Questions tagged [gm-techniques]

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

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34 views

Divine and Arcane Archetypes [on hold]

Would creating divine and arcane archetypes for Clerics and/or Wizards (within the basic ruleset) cause balance issues? I drew up a few for a game, but I am not sure if this will put too much power ...
8
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4answers
303 views

What should I keep in mind when running a Star Wars game?

It is our group's first time running a Star Wars campaign ever, and it seems that the role of GM has fallen to me. (For context, our group has previously played: D&D 5e AD&D 1e Call of ...
21
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5answers
5k views

Dealing with 2 Immature Players Who Detract from the Experiences of Others

I have read a number of threads here similar to but not the same as the problem my group and I are having (including this thread, this answer, this answer to a similar situation, and this question ...
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0answers
180 views

Categorisation of GM Types [closed]

RPG theory seems to recognise the differences between player interests, and acknowledge a few loose categories/archetypes thereof - the tongue-in-cheek four in the Munchkin File, expanded to the more ...
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10answers
10k views

How do I help my players stay engaged (with the game and each other) at the table?

I GM a long-running Pathfinder campaign, and for some time now I've been noticing our group fall into a familiar pattern of lethargy, where only one player engages with me at a time and the rest seem ...
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5answers
351 views

How can I help my players to better immerse into my game world?

Obligatory: 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). Introduction I am a GM for a ...
40
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5answers
2k views

Dealing with people who turn up late for sessions

I run sessions every Monday evening at a pub in the centre of London, and most people come to play straight from work. Up until recently we were attempting to start at 7pm, but there were one or two ...
31
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6answers
5k views

How can I keep my campaign challenging when dealing with players of vastly different skill levels?

In my latest campaign (D&D 3.5), I have a player (let's call him P). P is on his fifth character. Yes, fifth. Except for P, only one other player has lost a character. The world P lives in is ...
30
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8answers
6k views

How do I avoid micromanaging character creation?

What aspects of character generation should the DM limit? I'm a new DM starting a new campaign with 6 players that have no previous Dungeons and Dragons experience. I've played before; they haven't. ...
7
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5answers
308 views

How to introduce a new PC into the party after character death?

In the D&D 4e campaign that I am running, there has recently been lots of character death. The death itself is not the problem, because the players seem perfectly fine generating new characters (I ...
8
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1answer
256 views

Best practices in portraying racism and its effects in a game [closed]

This question and its fantastic answers help answer NPC interactions with PCs. However, the question doesn't really touch on a immersion level involving NPCs. I don't anticipate my players playing a ...
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3answers
685 views

How can I encourage my group to seek success, rather than entertaining failure?

Our weekly group has a tendency toward playing into escalating spirals of self destruction, regardless of the system or genre. Players will look for opportunities to fail, or to set up other player's ...
10
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5answers
1k views

How to handle a player that cannot be convinced his actions are a problem for both GM and party

Background You can skip to the end for a (very) short summary though... We are a group of good friends, we've all known each other for 7+ years, since high school, and have been playing DnD since ...
28
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7answers
7k views

How can I reduce the number of encounters per day without throwing off game balance?

I'm running an Open Table sandbox game this summer. The 5E DMG states that they expect 6-8 Medium or Hard combat encounters per day, with about two short rests. If I tried to do that, we'd never get ...
31
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9answers
6k views

How do I run a game when my PCs have different approaches to combat?

Following on from the question How can I make sure my players' decisions have consequences?: I'm frustrated as a DM because I feel like the different players / PCs in my (level 5) group want ...
28
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5answers
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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 ...
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6answers
7k views

How can I make sure my players' decisions have consequences?

Last session, my players got into what was meant to be a fairly minor battle. The wizard misjudged the strength of the enemies and used both of his third level spell slots, and the druid acted sub-...
31
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11answers
3k views

How do I transition my players from roll-playing to role-playing?

The context for this question is the same as this related question about spending time in town, but I am looking for sufficiently different advice so I thought it warranted its own question. I've ...
36
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8answers
7k views

How can I deal with a player trying to insert real-world mythology into my homebrew setting?

I have just started GMing a homebrew campaign with a group of relatively inexperienced players. I have only played with one of them before (I have GMed for him as well as been a fellow player with him)...
4
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3answers
289 views

What options do my players have for hiding their cart while they enter a dungeon? [closed]

I am running my first ever D&D 5e campaign for a completely new party using the Lost Mines of Phandelver adventure. My party have just decided that they wish to go to Cragmaw hideout following ...
11
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2answers
352 views

Are one-shot sessions before the main adventure helpful for a party of new players?

TL;DR: As the DM, I want to prepare my group of newbie friends for the best first experience I can give them. I'm concerned about halts to give explanations ruining the flow of the game and negatively ...
3
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3answers
356 views

How do I handle a player who wants to burn everything down?

In my most recent adventure, the party was attacking a wooden goblin fort when the dragonborn PC had the bright idea to use his fiery breath to burn it down. I thought that it was a clever idea and ...
22
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5answers
3k views

How can I make investigation engaging for the whole party?

I'm about to start a campaign that takes place on a pirate ship. Low magic fantasy setting, loosely based on the Caribbean in the 1600s. Much of the action is going to be centered around various ...
59
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7answers
7k views

As a DM, how to avoid unconscious metagaming when dealing with a high AC character?

In my previous campaign, a player started the campaign with a tanky fighter build with a chain mail, a shield, and Defense fighting style, for a total of 19 starting AC. For a level 1. I was still ...
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4answers
2k views

Is it okay to retroactively change things when running a published adventure?

This question came out of another post on here of mine, so there may be some similarities. An answerer/commenter on that question suggested splitting it off, so here goes: I'm a new DM, using Lost ...
77
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14answers
9k views

Is it wrong to ask a player to justify their character's actions?

When a player has their character do something completely outside of the perceived norm for that character, is it okay to ask them for a justification? If they can not give satisfactory justification,...
60
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11answers
12k views

How do I handle a group that does not understand the 'assumption rule'?

1st rule of D&D (as of 3rd edition/pathfinder): The GM is the final arbiter on all rules. I understand this, completely, and do not disagree. That said, I'm having trouble with a group that doesn'...
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2answers
311 views

How can I encourage PCs to be more intellectual and less physical?

My friends and I created a roleplaying game. We don't like having many rules or having to find if a rule applies, so for an action a PC uses one of the following 9 statistics: Strength: For all kind ...
17
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7answers
3k views

How can the DM most simply and fairly choose 1 out of an odd number of characters to be targeted by an attack or effect?

When DMing and randomly determining a character to take damage or an effect, it's easy to roll a die if you have an even number of characters. But what about if you have an odd number of characters? ...
15
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4answers
555 views

What interesting ways can I “hunt” my players beyond simple combat?

I have a lovely quartet of players trapped in the wilderness, at least 10 days march from the nearest settlement, which is their destination. There is an antagonistic force in the area, and I had ...
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1answer
138 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 ...
14
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2answers
434 views

How do I plan sessions that are still fun even if they don't move the plot forward?

I'm fairly new to DMing, but I really enjoy it. My campaign is still pretty early in, and plot is moving forward pretty well; last session actually revealed a huge chuck of the relevant current events....
5
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2answers
200 views

How can I make a fight more than just a bunch of numbers?

There was an encounter in my most recent D&D 4e adventure in which the players fought several (16) minion skeletons. Because all of the skeletons were minions, the encounter was not difficult, but ...
8
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2answers
556 views

As a Game Master, how should I handle a situation where a character can and does do everything?

I have made a number of characters that can do everything in a party across a wide variety of role-play systems, and seen several more as both a GM and as a player. I have also seen these characters ...
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0answers
1k views

Making Deals with Devils [closed]

I'm preparing for running my first campaign (Storm King's Thunder) and I've got most of the basic information down in terms of running the campaign with the information provided but I wanted to add a ...
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2answers
462 views

As GM, how do I deal with a player who makes a “do everything” build? [duplicate]

I have made a couple of builds that do everything, and seen several more as both a GM and as a player. These are builds that go beyond powerbuilding, and into the realm of taking over for the entire ...
63
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6answers
10k views

My players like to search everything. What do they find?

I am currently running a D&D 4e campaign. Every time my players defeat/subdue the monsters in a room, they decide to search the room. However, I never have anything interesting for them to find. I ...
18
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3answers
440 views

How can I limit my second-person POV narration?

I have come to the conclusion that in materials I am preparing myself, I want to add more variety to narration by introducing information to the players without using second person point-of-view ...
29
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2answers
957 views

What are the benefits of using the X Card safety tool in comparison to plain communication?

I am aware that this question may come across as ignorant or as an attempt at trolling. While I cannot prove it, I hope enough people believe that this question was asked in good faith and with the ...
6
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0answers
151 views

Is my idea for handling space combat in my setting any good?

I've been using a homebrewed system and hard sci-fi setting (not originally designed for tabletop RPGs, but for writing stories and as my worldbuilding project) with a group of friends for a while now ...
12
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4answers
1k views

Using a NPC to fill a vacant role in the party

The newly started scenario places my players on their own spaceship, but they are lacking a competent mechanic among them since they are only two; a pilot and a computer operator. I am considering ...
5
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4answers
284 views

What are good rewards for players (other than XP and items)?

Inspired by what I saw in "Dragon Age" series, I have a main quest of the story line have the character "dream" into the astral plane where they have several fights towards an unfolding that will ...
15
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2answers
614 views

How can an inexperienced GM keep a game fun for experienced players?

Along the same lines as this question from a players perspective, I am interested in possibly running a game for some friends and co-workers, where they have much more experience in gaming than I do ...
25
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4answers
4k views

Handling a player (unintentionally) stealing the spotlight

Quite recently, I replaced a friend as DM for a D&D game. During that game, I came across something I did not expect: One of the players was just too good. When I am saying "too good" I am not ...
41
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7answers
5k views

A player is constantly pestering me about rules, what do I do as a DM?

Okay I admit I'm new to D&D. I've been playing for 2 years now and only been playing 5e. I don't learn by reading the entire manual in one sitting, I have learnt everything from actually playing ...
6
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2answers
263 views

How do I introduce magic to my PCs part way through an adventure?

I am playing through a slightly modified version of the Pathfinder adventure Rise of the Runelords with a group who are all brand new to any form of RPG. After around ten sessions, I still haven't ...
41
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5answers
5k views

How does “failure” work in Dungeon World? How does it move the story forward?

I am having trouble understanding the specifics of failure in Dungeon World. According to the rules, a GM should "make a move" against players when they fail, and that's alright, I get that. What I ...
10
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3answers
820 views

System for tracking hunger in a World of Darkness game

I'm GM-ing a WoD setting where the players have a very limited food supply(if any) are there any good methods for making sure that they have to eat to survive and applying penalties if they don't?
15
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2answers
949 views

Are PCs able to appraise the difficulty of an encounter?

Are PCs able to judge, innately or via some skill check, how difficult a fight will be? My assumption is that the adventurers have some knowledge of certain beasties and baddies, and can understand ...
11
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2answers
759 views

How do I choose a villain in the Waterdeep: Dragon Heist adventure?

In the first pages of Dragon Heist, you're told to When you run this adventure, you choose its main villain at the outset. Your choice determines the season of the year in which the story takes ...