Questions tagged [gm-techniques]

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

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17
votes
2answers
1k views

How often should the players roll Bluff when interacting with NPCs

My party had secretly infiltrated a stronghold and we were Disguised (using magic) as the leadership of the place after eliminating the real leadership. While rifling through the head honchos stuff ...
17
votes
4answers
3k views

When do I tell my players when they're under an NPC's class effects that cause disadvantage on attacks?

There's a pretty good chance that my PCs will enter a team-battle tournament soon. One of the characters that they might fight has an ability that would give disadvantage to attack someone other than ...
16
votes
6answers
2k views

How do you encourage group decisions over individual actions?

In my campaign (4th edition Dungeons & Dragons, but I've encountered the same problem in other systems) we sometimes arrive at a point where the group should make a decision, for example "should ...
16
votes
4answers
827 views

How to deal with players who take up most of the time by doing solo actions?

I am sure this has been asked already, as this is probably a very common problem, but I didn't find anything. I am playing in a campaign I made myself using homebrewed rules based on a German pen-and-...
16
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7answers
1k views

As a DM, how to save a creature from being killed by players and not be cheap?

If you put a creature you want to use at a later date in an encounter, how could I save that creature near the end of the battle without sounding cheaty. E.g. The evil mage has only 1 hit point left ...
16
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6answers
1k views

How to solve a player feeling like their socially-focused PC isn't useful?

I have a player (I'll call him Jeff) whose PC is a peaceful diplomat. He invested most of his points in Charisma and charisma-based skills. He also has minor telepathy (able to read and influence ...
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 ...
15
votes
2answers
1k views

How to respond to “stress tracks / narrative consequences are arbitrary”?

Fate is admittedly an acquired taste. Interestingly, my players don't mind facing off against powerful enemies with stunts and skills that they themselves could not gain any time soon (full immunity ...
15
votes
3answers
730 views

Tips and pitfalls for a variable-size group

My gaming group has very fluid attendance. From week to week it's been known to fluctuate between ten and two players, usually hovering around three to five. I've become reasonably adept at building ...
14
votes
0answers
391 views

How does a GM know they have done enough prep? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: When GMing a game, how much should you prepare in advance? How do you, as a GM, keep from getting into an endless prep loop and to know when you have enough to run a scenario, ...
14
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7answers
1k views

How can I encourage my players to give me plot hooks?

Related: How can I help a player craft a backstory that gives me plot hooks? This question is about generating new plot hooks during play, rather than part of character generation, however. I prefer ...
14
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0answers
220 views

How can a GM calm down the group when they're chatty? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: When and how should I get the players to cut back on their out of character chatter? Now and then the groups I play in or GM can get rather chatty. They're talking and joking ...
13
votes
2answers
667 views

How do I add player agency to a canned adventure?

Our current GM is going to be out of town for a few weeks, so I have decided to try my hand at GMing our group using the We Be Goblins module from Pathfinder. The module is short and has good reviews ...
13
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4answers
3k views

How can I handle a disruptive player with thin skin?

My problem is that I have a player who Takes everything that happens to his character personally and then throws tantrums, and Metagames consistently. We run a very homebrew game, all players know ...
12
votes
2answers
379 views

Playing a pregame, how to keep sense of continuity in campaign

My players and I are currently playing a "pre-game" for a whole campaign I have written. I want the players to be aware of the "how did it get to be this way", so I make them play two games 4000 and ...
12
votes
3answers
3k 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 place,...
11
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7answers
6k views

1st-level Pathfinder group without healer

I am a GM, and I just started a campaign of Pathfinder with a group formed by a rogue, a warrior, and a ranger. I came from Vampire and WoD games, so I don't have experience with a balanced game like ...
11
votes
3answers
710 views

How can I avoid making extended/prolonged encounters boring?

I have run this campaign for just over a year. Many encounters later, I have come to one snag; If I run an encounter that lasts for more than a few rounds, I lose all my flair. I just resort to "hit" ...
11
votes
3answers
5k views

Are there issues to using passive Perception?

Is it fair to only consider the result of "passive" Perception checks (same as Taking 10) for PCs to detect things, unless the player actively expresses attention to something (in which case a roll is ...
11
votes
3answers
8k views

Do you make death saving throws out of combat?

Death saving throws are made on each turn where you are dying and not stable. However, the rules specifically talk about making saves during combat rounds - so what about after combat? Two PCs are up, ...
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 ...
10
votes
2answers
483 views

How to lead newer players to perform less linearly in encounters?

During a turn, a player has so many possible options, movement (e.g. crawl, climb, jump, grapple...), action (e.g. attack, dash, shove, dodge, hide...), bonus action, and reaction. Also to keep in ...
9
votes
2answers
666 views

How do I stop my players from jumping to conclusions?

Sometimes my players accidentally get ahead of me when they are excited. Example: I make an axe from the materials and use it to chop down the tree. The problem is that the player rushes to chopping ...
9
votes
3answers
553 views

How do I make information that I give my players “accidental”?

I like the idea that the players of my campaign are meddlers. Creatures who have came upon knowledge only by accident or putting their noses where those noses don't belong. The idea that the ...
8
votes
3answers
380 views

How can I encourage the use of willpower?

I've never (or rarely, maybe once) seen anyone make use of willpower in a World of Darkness game, it seems like such a vastly underutilized resource. What can I do to encourage my players to remember ...
8
votes
0answers
569 views

Help with an apparently bored player [duplicate]

I have a group of 5 players, 3 are long time veterans and we have been playing together for 15 years, the other is a newcomer who is actually liking the game a lot, and there's a 5th player that ...
8
votes
3answers
2k views

As a GM, how can I adjudicate de-escalating combat?

As a sister question to How can combat be de-escalated once started by a player? In a D&D 5e game, a player rushed into combat with an NPC that wasn't particularly hostile. As a player, I wouldn'...
8
votes
5answers
1k views

How can I encourage players to role-play using their ability scores?

The physical ability scores (Strength, Dexterity, and Constitution), haven't been much of a problem. Feel free to include advice on role-playing these scores as well though. When it comes to the ...
8
votes
5answers
901 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 ...
7
votes
9answers
1k views

How do I quickly get the PCs to a distant location for the next adventure?

I'm running a campaign with my friends. We started Keep on the Shadowfell a year ago, and finished it at our latest session. (We don't play often, one of them is a doctor, so it's hard to schedule ...
7
votes
4answers
717 views

How can my co-GM and I improvise together when running a game?

Here's the background - one of the players have to leave town for an exchange programmee lasting 6 months, but I have already filled his slot with another player. We are thinking of ways to include ...
7
votes
1answer
741 views

Mechanics for interactive mass combats in 5e [closed]

I'd like to run a large melee in a mid-sized village for my players. There'd be several demons and devils running around both snatching villagers and dragging them off in to the darkness and also ...
7
votes
3answers
894 views

How do I get a fairly new player interested in playing longer adventures?

My girlfriend is fairly new to roleplaying, having tried a bit of LARP as murder parties (one INSMV and one XFiles-style game, she loved each one), and playing in a Cthulhu campaign I have been GMing ...
7
votes
3answers
593 views

New to Fate: how to manage all aspects at play

Newbie Fate GM here, I will soon GM my first ever session. Seeing how important being aware of all aspects at play at any given scene is, how do you keep track and announce all the various aspects ...
7
votes
1answer
1k views

Danger and Location Moves in Dungeon World

What is a "danger move" or "location move" exactly? Are the danger moves part of the dangers from the description of the front (i.e. campaign or adventure)? Are location moves ...
6
votes
3answers
547 views

How to get players to get familiar with the rules? [closed]

So I read this post: How do you help players not focus on the rules? and I can of course see the point that story is the main source of fun. I would like to ask the opposite question though: what if ...
6
votes
2answers
2k views

What are the pros and cons of players knowing each others' secret backstories?

First time D&D 5e GM here. At the beginning of my campaign, an NPC will try to send the party on a covert operation. I'm giving one of the characters a special role and backstory: He's that NPC's ...
6
votes
1answer
820 views

Manage a player character suffering amnesia?

I'm going to manage a group with one character suffering of deep amnesia, Warhammer 2nd edition. How do I manage the character's skills, talents and profile? I think the profile is the same and ...
6
votes
6answers
3k views

How to make my session Faster

What are good ways to make my sessions move faster and my plot to develop quicker? I like to keep a balance between roleplay and dungeoncrawling, and don't mind spending hours in a dungeon on purely ...
5
votes
4answers
2k views

How can I introduce others to Pathfinder?

My school just started a Pathfinder club at the school after I got a petition to the principal. Because it is in the voluntary "activity block" of our schedules, it will mean that some people ...
5
votes
1answer
869 views

Should a DM disclose Armor Class or other NPC/monster information during encounters? [closed]

A neighbor and I are trying to get our kids (3 children, ages 10-13) into playing D&D. We started the Lost Mines of Phandelver campaign, which was OK for a certain amount of time, but it became ...
5
votes
1answer
219 views

Avoiding losing much time on uninteresting scenes

As I understand it, the core idea of Fate is to only spend time playing scenes with an impact into the story and the characters. Still playing it I've seen much time being spend on scenes that are ...
4
votes
2answers
609 views

Introducing Roleplaying in Combat [duplicate]

I am the kind of gamer that mostly enjoys the story and I love roleplaying. However this time I am the Dungeon Master and not a player. How can I encourage my players to roleplay during combat ...
4
votes
3answers
524 views

Starting a campaign with travel for new players

I'm starting a campaign with a new group, most of whom have never played a tabletop RPG before. Typically, I'd start with a good old-fashioned dungeon crawl, but due to the overarching plot I'm ...
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 ...
3
votes
4answers
528 views

How can I get an uninterested group of players to listen to me, or focus on the game in general?

I am having some major trouble running a game of Pathfinder: Rise of the Runelords. As some people know this quite a hard campaign, and while it is the first one that I have ever really run, I am ...
3
votes
1answer
334 views

What's a good Difficulty for a 5-aspect 20-skill point FATE game?

I have both played and GMed FATE 2.0 a lot but, while deciding the target number for rolls as a GM has somehow always been easy, knowing what difficulties to expect as a player for a long time was ...
3
votes
0answers
2k views

How much should I prepare as a new DM for a play session? [closed]

I'll be a DM for a group of my friends soonish for a play through of the D&D 5 starter set campaign. I've played with this group for a few months but some more experienced players have been taking ...
3
votes
5answers
1k views

What's an efficient way to handle magical item identification? [closed]

Background I'm running an Eberron (read: "industrialized magic") campaign under the Pathfinder rule system. They have a (semi-GM) PC who is a warforged artificer, which at their APL of 8 means the ...
2
votes
1answer
218 views

Is there any good way to introduce an adventure? [closed]

So recently I have found myself trying to write my own adventures. With little bits from other games and such I have found myself able to write the adventure, encounters, and everything else, but I ...

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