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90 votes
Accepted

As a GM, is it bad form to ask for a moment to think when improvising?

No, it is not bad form Regardless of how much immersion1 you are trying to achieve, you are still a table full of people playing a game. When you run across a situation that surprises you as GM, or ...
KorvinStarmast's user avatar
79 votes
Accepted

New DM on House Rules, concerning Nat20 & Rule of Cool

Natural 1s and natural 20s are poor triggers for anything termed “Rule of Cool.” The issue is that they are purely random. They don’t happen when it would be cool—they happen randomly. How “cool” can ...
KRyan's user avatar
  • 355k
75 votes

A player made a 4th-level character for our new game and didn't tell me. Now what?

Some miscommunication must have happened to cause this situation. Did you tell the player to make a 1st level character, and they brought a 4th level character anyway? Or did you simply assume they ...
MikeQ's user avatar
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74 votes
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Should I boost a new player's character level to match the rest of the group?

Yes, you should boost their character level Heterogeneous parties don't work very well in DnD. The game is designed around the whole party being roughly the same level. When you give the new player ...
Philipp's user avatar
  • 12.2k
56 votes
Accepted

How do I prevent myself from freezing up during a game I'm DMing?

This Sounds Stage Fright Related The initial description of this sounded like stage fright, and the comments thread (which may get edited into the question) confirmed it, so I'm going to answer on ...
Novak's user avatar
  • 45.1k
55 votes
Accepted

How to handle a group that questions every decision I make as DM

Telegraph your decisions excessively, and allow retcons In my experience, what the DM is thinking is very different from what the player is experiencing. In the example you gave, while you "already ...
Icyfire's user avatar
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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

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
  • 16.1k
49 votes
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Am I acting unreasonably or do I rein in my players?

The campaign is following Matt Mercer's Taldorei setting and using gestalt characters. If you aren't an experienced DM, don't try to be Matt Mercer Grow into your boots as a DM. We have some other ...
KorvinStarmast's user avatar
47 votes
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Should I give the players what they want even if it's silly?

“Okay. How are you going to achieve that?” The nice thing about pen & paper RPGs is that they can model pretty much anything, given an accommodating system and a group that collaborates well. ...
SevenSidedDie's user avatar
47 votes
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How to handle wrong application of Spells?

Learn about 'meta' knowledge and separate what the characters would know and what the players know (or, not know). First, welcome to D&D! It's worth pointing out that there are many things the ...
PJRZ's user avatar
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46 votes
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As a new GM how do I figure out rules quickly?

Know the most common rules. I assume from your question that you are not making rulings about things like attack rolls and damage - but if you are, you shouldn't be. You actually need to know this ...
Dale M's user avatar
  • 213k
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
44 votes

Should I boost a new player's character level to match the rest of the group?

It's Probably Unnecessary The difference in power between level 1 and 3 is fairly significant, but it's unlikely that a level 1 in a party of level 3s would remain level 1 for long. Let's run some ...
Ladifas's user avatar
  • 8,989
43 votes
Accepted

How can I enjoy being a DM when I have an explorer personality?

A Style or Category More Than a Tool There is a style of games in which the GM gets to be surprised and explore unknowns. These are games where the players also have the right to add story details, ...
vicky_molokh- unsilence Monica's user avatar
38 votes
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Does limiting the number of sources help simplify the game for a new DM with new and experienced players?

The Restriction you're suggesting is a strict subset of the allowed rules in Adventurer's League Play 5th Edition Adventurer's League has a "PHB +1" rule for character creation, that ...
Xirema's user avatar
  • 52.8k
36 votes
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How can I DM with aphantasia?

Congrats on deciding to overcome the challenges associated with your condition! Your condition, while rare, is not an automatic no-GM situation. Here is some advice for successfully world-building for ...
nijineko's user avatar
  • 11.8k
36 votes

A player made a 4th-level character for our new game and didn't tell me. Now what?

The simplest solution for you would be to scale down their character to level 1. Here's how: Ability Scores. If the player took an Ability Score Increase at level 4, make them decrease those ...
daze413's user avatar
  • 28.7k
36 votes
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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
32 votes
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As a player, how to engage new players more?

This advice comes from my experiences as a player. Direct Engagement: throw the spotlight on another character. Find a reason to use another character's expertise or involvement. Ask them for help ...
PipperChip's user avatar
31 votes

New players' characters are not adventurous and are often insulting

Talk to your players and listen what they have to say Seeing traps everywhere: Treachery and surprises are part and parcel of many RPG scenarios, but you say these are all new players, and that "...
Nobody the Hobgoblin's user avatar
30 votes
Accepted

How do I explain D&D's rules, but you can do whatever you want, to new players?

How to explain D&D to new players? I like easy questions: don't. Set up a session where you can show them the concepts and be explicit about what you are doing: This is a short session to ...
Dale M's user avatar
  • 213k
30 votes

How can I talk to an experienced player about metagaming?

Use visual reminders Sometimes, a player/DM like this only needs a visual cue that you've discussed in advance to remind them that they're engaging in behaviour you've previously talked about. Since ...
Lino Frank Ciaralli's user avatar
30 votes

Does the Player's Handbook contain anything that would specifically help dungeon masters?

Yes, the Player’s Handbook contains the majority of the actual game rules, which a DM is required to know to run the game. The DM needs to read all three core books — Player’s Handbook, Dungeon Master’...
SevenSidedDie's user avatar
29 votes

Can anybody give me a simple guide to leveling up a character?

First, you gain hit dice (and a corresponding increase in maximum hit points). This is described for each class briefly under Class Features, and explained on page 15 of the PHB (or here in the free ...
mattdm's user avatar
  • 30k
28 votes
Accepted

New GM: How to keep control of a game

There are some very specific mistakes you can make in DW that likely led to this state of affairs: You say you "planned a scenario", but by the very nature of DW you can't really plan a scenario: you ...
ACuriousMind's user avatar
27 votes
Accepted

How can I convince my GM to add strength/dex modifiers to damage rolls?

Houserules can be anything, including huge things like changing the basic damage roll math. Still, that is a huge houserule. For one, you are correct. Strength is added to most weapon damage rolls (...
KRyan's user avatar
  • 355k
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
26 votes

What level, if any, of feedback should players give a new GM?

If something is causing you to not have fun, you can tell the DM: "Hey, this thing is causing me to not have fun, can we do it differently?" If I were playing at your table, I can tell you ...
Dan B's user avatar
  • 90.4k

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