?

My players and I just started up Lost Mines of Phandelver and upon discovering the Cragmaw Hideout at the start of the adventure, they decided to double back to where they left the oxen at the initial ...
5
votes
0answers
223 views

What is the best way to handle a player planning to go off piste? [closed]

At the culmination of the Critical Roll campaign, in an act that has now become canon in DnD Joe Manganiello's character Arkhan This is a great example of a player planning out and doing something ...
9
votes
1answer
99 views

How can I enforce a low-power level in Mage: The Ascension?

I'm preparing for a Mage:The Ascension game as a storyteller. While my players and I enjoy many aspects of Mage and World of Darkness in general, we would like a much lower power level than seems ...
7
votes
1answer
593 views

What are the pros and cons of this proposed modification to Rise of Tiamat?

I'm looking to run the Rise of Tiamat module. In "Episode 4: Neronvain" from the chapter "Death to the Wyrmspeakers", it says that which makes sense. But when I look at Neronvain's stat block (p. 91)...
17
votes
3answers
2k views

How to describe that an enemy can avoid opportunity attacks?

I'm the DM of my group. When we are playing I try to describe the effects and actions of enemies and npcs without spelling out exactly what they are to keep some mystique to the actions. Like ...
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
105 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
249 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 ...
15
votes
4answers
621 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 (...
21
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, ...
6
votes
1answer
165 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: ...
14
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
858 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
61k 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
votes
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
votes
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-...
20
votes
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
votes
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 ...

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