Tips for new GMs

Tips for new GMs

Tips for new GMs

Lot of new players and GM’s often ask for advice here, so I thought I’d occasionally make some post that can give them things to keep in mind, to help make their games more interesting.

Weaving Defy Danger + CHA into conversation

I’ve seen a few people in the past mention that they don’t know how to use Defy Danger + CHA effectively. CHA is in general a very under utilized trait in most classes. And in the case of the bard, they are strong armed into it because of their ‘Arcane Art.’

A way you can give the stat relevance, as well as make dialogue more interesting is by forcing the players to roll occasionally.

Now you don’t roll for persuasion checks, or bluffs, or anything else like that. You RP the character and the Player has to convince you to believe a certain thing, or come to their way of thinking.

“When you act despite an imminent threat or suffer a calamity

This is the trigger for the roll, the part we are looking at is “suffer a calamity.” The obvious definition for this is, you slipping on ice, or you’re poisoned, but it’s not limited to that. A calamity can be anything that works against the party’s intentions.


The party is hunting for food and have tracked a rabbit into a tomato field. The ranger shoots the rabbit and picks “place yourself in danger” for her roll of 7. The danger is the farmer that owns the land finds them.

Conversation begins, the Farmer declares that because the rabbit is on his land, it belongs to him, and the party is stealing.

The ranger tries talking down the farmer, trying to come to a compromise. Eventually the work out they can buy the rabbit for 2 gold.

The Druid steps in though and being the insufferable hippy his is says “You can’t own nature man! That rabbit doesn’t belong to you or anyone but nature.”

This is a chance to apply a Defy Danger, as the calamity the party just suffered is that the farmer is now angry/annoyed and less likely to cooperate.

Druid rolls, as he’s the one that is trying to “convince” the farmer he doesn’t have rights to the rabbit.

On a crit (10), the farmer can be talked into selling the rabbit for one gold, or even for free.

On a hit (7-9), the farmer disregards the Druid and will still sell the rabbit for 2 gold.

On a miss (-6), the farmer is angered by the druid’s remark, and either doesn’t want to sell the rabbit at all anymore, or doubles the price to 4 gold.

In my game, the druid missed, and the ranger had to suck up to the farmer and denounce the druid (which works into their bond), to get the farmer to sell the rabbit for 4 gold.

7 thoughts on “Tips for new GMs”

  1. that is a very interesting way to look at the fiction. I have always treated it as a “Hey friends, let’s not all kill eachother, okay?” when going against a bunch of orcs.

  2. I could see extending this to the Supply action, where that is what defines the danger to be surpassed. i.e. Danger=paying fair price/more/find something else.

  3. Patrick Schenk​ Bluffs can be handled with Parley. On 7-9 they want some concrete evidence of your bullshittery up front (or maybe just collateral), on 10+ they just wave you through or hand over the Duke’s corgi.

  4. I do appreciate the encouragement to use defy danger (CHA) more, but I wouldn’t tend to bother with a roll if the stakes are only a couple of coin. For me, 6- should be the farmer’s pitchfork in the side of the head at best. Better yet, he’s not the simple farmer he appeared to be: he’s a hedge wizard, and those mysterious hemorrhoids won’t be going away for weeks.

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