Game Masters


Last time I promised adventures, so here's the first one. This political adventure takes place in the quiet rolling foothills, where the halflings live. Cut off from the rest of the world by mountains to the West, a great forest to the North and the unforgiving Sea to the South and East, the land is peaceful and unspoiled. This tranquil realm has been largely untouched by the war raging on the other side of the mountains... until now.

The fourth part of a series of "How-I" articles. This specific article covers what I (as a GM) determine regarding magic and weapons, before the players get their hands on the issue. If you cater to power-gamers and munchkins, this is not for you. If you think your last campaign got shorted becasue of the firepower available, this might help the next time around. "How-to" implies that there is a best way. There might be, and this might be it, or maybe not. This is how I do it.

Yes, I know this is a popular subject that's discussed all too often in the RPG world, but I plan to take a slightly different spin on things. Come share your thoughts!

I GM-ed a multi-generational D&D3E family game over the Holidays. While that was very rewarding, I was left with some slight doubts. It felt great to bring people together for a fun time and to have some family togetherness, but I saw my young cousins get excited about killing and looting and stealing, which was off-putting to say the least. It made me think about the example I was setting for them at such a young age, and what sort of habits I might have myself that I am unaware of. It made me start thinking about ways to keep the game fun, but to encourage problem-solving that does not always include wanton killing.

Like a magician's trick, a good gaming session is all about creating a shared experience that leaves the audience mystified – it challenges preconceptions, overturns expectations, and reinforces faith. But tricks don't work if they are hidden. Making a rabbit appear from a hat only works if you show the empty hat at the beginning. At the end of the trick you need to show the rabbit too. One trick means showing the audience two points in time. Magic is the inability of the audience to connect what is shown with what is hidden.

It is all too easy for the GM to hide behind the screen, make mistakes, and have huge flaws in logic and planning. Through the course of any sustained campaign the players will come to know whether there are indeed any good mysteries behind the screen. By revealing inconsistencies in the story and execution the players can effectively pull down the curtain between player and GM.

Halfling gunslingers toting lasers. Shape-shifting druids in an age when magic has been made obsolete by science, Dragons attacking nomads in the concrete jungles of a post-apocalyptic world. Oft times, mismatched technology can spawn player disinterest, killing the game. However, with a good GM balancing these factors, mixed genres can bring life and encourage greater storytelling than any undiluted game

Do you have a bright, creative, potentially great, new GM whose adventures just plain suck? Are you tired of running games ALL THE TIME and you want a chance to play for a change, without having to suffer through lame games? Try training your New Blood GM and teach them some tricks of the trade. This is one thing that worked for me...

Our heroic priest of the Goddess of the Hearth, having just arrived in a capitol city far from his home is invited to enjoy a feast... only to discover later that the feast is the annual rededication to the God of Hedonism! An in-depth look at holidays (HolyDays), the Gods that promote them, and religious characters.

What do you do when you slip up while running a game? What do you do when you forget to have the PCs meet up with a certain NPC, or find a certain item and it's too late to go back and introduce them? What do you do when your NPCs don't remember the PCs or when you forget to figure out what the mystery machine DOES when the characters finally activate it?

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