Questions tagged [gm-techniques]

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

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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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92 views

What can PCs do with extra money? [duplicate]

More specifically, are there official ways my PCs can “upgrade” their character by spending their gold once they’ve purchased all the basics? I’m composing a campaign in which I want to provide my ...
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181 views

What narrative techniques should a GM know? [closed]

This question is inspired by this answer which provides a named technique by which a GM can work around a specific situation. My question is: what are the various established techniques that a GM can ...
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52 views

Can I keep players of dead characters engaged in Dread? [duplicate]

I've ran one or two games of Dread at roleplaying conventions, and I really liked the tension the system generates. However, players want to be involved to the very end. Is there anything I can do to ...
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79 views

Music for noir combat scenes [closed]

Right now planning noir style VtM campaign which would have place in 1940s and I'm trying to make it more atmospheric for my players. We're playing via Roll20, so music means a lot. The problem I ...
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49 views

“Fudging” dice rolls - how important is it? [duplicate]

Similar to the Fate Fudge dice, sometimes a DM might "Fudge" a dice roll (without using the actual Fudge dice). I.e., they might make a roll pass/fail, regardless of what is on the actual dice. For ...
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209 views

Need a dm cheat sheet [closed]

Basically, need some basic references. Three in fact. A dm screen/quick reference download, a npc/monster stat card, and a miniatures blank stat card. I figure that there's a decent chance for all ...
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628 views

How to run a game for a single player? [closed]

One of my friends sent me a message asking to join my game. I told him i would run him through a game but i never tried running a game with a single person before. Should i make the combat encounters ...
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179 views

How to have my PCs uncover a mole in the city guard [closed]

So I want to create a situation for the players where they have to figure out who, within the city guard, is secretly working for a certain necromancy cult based in the local swamp. I was initially ...
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219 views

How to make a hyperbolic game board with octagonal tiles? [closed]

I'm currently thinking about making a campaign that will feature the far realms, and I've been reading a lot of Lovecraft. To get across the idea of alien geometries, I was considering using some sort ...
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172 views

Rate your GM: Evaluation Method & Questionnaire for Players [closed]

I've concluded this year's campaign, and I would like to collect feedback from my players (5 constant plus 5 more on/off) about my performance as a GM. I didn't find any relevant QAs in RPG.SE ...
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706 views

How do I get a player to stop being so paranoid? [closed]

Not touching something with a 10 foot pole is almost a constant problem for this kind of player. A past, brutal GM is probably to blame for this player's timidity. The one time they do take a risk, ...
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256 views

What mechanics from other rpgs could I introduce into my Call of Cthulhu game to make it scarier? [closed]

I will use an example to illustrate my question. If I wanted to make my player`s characters more complex and support/motivate my players to actually role-play, then I would take the char belief ...
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308 views

Why Would a Herd of Goliaths Move From Their Stronghold? [closed]

Bit of backstory: One of my players plays a Goliath, who was banished from their herd for being a complete loose cannon. Eventually, I want the player to encounter their herd, having overtaken the ...
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166 views

Somebody has any GM/PC experience in Harry Potter RPG by Matthew A. Kearns? [closed]

My girlfriend really fun of Harry Potter "universe" and I like it too. She use to ask me to tell her interesting stories since I am a history teacher. I thought it could be much more interesting to ...
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214 views

Switching from dead characters mid-game [closed]

As a GM, how do I wrap game-caused character switching into the story? Suppose I had to murder one of the PCs for great ju... didactic purposes. For example, my players refuse to understand the idea ...
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234 views

What are some good resources for designing maps (regional, provincial, dungeon, etc)? [closed]

Alright, I hope this question is narrow enough in scope that it's alright for RPG.SE. What I am asking for is a list of resources such as essays, books, blog posts, articles, how-to's, etc., that ...
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103 views

Starting higher-level players in Hoard of the Dragon Queen [duplicate]

I'm a newbie GM running the 5e starter set adventure (Lost Mines). My players are progressing well through it, and are at 3rd level closing in on 4th level. Assuming they make it through the adventure ...
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84 views

Is it possible to make my players really care about NPCs? [duplicate]

What I'd really like to do, and don't think I have right tools/approach, is to emotionally manipulate my players into making sub-optimal - even bad - decisions using the NPCs I present them with. "I ...
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228 views

Are amnesia stories good for RPGs? [closed]

I've noticed that some plot types seem hard to pull off in Role Playing Games. Are Party Amnesia plots good for the medium? Do they require any special handling? Should the players be in on it (...
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44 views

Rule Fudging for Large Groups [duplicate]

I'm running a 3.5 campaign for a large group (8 players, I must be crazy), none of which have every played before, and several of which are quite young (ages 13-17). I've got some ideas for changing ...
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1answer
634 views

How to deal with stubborn players? [duplicate]

Okay, so my problem is that one of the people I have in my party (my brother) is VERY stubborn when it comes to playing a session of D&D, everything from getting on his tablet and getting ...
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1answer
236 views

Example implementations of time limits on player actions in combat [closed]

Several questions (like this one) suggest imposing time limits on players to speed up combat. Those suggestions usually lack expertise on the topic. I’m looking for your experience on that matter. ...
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151 views

Armor and weapon enhancments [closed]

I'm a new DM and I'm starting a new 5th edition campaign which will be a modification of the starter set i.e. set in Faerun on the Sword Coast. I wanted to start my group out with the choice of a +1 ...
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323 views

How can I set up a villain with a really, really, long scope to his plans? [closed]

In the near future I will be running a campaign where the plot, very roughly goes as follows: It's the year X. The world has been destroyed in a process that has taken a long time. Most people alive ...
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182 views

Do you share your story titles with players? [closed]

I've started to taking to naming my stories, even for no other purpose than record keeping. However I've been thinking about sharing the names of the stories with the players. If you do it do before ...
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2answers
296 views

Assign mini 'secret' quest to one of the party members? [closed]

I'm planning a Dungeons and Dragons campaign set in a province undergoing a separatist insurrection. I want the theme/shtick of the campaign to be the idea of choices and unintended consequences. The ...
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3answers
421 views

How do you GM well for a party of characters of vastly differing ability and interest [closed]

I'm still looking to be ready to GM an Anima: Beyond Fantasy game and, while my previous problem has still not been solved (shameless plug here), I've run into another one: how to GM for characters of ...
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3answers
130 views

How do you get the characters to meet? [duplicate]

How do you have your group meet, besides the age old, tried and true method of, "You all meet in a tavern"?
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4answers
214 views

Arch-enemy or situational obstacle? [closed]

I am running a campaign where my players have a set arch-enemy. A person dedicated to the same goal as the players, but does everything in his power to stop the PCs getting to it first. He would even ...
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2answers
138 views

Gameplay-to-cutscene ratio: how interactive should I make the introduction to the campaign? [closed]

I'm planning a campaign with a specific backdrop-the characters are employees of a certain organization and this is their first day on the job. The organization and the job will no longer actually ...
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1answer
182 views

PC without goal / too much general goal. Should I make them on fly? [closed]

Do you have any experience with character who's goal is something like "I want to be rich/powerful/free"? I am not sure if I should make goals for their characters during the campaign or just let them ...
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2answers
297 views

How should the GM adjust encounters for PCs with other classes' class features? [closed]

I'm planning a Final Fantasy VIII-style campaign wherein PCs are students at a military school that teaches mundane combat, magical combat, and how to summon creatures. Obviously, no lone class does ...
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1answer
311 views

I have no idea where to take the campaign I'm running, need some advice [closed]

I'm a brand new GM and decided to run my first campaign with Star Wars: Edge of the Empire. When helping my players create characters I told them they should make they make like the crew in firefly, ...
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2answers
437 views

How to let players roll perception checks without suspicion? [duplicate]

I am a new GM playing Pathfinder. I am curious about perception. How can I have the players roll for perception without making them really suspicious? For example, if a trap is in the middle of a room ...
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53 views

How do I calculate the difficulty of a multi-sided encounter? [duplicate]

From looking through the DMG for encounter building (p. 81-85), it seems clear to me that the rules for how to calculate encounter difficulty assume that there are only two sides in an encounter: PCs ...
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131 views

What are some good roll tables for a DM screen? [duplicate]

I made myself a low-budget DM screen out of cardboard, but it doesn't have any tables or information. Does anybody know any essential tables for it? If so, can you share the link with me? I already ...
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63 views

How to Deal with Mass Combat [duplicate]

I recently had a session where the party was on board a boat (Smugglers) with a crew size of 40 which got into a fight with a boat (Royal Marines) with a crew size of 60. Obviously I didn't put the ...
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70 views

How should you handle players forgetting information as opposed to their characters? [duplicate]

I'll start with the actual scenario that occurred in our last session. Our party, of which I am one of the PC's came across a nasty trapped/warded dirt wall. We figured out that the trap was only ...
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2answers
466 views

How does one design encounters that accommodate a high burst damage build?

There are some really powerful burst damage builds out there that can pretty easily one shot the biggest threat in the room. As a DM how do I counter high burst damage builds so that the main threat ...
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2answers
421 views

Dealing with an abusive player [closed]

Continuing on my last question, which I will congratulate all the answers that I got, some of the answers were about that other player I mentioned. He plays a Druid (lv.3), and he is in a party ...
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1answer
768 views

How would you handle a D&D 4e Total Party Kill without killing them? [duplicate]

I have a lot of story planned and it's just as lame for me as it is for them. I accidently threw a couple Mud Lashers that were too difficult after they had defeated the huge Mudbeast. This was ...
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2answers
401 views

A player in my game is using homebrew to powergame; how can I stop this? [closed]

A friend of mine is in a game I'm DMing. I've allowed homebrew, so now he's using complicated and weird classes to get an edge. How can I solve this without killing and or banning his character and ...
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2answers
499 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 ...
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1answer
402 views

How do I deal with players that do not put much effort on character background? [closed]

My group is, on its majority, formed by young players. Even though we have shared Game Table for 4 years and are close friends of mine, they have a tendency to make shallow characters and observe my ...
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1answer
190 views

How do I manage to handle many villian organizations on an already NPC filled game? [closed]

I'm running a super powers (anime style) campaign with friends, we've just begun and we want to keep the anime "vibe" alive for as long as we can, since Japanese Animation shows make use of several ...
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2answers
229 views

Realistic damage in 3.5/pathfinder [closed]

As someone who is wont to forget things, here is my question: I thought I remember reading articles/threads/posts/questions about more realistic ways to describe hit point loss. As in a narrative ...