Questions tagged [pacing]

For questions about pacing, the rhythm of the game and how smoothly things proceed around the table. Proper pacing makes the game progress seamlessly while bad pacing can make an unimportant scene take too long. Maintaining the pace is usually the GM's responsibility.

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21 votes
5 answers
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How to manage time pressure?

The game assumes multiple encounters per day. However, sandboxes or megadungeons give players a lot of control about how far and how long they want to push each day. Sure, factions can also act ...
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11 votes
5 answers
524 views

How can we help our DM to keep things moving?

Our DM started to master for us about two years ago, using published materials. We played Lost Mine of Phandelver, then Waterdeep: Dragon Heist and now Dungeon of the Mad Mage. All of this is good. ...
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34 votes
7 answers
6k views

How can I facilitate a faster pace of play?

I'm DMing a group that was supposed to run a small campaign, maybe 4 sessions long. But it's taken us over 10 sessions, and we aren't even halfway done. I run a party of 5 2nd level players. There's ...
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16 votes
7 answers
3k views

How can healers track all PCs' health without slowing combat?

I'm a GM and a couple of the players who have healing abilities are tracking others' HP on spreadsheets during combat. On the one hand, I love that they're looking out for each other. On the other ...
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15 votes
4 answers
750 views

How to speed up combat by helping players to visualize the scene?

We play D&D 5e over Discord, using voice and chat channels, and use D&D Beyond for character sheets and most die-rolling. It generally works great, but sometimes combats lag, reasons for which ...
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10 votes
2 answers
1k views

How does the Variant: Skills with Different Abilities rule affect the game?

The PHB mentions how it is possible to make ability checks based on different abilities, a variant "Skills with Different Abilities" rule. In some situations, though, your proficiency might ...
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18 votes
6 answers
4k views

How to prevent players from sabotaging themselves by engaging in long arguments about what to do next?

I feel like my players often self sabotage. Often we'll experience moments where the session will come to a complete pause as the player characters argue over what to do. At this point I've started to ...
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  • 291
30 votes
10 answers
4k views

Roleplay pacing in non-combat situations

I am running the Baldur's Gate: Descent into Avernus module and my players are taking very long to approach certain situations. To set an example: There is a gate with two guards who are checking ...
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19 votes
3 answers
3k views

My gaming group can't agree on play-by-post or scheduled games

I'm currently helping out as one of the DMs of a larger gaming group that will periodically see two or three players plus a DM go on a mission, usually handled in play-by-post format. Right now, I ...
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25 votes
8 answers
6k 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 ...
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24 votes
10 answers
8k views

How can I make combat with a lot of summoned creatures quicker?

I currently GM for a level 13 D&D 5e group of 5 players. Recently combat has become heavily bogged down, primarily because the party has discovered their new favourite ('Death by a Thousand Cuts') ...
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5 votes
2 answers
156 views

Campaign focused on short, fast encounters?

I'm going to be running a campaign during the lunch hour at work for a few co-workers. My experience lately has been that a single combat encounter ends up being the centerpiece of a 3-hour session, ...
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6 votes
3 answers
373 views

Are there any tools or tricks to quickly level characters multiple levels at once?

I'm in the process of writing a short sci-fi campaign which is based on D&D 5e, in which the player classes, weapons, and skills are effectively just sci-fi reskins of their magical counterparts. ...
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15 votes
2 answers
561 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....
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  • 153
7 votes
2 answers
810 views

How do I handle inappropriate behavior and interruptions in my campaign?

I am a fairly new Dungeon Master playing Waterdeep: Dragon Heist (D&D 5E). I play for 7 people currently (all friends). We have been running for around ten 2.5-hour sessions. For most of them, ...
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2 votes
2 answers
290 views

Players make a single plan with no backup plan, then complain about DM unfairness when their plan fails [closed]

I have been running a campaign that recently has had two very roleplay/exploration heavy arcs (really 1 arc, and the consequences of that arc). The arc in question was a heist, where the players were ...
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10 votes
5 answers
2k views

Are there any unintended negative consequences to allowing PCs to gain multiple levels at once in a short milestone-XP game?

My recent campaign has been run in arcs of 4 to 6 month, between which we usually change system and rebuild the characters due to using a Work-In-Progress custom system. My players and I have been ...
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  • 3,314
21 votes
3 answers
2k views

How do I reduce plot stalling in a collaborative roleplaying game?

My first attempt at running a session of Storybrewers' game Good Society completely stalled out in terms of plot. Good Society is a collaborative storytelling-style game. The facilitator's role is ...
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  • 221
10 votes
1 answer
678 views

What pacing problems for the DM does Murder in Baldur's Gate pose when running the adventure?

This question is directed at DM/GMs who have run the adventure Murder in Baldur's Gate. I am prepping to run this adventure, and it seems that this module's ten phase / three faction plot structure ...
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50 votes
8 answers
34k views

How can I speed up combat?

Combat at my table (5 players plus me, the GM) takes a long time. Even only moderately-complex combats usually take about an hour. I find myself wanting to end the session early if the group is about ...
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  • 18.3k
5 votes
2 answers
1k views

How to handle parallel timelines when your party is separated?

Let's say a four-person party separated into two, with two PCs each. They each proceed to do different part of a quest to speed up progression. The quest is to find two kinds of flowers in different ...
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  • 30.8k
13 votes
3 answers
625 views

How do I make campaigns take place over months or years of in-game time without it being boring?

Recently, I was GMing a Pathfinder campaign (we started playing not so long ago) and one of my players told me that it was strange that the PCs went from mere adventurers having trouble with kobolds ...
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11 votes
5 answers
5k views

How to improve pace of my sessions?

I'm running a campaign for about two years (around one session a month) and I'm unhappy with the pace of events. In those two years we covered not even two months of game time with single session ...
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  • 1,093
10 votes
1 answer
204 views

How do you keep rewriting the sheet for a new morph from breaking play rhythm?

In EP, it is as easy to change your Morph as it is to change your car today. It is much more frequent for Firewall agents who have to travel across many environments and face various threats. I use ...
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11 votes
4 answers
1k views

How to make in-game planning more fruitful and fun? [duplicate]

My gaming group is very mature, empathetic and thoughtful; in character and out. They are pretty much the perfect gaming group, but one of the players whose opinion I trust to be honest has come to me ...
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  • 2,225
12 votes
1 answer
173 views

How long can I expect the average drama or action sequence to last with 5-6 Players?

I am currently planning a oneshot to try out 7th Sea for the first time. My players will be experienced roleplayers, but 7th Sea will be new for them, too. With that in mind, my question is the ...
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  • 7,209
12 votes
3 answers
484 views

Is it normal for play to slow down to look up stats for unexpected enemies/allies?

My friend and I are starting into Dungeon World, but we've encountered a problem while playing, and I'm not sure if it's normal. Whenever the GM is about to introduce a monster there is a few minutes ...
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  • 1,386
14 votes
5 answers
3k views

How to balance/time a campaign where a player character is the final boss?

I suggested to my GM a campaign idea where one of the player characters would secretly be the final enemy boss and the player would play and campaign alongside the group trying to further his goals ...
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  • 3,995
24 votes
4 answers
6k views

How do I get my players to be more decisive and take the initiative?

I've been running HotDQ with a group of people for about 9 months now (about 20 sessions; we're on Ep 6.) My current frustration is that things go along OK as long as I'm narrating and asking ...
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  • 15.9k
18 votes
2 answers
6k views

How to balance one Long Rest every 24 hours

Coming from this question: Typically, how many combat encounters should a low-level party have before they are expected to take a long rest? I realized even while using published adventure modules ...
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  • 18.2k
13 votes
1 answer
339 views

How much should I try to fit into a single introductory session of "Blades in the Dark"?

I love John Harper's Blades in the Dark, and some friends and I are going to be running some one-shot games at an upcoming convention. I want to have some sense of how much I should aim to fit in to ...
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  • 2,380
24 votes
4 answers
6k views

How to slow down sessions?

Now this may seem like the opposite of a problem at first but bear with me. I've been DMing for my group for the past 6 months and so far it's been an absolute blast — all of us have been ...
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  • 8,352
6 votes
1 answer
184 views

How do I get others to frame scenes aggressively?

I just tried Montsegur 1244, and it did not really sing for us in this group because we did take long time framing scenes, the scenes were quite discussion-heavy and correspondingly lasted quite long. ...
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  • 3,897
14 votes
2 answers
3k views

How can I run fights involving large groups of creatures without slowing combat to a crawl?

Earlier today, I stumbled upon this question. As I often do around RPG.SE and another sites, I initially misread the title, and contemplated for a second why someone would look for a way to raise ...
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  • 14.7k
9 votes
1 answer
258 views

Could passing both Obstacle tests make for a very short GM turn?

I'm very new to RPGs but I'm very interested in Mouse Guard. I have been thinking a lot about trying to start a novice group as the GM. I have read the 1st Ed. Core rulebook several times and one ...
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  • 363
1 vote
1 answer
949 views

What is the intended amount of encounters per session in 4E?

I've bought the 4E red box starter kit and taken on the role of DM for the first 'season' of my group. Reading up on DMing and playing D&D with articles like Angry DM's Build a megadungeon, I get ...
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  • 175
7 votes
2 answers
675 views

How can I run Dungeon World over the net without voice?

I have an online gaming group for whom I GM. Offline, I've really gotten into running Dungeon World (and Apocalypse World), and I'd like to take Dungeon World to my online group. However, online, we ...
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14 votes
3 answers
2k views

The World Will End, But Not Tomorrow (or How to Manage Unwarranted Urgency in Players)

For the last couple of years my group’s been playing two high-tempo D&D 3.5 campaigns (I’m the DM in one of them). The PCs, their families, their homelands and their worlds have been constantly ...
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  • 2,392
8 votes
4 answers
8k views

How to manage long journeys as DM

I recently started running Hoard of the Dragon Queen as a DM and this is the first time for me. During the campaign there are a lot of journeys that take several days, even weeks, and in some cases ...
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  • 8,470
20 votes
5 answers
1k views

Can you bypass travel by fast forwarding in your campaign?

Instead of having the players cover every single room in a dungeon or square of travel overland, is it permissible (or even warranted) to "fast forward" to a more interesting place, provided that ...
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  • 3,571
10 votes
3 answers
2k views

My campaign calls for characters of a certain level for the final boss fight. How do I best get them there?

In a custom 5e campaign I've designed, the big boss is a very powerful entity. It is not stylistically reasonable for the players to fight it below level 17. They are currently level 6. My planned ...
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  • 5,108
12 votes
2 answers
2k views

What is the general pace of advancement in Monster of the Week?

I've picked up Monster of the Week (Revised edition), an Apocalypse World spin-off, and I'm excited about running it, but I'm concerned about how fast characters advance. It only takes 5 experience ...
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  • 1,040
4 votes
1 answer
193 views

How do I know when to end a game of Vast & Starlit?

Vast & Starlit has beautifully simple rules, but I sometimes find it hard to choose when to bring the game to climax and then conclusion. How can I know when to end on a cliffhanger? A point of ...
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42 votes
10 answers
6k views

Using a rash decision to move gameplay forward

I DM'd my first game recently, I'm pretty happy with how it turned out, and most of the group were pretty lax about the quality of it all, so it all went fairly smoothly. However, there is one thing ...
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  • 22.3k
93 votes
13 answers
13k views

How do I keep the game moving without undermining player agency?

In basically every game I've run or played, regardless of the system, I've encountered the same problem: things that should be quick decisions end up taking ten, twenty or even thirty minutes, and not ...
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  • 5,984
27 votes
6 answers
6k views

How do I prevent retreating to rest and heal from being tedious?

I found an answer to this question for a custom 4e campaign, but was hoping to get some more answers specific to 5e. Background: I'm running the 5e starter set campaign and my group is in the final ...
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  • 7,077
19 votes
4 answers
1k views

How can I recognise when a Scene should be skipped?

There is a mode of thought that says RPGs should be like a movie or a TV show. We don't give screen time to the boring stuff. I had a scene play out where the players had to let a NPC know they were ...
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3 votes
9 answers
1k views

PC in chains, planned myself into a corner

In a game I'm hosted, the PC (there's only one) has just gotten captured by the enemy. This was part of a plan to give his NPC buddy some major characterization by the way she rescues him, but I've ...
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  • 1,581
41 votes
6 answers
2k views

Should I do something about slow pace in my inexperienced group?

Last night we played our first RPG (ever!) and I'm not sure if it went well. The game was Deathwatch and the basic story was to find someone. There were three possible places where he could be; then ...
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  • 4,271
13 votes
7 answers
6k views

What is the normal "pace" for a 4E session/campaign?

Disclaimer: The DM has never DM'd before, and 2 out of the 3 PC's have never played D&D before. I am the 1 PC who has played before (2 previous groups). I've just started a new 4E group using ...
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