149 votes
Accepted

Punishing a player for instant-actioning

No, it's not fair to punish a player in this way. But it's not okay for this player to take an unfair share of control over the game, either. You are the DM — you are in control. You are in the Big ...
user avatar
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.
user avatar
  • 187k
75 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... ...
user avatar
  • 28.1k
75 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 ...
user avatar
  • 4,118
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 ...
user avatar
  • 318k
61 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 ...
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 ...
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' ...
user avatar
49 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 ...
user avatar
  • 1,516
49 votes
Accepted

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 ...
user avatar
  • 15.5k
46 votes
Accepted

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 ...
user avatar
  • 32.8k
46 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 ...
user avatar
  • 24.7k
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 ...
user avatar
  • 6,349
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,...
user avatar
  • 36.6k
41 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 ...
user avatar
40 votes
Accepted

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 ...
user avatar
37 votes
Accepted

As a GM, how to react to players challenging contradictions in your narration?

It all depends on tone. If the player challenging the GM is doing so in a constructive tone, which means that the player is trying to make the game world make sense -- the disease example is a good ...
user avatar
36 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: (1) meta and ...
user avatar
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 ...
user avatar
32 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 ...
user avatar
  • 15.9k
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 ...
user avatar
  • 11.3k
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-...
user avatar
  • 3,436
29 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, ...
user avatar
  • 6,302
28 votes

As a GM, how to react to players challenging contradictions in your narration?

The players cannot ruin the GM's narrative because this is a RPG not a novel. Storytelling in an RPG to the extent that it is not, in the eloquent words of Homer Simpson, "just a bunch of stuff ...
user avatar
  • 187k
25 votes
Accepted

How to deal with the differences in perception between group characters?

This was too long for a comment so I'm making an answer... Other answers have suggested using secret information (whispering or passing notes). Secret information is good sometimes, but it also slows ...
user avatar
  • 1,367
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 ...
user avatar
  • 35.8k
24 votes

How to begin a role-playing scenario in medias res?

Let the players make up all that stuff! How about letting the players fill the rest of the exposition? So following from your quote: Wilma: (shouts) "I'll cover you. GO!" I turn dive behind ...
user avatar
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 ...
user avatar
  • 5,286
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 ...
user avatar
  • 9,704
23 votes
Accepted

What type of speech do I use when GMing?

All of them work and have different effects. Just like when choosing between these modes of speech in real life or in fiction writing, there is no "right" answer—the choice is a matter of taste and ...
user avatar

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