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100 Tips and Tricks for Being a Better Game Master
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100 Tips and Tricks for Being a Better Game Master


It's not an easy job being a Game Master. You are the voices of the gods, as well as every bandit, barmaid and sailor your players meet as they journey throughout the world. You have to keep track of what information the bad guys have, what the secret plots of the political machines are, the going cost of magic item, and to remember the descriptions of every village, town, forest glade and babbling brook your players are going to come across. And while you're doing all of that you have to try to tell something resembling a cohesive story that everyone can actually follow.

For those who are going to take on that responsibility, I salute you.

Whether this is your first time sitting in the big chair, or you've been at the head of the table so long it's hard to imagine sitting anywhere else, the following advice is for you. While it may not be revolutionary, a lot of the tips, tricks and general best practices that follow will make your games run more smoothly, generally without cutting in on your or your players' fun. So take a moment, crack the covers and prepare to supercharge your next session!

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Here are some sample tips:

  • Diversify your non-human species so they have their own cultures, norms etc. From tattooed island dwarves who wrestle, surf and create unique items in their volcanic forges, to elves who wander across desert dunes and vanish into sandstorms, make sure you avoid treating non-human species like monoliths who all have the same language, the same religion and the same practices no matter where they're from, or how much distance there is between different communities.
  • Attach names, backstories and miscellaneous lore to the magic items you give out in your game. While there's definitely work attached to this strategy, it stops what should be unique, special items from being reduced to an endless stream of nothing more than special abilities and numbers. If the item has a legend all its own, and the PCs are merely the latest chapter in that legend, it's going to feel a lot more special. As a final note, make sure the items get recognized by knowledgeable NPCs, and if the PC uses an item long enough fold it into their reputation.
  • Remember to consider the strange quirks and abilities of inhuman characters to make them more memorable and interesting. Does the tiefling drink tea while it's hot enough to scald because it can't hurt them? Do orcs eat meat raw because that's the way their bodies can best handle it? Do goblins eat mostly rotten fruit because the fermentation gets them drunk, and their taste buds are completely different than other species'? Does the dwarf's home not have any light sources because they're so used to seeing in the dark, they forget others can't do so? Big and small, these little affectations really drive home that we're not just talking to humans with pointy ears, or wearing body paint.
  • If you're considering using time travel in a game where that is not the central mechanic, re-consider this decision. While going forward is easy enough to do (frozen in stasis, turned to stone and revived centuries later and other ways to preserve individuals), it can often feel like you're on major rails if your actions must take certain forms. While this can be done, and you should feel free to explore your creativity, the frustration involved with time travel plots is often not worth it.
  • Consider mapping out (in broad strokes, at least) how the legal systems found in your setting actually work. Whether it's litigation based, legal matters are decided by aristocratic judges, if there's trial by combat or various other methods of determining guilt and innocence, take some time to really think about them. It may never come up in your campaign, but if someone mentions getting the law involved (either because they found evidence of wrong doing, or because your party got caught committing rather serious crimes) then it's a good idea to know what form that law is going to take.

One page is the front cover, one the front matter and one is ads.

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File Last Updated:
January 05, 2022
This title was added to our catalog on January 08, 2022.
Azukail Games
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