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Hippogryph Gamemaster Guide (Director's Cut)
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Hippogryph Gamemaster Guide (Director's Cut)


Like most tabletop roleplaying aficionados, my formative experiences in the hobby were with Dungeons & Dragons. You build a character, fight things, and gain treasure and experience. Unlike most players, those weren’t my only, or then my most important, moments. I like the stories and the character development.

Soon after D&D, I discovered “universal” system. Rather than being limited by classes and levels, I could scratch-build any sort of character I wanted! The lack of restrictions was refreshing! Later still I fell into story gaming, and systems like Fate that moved roleplaying away from its wargaming roots.

Most of the systems I loved lacked a gamemaster guide. My friends and I struggled with how to structure adventures. We had no idea how to manage a group or make important system decisions. The skills we lacked weren’t specific to one game. It took me years to finally become what I’d consider to be a halfway decent gamemaster.

While tabletop roleplaying has specific needs, at the end of the day a story is a story is a story. If I’d had a book to show me what to do, I wouldn’t have spent so much time figuring things out on my own. I could have been sharpening other skills rather than sorting out the fundamentals.

That’s why I wrote this Hippogryph Gamemaster Guide. For experienced gamemasters, you’ll find helpful tips, bits of wisdom, or reminders of why you do things a particular way. New gamemasters, welcome. I wrote this for you. I’m hoping to spare you some of the awkwardness and discomfort I’ve suffered over the decades. The information here should help you with the fundamentals of running Hippogryph.

This book includes:

  • Being the Gamemaster: Everything you need to know about your job as the gamemaster, the roles of players, organizing your roleplaying group, and handling the most common out-of-character situations.
  • What You Need to Play: Materials required to run Hippogryph. Optional items and props to enhance the experience if you choose to use them.
  • Understanding Players: A look at different types of players and what they are looking for in a Hippogryph adventure. This chapter covers things groups contribute and challenges they can present.
  • Preparation: Gamemasters can spend a lot of time preparing to run Hippogryph. This covers what is essential to do, what is nice to have, and how to make things up on the fly.
  • Session Zero: The first session of Hippogryph, where the players get to know each other. This session is where you set expectations, ensure everyone is comfortable, and lay essential groundwork.
  • Running a Session: From preparing an adventure to handling unforeseen problems that arise during play, everything you need to know to gamemaster Hippogryph.
  • Being Human: Everyone makes mistakes. This section covers how to fail fast and fail forward, correct bad rulings, deal with problem players, and just let yourself be an imperfect human being.
  • Teaching New Players: Part of the gamemaster’s job is educating new players about Hippogryph. It extends to the setting, the system. and boundaries within the group.
  • Glossary: This section presents a selection of the most commonly used words and phrases found in Hippogryph.
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Customer avatar
Eric T March 18, 2021 1:06 am UTC
With several GM guides available from DLP, how much material is duplicated from book to book? I know I want to buy at least one of these, and could probably justify three—unless the vast majority of material is cut-and-pasted from the generic GM Guide. That's not meant critically, by the way; it would make perfect sense to do that, because much GM advice is system-agnostic; I'm just on a limited budget. Thanks for help.
Customer avatar
Berin K March 18, 2021 1:01 pm UTC
HOW TO GAMEMASTER is the template, and is system-agnostic. The material that carries through to the Hippogryph and DoubleZero GM Guides has been tailored to those specific systems and the genres they cater to.

There are also sections in HTG that are not in the HG and DZ books to make room for system-specific sections, notably Creation Factions (called Creating Organizations in the DZ book) and Changing the World. Those are slightly different between books to account for the mechanics and the genres of the different games.

The sections in HTG that were cut from the HG and DZ versions will likely end up on the Hippogryph Companion and DoubleZero Companion respectively, adapted for those systems and genres. The Companions will contain additional and optional rules for their respective systems.
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File Last Updated:
April 27, 2022
This title was added to our catalog on March 17, 2021.