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335 votes

Players skipping side quests just to have a laugh at the DM

If they habitually skip the prepared content: "That's all I've got. See you next time." If you've prepared a certain amount of content and the players choose to skip it without a convincing in-...
Bloodcinder's user avatar
  • 30.2k
161 votes

Players skipping side quests just to have a laugh at the DM

Show Them Why Before discussing it "off the table", you should first try to integrate this issue into the narrative. Based on some of your comments, it sounds like there's a bit of an adversarial ...
WannabeCoder's user avatar
  • 3,814
119 votes

Players skipping side quests just to have a laugh at the DM

Invest less of your prep time in skippable events Here's an example of a skippable event: "You see a weird thing. Want to go poke it?" Here's an example of a non-skippable event: "Night is falling,...
Dan B's user avatar
  • 90.3k
71 votes

Players skipping side quests just to have a laugh at the DM

The easiest way would indeed be to talk about the social contract at your table If you don't have the time to prepare a lot of different paths and you want to focus on one way then you should tell ...
Secespitus's user avatar
  • 7,075
68 votes

What to do when a player roleplays an extremely persuasive argument, but flubs their Persuasion check?

Options, Options, Options A game master has numerous options for resolving the potential dissonance between a spoken arguments and contrary dice results - options that work with either part being poor....
ValhallaGH's user avatar
  • 12.4k
67 votes

How can I utilize overly-violent PCs for character development / progressing the story?

Punish them! Not as players, but as characters. They want to murder random shopkeepers in a fleshed out world, go for it! Don't just have your guards "spot them", they should be actively looking ...
Man_Over_Game's user avatar
62 votes

Can I use a trap that will kill a character, if the party can either find a creative solution around it or cast Revivify?

"I warned everyone beforehand that death IS a possibility in my games" Then you lied. Sorry, that might sound a bit harsh. What I mean is that you warned them that death is a realistic ...
Thomas Markov's user avatar
55 votes

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

Concentration for extended periods is hard People are most productive when they take breaks. The linked article suggests 17 minutes of break for every 52 minutes of work but, like all figures in the ...
Dale M's user avatar
  • 213k
46 votes

In the Forgotten Realms, what happens when a god dies?

Oh, Very Very Yes If you want some dead gods, come on down to the Avatar Trilogy, where Bane got Banedead, Bhaal rolled over, Myrkul went from being God of the Dead to dead of the god, and other such ...
afroakuma's user avatar
  • 8,181
45 votes

How can I get rid of drama fatigue as a GM?

I recommend a piña colada and warm sunny beach You, my friend, have some angsty players. You're clearly not enjoying running games for them and are burned out. Nothing good can come from trying to ...
Rykara's user avatar
  • 29.6k
44 votes

Players skipping side quests just to have a laugh at the DM

Establish why they want to avoid quests/plot/hooks In my preparation I have a number of small side-quests that may never get played. Most are fairly generic ones that I can pull out for a single ...
Folau's user avatar
  • 1,526
43 votes

First time DM, how should I stock a shop?

A roleplaying session is not like a video-game one: you don't have to have everything planned. Many details don't have to be decided before the PC stumble on them. After all they may never came to ...
Anne Aunyme's user avatar
  • 21.2k
43 votes

My players are jumpy, how should I encourage more exploration?

What you're experiencing is, essentially, an arms race between the GM and the players. They feel that your content is deadly or punishes frivolity and react by being as careful and cautious as they ...
Karelzarath's user avatar
  • 3,148
39 votes

How to GM as a Solar NPC who has high Intelligence and Wisdom scores?

There are things a GM can prepare in advance to help exude Intelligence, other than jumping into spontaneous role-playing I live off of high-intelligence BBEGs like wizards who are as evil as they are ...
Valley Lad's user avatar
  • 7,655
37 votes

How can I utilize overly-violent PCs for character development / progressing the story?

Zastoupil's answer is 100% the way to go. Using this as an opportunity to create a plausible civil society will pay dividends: your players may tone down their violence when they discover it has ...
Pink Sweetener's user avatar
37 votes

How can I effectively map a multi-level dungeon?

Use a Ring Binder and Poly wallets I once ran a similar scenario, but mine was a dungeon that went down a whole lot with plenty of sub-levels. For this, you will need two ring binders, a whole bunch ...
Kyyshak's user avatar
  • 2,931
36 votes

Starting with D&D: Starter Set vs Dungeon Master's Guide

It depends on what you're looking for You're comparing two entirely different products. Starter Set: I have no idea what D&D is and want to DM The Starter Set has everything you need to start ...
Theik's user avatar
  • 36.5k
36 votes

Is it appropriate to bring a player character back after they had been "killed"?

In short, my advice would be: ask the player’s permission first, and preferably at the time of “death”; don’t do it if they’re not okay with it; if they are, bring the character more literally back ...
Guybrush McKenzie's user avatar
35 votes

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

"You miss" is fine. Save your detail for where you need, start with just describing monsters and areas, but you don't need to describe everything. You don't need to describe every room in a ...
John's user avatar
  • 9,865
33 votes

As a DM, what changes do I need to make to my preparation when transitioning to online play?

this question is intended to be digital platform agnostic unless it has significant bearing on the answer. Unfortunately, It does. In almost every way. Because each tool you choose will be chosen ...
OrbitalBliss's user avatar
  • 1,081
32 votes

As a GM, how do I make sure a self-contained session (an episode or one-shot) reaches its completion within the designated session length?

This is actually a pretty common way to run RPG sessions. Most of my experience running RPGs (Including D&D) in the past several years has been in 2-4 hour convention slots. The campaign I'm ...
Tack's user avatar
  • 6,586
30 votes

How can I deliver in-universe written lore to players without it being dry exposition?

Add brief lore based descriptions to many objects, not just books. Lots of hand crafted objects should have references to the lore of the world. Subtle examples include: Symbols of deities, makers ...
GcL's user avatar
  • 34.4k
28 votes

Players skipping side quests just to have a laugh at the DM

There are several good answers tackling the social aspect, so I'd like to approach it differently. Plan For Failure When you design any encounter plan what happens if the players succeed or if they ...
Phil's user avatar
  • 869
27 votes

How do I respond when players stray from my prepared material?

Adjust your "course" to match their "straying". A DM without players is an arbiter, not an adjudicator. A DM with players is an adjudicator, not an arbiter, if they are a good DM. It actually ...
nijineko's user avatar
  • 11.8k
27 votes

How do I pick a location to play a tabletop RPG?

Tabletop games tend to take quite a long time (several hours per session usually), can be quite noisy (it's quite hard to be quiet with 4-6 people talking, play-acting and throwing dice) and often ...
Cubic's user avatar
  • 12.2k
27 votes

What to do when a player roleplays an extremely persuasive argument, but flubs their Persuasion check?

"I am not my character." One of my players occasionally says, "My character is smarter than I am, and I need a hint." And she's right; that's an issue! A similar situation is the ...
Darth Pseudonym's user avatar
26 votes

As a DM, how far should I prepare ahead in a premade campaign?

For me, I would advise fully reading all the information provided for a given campaign. Given that all PCs in the history of tabletop games either accidentally or deliberately subvert DM expectations ...
McCloud's user avatar
  • 676
26 votes

How can I effectively map a multi-level dungeon?

Draw the map in isometric. Usually isometric maps are just for fun, but where they truly shine is for maps with a lot of verticality. It takes some time getting used to drawing them, but it's not ...
Oak's user avatar
  • 644
25 votes

What can I do to help me remember details about the area the PCs are exploring?

There are many tricks that will help you remember, but most of them boil down to two things: Focus on the important stuff and write things down. That being said, here are a few more detailed pieces of ...
Szandor's user avatar
  • 2,294
25 votes

Allowing your party to plan their own mission

If they give you a map, you can control the branches. You wrote, Normally as the DM, I can react to the team going off-road within the context of a quest because I can generally foresee the branches ...
Thomas Markov's user avatar

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