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130 votes

How do I rein in a player who talks over my descriptions?

"Excuse me. Please be quiet. I haven't finished speaking, when I have you can talk as much as you want." This isn't a game problem, its a manners problem.
Dale M's user avatar
  • 212k
78 votes

How do I respond to players who keep asking powerful NPCs to help them in ToA?

The world is always about to end From the players' point of view, sure, this adventure is the end-all and be-all of saving the world. Folks like Laeral Silverhand, though, have a lot more on their ...
ShadowRanger's user avatar
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76 votes

How do I rein in a player who talks over my descriptions?

You've tried talking to them, but that didn't help. Try to improve how you describe the scene instead. You say they talk over you when you narrate how an enemy is close by? So narrate that last... ...
daze413's user avatar
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72 votes

How do I narrate a player's PC's actions without causing unintended consequences for the PC?

As DM, I wouldn’t dictate the details of the investigation of statue 1, as you do. Ideally, I would ask them to describe how they are investigating—before rolling. To keep things moving, I have been ...
KRyan's user avatar
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62 votes
Accepted

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
58 votes
Accepted

How do I narratively explain how in-game circumstances do not mechanically allow a PC to instantly kill an NPC?

Hit Points can represent a lot of things Hit points are often thought of as a sign of how many blows with a weapon will be necessary to take an enemy down. This makes sense when we picture a huge ...
Gandalfmeansme's user avatar
54 votes

How do I narrate a player's PC's actions without causing unintended consequences for the PC?

"I'd like to roll an investigate check on Statue 1" That's not really what a player should say, at least in games with a traditional role split between players (state their characters' ...
Angew is no longer proud of SO's user avatar
51 votes
Accepted

How do I narrate a player's PC's actions without causing unintended consequences for the PC?

System agnostic answer Many roleplay games (D&D traditionally not among them) have the concept of "failing forward". This means that every roll has some consequence which is usually narrated by ...
Zalktis's user avatar
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49 votes
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Is D&D a suitable tool for fleshing out my own fictional world?

Yes... D&D is a game of heroic fantasy. It's about fighting monsters, becoming more powerful, and looting cool stuff. If you see it through, you'll get a pretty cool story by the end. It's also ...
Joel Harmon's user avatar
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45 votes
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NPC-only interactions by player request

NPCs can talk to each other without talking to each other. You cool your heels in the administrative annex for a bit and listen to the conversation drifting in from the break room about the new food ...
Glazius's user avatar
  • 41k
45 votes

How do I narratively explain how in-game circumstances do not mechanically allow a PC to instantly kill an NPC?

If the only reason why the NPC "wouldn't die" is that, mechanically, you can't deal enough damage with a knife to kill him - just ignore the mechanics. The rules on hit points, damage etc. are meant ...
PixelMaster's user avatar
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44 votes
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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
Accepted

How to improve my descriptions of the health status of monsters

Health Status Generally I follow a health status report system (when asked how each creature looks) like this: 100% - Uninjured or in perfect condition >75% - Minor injuries, doesn't show any signs ...
Randomorph's user avatar
  • 6,455
42 votes

How can I communicate feelings to players without impacting their agency?

Suggestively and Subjectively, If At All. Based on your reference to Neverwinter, I am assuming that this is some version of Dungeons and Dragons, which has no general mechanic for this sort of thing,...
Novak's user avatar
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40 votes
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Am I allowed to cut away from the player characters to show things happening elsewhere?

I've used this technique sparingly in the past. Sparingly, because There's only so much uninterrupted GM Storytelling Time™ that a table of your friends want to sit through. More than a few brief ...
SevenSidedDie's user avatar
38 votes

How do I respond to players who keep asking powerful NPCs to help them in ToA?

Powerful NPCs deal with Tier 4 Threats As a parallel answer to @ShadowRanger's excellent treatment of where the NPC's attentions are directed, this answer is broken down into two parts: Meta and ...
KorvinStarmast's user avatar
33 votes

How do I telegraph the difference between life-hating and faithful-guardian undead at a distance?

I haven't this problem with undead specifically, but I've definitely gotten frustrated at my players for not getting hints when I want them to notice something and behave differently. Having ...
SirTechSpec's user avatar
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33 votes
Accepted

A Rogue dilemma: to roll for Stealth, or not to roll?

Don't let them roll until they're committed. Okay. So they're going to scout around the castle stealthily. Don't have them roll for Stealth yet: they're just roleplaying! When they get into a room ...
Louis Wasserman's user avatar
31 votes

How do I rein in a player who talks over my descriptions?

For very unruly groups it can make sense to establish some speaking rules. I once DMed for a group of very "enthusiastic" kids who just couldn't stop talking over me and over each other. This did not ...
Philipp's user avatar
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31 votes
Accepted

How can I narrate Charm/Fear/Rage/etc effects in a liberating manner?

Yes, I have encountered this as both a player and GM. All of your solutions CAN work, but are dependant on the group's reactions and way of doing things. Some groups are technical and a bit meta-...
Erin Thursby's user avatar
  • 3,622
30 votes

How to describe that an enemy can avoid opportunity attacks?

The way you approach this depends on how your players interact with you as the DM. I've used two methods that seem to work. Rules-based Approach If your players are rules-oriented, new to the game, ...
1600hp's user avatar
  • 6,422
25 votes
Accepted

Are there specific descriptions of what each of the racial languages sound like?

5th Edition races often briefly describe languages Races that start with specific languages often include a short description of the language. For example: Elvish, from the Elf traits : Elvish ...
Sdjz's user avatar
  • 36.4k
24 votes

How do I rein in a player who talks over my descriptions?

Describe from least to most meaningful This is a trick I learned when describing a room: Go from the most mundane to whatever the PCs will want to interact with the most last Five heavily armed ...
JP Chapleau's user avatar
  • 5,462
24 votes

How can I describe hit point damage without talking about wounds?

Describe the effects of the impact, not necessarily the results of the impact. Just because an attack is a miss, doesn't mean it won't have some later impact in the fight, and on the flip side, a ...
JohnP's user avatar
  • 10.3k
23 votes

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

Availability of magic If your setting is a High Magic setting (see pages 38-41 in the Dungeon Master's Guide for more on "Flavors of Fantasy"), this might not apply so much, but in settings ...
NathanS's user avatar
  • 79k
22 votes
Accepted

How to design and run cinematic combats that move between zones?

PCs have no reason to move during combat unless you give them one In my game experiences, I have seen very little movement by creatures during combat that wasn't forced upon them. There really isn't ...
NotArch's user avatar
  • 125k
22 votes
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Can you safely assume that Beholder's rays are visible and audible? (based on rules / lore / novels / famous campaign streams, etc)

We have confirmation about the rays being visible from Elminster's adventures. In the novel Elminster - The making of a mage by Ed Greenwood, the very creator of the Forgotten Realms, we have the ...
Eddymage's user avatar
  • 29.9k
21 votes

How do I telegraph the difference between life-hating and faithful-guardian undead at a distance?

You'll likely need to go through several steps to achieve your goal. In the description below, for expediency, I'm going to refer to your two types as guardians and destroyers. Awareness Make your ...
keithcurtis's user avatar
  • 32.1k
21 votes

How can a GM control their use of specific words?

If there is something that I want phrased perfectly (like a rousing speech or a villain's monologue) I'll make notes and sometimes even rehearse. I imagine you could apply the same practices if it's ...
TempestLOB's user avatar
21 votes
Accepted

How can a GM control their use of specific words?

Unless the literal words are important to moving your game forward, you should summarize the majority of NPC dialogue. I've been recently dealing with this issue in my games, where the in-game word ...
MikeQ's user avatar
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