Game Masters


Some adventure ideas have great potential, but seem to limit themselves with a linear plot. Occasionally, the greatest ideas of a Gamemaster can be applied, but usually it's too difficult to make all the changes. On the other hand, some of the greatest written adventures of all time are lost when a GM doesn't grasp the idea. Combining a talented author with a talented Gamemaster can be the making of a legendary adventure, but not without effort. A great majority of Gamemasters admit to "winging-it", or gaming "on-the-fly".

The breweries and alehouses of the Older Empire produce some of the finest ales and lager in Firmel. From the robust ales of the Stone Horse in Cessnock to the smooth lager of Fife Lake, these excellent brews are sent far abroad and are in high demand in the markets of Anchor Head and Leirfjall. But to declare the malts and pilsners brewed in these quality establishments are the finest the Empire has to offer, would be a shameful falsehood.

When you create a character in Dungeons & Dragons, one of the abilities you generate is Intelligence. The Wizard character is designed around this ability, and a high intelligence benefits your skill choices. But for most characters, the Intelligence modifier is used for determining the number of languages they know; this stat is duly noted, and often forgotten. Your Elf Fighter knows Elven and Common, and that is it, as everyone speaks common, or so it seems. Yet another dimension can be added to your games if a little more attention is paid to language: here I have a couple of suggestions on how to do just that.

Clerics bridge the gap between life and death for an adventuring party, yet finding people to play a cleric can be a monumental task. It has been my experience that most gamers shy away from playing a cleric. In many ways, clerics are seen as the servant to a party rather than a full member. Cries of "Band-Aid" and calls for healing can ruin the experience of playing a cleric. No one wants to play a character who can never shine.

There is little more confusing in the D&D universe than the concept of alignment. This said, I would also venture to surmise there are fewer articles written about alignment than any other subject in D&D.

GMs like to be in charge. We wouldn't go to the trouble of planning entire campaigns and running them for occasionally unappreciative players if we didn't. And there's nowhere our control-freak nature comes out more obviously than when we're planning the settings we use. In the previous article in this series, I talked about factors you might want to consider when choosing between fictional and established cities as settings for your game. Now, I pull the focus in a little tighter to discuss that second option, which I believe offers an excellent balance between the need for control and the equally pressing need to prepare for games in a limited amount of time.

Gaming etiquette could be the single most important aspect of running a campaign. I will not rehash old stereotypes such as bathing before a game or eating all of the host's food. Instead, I have a slightly different perspective on gaming etiquette. I have discovered a few simple rules which could seriously affect a campaign for ill or good. While some people may grumble about a few of them, a player will respect a firm GM over a weak one no matter how much grumbling happens in the background.

One of the truest things ever to be said about being a GM is when it comes down to it, 75 percent or more of the job comes down to one's ability to improvise. But it's equally true in order to run a successful game, an often substantial amount of planning is required as well. In the end, a GM has to decide how comfortable they feel with BS'ing their way through a few sessions, and prepare accordingly.

There's game theory, there's gaming theory and there's theory of gaming. Never forget that. Forgetting can land you all sorts of places you don't want to be.

No matter what game you may be playing, there is a certain set of equipment regarded as universal for players of any tabletop RPG. You know what I'm talking about: warm bodies to serve as players and one slightly more fanatically devoted warm body to GM the whole show, a relatively quiet and private space with a table and enough room to seat everyone, the one or more sourcebooks needed to run the game system itself, character sheets for everyone involved, and (of course) dice of all varieties.

Syndicate content