How to make your players hate your villain, but not your game

How does one build the character of a villain such that the players (playing heroic characters) hate the villain as much as possible without detracting too much from the quality of the game?

What motivations, habits, etc should the villain have to make them particularly despicable? Should the villain be based off of the PCs in some way or is it more effective to base the villain off of some objective standard of villainy? If the former, in what way should the villain be based off of the PCs?

In order to back up your answers, please either a) provide examples of published works making use of the technique/method you recommend, b) cite real-world RPG experience evidencing the success of your technique/method, or c) cite published material on the subject supporting your position (DMGs, Academic papers, Dragon articles, blog posts, etc)

The best answer will provide unique insight into the causes behind player responses within the character-driven framework, provide critically successful example works exemplifying the particular method advocated, and provide a source where for information on the method/subject, if desired, can be acquired.

How to deal with players that wants their characters to do automatic perception, stealth and searching for traps/secret doors?

Every time my players are exploring a dungeon, they want their characters to do perception checks for monsters, perception checks for traps and/or secret passages while being on stealth mode, all at the same time. If a monster comes or if they activate a trap, they get mad because “my character is always looking for traps”. If I say they need to declare their actions, the game goes like this:

[me describing a area, like a corridor they’re walking in]

player: I check for traps and secret doors in the wall, the floor and the ceiling. I also want to hear anything unusual and walk silently.

They want to be on “automatic mode”, expecting me to roll for their PCs every time they enter a new area. Otherwise they always have this phrase “I check for traps and secret doors in the wall, the floor…” that they say EVERYTIME I introduce a new area. I can’t put them in “automatic” for this kind of roll. We’re playing D&D 5e, but this happen in other campaigns, and it has always been a problem to me.

How do I deal with it?

How can I better show players that enemies are not friends?

I’m a new GM playing Pathfinder with other newbies.

The problem I’m facing is that the group tries to be friends with almost every humanoid that they meet. It’s not that they dislike combat, it’s just that they sometimes are able to talk their way out of situations.

Obviously if they’re having fun, and it doesn’t destroy the game – then I should let them talk their way out of as much as they like. But it’s become a bit cumbersome and is slowing the game down that I have to create full dialog etc for every single goblin or orc that they come across.

Any advice on how I can help suggest to the players that the encounter is a fight and not a negotiation?

How can I get my players to delegate to NPC’S?

I have ran into this issue in many games using different systems. My players either start in or reach a point where they should be above things that normal adventurers are about whether it be building a stronghold in D&D or getting seven circles and seven resources in Burning Wheel. However my players seem to attempt to tackle every issue personally like staking out a warehouse instead of sending their minions to do so or keeping a merchant safe.

This is going to be a big issue with my next game as I will be running a rogue trader game and I fear that the players may actually attempt to attack the enemies personally instead of deploying hundreds of thousands soldiers they have on their ship or decide to oversee construction efforts personally rather than just assigning a foreman.

This kind of behavior would not click well with the story I wish to tell so I want to ask before it is too late. How can I make my players delegate their tasks to NPC’s and focus on more important(Both in universe and in narrative) things?

How do I handle players that don’t care for the rules I put in place as the DM and question everything I do?

I am DMing a game of dnd 5e or close to it. It’s a homebrew campaign. We are mostly new to D&D with the exception of 2 players that play with other groups.

I have 2 players that seem to question everything I do as a DM and make the game hard to DM. One of the things they question is cantrips.

I had one of my players call my ruling stupid and log out. To put it into context I make my players roll to see if they can land the cantrip. 2 of my players have recently questioned why they have to roll at all and why it just doesn’t do what they believe it should do. But there is nothing in the rules about rolling and cantrips.

It was a cantrip called "mend" and he was trying to use it to repair his armor which had been broken. I made him roll to see how well he repaired it and he got a 2 so it didn’t repair much. He went behind my back and spoke to another player about how it was stupid and "that’s not how cantrips work" even though he was able to cast the spell, just not well.

I don’t want to just put my foot down and say "I’m the DM, what I say goes" but they won’t listen to my reasoning and just keep saying I’m wrong. How do I handle this situation? It’s getting to the point where I am considering stopping DMing all together.

As a DM, is telling your players what they conclude a bad practice?

I, a new DM who has run around 10-15 game session so far, am in the process of watching Critical Role Campaign 2 (currently at Episode 23). We all know Matt Mercer and his famous quotes like "You can certainly try" and "How do you wanna do this?". While watching, another phrase he says quite often has come to my attention "You get the sense that…". This has started to annoy me, as it seems that he says this every time, he wants the players to come to a certain conclusion, by telling them what conclusions their characters come to. Any time he does that, I instinctively tell myself: "I never want to do that when I DM", because to me this seems to be breaking one of the most important guidelines in story telling "show, don’t tell!".

As an example in Episode 23 the group was camping outside with Yasha being one of the people who took watch. After the night passed he told them something along the lines of "you get the sense, that anything that was out there during the night didn’t want to come close, because of how scary Yasha looks". This bothers me because, as far as I noticed, the characters had no way of knowing that information. He just told them, that there characters felt that way, which to me seems to be on the same level of telling them that information out of character aka metagaming.

If I think about it more closely, I guess I can see where he is coming from. Not in this example, but usually it appears he is trying to speed up the process of the characters finding out a certain piece of information, as to not drag a scene on for too long, steering them into the right direction. This seems to come at a cost of realism/immersion to me though.

I want to clarify, that I don’t want to diminish Matt Mercer personally or as a DM in a way. He has done so much good for the community and I am learning so much about DMing while watching his Campaign.

But the question I am asking myself is: Would this behavior generally be classified as a bad practice, a DM should avoid doing?

What companions have been for sale for Adventurers League players at Fai Chen’s Fantastical Faire?

Fai Chen’s Fantastical Faire is described as a trading opportunity for Adventurers League players. It is also reported that there are opportunities to buy other consumable items but also “companions”:

While he does not sell permanent magic items, he does need to feed his ever expanding family. He makes money by selling consumables and other unique things like property, guild memberships, or a companion from his mini menagerie.

What is the range of companions that have been spotted at Fai Chen’s (i.e. are they all beasts?) and what is their price? Most specifically, does there seem to be a pattern in the costs related to the CR of the companion?

How can I help one of my players be more tanky?

I’m running a game of four (currently) 5th-level characters. All of them are heavy damage-dealers (a wizard, warlock, ranger and paladin) with the paladin as the nominal tank. However, the paladin is consistently going down the first few rounds of every combat. He has a pretty high AC (20 with shield of faith), but low constitution, and the ranger (a dwarf) and even the warlock have more hit points.

I can sense that the paladin’s player wants to be more tanky, but isn’t really sure how. They are already in the habit of using shield of faith, as I mentioned, and took the protection combat style. What kind of magic item/special ability/other help would be good to give them to help them feel like they’re achieving their goals, without just having them stumble upon the Amulet of Health and letting them dominate?