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Game Master Tips

Nerdarchy > Game Master Tips (Page 19)

Take a Peek Behind the GM Screen at Running RPGs On the Fly

The subject comes up all the time: how much to prepare for a tabletop roleplaying game session and how much a Game Master makes up on the fly in the moment during a game. A recent live chat with Seth Skorkowsky over at Nerdarchy the YouTube channel and my own experience running our weekly Nerdarchy team game and others gave me a few ideas to share. Plus, over on our own Nerdarchy the Discord one of our Patreon supporters let us know they’ll be taking a turn behind the GM screen for the first time themselves. They only recently started playing fifth edition Dungeons & Dragons and I love these stories! Whenever a new RPG player feels inspired to take their shot running a game I feel re-energized myself. Since I’m a couple of hours away from running our own Nerdarchy monthly one shot, all of these things coalesced this morning and I thought it might be useful to read about how my approach and how running RPGs on the fly proves rewarding and fruitful for the players and me as the GM. So let’s get into it.

D&D Ideas — Anniversary

Welcome once again to the weekly newsletter. This week’s topic is anniversary, which we discussed in our live chat. We hangout every Monday evening at 8 p.m. EST and talk about D&D, RPGs, gaming, life and whatever nerdy stuff comes up. Speaking of anniversary, we’re celebrating a bit of one ourselves. This very newsletter turned three! We’ve been sending RPG thoughts along with special deals and other news straight to inboxes since 2017. You can get the Nerdarchy Newsletter delivered to your inbox each week, along with updates and info on how to game with Nerdarchy, by signing up here. Visit us over at Nerdarchy the YouTube channel here and hit that notification bell so you don’t miss these live chats on Mondays at 8 p.m. eastern, plus our regular three videos each week where we talk about D&D and other RPGs.

With the COVID-19 pandemic situation we want to assure everyone we’re following all the guidelines and regulations, and practicing safety and preventative measures like social distancing, and we strongly urge everyone to do the same. Our partners and employees health is our No. 1 priority. Visit Coronavirus.gov for the latest news, updates and developments.

5E D&D history skill check

Take Your Game Master Traits from Worst to Best

Over at Nerdarchy the YouTube channel Nerdarchists Dave and Ted illustrate how Game Masters of roleplaying games make the best players on the other side of the screen too. At the same time there’s plenty of ways for GMs to be the worst players in someone else’s game. Since they thoroughly cover both sides of the coin so well in the video, over here I thought it might be helpful for players and GMs to share a few insights from my own experience on differences between running games and playing in them with player groups of mixed GM experience. We might even discover how to make a drawback into an advantage during a game.

Effective Use of Geas in D&D

Salutations, nerds! Today we’re going to talk about geas and magical compulsion in fifth edition Dungeons & Dragons. The way this spell is written and the way people typically tend to use it would have you believe the best purpose is setting someone to watch over an NPC you don’t want the Dungeon Master to attack or putting them under magical compulsion not to hurt you, but it was used very differently in folklore and that’s what I want to discuss tonight.

Part 6 The Psychic Conduit and the Claircognizant- 5th Edition Psionics and Psychic Warrior : Dungeons and Dragons

Unearthed Arcana — Psionics Revisited Presents New 5E D&D Opportunities

Are you awakened? Do you have the mental fortitude to manifest your will into being, warping the very fabric of reality itself? Psionics have been a staple of Dungeons & Dragons worlds since the early days. Traditionally psionic powers stem from Intelligence, but the latest Unearthed Arcana 2020 — Psionic Options Revisited for fifth edition D&D offers new perspectives and options, leaving the traditional Intelligence exclusive model. So let’s talk about flavor and what the different subclasses look like contextually when it comes to psionics in 5E D&D.

Crafting New Randomized Beholders for D&D

Over two years ago we had one of our writers make a fun way to look at beholders in fifth edition Dungeons & Dragons in a different way. What if their eye rays and central eye were different spell options than what is listed in the book? It is a great post and I have played around with it for sure. You can check out the original D&D Beholder — Randomized! post here. With the world in a state of pandemic I have been doing a lot more crafting and I have gone in many directions. However, today I found inspiration to make a D&D beholder even though I had actually just finished a pretty kick ass beholder last weekend. But who am I to argue with inspiration?

D&D Ideas — Chaos

Welcome once again to the weekly newsletter. This week’s topic is chaos, which we discussed in our live chat. We hangout every Monday evening at 8 p.m. EST and talk about D&D, RPGs, gaming, life and whatever nerdy stuff comes up. Speaking of chaos, whenever you roll the bones you never know how things will turn out. In Taking Chances we’ve got a ton of minigames you can drop in your games for players and characters to engage with along with new items, tool sets, character options and an adventure. Check it out here. You can get the Nerdarchy Newsletter delivered to your inbox each week, along with updates and info on how to game with Nerdarchy, by signing up here. Visit us over at Nerdarchy the YouTube channel here and hit that notification bell so you don’t miss these live chats on Mondays at 8 p.m. eastern, plus our regular three videos each week where we talk about D&D and other RPGs.

With the COVID-19 pandemic situation we want to assure everyone we’re following all the guidelines and regulations, and practicing safety and preventative measures like social distancing, and we strongly urge everyone to do the same. Our partners and employees health is our No. 1 priority. Visit Coronavirus.gov for the latest news, updates and developments.

5E D&D Exploration is All Around You — More Than You Think!

Recently I saw a poll online about the pillars of play for fifth edition Dungeons & Dragons — combat, exploration and social interaction — introduced in the Player’s Handbook right in the Introduction. The poll refers to exploration as the forgotten third pillar and asks respondents what this part of 5E D&D means to them and why they love or hate it, with answer choices of More Exploration, Pointless or I’m Not Sure. The attached conversation delved deep and answers varied all over the place. Overwhelmingly the poll calls for more exploration (73%). If I’m honest this discussion always bewilders me. Two of the pillars — combat and social interaction (why isn’t it called communication by the way?) — seem clear to players. You’re fighting creatures or talking with them. It stands to reason the rest of the time you’re exploring. As the PHB states, character activities fall into one of the three pillars so when you’re not in combat or conversation it seems pretty obvious the rest of the time you’re exploring, right?

Making an Elaborate Character Backstory Work for Your D&D Campaign

Over at Nerdarchy the YouTube channel Nerdarchists Dave and Ted answer a GM 911 for fifth edition Dungeons & Dragons. One of the players in their game keeps trying to over impose their backstory into the campaign without considering the party or the ongoing story. The disruptive player adds things on the fly about their backstory and other players feel this hinders the rest of the party. They’re already followed the best advice — a respectful conversation — but it didn’t work and the Game Master doesn’t want to essentially destroy this other character by ignoring an important part of their makeup. In the video Dave and Ted touch on several suggestions and for my 2 cp the best solution isn’t to work on ways to move around or past this scenario. Instead, this seems like a great opportunity to expand on a bit of valuable player advice and rather than avoid this, lean into it.

RPG game master player

5 Tips for How to Run Games for Larger Groups

How many players are in your Dungeons & Dragons group? While some struggle to find anyone to play with my experience is the vast majority of us are forced to turn others away who want to play, just due to sheer numbers. With tabletop roleplaying games more popular than ever, large gaming tables are the new standard. There are a variety of hiccups and bumps on the road stemming from a larger gaming group, and while the glamour of streamed games like Critical Role might suggest running a large group is easy it’s important to remember many productions of D&D games have entire crews behind the scenes, ensuring that everything runs smoothly.

D&D Party Composition — Playing an All Fighter Party

Over on the Nerdarchy YouTube channel Nerdarchists Dave and Ted battle with the idea of an all fighter party for fifth edition Dungeons & Dragons. We’ve had a lot of fun exploring this popular video series and here on the website I’m sharing my take on the concept of single party composition. An all fighter party in 5E D&D covers combat with aplomb. You might think party composition like this lacks diversity outside a fight though, but you’d be mistaken. Because fighters focus primarily on pure combat this leaves plenty of creative space to round out your fighter with diverse skills and features. In a D&D campaign setting of academia for each particular character class, students at Martial Archetypes receive certified training in combat technique but there’s a wide array of electives to help shape hearts and minds for more than fighting. So let’s get into it.

D&D Ideas — Law

Welcome once again to the weekly newsletter. This week’s topic is law, which we discussed in our live chat. We hangout every Monday evening at 8 p.m. EST and talk about D&D, RPGs, gaming, life and whatever nerdy stuff comes up. Speaking of law, the clever kobolds in the free Seizing the Means encounter we created take the laws of magic and genetics into their own hands to control the evolution of their tribe. You can check that out here. You can get the Nerdarchy Newsletter delivered to your inbox each week, along with updates and info on how to game with Nerdarchy, by signing up here. Visit us over at Nerdarchy the YouTube channel here and hit that notification bell so you don’t miss these live chats on Mondays at 8 p.m. eastern, plus our regular three videos each week where we talk about D&D and other RPGs.

With the COVID-19 pandemic situation we want to assure everyone we’re following all the guidelines and regulations, and practicing safety and preventative measures like social distancing, and we strongly urge everyone to do the same. Our partners and employees health is our No. 1 priority. Visit Coronavirus.gov for the latest news, updates and developments.

5 Tips to Make Your Games Grittier and More Dangerous | Exploring Grimdark in your RPG

Sure, your party just dethroned the tyrant, but is the person they put in his place really any better? Is there a good option among the solutions to your party’s current problem? These and many other questions lead to themes explored in grimdark. Grimdark seems to be a staple of fiction at present. Audiences love exploring the viscera of violence, the corruption of political systems, fluid morality and the consequences of actions — even those traditionally deemed heroic. We can look to things like A Game of Thrones, The Witcher and others for examples of dark fantasy settings with grimdark themes.

RPG game master player

Player Agency Can Be a Game Master Resource

During a recent conversation with Nerdarchist Ted he told me about a fifth edition Dungeons & Dragons game he ran. Each month Ted runs a live stream game sponsored by RPG Crate. Time was a factor for these sessions, which typically run about two and a half hours. Because the adventures included in the monthly subscription box are packed with content Ted streamlines things to adjust for his group and the time constraint but in the most recent session the game threatened to end before the party reached a satisfying conclusion. Ted felt in a pickle. An idea sprang to his mind, and he utilized player agency in a wonderful way as a solution. His DM tale stuck in my mind and I’d like to share some thoughts on how player agency can be an incredibly useful tool for a Dungeon Master. So let’s get into it and as bonus I pulled the video of Ted’s game. Enjoy!

3 Ways to Add Unearthed Arcana Spells and Magic Tattoos to your 5E D&D Game

Over at Nerdarchy the YouTube channel Nerdarchists Dave and Ted share their arcane research into Unearthed Arcana 2020 — Spells and Magic Tattoos. It’s been a while since we’ve seen Unearthed Arcana present something other than subclasses. We saw Class Feature Variants last November, a couple of takes on the artificer around spring 2019 and Sidekicks in Dec. 2018. It’s a terrific treat to see something different! Don’t get me wrong, I love seeing new subclasses (almost as much as designing them) but expanding what fifth edition Dungeons & Dragons can do beyond character class features gives us more tools to explore our worlds as we tell stories of fighting monsters and finding treasure as they progress in power. In the case of \this latest playtest material I’m thinking about interesting ways to add content from the Unearthed Arcana document into 5E D&D campaigns.

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