122

Introduce a threat to the spider. There are plenty of normal creatures that live in caves that pose a threat to spiders. Frogs, birds, and even other spiders are natural predators. You can introduce other things like snakes and NPCs specifically looking for prey. Certain spells like alarm may not care if it were even something as small as a spider that ...


112

Handle it without crushing it. One of the best parts of playing D&D is creative uses of game mechanics. Don't take that from your player. Remember, your job as DM is not to counter or beat everything the players do. What fun is playing a rogue if you never get to sneak around, all ninja-style in the shadows? What fun is playing a druid if you don't get ...


111

In game, make it clear that they won't always win The cause of your problems isn't open world, the problem is the preconception that PCs can always solve the problems in front of them with combat. When a level 1 PC sees a dragon, the correct reaction should be to run. That much is obvious. But what about when they are asked to track down and kill a certain ...


108

The ruling seems very reasonable Originally the goblins were at a reasonable advantage and knew it. Successful intimidation made it so they weren't that sure anymore, probably assuming that the PCs were more dangerous than anticipated, making them (supposedly) no easy victims. In this case, taking a more reasonable price in the negotiation seems very logical....


103

Don't reward the behavior. You control the game universe and everything in it. Start making your NPCs tougher and smarter. Let them resist the torture defiantly, going so far as to die to keep their secret. If they complain this is unrealistic, point out that in real life, Thomas More resisted intense torture and then execution at the hands of King Henry ...


92

As ever, there are two approaches: in-game, and out-of-game. Out-of-game: It's a cliché on this stack, but for a reason: talk to this player about what they want. As mentioned above, not biting on plot hooks could be a simple result of not finding those hooks interesting. I recommend trying this first because it is not clear to me that the problem player ...


92

You are creating your own problem As mentioned in Thomas' answer, rules are the way the game provides consistency and sets the expectation of the outcomes of the players' actions. If you arbitrarily dismiss them as you want, you are creating your own problem. In particular, "because I am the GM and I want to" is a very poor justification, and will ...


90

You should have killed his character This player believes that nothing they do will have consequences because you'll never be willing to narrate that their character is dead. You wrote: I gave him several warnings like "a long forgotten instinct that warns him from a mighty predator" and several NPCs that scream to him that he should run since he is ...


85

In all seriousness... Don't do it There isn't a way to spring this on players without hurting feelings. If you do want to do it then... Set the Expectation Beforehand GM: Hi everyone. I'm thinking of running this oneshot game. There is a complication - there's a hidden traitor, much like tabletop games Avalon and Betrayal at the House on the Hill and so ...


79

So just to be clear, you're looking to pull off a con, and part of the con requires seducing the party. As a DM, you're okay with failure, but you would like a reasonable chance of success. Your conman already has an established identity which prevents them from leaving town on extended forays. And your party tends to believe that any NPC displaying a ...


74

Tell them to stop The characters are not picking on Bob’s character: the players are picking on Bob. That’s called “bullying” and it’s not acceptable in any social setting. Blaming bad player behavior on the character is called my guy syndrome and it is also unacceptable. If Bob is using his character (which doesn’t actually exist remember) to annoy the ...


72

You are the DM, you decide the rolls The problem was when this happened: He’d then ask me to let the dragon counterroll insight (which, for a dragon, is only +1). Why is the player dictating to you when rolls happen? As the DM, you are the only one who should call for rolls. Even if the player presumptuously rolls for persuasion, for example, it doesn't ...


63

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 failure, then that plot is a railroad. If you decide to have an item that is plot-relevant to such a degree that the PCs are dead if they don't have it and ...


63

A: There are options for framing the person, bribing people, seeking dirt on this person to find their weakness, tarnishing their reputation, trying to prove their wrong doing by seeking out evidence, and a bunch of other possibilities. Did you tell them this? Did you tell them the pros and cons of each option? I don’t (necessarily) mean straight out ...


61

As these are all new players, there's nothing wrong with a bit of "out-of-game" DM guidance at these early stages. After describing the situation you can simply say: "What you do now is your choice. You can attempt to calm the situation, shout at the attackers, fetch help, attack or something else!" Then ask each player: What do you do? You can even ...


58

As a GM, the solutions are all about providing more information: Sounds and Trails When they examine their choices, give them hints what lies down each passage. A part of the dungeon in use by kobolds looks different from one in which there is a gelatinous cube, and again different from one used by necromancers. If you tell them at a junction "Down the ...


58

One option I have tried with success is to leave as many choices as possible out of initial character creation, only making them when they become relevant in the game. This gets you into the action much quicker, the delay of which is likely a major reason your players are sick of character creation. For example, I never ask players to decide in advance what ...


55

You don't have to give up on these classic trope scenarios just because the RAW for the Remove Curse spell says: At your touch, all curses affecting one creature or object end. In fact, looking across the various rule books you'll be hard pressed to find any "curse" that can cause the effect you described. A Bestow Curse spell can't turn someone into a ...


54

I like to pretend to a certain amount of smirking deviousness - I once derailed an "evil campaign" by convincing the GM to put his BBEG in the party as a mole... then convincing the resident assassin to kill him as a warning to his "boss" (he didn't know he had just killed the boss, it was hilarious). Since you're approaching things as a GM, I'll tell you ...


54

Is there a RAW or RAI that prohibits this? To the contrary: it is easily supported by RAW. From the Monster Manual: The alignment specified in a monster’s stat block is the default. Feel free to depart from it and change a monster’s alignment to suit the needs of your campaign. If you want a good-aligned green dragon or an evil storm giant, there’s ...


54

DMs are allowed to have fun And he doesn't see how making the game "enjoyable for him" should be such a hassle for me. It's completely poisoning the game for me, I don't even want to judge it anymore. You have to tell him that and please do not beat about the bush. He needs to have that truth given to him: his behavior has already ruined one game (...


53

The First Step Is Admitting You Have a Problem Have you tried talking to your players about this playstyle? Why are they sticking with this approach? Before you start punishing them for not playing the way you expect them to, make sure this behavior isn't a symptom of a deeper problem. Do they just enjoy unloading on every foe they see? This can indicate ...


53

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 social sciences they are averages which means they don’t actually fit any actual person. So: Play shorter sessions My regular online game (which I DM) is 2 ...


51

Your problem is that there was a mismatch between what you thought possible and what the player thought possible and how you both communicated these to each other. 1. What is the intent? What I am missing from the player's description of the action is the intent. What was the bard trying to achieve with this? Start a diplomatic conversation? Attempt to get ...


49

For Druid + Rogue at level 1; combat is not necessarily required. Focusing on the rogue's DPR is, IMO, you as DM viewing this party through a very narrow lens. I suggest that, since (1) you only have two players, and (2) neither of them is from a warrior archetype, the adventures that you run for them until they get to second level should focus more on ...


49

Remove the money obstacle for most situations As stated within some of the questions you cited, the value of money is 5e is dramatically different than it was in other editions. Furthermore, you've indicated that your party is typically helpful and won't try to scam a ruling to stretch it to an unreasonable degree. To that end, I would recommend simplifying ...


46

As @aaron9eee says, it's never too late to enforce rules as written (RAW). However, you say you haven't talked to your player yet about it. That should be your first step! Your player clearly knows something is wrong, so take them aside out of game and 'fess up: "I recently found out that we've been handling some of the monk features incorrectly. The game ...


46

Natural 20 has no bearing on Ability Checks The rules for Natural 20 state: If the d20 roll for an attack is a 20, the attack hits regardless of any modifiers or the target's AC. This is called a critical hit, which is explained later in this chapter. This is strictly for attacks. There is no such clause under Ability Checks: To make an ability check, ...


46

Hypothetical approach: torture doesn’t work Please read what may be the best entry on the entire Stack Exchange network, which deals with this precisely—albeit in real life, not a game. Then just have the torture, realistically, not work. When torture “breaks” someone, they don’t tell the truth—they tell you absolutely anything and everything that they think ...


45

The DM should convey "the naga is casting a spell" Counterspell has a casting time of 1 Reaction... which you take when you see a creature within 60 feet of you casting a spell Counterspell says "casting" not "casts", indicating that once the spell is actually cast, it is too late to counter. Your impression of the order of ...


Only top voted, non community-wiki answers of a minimum length are eligible