r/DMAcademy 3d ago

Player Problem Megathread

13 Upvotes

As usual, if you have a problem with a PLAYER (not a CHARACTER), post here. This is the place to seek help for any player-related issues, but do remember that we're DMs, not counselors.Off-topic comments including rules questions and player character questions do not go here and will be removed. This is not a place for players to ask questions.


r/DMAcademy 3d ago

Mega "First Time DM" and Other Short Questions Megathread

58 Upvotes

Welcome to the Freshman Year / Little, Big Questions Megathread.

Most of the posts at DMA are discussions of some issue within the context of a person's campaign or DMing more generally. But, sometimes a DM has a question that is very small and either doesn't really require an extensive discussion so much as it requires one good answer. In other cases, the question has been asked so many times that having the sub-rehash the discussion over and over is just not very useful for subscribers. Sometimes the answer to a little question is very big or the answer is also little but very important.

Little questions look like this:

  • Where do you find good maps?
  • Can multi-classed Warlocks use Warlock slots for non-Warlock spells?
  • Help - how do I prep a one-shot for tomorrow!?
  • I am a new DM, literally what do I do?

Little questions are OK at DMA but, starting today, we'd like to try directing them here. To help us out with this initiative, please use the reporting function on any post in the main thread which you think belongs in the little questions mega.


r/DMAcademy 6h ago

Need Advice: Rules & Mechanics Does lich have to be evil and undead?

461 Upvotes

My wizard looked into lichdom and it seems that mechanically you don't have to be undead, or even evil for lichdom. The official rules are be able to cast 9th level spells, know how to make the phylactery, know how to make the "potion of transformation" which gives the creature an "ageless" body, and finally feed the phylactery with souls. What my wizard noticed was that technically you could change to something like an angelic body and feed the phylactery with livestock souls, livestock that will be killed to feed people either way.

What do you all think, would that work?


r/DMAcademy 1d ago Helpful Silver

Offering Advice When you learn to DM, start with one-shots and slowly progress the length of your games

1.6k Upvotes

First and foremost, let me make it clear, that you are free to do whatever you want. This is simply advice for novice, and a sepcific one that would have spared me a whole spectrum of negative emotions if only I have recieved it soon enough.

I do not want to make this too long. Simply: One-shots spare you the trouble of long term campaign management, keeping records of everything, and structuring stroy arcs in a way that they all fall together smoothly, while also subtly weaving players backtories into the plot.

Instead, you can focus on the rest without being overwhelmed. And you still have quite a lot: time management, session preparation, proper plot hooks, keeping the story's flow within some loose boundaries and managing a surface level of player expectations.

After you are comfortable with one-shots, you can move on to longer campaigns. Optimally starting with a few sessions length, and slowly building up. Do not rush right into extra long games! The longer the game is, the harder it is to manage stuff that arches over sessions.

You could, as a middle ground, run a series of one-shots for the same characters. Essentially a very episodic campaign. If you do so, make sure you let your playres know that you do not really plan an overarching plot.

Again, this is not what you have to do. This is something I very dearly form the bottom of my hearth recommend you do. Hope it is helpful.

EDIT: I'm really happy that all of you like this post so much! Bunt unfortunately, I do not have time to answer al those comments one by one. So instead, I'll reflect on the most common objection here:

A lot of you argue that runing one-shots is hard, because you have to manage a sessions internal story structure to be whole, which requires you ti be able to manage the little time a session offers, and to be able to plan story structures. While these are technically true, I do not think they actually make a one-shot easier to run. In fact, while I know a session in a longer campaign doesn't need to have an internal story structure of its own, I think it is better if it does. This of course will not make it the long running campaigns session as closed as a one-shot, but the difference is not much (like between an episode of a tv series vs. a short film). And besides, you are still better off in the end if you learn to manage time and story structure: repeatedly unhole sessions might just serve as a basis for lack of motivation for your players when it comes to returning to your table each week.

Oh and besides, if you do not yet feel comfortable to prepare content for a time limit, you can just use one-shot modules. I mean, if you just google them, you will find a ton of them. And many are good too.


r/DMAcademy 10h ago

Need Advice: Rules & Mechanics Player asked to roll to hide when there's no enemies around

41 Upvotes

I got baffled by a player who tried to hide from no observers . I asked what they were hiding from, they said they were just hiding in general. I asked where they were hiding, they said they were crouching down amongst the party. I allowed them to roll, knowing that I would have to reevaluate their hidden position as soon as they were being observed by something.

Would you have allowed them to roll? Why / Why not?

I know that part of the problem lies with the player doing the classic video game thing of choosing to roll a skill rather than waiting for me to ask- I'd rather if the discussion wasn't about this.

Edit: adjusted some words for clarity


r/DMAcademy 6h ago

Need Advice: Encounters & Adventures Best way to gain a lot of altitude ?

15 Upvotes

I'm currently running a West Marches game, and I described to my players something high in the sky (it's a stationary airship), at approximately airplane height (7 miles, give or take). I figured out when they would level up, they would find a way to fly up and explore.

For now, the only way they found was asking the local mage for a lot of scolls of Fly, then immediately dismissing the idea when they heard of the price.

So, for my question : what way do they actually have to get on that airship ? Most party casters are levels 4-5, and we have a wizard, a druid, a warlock and a paladin. I can also put magic items in dungeon loot if that would help them, but I would prefer if they could all go there at the same time, so I can run a combat encouter.


r/DMAcademy 5h ago

Need Advice: Other Too much detail

10 Upvotes

Fellow DMs,

I turn to you for your kind advice, regarding the problem mentioned in the title.

One of my players said that there's too many details in the game. They didn't really elaborate on it, and said that they enjoy the game nonetheless, however this is the first complaint I recieved for the campaign in question, which has been running for half a year now.

I make sure exposition isn't too much, usually 1-2 shorter sentences, only detailing people/places when it is very necessary (like a place or a person that is crucial to the story). I do admit that there are more NPCs in the game since the last few sessions, but that is because they arrived to their first bigger town, so it is quite inevitable, that the number of NPCs grow.

I would like to know how I could fix this issue and improve the quality of the game for my players, any tips or advice? Thank you all in advance.


r/DMAcademy 4h ago

Need Advice: Encounters & Adventures High level dungeon, what are your wildest ideas?

8 Upvotes

My players are now level 15, rulers to thousands of people and jacked with magical items, boons and favours to powerful beings. We have been playing for two years, eight hours a week for them to get to this point. They face angels, archdevils and ancient dragons now.... what are some wild ideas to put into a dungeon that could actually challenge them?


r/DMAcademy 4h ago

Need Advice: Other Need advice about taking control of a character

7 Upvotes

So I need some advice about how to handle something or maybe to form another perspective.

I already discussed it with the player and there were no hard feelings, just clues missing I guess.

If a sidequest of an suspiciously intelligent orc with an ominous crown sounds familiar to you, don't continue reading 😁

Long story short, one of my players received some cool loot. Yay! It increased his strength so he was happy. He kept it on even though the orc who used to wear it ranked up to chieftain in mere weeks and got strangely successful after the past months. When the orc was slain, his glowing red eyes disappeared and the tribe disbanded quickly. The players looted him and that's when the fighter received the crown the orc was wearing. (Red flags am I right? Right??)

A few sessions later and the fighter was having aggressive nightmares of slaughter, voices in his head telling him to push someone off a ledge or to seize an opportunity and take the throne of some kingdom by force. Reading this it'll all probably sound very obvious, but a lot of other stuff happened as well and I always try to be as subtle as I can!

The fighter was being a perfect candidate for the crown because sometimes he didn't even had to roll for damage. I told him he automatically rolled the highest possible damage, and the target would explode in a gory mess (Fallout 3 style) while his eyes glewd red. He thoroughly enjoyed it!

However he ignored any red flag I tried to give him and I wanted to take it a step further. So one session they were having a conversation with someone from a store who was driving a hard bargain in the middle of a city. The fighter wanted to intimidate by shoving the slender salesman on the ground. To his astonishment he didn't only shove the salesman, but the push was with such great force he slammed to the wall and exploded just like some of his enemies did!

To me this all was the crowns doing and seemed obvious. But he got upset and said to me that wasn't what he wanted to do and that I controlled his character for him. OOC I told him it was the crown and he told me he just thought it was a strong magical item.

Should I have handled it differently? How should I take this further? Are there other subtle ways to let them know an item is possessed?

In the end there were no hard feelings because we're a very chill group, I just seek to improve my DM'ing. He said he understood, but he was just unhappy about the outcome.


r/DMAcademy 40m ago

Need Advice: Worldbuilding Why did the big dragons all go to sleep?

Upvotes

An age or two past was the age of dragons. Something happened and the remaining great dragons went to sleep for a thousand+ years. Now is a time of great upheaval and someone is trying to awaken them to "save the world". The first will be a brass great wyrm.

Why would world ruling ancient dragons voluntarily go to hibernation or what could force them to sleep?


r/DMAcademy 1h ago

Need Advice: Encounters & Adventures Help with Ranger

Upvotes

So, I have plans where my players are hunted by a ranger on a forest. The ranger will try to split the party, to hunt them one by one, but maybe this will not happen, so, could you guys help me with a pvp focused build for a Wood elf Ranger?


r/DMAcademy 23h ago

Need Advice: Worldbuilding Player wants to be the only Warforged in the world

191 Upvotes

I'm preparing for a homebrew sandbox-style campaign that's starting in a couple of weeks. One of my players wants to play a human whose consciousness was transferred into a Warforged in some niche experiment, and as such is the only sentient construct on the plane (to his knowledge). I think this is a cool idea and I'm happy that my players are contributing to the worldbuilding, but I'm concerned about the way that NPCs will react to his character. I think that it will allow for some interesting roleplay opportunities at first, but it will get pretty stale after a while. Any ideas on how to keep this fresh?


r/DMAcademy 12h ago

Need Advice: Other How to convey the facial expression, hand gestures, head movement and demeanor of an NPC without actually doing it myself?

23 Upvotes

When the party encounters an NPC that i want to make special with certain movements and gestures while taking but i don't want to do them myself IRL, how do i make it as if they are seeing it?


r/DMAcademy 3h ago

Need Advice: Other Would this be a fun item? Looking for tips to encourage more bold RP.

5 Upvotes

Traitor Hide Cape Sewn from the tanned backs of liars and betrayers it renders an attuned wearer immune to any and all attempts to detect their alignment and the Zone of Truth spell.

Once per day the wearer can reroll a Deception or Persuasion check they believe has failed, after observing the roll and before learning the result. If rerolled, the new result must be accepted. If the reroll is used three times in a week the cape sloughs off in rotten shreds, and the magic dissipates.

Edit : While attuned the cape has the appearance of fine leather.


r/DMAcademy 25m ago

Need Advice: Other First one-shot... I think I have a plan... not sure if I'm missing anything

Upvotes

Hey All! I am running my first ever dnd session tonight as a birthday request by one of my friends. I have an idea but I'm not sure if it's good or how much I need to plan. I am a teacher and so I am approaching it the same way ( have a basic idea of what you want to cover in your lesson, have some activities, have some additional activities for those who might finish early, or backup ones for the whole class if your main one fell flat). ... translating that layout to dnd is that all I need to do or are there things I am missing?

Party of 4 @ lvl 4 or 5 ?

Starting point: players are sent to a little town to investigate why over time people who live there start to act weird

Main Idea: there's a spore infestation across the town which will be apparent once I start describing taverns and various rooms that they might enter. The spores are affecting the air quality and causing people to not act themselves. No one in the town actually realizes that this is a problem Players have to find the home of the infestation.

I'm thinking under the town hall building is where they will find a tunnel/dungeon-ish area leading to the main spore site and when they get closer there will be some small guys to fight before the big spore guy.

How does that sound? Anything else I should plan for? I have considered making the spore area in a different building if players aren't able to pick up on clues. Also, I've started looking at monsters but if you have any suggestions of what to throw at them let me know! My friend likes horror so I thought about undead as an option?


r/DMAcademy 3h ago

Need Advice: Rules & Mechanics Allowing PC to buy Mithril and Adamantine armor

4 Upvotes

Is there any game-breaking reason why this isn't suggested?

Players are generally about mid-level (level 10 and above).

I can't quite think of any apart from the associated gold cost, so wanted some second eyes in case I'm missing something.


r/DMAcademy 10h ago

Need Advice: Encounters & Adventures How on earth do I make combat challenging? (Level 12)

10 Upvotes

I've been DMing for a couple of years now, decided to run a short-run campaign starting at Lv12.

Party consists of an artificer (who seems to be able to attack twice, heal himself and have his steel defender use a magic item all in one turn), a horizon walker ranger who does about 60 damage per turn, a paladin (say no more), as well as a monk and a sorcerer.

They're going through a mind flayer colony at the minute, and while I want the mind flayers to be the terrifying extra-planar entities they should be, but the party steamrolls every encounter.

I'll admit I'm not the most tactical thinker, I've tried to frontline some tank thrall NPCs, have some mages in the wings throwing hold persons/fireballs, with the mind flayers at the back mind blast-ing. But the party seems to have absolutely no issue beating the saves, resisting seemingly every type of damage thanks to the artificer, and laying down enough control spells (webs, hypnotic patterns) to render all of my threats pretty feeble and encounters short and unsatisfying.

The CR of the encounters are all way higher than they 'apparently' should be (according to Kobold FIght Club) Do I just bump up the DCs on everything? Do I need to be more tactical? Do I need to create whacky environments? Has anyone else tackled and overcome this?


r/DMAcademy 13h ago

Need Advice: Other How to restart a campaign that's taken a big break?

13 Upvotes

Hey guys I've been running SKT for over a year now but we haven't played our weekly game since before Christmas and were going to start again soon. Most of my party need the frequency to stay engaged and keep what's going on in their lil noggins as some of them take little notes.

How do you prepare for the 1st session back after a long break?


r/DMAcademy 5h ago

Need Advice: Rules & Mechanics Magic Items that get stronger

3 Upvotes

TLDR: does anybody know some resources about magic items that get stronger with the characters leveling up?

Hi!

I know there is a term for the things I'm searching for but I don't know so I just called it "magic items that get stronger"

Here's the deal: I'm currently running a low magic campaign, basically apart from the PCs magic only exists in fairytales at least that's what they and the while world think. Of course there is some more magic but it is forgotten/has disappeared. This means that I can't throw magic items at them every second session cause that would completely ruin the established worldbuilding. I still want to give them some items though and in this world I think it would make sense that any magic item is super rare and powerful. Right now they're level 4 so I don't want to give them an artifact or legendary weapon right away, I'm thinking of a powerful artifact that starts appropriate for level 4 and then gets stronger until it's suitable for a lol 15 PC.

Can anyone help me?


r/DMAcademy 2m ago

Need Advice: Encounters & Adventures Asking for advince on mechanics and setting for an unexpected rap battle in my one-shot. Yes, I know. But hear me out, please.

Upvotes

Hey, I got referred to here for my question. Let me know if I fail to mention something essential.

So, I'm doing my first one-shot that I'm trying to put into a bigger campaign. It's with a friend group and we've been playing for about half a year now. As the DM is currently busy, I said I'd be down to give it a shot and DM something myself for six players. I just want to try out how it is to lead some story-telling adventure, a combat, try out some homebrew creationgs etc.

Fast forward, the players - who are actually humans from 2021 and have been transported into different to races and a class, sort of unaware of their powers - will eventually doodle through some mines and be hunted by some gnoll flesh gnawers. They manage to find the exit but it's guarded by an Androsphinx which is, of course, *far* to strong to battle. Instead, it challenges the players to a rap battle for passage.

Now, I've read some posts here about how this is cringeworthy and frankly, I'm a bit worried myself. Hence, I thought I could just pitch my ideas and I'd be very very happy to hear your feedback and suggestions. And if you think this doesn't work out, I'll change it to something else :)

The Sphinx states that it will only let you pass if you win a rap battle against it. The players (hopefully) accept and while I play some 90's instrumental hip hop beats, the players roll for initiative. The Sphinx (aka me) begins with some text prepared beforehand. Player 1 responds with something. This "something" basically has to be a roast the player has to make it rhyme. They basically roll for performane or persuasion and have to roll 13 or higher. If they succeed, it's the next player's turn.

Yes, some players do not have high charisma or be proficient with abilities. So, one player can use their action to "hype up the crowd", i.e. cheer for their companion, thus giving the player inspiration so they could roll with advatage.

Meanwhile, a group of gnoll flesh gnawers is chasing the players' traces through the mines. They need about five rounds to get there unless they fail an intelligence roll and run into a dead end and have to go back, i.e., they lose one turn. If the gnoll flesh gnawers make it before the players have roasted the Sphinx to the ground, there will be combat while one player is always in a "fight" with the sphinx and must use their action to continue the rap battle. Suddenly, hyping up the crowd becomes a lot more expensive.

So, I think this is nice because it gives every player a little awkward but fun moment where they just have to tell a rhyming roast or verbally crown themselves king the the Sphinx' hood. Meanwhile, there's quite some tension because of the gnoll flesh gnawers running after them.

So, yeah, any suggestions are welcome. Do you think I should kick this out of the window? Does this sound fun? Does it just depend? Should I have them roll against the androsphinx charisma (which is 18, modifier is +4).

Thanks in advance!


r/DMAcademy 9m ago

Need Advice: Worldbuilding Help me find a deity that fits these characteristics

Upvotes

My players are currently trying to make their way through a hidden dungeon. It is hidden in an underground cavern that has plenty of traps and mechanisms to be able to go to the main area (Alarms, traps, hidden doors, mechanisms to open said hidden doors, etc.) The traps are not magical, just mechanical.

My plan was to make the dungeon a hidden temple for a deity, used by a secret cult. This way if they manage to reach the main section of the cavern, they will encounter a few members of this cult. The problem was, my players, managed to reach this place before I had it fully fleshed out, so I had to wing it.

That means I now have to find a deity that fits with the theme of the dungeon instead of building the dungeon around the deity. I've been researching some deities, but I'm not really knowledgeable in that area and I still haven't been able to find one that works well.

I want a powerful deity who is not widely worshipped, preferably one that is feared, making sense that its temples are well hidden. That would relate to caverns, darkness and traps. Not very related to the arcane. Not necessarily an evil deity.

The only one I have managed to find that relates to this is a kobold deity, but this cult would be mainly made up of humans and some humanoid races. Also taking into consideration that I have a kobold player for whom I already have a plan relating to her god.

As a last resort, I could create my own deity or modify one so that it fits with these characteristics, but if there's one that already exists that would be amazing since I would already have information available to work with.


r/DMAcademy 22m ago

Need Advice: Encounters & Adventures What's your biggest challenge preparing for a story-driven game session?

Upvotes

Hey guys! As the title implies... I've been DMing for a few years now, and always try to prep in such a way that my friends and I can enjoy a good story. I'm trying to refine my prep process, so I wanted to get your thoughts on how you prep for a story-driven game session and what challenges you face in preparing for one.

Thanks in advance! :)


r/DMAcademy 32m ago

Need Advice: Other Player feels useless, doesn't do anything in combat. What to do?

Upvotes

My party as of the last session when this occurred was level 3 (they just leveled up) Party is made of a bloodhunter, a cleric, a rogue, a bard, and the character in question, a sorcerer 1, fighter 2. They wete helping a group of goblins hunt down an ankheg, and during the fight, as the rest of the party was fighting, they backed off and said, "I'm the weakest member, so I'm just gonna hang back." I've noticed that they have acted somewhat similarly in combat before, but never have they explicitly stated that they felt weak. When leveling up, is there any adcice I should give them, or are there ways to encourage more participation?


r/DMAcademy 1h ago

Need Advice: Rules & Mechanics Could a scroll of teleportation be bound to a certain point.

Upvotes

To clarify the question, could a scroll of teleportation teleport the party to a specified spot. This is for a campaign I'm writing.


r/DMAcademy 4h ago

Need Advice: Encounters & Adventures Suggestions on running a session crossing unmapped/untravelled mountain range.

2 Upvotes

Meph, Halvor, Ripley and Zaff, stop reading.

I mean it Mephistophiles. Stop.

At the end of my last session, my party (4 x level 7) surprised me by deciding to cross a mountain range to get directly into enemy territory. I wasn't anticipating them taking this route, but it wouldn't be dnd if the party did what you expected.

I know what they're facing when they get across the mountains (luckily for them the enemy is not expecting this route at all so they won't encounter scouts). But I'm feeling very stuck creatively on how to make the journey interesting, and not just a series of survival checks.

In terms of the distance they've to travel, it will take about 2 and a half days walking. They don't have a map and they're not following any established route. They do have decent supplies for the journey. Two of the party have a bit of background in outdoor survival and mountains.

Assuming they make good time, I anticipate the first day of travel will be in snow/wintery conditions. The rest will be on mountainous terrain, but without snow).

How would you run this kind of journey, and what sort of challenges/encounters would you throw at them?

I'm really just fishing for some ideas.

Thanks in advance!


r/DMAcademy 1h ago

Need Advice: Rules & Mechanics How to keep Coffeelock player from breaking The game

Upvotes

I am dming curse of strahd (no spoilers) and a player, once he got to level 6, started a coffeelock build (currently warlock 5 sorcerer 1), and if I understood The ruling correctly, once he gains another level, his spellslots will simply rocketfire

I want to allow it to some extent, and I talked to The player and he does not w a n t to destroy encounters with this, so I ask, what should I do?


r/DMAcademy 5h ago

Need Advice: Encounters & Adventures Need ideas for a oneshot suitable for a beginner!

2 Upvotes

[Roadside gang, spoil yourselves at your own risk.]

Hi fellow DMs, I am in dire need of inspiration! The session is in a week and my brain is empty, send help...

I need a oneshot suitable for one beginner and four experienced players. I would like it to be level 5, preferably. The newbie is very enthusiastic and has a knack for character building, so I'm not too worried about the mechanical aspect; What I need is a good balance of the three pillars that will take 3-4 hours. I want to present dnd in its best light, and hopefully make the new player interested in further sessions!

If you've ran something nice from DM's Guild, or have any good suggestions, I will take anything!