Questions tagged [gm-techniques]

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

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12
votes
3answers
163 views

How to deal with a player who says no all the time?

I am a fairly new DM. I am playing with a group I have tried to DM and have played with as a PC. There is one person in that group that plays as a PC that says no, AKA he is the opposite of a murder ...
3
votes
2answers
163 views

How does increasing PCs' wealth beyond the WBL table affect power disparity between character class tiers?

It's well-known what happens when characters get less gold than they are supposed to according to the wealth-by-level (WBL) guidelines. Basically, the well-known power disparity between casters and ...
2
votes
1answer
106 views

How to make combat with a lot of NPCs more interesting and more manageable?

I am a DM for a D&D 4e campaign. During a recent encounter, my players took some NPC allies along with them. I allowed this, because there were only two PCs on that particular adventure, and I ...
1
vote
0answers
44 views

RPG format for one-shot large group campaign [closed]

Can anyone recomend an RPG format that would allow me to run: a one-shot (~6h) campaign with about 15 inexperienced players that would allow me to add some "morality" to the journey They'd only be ...
18
votes
4answers
4k views

The Bard wants to convert a Goblin to the good side. Are there any rules against this?

Upfront: I DMed a lot from 1990 to 2005, but not D&D. So I'm decent quality and experienced, but rusty and a total novice with the 5e rules. I do believe that fun trumps rules, and that alignment ...
26
votes
11answers
6k views

How can I deal with the Remove Curse spell spoiling my plot hooks?

My players met Fiachra, cursed to be a raven unless she brings the Scepter of McGuffin to Ebil Wissard III (grand son of the legendary Ebil Wissard). Of course, the Cleric in the group casts the ...
24
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3answers
2k views

Is it a bad idea to only start enforcing rules late in a campaign?

I'm a pretty new DM. My players are almost at session 20 in my first campaign and it's going great. One of my players has been using a monk. I wasn't familiar with the class, so I'd usually just ask ...
6
votes
3answers
285 views

Is it incorrect to use Passive Insight to tell Players what their Characters already know about NPCs?

I have a party of 4 noobs, 1 is a pro on other games but new to 5e (like myself - but I haven't played in years), 3 are actually playing their first characters ever. Ages run from 13 to 50 (I love a ...
10
votes
2answers
153 views

Avoiding all or nothing on “short-lived” partials

A sort of common trope I encounter in pbta games is moves with a partial that has you succeed but with the effect "lasting only a moment" (or some similar phrasing). The example I am going to work ...
-1
votes
0answers
64 views

What's a good cooperative drawing tool to use for an online game? [closed]

In offline games I liked using a piece of paper to sketch stuff and to use as a simple battle map. I've recently started playing over Discord and am missing the option to just draw something. What I'm ...
4
votes
3answers
327 views

How to manage players wanting to carry out opposing actions?

I need to pick your brains for experience in dealing with this sort of situation. So, in our campaign there was recently an occasion where a character interfered with another character's actions. [I ...
9
votes
9answers
3k views

How can a GM continue to progress the campaign if the player characters cause a plot-critical item or NPC to be lost/killed? [duplicate]

I'm not familiar with role-playing games so apologies if this question is poorly worded. As an example of what I'm thinking of, suppose the player characters are on a ship, which capsizes. While ...
5
votes
8answers
654 views

How can I combine very different role-playing systems with D&D 5e?

I'm planning on making a D&D 5e campaign for my friends so they can experience what an okay DM is like rather than a bias and railroading DM which is so far their only experience of Dungeons and ...
32
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 (...
16
votes
2answers
1k views

How can I figure out what my players have deduced about hidden aspects of the story without hinting at the secret?

New DM here; our group is in the very early stages of a D&D 5e campaign. My players have been hired to provide security for the wedding between Lord P (whose nefariousness was established in ...
17
votes
3answers
1k views

What does “Be a fan of the characters” mean?

My group is currently planning to switch system from DnD 5e to some other system. One of the system I've been eyeing is Dungeon World, from the reviews of my community in Discord. Right now I'm ...
7
votes
5answers
727 views

Help with 3D combat

I recently asked this question, in which one of the comments mentioned there might be problems with 3D combat. My campaign will be nearly entirely underwater, in the deep sea where 3 dimensional ...
1
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0answers
110 views

Are there statistics on how many encounters-per-day most tables have? [closed]

Is there a consensus on how many combat encounters most players experience in a DnD 5E adventuring day? From the DMG, pg 84: Assuming typical adventuring conditions and average luck, most ...
3
votes
0answers
85 views

What makes a convincing mafia? [closed]

I am currently in the process of creating my own world, in a Victorian Era/Industrial Revolution/Steam Age setting. It's not overly steampunk but light elements of it are acceptable, as well as some ...
0
votes
2answers
245 views

Can Infernal Tiefling Always Fly?

Swords of The Coast lists the flying ability for the Winged Tiefling. One player in a group I DM created a "Tiefling (Infernal) Warlock (Undying)" which he has been very specific and detailed about ...
21
votes
12answers
7k views

How to prevent discontent among the players when one player murders the others' characters?

I've recently had an idea for a one-shot game (in my own homebrew system that I've been using for a while) where I collaborate with a player to make things more interesting. My plan is to make it look ...
2
votes
0answers
84 views

How can I include a ouija board in an RPG scene? [closed]

I’d like to incorporate a ouija board in an RPG scene. (Campaign specific detail: using one allows PC’s to hack into the GodMachine’s network to ask for specific information). I plan to adapt the ...
2
votes
1answer
146 views

Is players adversarial focus RPG even possible to execute? [closed]

I am new to the RPG community, when I am thinking of a adversarial relationship, I generally think of players co-operate to fight against GM controlled mobs in a campaign. But talking about game ...
3
votes
2answers
102 views

How do I know how much my player can sell his old gear for?

I have a PC who is a dwarf blacksmith in a homebrew world. He's making a new suit of armor and wants to sell his old stuff. How should I decide what he'll get for it? How do I decide what players ...
71
votes
11answers
9k views

How can I run an open-world game with vast power differences, without resulting in constant TPKs?

I would like to run a game with an open world, where the party can explore unconstrained. I would like to do it in D&D 5E, but the power differences are very stark between levels. How can I make ...
6
votes
3answers
370 views

What precedent is there in an adventure for luring a party with will-o'-wisps?

We are looking to use will-o'-wisps in a Feywild adventure but face a challenge. Since the earliest editions of DnD to the latest, will-o'-wisps have been described as creatures that "lure other ...
-1
votes
2answers
136 views

When running animated water as a creature, how can I get stats quickly?

A subquestion of How does animated water work? When a player conjures a creature formed of animated water, for example a Small horse, I find it works best to model that animated water as a CR0 ...
-1
votes
1answer
126 views

How should I handle attempts to make creatures with Shape Water?

A subquestion of How does animated water work? Often players, encouraged by Shape Water's statement that they can give water any combination of simple shapes and cause it to animate as they wish, ...
23
votes
3answers
4k views

Is there a mechanic for a PC to learn the relative strength of an opponent, stat-wise?

TL;DR: It would be realistic for a PC to be able to evaluate how mechanically strong their opponent is, but I couldn’t find any RAW for this. Am I missing something? Certain skill checks in DnD, like ...
10
votes
2answers
1k views

What are pitfalls I should be aware of with NPC/PC romantic relationships?

I will be running Rise of Tiamat as a sequel to a summer campaign I ran (which was not Hoard of the Dragon Queen). At the end of the campaign two of my PCs, a Bard and a critical role gunslinger, ...
3
votes
1answer
160 views

How can I handle blown cover in a high-stakes game as a GM?

I will be running a high-stakes Eclipse Phase game in the coming weeks and I find myself anticipating a severe problem. The scenario (The Devotees, for any EP players) is based on infiltrating a ...
6
votes
3answers
285 views

How can I provide the most challenging combats allowed by official 4E rules?

I'm am planning on running a 4E campaign for a fully optimized group of five players. I would prefer to use officially published material and tweak where needed. These players love to be challenged (i....
12
votes
1answer
195 views

When do PCs get spot checks for a gelatinous cube in poor light?

I'm new to DMing, and trying to figure out what's fair vs. fun on when the player characters have a chance to spot a gelatinous cube. So if they are in a dimly lit dungeon, when do you have the PCs ...
4
votes
5answers
2k views

How can I meet the needs of players in a party whose characters have opposite alignments?

I am currently DMing a Star Wars D&D campaign. One character has a backstory that includes 'setting orphans on fire'. Needless to say, he is a murder hobo and a Sith. One of my other characters ...
10
votes
5answers
3k views

Alternatives to boxes

I have a box problem. 90% of all my original magic items either are boxes, or are inside boxes. I try to hide it by making them interesting shapes, but ultimately a box is a box. It has gotten to the ...
8
votes
2answers
191 views

Balancing Karma rewards to be meaningful

I have a Shadowrun 5e group that sadly only comes together once or twice a month. In that group we focus most of our time on the roleplaying aspect of the game, rather than advancing the run itself. ...
43
votes
4answers
5k views

What techniques can I use to seduce a PC without arousing suspicion of ulterior motives?

I am looking to have an NPC try and seduce one of the PCs in my party. The NPC has an ulterior motive of course, but I don't want the player immediately suspecting a succubus or similar. What ...
2
votes
3answers
206 views

For physical tabletop play, how do you restrict PCs' vision in situations like fog?

For situations like Obscuring Mist, darkness, and other vision impairment, how have you successfully enforced that in physical tabletop play? Measurements of success: Players are able to manipulate ...
8
votes
3answers
464 views

In Roll20, how do you restrict PCs' vision in situations like fog?

For situations like Obscuring Mist and other vision impairment that overcomes Darkvision (and similar abilities), how have you successfully enforced that in Roll20? My PCs would probably meta-game if ...
44
votes
8answers
6k views

How to play a devious character when you are not personally devious?

I am GMing a low-fantasy GURPS game, and I find that my amoral or immoral NPC's are easily seen through. On several occasions, I have tried to have an NPC dupe my players into being pawns. And every ...
22
votes
3answers
3k views

How to engage Decker in the actual run?

In my role as a GM for a SR5 group i often have the problem, that the decker in our group is not in the field with the rest of the team, which is perfectly fine. But after the fact complains, that he ...
37
votes
6answers
6k views

How can I communicate feelings to players without impacting their agency?

As a Game Master I'd occasionally like to communicate premonitions or sensation to my characters, as a benefit of their backstory, or as a means to give them opportunity to be deeper tied into the ...
9
votes
2answers
377 views

How can I discourage gluttony while still granting buffs?

In Wendy's Feast of Legends, characters gain bonuses for foods eaten by their players. The game explicitly mentions that buffs stack and there are a total 6 different food items (briefly: burger, ...
91
votes
11answers
10k views

As a girl, how can I voice male characters effectively?

I was curious how to voice my male NPCs. I don't want to fill my world with female NPCs just because I can't voice male characters. I want to get more into the roleplay aspect of the game, but my ...
20
votes
4answers
4k views

How do I deal with too many NPCs in my campaign?

I'm a first-time GM using the Fate Core system. I got into RPGs to help me work on my storytelling while having fun with my friends, so I've been GMing a homebrew campaign for about a year now. ...
11
votes
4answers
777 views

How to run NPCs with complicated mechanics?

When I need a run of the mill NPC I use the NPC classes which have simplified mechanics. These classes are great and make it really easy to quickly run their mechanics during combat without needing to ...
14
votes
4answers
515 views

How to flavor my narration of a fight in a creatively plausible way without affecting mechanics?

I'm DMing a recently-started campaign with 5 new players. They are completely new to RPGs and roleplay. In a combat, they often phrased their attacks in ways such as "I aim at the eyes in order to ...
27
votes
5answers
4k views

How can I describe hit point damage without talking about wounds?

The PHB's description of hit points (p. 196) says: Hit points represent a combination of physical and mental durability, the will to live, and luck. Creatures with more hit points are more ...
1
vote
0answers
167 views

How does a DM announce loot? [closed]

Say the party finds an altar, and laying on it are a Wand of Wonder and a lapis lazuli worth 10 gold. How much information does the party get? As DM, do I say "you find a strange wand and a blue gem", ...
10
votes
2answers
290 views

Granting inspiration on a natural 1

I’ve seen Critical Role run their 826LA promotion where they pledged $100 to the charity for every natural 1 they rolled on the show, and I’ve seen Dungeon World’s rule of marking XP on a miss. I’m ...