The 10 Commandments of Good Gamemastering

You will know the rules
You will be prepared
You will commit to having fun
You will be fair and impartial
You will be firm in decisions
You will have patience with newbies or idiots
You will be inventive
You will be animated
You won’t dodge dice rolls
You must not railways
The Amplified Commandments:

1. You must have an intimate knowledge of the rules of the game to be an effective game master. Disagreements in the rules bog down the game and detract from the atmosphere and enjoyment.

2. Books, a prepared adventure, maps, dice, scrap paper, pencils, eraser, battle mat, water soluble pens, miniatures, blackboard, dry erase pens, personal refreshments, they are useful to organize an adventure . Some even used projectors and transparencies. I bring extra paper, pencils and dice for unprepared players. Anything you can think of that will improve your session should be considered.

3. The goal of rpgs is to have fun. Don’t get into extended arguments. Don’t go on with endless descriptive text. Do not insult anyone. Make your speech lively. Feel excited. Keep your players guessing. He cackles (or laughs).

4. Period. There is no place in the role play to favor your love or punish a partner that you do not like. Dice are the great equalizers in rpgs and don’t need the help of a soft or vindictive game master. If you can’t be fair and impartial, soon you won’t have a group!

5. This commandment goes hand in hand with the first. You cannot be decisive in your decisions without a firm understanding of the rules. Brook without heated disagreements. A call to rules may be questioned, but the gamemaster is always right! Any required adjustments must be handled after the session for the next session to take effect.

6. There are people out there who just want to pull on their chain. There are others who have difficulties with the concepts of role play. Both require patience from the game master. A newcomer should be encouraged and cautiously trained without showing favoritism. If the jerk is too nasty, you can always ask him not to come back.

7. There are times when you will have to fly. There’s an old adage that a party never does what the GM has planned. Have your random meeting tables ready. Having some NPCs on hand will help. New traps, tricks, or puzzles may be necessary. Always prepare for the unexpected.

8. You don’t need to be an actor but nobody wants to listen to a drone. If you are good with voices, put a little life into your NPCs. Lower your voice for dark and gloomy descriptions. If you write your own adventures, write animated prose. You want to create states of mind, emotion, fear, anger, lust, and caution, the full range of human (or semi-human) emotions.

9. The dice are sacrosanct. Dice rule! If spins are allowed, please specify circumstances (in my games, only dice are rolled or tossed from the table). Now behind the screen, I follow the same rules, but some game masters have a softer heart than I do. If the dice are just unfair, some GMs will make a slight adjustment to favor the players. It is not an approving practice, but it will not unbalance a game improperly if used sparingly.

10. There are games in which the gamemaster is called “Storyteller”. If you’re running an RPG, the characters should write the story, not you. In your meticulously crafted adventure, you shouldn’t have included any items that need to be done for the adventure to succeed. Now obviously if the adventure takes place in Wolfling town the party may need to travel there. If they must rigidly perform steps A, B, and C to be successful in the adventure, that is not a good game. A railway is a straight-line, linear adventure, and that should be avoided.

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