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Questions tagged [gm-techniques]

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

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How can I narrate combat without it getting repetitive? [duplicate]

Although I mostly run D&D games I like to try and distract players from numbers as much as possible and keep the game narrative flowing at a smooth pace. For the most part, this is fine: lots of ...
Bob Tway's user avatar
  • 5,244
14 votes
7 answers
10k views

How to deal with player who won't roleplay, insists character-friction is bad, and doesn't take the game seriously?

I've browsed most of problem-players and still felt we needed more info, or more allegorical advice from experienced gamers but am now seeing stuff in gm-techniques I had missed that is somewhat ...
Mikhzi's user avatar
  • 167
7 votes
1 answer
596 views

When a spell that clouds the target's judgement is cast on a player character, how can I make sure they act accordingly?

If an NPC spellcaster, or any other magic source, magically clouds the judgement of a PC, how can I make sure the character acts according to the spell's nature? Is there anyway to do this without ...
TheDragonOfFlame's user avatar
5 votes
2 answers
317 views

How accepted is it for GMs to "lie"? [closed]

Many GMs seem to be averse to declaratively stating any categorical untruth about the gameworld. If something that happens in a scene is not what it seems, they describe the event in terms of what the ...
Foobie Bletch's user avatar
5 votes
2 answers
1k views

How do I rule on spells without casters and their interaction with things like Counterspell?

The players in my Curse of Strahd game have reached the Amber Temple. While there, they recently breached a certain door, for which the module indicates One of the PC's is a wizard, and he had a ...
Kirt's user avatar
  • 51.6k
31 votes
7 answers
13k views

Help! My PCs polymorphed my boss enemy! What do I do?

Our Druid has recently gotten access to the polymorph spell and has started polymorphing the opponents I so lovingly crafted for our (well, mostly my) enjoyment. (So far, he has been turning them into ...
Stephan Kolassa's user avatar
-7 votes
2 answers
370 views

In this joke, what should the Dwarf have said? [closed]

Link to joke Context: the party is traversing a mountain pass in a blizzard a la Lord of the Rings scene. DM has everyone roll the dice to see if they don’t fall down the cliff, and dwarf warrior in ...
Allure's user avatar
  • 1,120
54 votes
5 answers
6k views

How do I prevent myself from freezing up during a game I'm DMing?

I'm a new DM/player with only a few weeks of experience in playing the game at university. My flatmates and I decided that we should all have a D&D game after I explained the concept to them. They ...
NoobDMnPlayer's user avatar
29 votes
12 answers
6k views

How to avoid killing player characters due to a single (un)lucky roll?

Especially at low levels, Pathfinder characters can usually be killed easily by a single enemy attack, provided the dice fall in said enemy's favor. An example: The PC has a Constitution score of 10 (...
user avatar
32 votes
4 answers
5k views

How to alleviate the tedium of PC death at higher levels?

In our high-level Pathfinder game, player characters die relatively often, whether to save-or-die or just to high damage. When a PC dies, then players either defeat the enemy or escape, and unless the ...
Petr Hudeček's user avatar
1 vote
3 answers
2k views

Should players see maps of locations they are in? [closed]

I am currently DM'ing Storm King's Thunder. The book contains many maps, and each of them has a DM version and a player version. I am wondering if other DMs/GMs show their players these maps. For ...
Colin's user avatar
  • 221
7 votes
1 answer
278 views

Gathering Intel - Strategies on balancing social time for different types of players?

I am both a DM and player for our group in two separate campaigns. Some of us are brand new and some are semi-moderately experienced. I have a noticed a pattern in both games where some players, (...
DoubleDouble's user avatar
13 votes
6 answers
5k views

How can I prepare my party to reasonably be able to bring down a prismatic wall?

Background In my campaign I have a villain who uses misdirection and avoidance as their main combat methods. They won't fight directly, but they use summoned creatures, minion allies and illusions to ...
linksassin's user avatar
  • 30.9k
10 votes
2 answers
478 views

Paranoia Play-by-Post GMing Techniques

I am planning on running a play-by-post (pbp) Paranoia Troubleshooters game. Due to the nature of a pbp, we may lose out on the dramatic tension of a proper Paranoia game. What are ways to increase ...
Elliot Hodge's user avatar
50 votes
8 answers
13k views

How do I explain to an AD&D player that items that increase Armor Class in D&D 5e are overpowered?

Context: I have recently started a campaign with a new player that comes from an AD&D background. He wishes to convert and import his character to the campaign. We did this once, and I helped him ...
RomainL.'s user avatar
  • 1,035
43 votes
7 answers
9k views

I gave a too powerful magic item at too low level for a bad reason, what to do?

When a paladin in the game I run went into the local store ran by an ex adventurer, he went to the back to see the fancy swords, and asked if any looked like his holy symbol. The god he follows is ...
TheDragonOfFlame's user avatar
5 votes
1 answer
338 views

Campaign in already existing world and story - fear of NPC domination

I am attempting to create a campaign utilizing a setting and lore from an already established series, World of Warcraft, but I fear my players may feel their story and characters overshadowed by this ...
Riccardo's user avatar
  • 103
6 votes
1 answer
134 views

How should players purchase supernatural backgrounds when using a Prelude?

Hunter: The Reckoning has a concept of of a "prelude". A prelude is essentially a one-shot or one-session adventure which tells the story of how a normal, mundane human became called to the ...
indigochild's user avatar
  • 19.1k
37 votes
14 answers
11k views

My players have a habit of always torturing enemies they capture for information, how can I make our adventure less macabre? [closed]

So I'm running the lost mines of Phandelver as a new DM and we're about 5 sessions in. I've noticed a pattern that seems to repeat itself: the players defeat and capture an evil NPC character that ...
notAlex's user avatar
  • 437
31 votes
6 answers
8k views

I feel like my DMing skills are making the game less enjoyable

I'm DMing a party of five, a rogue, cleric, wizard, fighter, and a ranger that comes every other week. Everything goes well for the first hour and a half, but then after that I can tell my narrations ...
Ceramicmrno0b's user avatar
1 vote
0 answers
184 views

The road not taken, or should a GM allow replays? [closed]

Some people say adventures are supposed to be unique experiences that cannot be recreated. What if the player wants to replay the same thing from the beginning, but try a different fork in the road? ...
BladePoint's user avatar
  • 1,713
3 votes
3 answers
280 views

Total catastrophic failure, or should a GM ever allow re-rolls and do-overs? [closed]

It's a critical moment in the game at the end of a marathon session, everyone is on the edge of their seats, and the player rolls... a 1. Evil bad guy wins, party dies, game over. As a GM, what should ...
BladePoint's user avatar
  • 1,713
15 votes
2 answers
9k views

If an NPC and a PC roll identical initiative who goes first?

Normally, when 2 players roll identical initiative in combat, they decide between themselves the order they do things in and then stick to that on subsequent rounds. How should the DM handle it if the ...
Richard C's user avatar
  • 6,306
6 votes
3 answers
613 views

I'm not good at DMing, but I don't think they really care... do I quit? [closed]

So I've been doing some thinking and essentially realized I'm a garbage DM. I am literally the embodiment of Railroading and unwillingness to listen to their wishes. I love my lore way too much and ...
Edmund's user avatar
  • 71
1 vote
1 answer
234 views

The BBEG wants to delay the party in the final battle... (spells)

I have thought of a few methods they might accomplish this. The easiest, mechanically, is to give him spells to accomplish this. Some details about the campaign/fight (major spoilers for Paizo's Ruins ...
Ifusaso's user avatar
  • 43.3k
10 votes
8 answers
3k views

The BBEG wants to delay the party in the final battle... (narrative delay?)

I have thought of a few methods they might accomplish this. In this question, I am wondering about a potentially more controversial option. I am considering having them attempt to monologue or engage ...
Ifusaso's user avatar
  • 43.3k
3 votes
1 answer
201 views

NPC Gear Advice

I'm GMing a 1st Edition Pathfinder campaign after a long hiatus from GMing and starting up NPCs has never been a strong suit of mine - typically I try an officially made, appropriate statblock for the ...
Balfuset790's user avatar
18 votes
7 answers
15k views

How can a BBEG deal with a Wall of Force and Sickening Radiance spell combo without trivializing it?

This question has already been asked in general form here, but was closed as too broad: "How to deal with broken combos?". I'm going to make an effort to make the scenario I'm asking about ...
Blake Steel's user avatar
  • 7,202
4 votes
2 answers
361 views

DC of Knowledge arcana/religion for information about spell mechanics

What's the DC on knowledge arcana/religion checks to know the mechanics of a higher level spell? In my current campaign, the players try to find a scroll of true resurrection to revive a dead party ...
ABot's user avatar
  • 153
30 votes
8 answers
5k views

Can a persuasion roll avoid battling the BBEG?

So yesterday I was DM’ing our weekly D&D 5e session. For practical reasons it was a one-shot. At some point, one of my players, a Lvl 10 Bard, ends up in the BBEG’s lair alone (an adult red dragon,...
freddieknets's user avatar
24 votes
8 answers
7k views

How to deal with low agency players?

I have a group of four players who meet in-person and are very intent on playing "Dungeons & Dragons" specifically, but suffer from astoundingly low agency. In discussion, the group very ...
SnailHerder's user avatar
52 votes
9 answers
5k views

How do I handle when my players overestimate the importance of an encounter/a location?

TL;DR: How can I (and should I) make the players' efforts worth their while when they overestimate the importance of an encounter or a location? I am running a homebrew DnD 5e adventure where the ...
FerventHippo's user avatar
  • 2,027
22 votes
6 answers
2k views

How to provide knowledge to players?

I've read a lot of articles on player vs. character knowledge, where the crux of the article is always that players know more than their characters, and metagaming is an issue. For good or for bad, I ...
ggutenberg's user avatar
18 votes
3 answers
1k views

How to make Arcane Eye and our game style fit better together?

Our DM works fairly improvisationally, which results in a playstyle that is fluid and responsive to our actions. We have relatively short sessions, so we like to keep the game moving. There is no ...
TJC's user avatar
  • 446
14 votes
5 answers
4k views

GMing with an overtuned skill monkey

I have a player in one of my games, who has managed to create a build that can roll a minimum of 41 by level 7 across a large plethora of skills (mostly excluding dex/str based skills). They use these ...
Erudaki's user avatar
  • 5,854
7 votes
2 answers
1k views

What can remove the bane effects of Elder Runes in Dungeon of the Mad Mage?

In the campaign Dungeon of the Mad Mage there are bane effects on Elder Runes that are cast like symbol. One of the runes mentions specifically that it can be dispelled by remove curse or greater ...
TenDM's user avatar
  • 71
10 votes
3 answers
979 views

I have a player who will not stop cheating [closed]

As the title says, I have one particular player that has a digital file version of Curse of Strahd and is hellbent on cheating. They have done just about everything from faking dice rolls, using ...
CT-2020's user avatar
  • 109
35 votes
17 answers
12k views

How can I make players still feel rewarded after looting a dragon hoard?

Disclaimer: This question is tagged dnd-5e, since consideration of the value of money or the magic item system might be relevant. I do, however, doubt that an answer based primarily on these would ...
Anagkai's user avatar
  • 16.5k
8 votes
2 answers
292 views

How do I model time passing differently for different characters?

I am the DM in this situation and a character has wandered into a small area which links to another plane. In this plane time passes differently, so 1 minute in that plane would be 1 hour in the real ...
SeriousBri's user avatar
10 votes
5 answers
2k views

How do I DM for this group when we can't handle a large group properly, but also can't count on any smaller group all attending?

I just concluded an online game with my players. (We played 5E, but I want to move to Dungeon World.) I started with four players, and that has since grown to around ten people wanting to play, which ...
From A Public Comp's user avatar
39 votes
12 answers
7k views

How can I make crime meaningful for rich players?

For the D&D 5e campaign I'm DMing, the party has been caught for a murder of a government official and put on trial. Out of character, a player pointed out that his character can just pay for a ...
zz20s's user avatar
  • 1,237
2 votes
0 answers
64 views

How should XP be awarded when facing enemies with class levels? [duplicate]

A lot of games I've been in have had either enemies with player levels or straight up PvP. How should XP be awarded when facing enemies like that? Should you attempt to calculate the CR of the enemies ...
Himitsu_no_Yami's user avatar
61 votes
7 answers
9k views

What to do if a player expected much more than DM gave?

I was not the DM in this session, it was my GF, but she does not speak English so I'm here to ask for all of us. We've faced an issue we can't seem to solve. It was our 2nd game, none of us have ever ...
Denis's user avatar
  • 1,015
15 votes
8 answers
2k views

Can conflicting descriptions of the recent past be handled better than GM fiat?

I've been having a problem in RPGs lately where participants, myself included, have radically different ideas about what just happened on a basic factual level. For example, in a recent Pokémon RPG ...
Please stop being evil's user avatar
9 votes
3 answers
2k 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 ...
Sos's user avatar
  • 537
16 votes
5 answers
3k 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. ...
Maiko Chikyu's user avatar
17 votes
9 answers
5k 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 ...
RatMan's user avatar
  • 503
26 votes
10 answers
7k 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 ...
Ethan Field's user avatar
41 votes
11 answers
9k 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, ...
Ruslan Osipov's user avatar
40 votes
8 answers
12k 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. ...
HellSaint's user avatar
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