Advanced Search

The GM's Real-World Reference

The GM's Real-World Reference

Watermarked PDF

The best stories, settings, and NPCs are often inspired by the real world. This book will take you from endless wastes to soaring palaces, through thrilling events and heart-stopping disasters, and introduce you to figures both treacherous and heroic. 

Need a military commander? Have a look at some of history's most colorful generals, like Lamachus, Tomyris, or Götz von Berlichingen. Need a barren wasteland? Don't send your PCs out into the deserts of Generica again! Model their destination on the spiny thickets of Madagascar, the Pripet Marshes, or the Ténéré. Need something unusual happening on the borders of the kingdom? Rather than another rebellion or mysterious cult, why not have it be the exploits of the Captain of Köpenick, the rise of Lysenkoism, or explorers searching for Prester John?

This is not a history book. It's a reference for GMs. We know that nitty-gritty details won't translate into your game. What GMs need is story. Striking, attention-grabbing story that will make your players sit up and say, "Wow! Where do you get these ideas?" 

The book itself is huge: 221 pages on 160 topics. There are subjects from all over the world and from all periods of history. Each topic contains all the information you need to run it at your table, and none of the information you don't. Plus, each one ends with tips on how to use the subject. The document is easy to navigate, with a terrific index to help you find exactly the topic you need for your game.

 Customers Who Bought this Title also Purchased
Reviews (4)
Discussions (0)
October 14th, 2016
This is a great source for ideas, straight from the real world. I enjoy reading the entries for inspiration, or even just to learn about some of the fascinating people, places or events included in this book. This book is a real treasure trove of inspi [...]
January 13th, 2013
This is incredibly useful. I have often seen/heard the phrase "write what you know" and that often plays into your gaming. You use the five senses (gritty side walks, sulpher-smelling dungeon rooms, lemon-tang lamas bread) and combine names [...]
December 24th, 2012
Why use this, and not Wikipedia? Distillation. The authors have already gone and done the work of finding areas/epochs/people of interest, grabbing a rather hearty handful of significant facts, and presenting them for a GM's use. While the details are [...]
December 16th, 2012
I'm a very widely read and pretty knowledgeable guy, and i love both historical gaming and using historical stuff in alternate games. The idea behind this book seemed good, kind of the same vibe you'd get from a good Gurps supplement, so i went for it. [...]
Browse Categories
 Follow Your Favorites!
NotificationsSign in to get custom notifications of new products!

Product Information
Electrum seller
File Size:
39.85 MB
Original electronic
Scanned image
These products were created by scanning an original printed edition. Most older books are in scanned image format because original digital layout files never existed or were no longer available from the publisher.

For PDF download editions, each page has been run through Optical Character Recognition (OCR) software to attempt to decipher the printed text. The result of this OCR process is placed invisibly behind the picture of each scanned page, to allow for text searching. However, any text in a given book set on a graphical background or in handwritten fonts would most likely not be picked up by the OCR software, and is therefore not searchable. Also, a few larger books may be resampled to fit into the system, and may not have this searchable text background.

For printed books, we have performed high-resolution scans of an original hardcopy of the book. We essentially digitally re-master the book. Unfortunately, the resulting quality of these books is not as high. It's the problem of making a copy of a copy. The text is fine for reading, but illustration work starts to run dark, pixellating and/or losing shades of grey. Moiré patterns may develop in photos. We mark clearly which print titles come from scanned image books so that you can make an informed purchase decision about the quality of what you will receive.
Original electronic format
These ebooks were created from the original electronic layout files, and therefore are fully text searchable. Also, their file size tends to be smaller than scanned image books. Most newer books are in the original electronic format. Both download and print editions of such books should be high quality.
File Information
Watermarked PDF
Watermarked PDF

These PDF files are digitally watermarked to signify that you are the owner. A small message is added to the bottom of each page of the PDF containing your name and the order number of your purchase.

Warning: If any files bearing your information are found being distributed illegally, then your account will be suspended and legal action may be taken against you.

Here is a sample of a page from a watermarked title:

File Last Updated:
January 08, 2019
This title was added to our catalog on December 13, 2012.