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116 votes
Accepted

Should I change the entire campaign to please one player?

Let your player leave. D&D is a game. The primary reason anyone plays D&D is to have fun. You and your player are not having fun. Your question title is a leading one: of course you ...
Icyfire's user avatar
  • 63.7k
91 votes
Accepted

How can my villain intimidate my players' characters into submission?

You don't I usually hate this type of answer but unfortunately this sort of thing is rarely done well at tables and should be avoided. Particularly in a first session this will be considered ...
linksassin's user avatar
  • 31k
90 votes
Accepted

Player has arachnophobia: what to use in place of spiders?

As with other aspects of the game, as the GM you have a lot of leeway here. Just because the Adventure Path/Campaign/Monster Manual says that these creatures are spiders doesn't mean that they have to ...
lithas's user avatar
  • 4,510
77 votes

Player has arachnophobia: what to use in place of spiders?

One thing to keep in mind before you just port spider-like abilities over to something that isn't quite a spider is that real arachnophobia isn't just a matter of being "creeped out" by them. I have ...
Jeff's user avatar
  • 861
77 votes
Accepted

How can I use powerful NPCs without overshadowing the player characters?

It’s all about Agency As long as the party is independent to choose their path, and their actions remain relevant, having mighty NPC’s involved won’t detract from the game. NPC’s that are already in ...
Tim Grant's user avatar
  • 26k
70 votes

Should I change the entire campaign to please one player?

I have to say that, assuming your description is accurate, you already have tried changing the campaign to please this one player, and he refused to be pleased. I'd let this one go.
Phil Boncer's user avatar
69 votes
Accepted

How can I limit my players' options in character creation when the reason why is a spoiler?

My vote is for the broad-strokes banhammer. In short, don't make a big deal of it and people mostly won't notice. Just because something exists in the world does not mean it should be an option for ...
Joel Harmon's user avatar
  • 16.1k
69 votes
Accepted

Accidentally let party wander into a high level situation, how do I help them get out without cheesing?

Telegraph the problem in advance It sounds like the real danger here is that the group might communicate sincerely with the spymaster, and this could lead to the spymaster killing them all. You can ...
Dan B's user avatar
  • 90.4k
62 votes

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

One uncomfortable answer: Don't write quest structures that are that fragile. If your plot depends on the PCs taking very specific, scripted actions, and not taking such actions results in a complete ...
AlienAtSystem's user avatar
61 votes
Accepted

Creating a campaign that ends with a TPK by design

Surprising your players with this will subvert the expectations the game itself is built upon. D&D is designed as a fundamentally cooperative story-telling game, and not just in a "the ...
Thomas Markov's user avatar
50 votes
Accepted

One of my PCs unknowingly slept with his sister

First: Ewwwww, yuk. Second: The bar is big enough to employ 2 barmaids - luckily the one he slept with is not his sister. This changes the situation from really gross to "dodged a bullet, lucky your ...
Dale M's user avatar
  • 213k
50 votes
Accepted

Should I discuss the type of campaign with my players?

Yes, you should discuss it with them. First, it is important to note that "Sandbox" and "railroad" are more of a spectrum than an either-or proposition. As I understand it, you want to put at least ...
TimothyAWiseman's user avatar
49 votes

How can I best implement a recurring villain when the players are not opposed to killing?

In D&D, they can just die and come back In the context of magical fantasy adventure like D&D, it's useful to separate these two questions: "How can I keep this character alive after a ...
Alex P's user avatar
  • 29.3k
49 votes
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How to make sure the players escape but feel like it was because of their wit?

The first rule of RPG plots is that no plot survives contact with player characters. You cannot rely on players to do what you expect. If a puzzle has two solutions, the players will invent a third, ...
Quadratic Wizard's user avatar
49 votes
Accepted

What are the DM's responsibilities when dealing with a character's death?

This is about Best Practices, not responsibilities. You ask about responsibilities and there aren't any, formally. Informally, the objective of the DM is to facilitate the play experience for the ...
KorvinStarmast's user avatar
48 votes

How can live fire exercises be made safer?

Use Faerie Fire as a surrogate for Fireball Advantages: Faerie Fire is non-lethal. Like Fireball, Faerie Fire uses a Dexterity saving throw. Targets who fail the save light up, making it easy to ...
Zimul8r's user avatar
  • 6,861
47 votes
Accepted

How can I avoid railroading in a sci-fi campaign?

They're really not that different... ...because you left out an important adjective: abandoned. Often, those "fantasy" adventure locations you cited - a crypt, a prison, a cave system, a ...
T.J.L.'s user avatar
  • 48.8k
47 votes

Accidentally let party wander into a high level situation, how do I help them get out without cheesing?

Don't waste a valuable resource These are 5th level characters. As pawns they are well above the norm. When they confide in the Spymaster, rather than kill them, she uses them. Turns her ...
Xavon_Wrentaile's user avatar
46 votes

How to make sure the players escape but feel like it was because of their wit?

My preferred method for doing something like this is thinking outside the dungeon: start the adventure after the player characters have escaped. Begin the first session with a prologue outside game ...
kviiri's user avatar
  • 54.1k
45 votes

My players want a tighter narrative, but have wandered off course. What now?

As it stands, they have two parties with a vested interest in their capture/destruction: the one(s) who framed them and the authorities that arrested them. If they don't want to pursue the plot, have ...
Karelzarath's user avatar
  • 3,158
44 votes
Accepted

How to set up love interests for player characters

Do not cheapen relationships Do not have a "romantic interest" NPCs, instead have real characters who may develop strong feelings for a PC. Significant others are not quest items or things to be ...
Sardathrion - against SE abuse's user avatar
44 votes
Accepted

Is there need for messengers in DnD 5e, if spell Sending exists?

Sending is expensive and has certain limitations The question already notes the primary drawback to sending, which is that it is expensive. The Adventurers League Tyranny of Dragons Player's Guide ...
Quadratic Wizard's user avatar
42 votes

How much should I adjust the CR of encounters to compensate for PCs having very little GP?

You can’t. It’s just not that simple. CR is an inaccurate, unreliable tool in the best of times. Numerous creatures have stats comparable with other creatures several CRs higher or lower, and on top ...
KRyan's user avatar
  • 355k
42 votes
Accepted

How can I best implement a recurring villain when the players are not opposed to killing?

Ultimately, the reason your players kill your villains is because they know, deep down, that it's the right thing to do. Now, I don't mean it's the moral thing to do. I mean it's the pragmatic thing ...
a computing pun's user avatar
38 votes

Why Do We Keep Adventuring?

If you are running DotMM, naked greed1 If your players don't like that, DotMM may not be the adventure that best fits your table's preferences. (More at the end of this answer1). But by design ... ...
KorvinStarmast's user avatar
36 votes
Accepted

Is Having my Players Control Two Parties a Good Idea?

In my experience and from reviewing many sites and DM pages, this is not a good idea. It would be a great player to not metagame in this scenario. The campaign could break if they aren't able to ...
Eternallord66's user avatar
36 votes

What are the risks of TPK-ing the party at the start of a campaign deliberately?

Demoralization Is A Real Concern Few things can demoralize a group more than a TPK or a near TPK. To put such an event in the first session (or very near the beginning) of a game signals a lot to ...
Novak's user avatar
  • 45.1k
35 votes
Accepted

How can I satisfy two groups who want the same quest in a West Marches campaign?

One of the central premises of a West Marches campaign is that one character may start events in motion that their player will not get to see resolved. If the players aren't okay with that, either ...
Karelzarath's user avatar
  • 3,158
34 votes

My players want a tighter narrative, but have wandered off course. What now?

I'd recommend asking the group two questions. Is the current narrative something that you (as players, not characters) want to pursue? If the answer to this is "no," then go back to the drawing ...
AceCalhoon's user avatar
  • 45.4k
34 votes
Accepted

How can player characters get by with daily necessities during a delve into Hell?

The Ranger can take care of the food The goodberry spell, cast once per day, will provide at least enough food for your party. That means that the Ranger has to have chosen that spell, and burns one ...
KorvinStarmast's user avatar

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