Questions tagged [gm-techniques]

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

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2
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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 ...
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 ...
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5answers
307 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 ...
9
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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 ...
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 ...
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 ...
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 ...
25
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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-...
4
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3answers
288 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 ...
10
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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 ...
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 ...
6
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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 ...
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)...
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
552 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 ...
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 ...
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 ...
-2
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2answers
461 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 ...
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 ...
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 ...
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 ...
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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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 ...
11
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2answers
756 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 ...
4
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3answers
224 views

Where can I find mechanics to manage a character's career/advancement within an organization?

I run a game where characters apart of their mechanical advancement can become part of various organizations to gain standing and influence. At the moment the barbarian became chief of a small tribe, ...
14
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1answer
570 views

Skills with different abilities: How to adjudicate what combination to use?

In the D&D 5e Player’s Handbook, there is a variant option called Skills with Different Abilities: Normally, your proficiency in a skill applies only to a specific kind of ability check. ...
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2answers
244 views

Are there issues with allowing parties to succeed at encounters in a published adventure with specified checks/DCs using creative roleplay instead?

During Waterdeep: Dragon Heist, there are a number of faction missions, one of which is: With a suggested solution: Given that a suggested solution involves the party spending money and checks of a ...
16
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3answers
2k views

How to handle when PCs taste a potion that is actually poison?

I will soon be DM for the first time. As preparation I have been reading the DMG and I found the rule on page 136: Potions are an exception; a little taste is enough to tell the taster what the ...
10
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3answers
378 views

Are there rules for shortening the adventuring day and reducing the number encounters without unbalancing them?

The problem In a few groups I'm DMing, sessions last about 3h. During that time, we usually have about half the adventuring's day worth of encounters (so at level 10, about 18k XP out of the 36k XP ...
3
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2answers
620 views

How can I handle, or prevent, provocative actions by my players? [duplicate]

I have been DM'ing for a few years, and due to my upbringing I prefer to run games that don't really allow for what I consider to be evil acts in game. For me, that means using basic common sense and ...
49
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9answers
10k views

How can I end combat quickly when the outcome is inevitable?

I'm DMing for a party of 6. In our next session, I'm planning on running four combat encounters. With such a large group, I've found that it usually takes an hour or two to get through a single battle....
2
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0answers
153 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)...
33
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5answers
4k views

Is there a way to save this session?

I recently started a campaign with some local players, but things are not going well - at least from my perspective. Some context: We're playing a campaign that is set in a Darksouls-like setting. ...
4
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2answers
243 views

How to explain an ancestral guardian's spirit features suddenly gained at level-up? [closed]

I'm a new DM leading a 5e campaign with new players. Most of the characters, who are a cleric, two druids, and a fighter, do not gain weird new powers when they level up. But the barbarian (still ...
25
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6answers
2k views

Should breaking down something like a door be adjudicated as an attempt to beat its AC and HP, or as an ability check against a set DC?

It is not uncommon for players to encounter a door that resists being opened - the door may be stuck, barred, locked, barricaded, etc. A locked door could be unlocked by finding a key or passing a ...
21
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11answers
4k 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
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2answers
383 views

Does the GM get to make a move with every partial success by default?

Defy danger is quite clear, but unless everyone is looking at the GM or there exists a golden opportunity, does the GM get to make a (soft) move with every partial success? For example, volley 7-9, ...
12
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2answers
2k views

How do I balance a campaign consisting of four kobold PCs?

I am currently planning a campaign consisting of four kobold PCs, using Volo's Guide to Monsters (p. 119) as my starting point for the race. However, I am worried about Pack Tactics and Sunlight ...
4
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2answers
604 views

How do I DM a session zero?

I don't know how am I supposed to DM a session 0 campaign. My friends tell me that I am supposed to tell them what happens so they can create a character that fits the campaign but I think that that ...
6
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2answers
184 views

How can I simulate paranoia in a Call of Cthulhu One-Shot?

I'm a new GM to Call of Cthulhu. I want to play a One-Shot where paranoia and hallucinations play a big role (English isn’t my first language, so sorry if some phrases are weird). My idea is ...
3
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3answers
171 views

How can I limit firearms and futuristic technology in a multiverse setting?

I'm going to start a series of Infinite Worlds campaigns and I want to prevent things like using firearms/laser/etc... on worlds where the technology is low. Because, you know, what is preventing PCs ...
64
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7answers
8k views

As a GM, is it bad form to ask for a moment to think when improvising?

As an amateur GM, I, like many other new GMs, often find myself having to improvise in the wake of unexpected player action. In the past, my approach to this has been to rush to think of something on ...
40
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7answers
8k views

How do I, as a DM, handle a party that decides to set up an ambush in a dungeon?

Warning: Lost Mine of Phandelver Chapter 1 spoilers below. One of my players then pushed the party into moving out, probably because he's also a DM and could see that I was struggling to find a ...
2
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1answer
129 views

Is there a game system with good mechanics for a PvP murder mystery? [closed]

My players have expressed interest in a PvP murder mystery, where one of them is secretly the murderer. At first I was enthusiastic, but there are several problems I don't know how to get round, and I ...