• Advertisement

Make a small donation to Ye Olde Inn!

Donate via Paypal

Every cent received goes toward Ye Olde Inn's maintenance and allows us to continue providing the best resources for HeroQuest and Fantasy Gaming fans.

How to be a great GM?

Guests may gather here for General Discussions about almost any Topic. NO BRAWLING!
Forum rules
Certain topics have become known to cause friction among passionate members. We kindly ask that topics relating to these subjects be taken outside the Inn to Websites that specialise in those subjects.

Thus far, these topics are: Recreational Drugs, Religion and Science.

How to be a great GM?

Postby Baylor_OgreBane » Monday March 30th, 2015 8:27am

I'm the first to admit it, I am not the greatest GM in the world.
I tend to take a very liberal view to how the players want to play, adjusting the game to who is playing.
Because I tend to be the GM in all my games I rarely, if ever, get to see it from the other side of the fence.
So I want shared tips on how you guys do things, so that I can be the greatest GM that I can be.


Rewards:
Created a Hot Topic. Participated in a Miniature Exchange. Encountered a menacing Chaos Warlock!
User avatar
Baylor_OgreBane

High Mage
High Mage
 
Posts: 434
Images: 32
Joined: Tuesday June 29th, 2010 5:23am
Location: uk, bucks
Forum Language: British English
Evil Sorcerer: Morcar
Hero:
Usergroups:
Adventurers' Guild Group Member Artists Group Member Champion Group Member

Advertisement

Make a small donation to Ye Olde Inn!

Donate via Paypal

Every cent received goes toward Ye Olde Inn's maintenance and allows us to continue providing the best resources for HeroQuest and Fantasy Gaming fans.

Re: How to be a great GM?

Postby cynthialee » Monday March 30th, 2015 11:56am

This is my biggest success tool and somewhat controversial with some who game master:

The game, and the game world are not the sole property of the Gamemaster. The players have as much agency and right to fun as the Gamemaster. If you have a favored idea or place or NPC and everyone at the table hates it...do not force the issue. Do not use Gamemaster power to overrule the will of the players. If they wish to slay the princess and save the dragon...allow it so long as you are having fun. If your entire storyline is reliant on a single path of resolution then you set your game table up for problems.

Now if the players vision of the game is very much in opposition to yours...then refuse to GM.
So it is said that if you know your enemies and know yourself, you can win a hundred battles without a single loss.
If you only know yourself, but not your opponent, you may win or may lose.
If you know neither yourself nor your enemy, you will always endanger yourself.
~Sun Tsu The art of War~


Rewards:
Created a Hot Topic.
cynthialee

Crossbowman
Crossbowman
 
Posts: 1686
Images: 4
Joined: Tuesday September 27th, 2011 10:56am
Location: the forests of Washington State
Forum Language: English (United States)
Evil Sorcerer: Zargon
Hero:
Usergroups:
Adventurers' Guild Group Member Champion Group Member

Re: How to be a great GM?

Postby cynthialee » Monday March 30th, 2015 12:03pm

Don't be afraid to make a call in the moment. Many times players can come up with some crazy ideas that may just work but there are no rules in the books that cover the situation. In this moment consider how the game system works and then frame the path of resolution in a fashion that is compatible with the game. Accept no disagreement in game, allow for discussion of your ruling after game time and perhaps the player will have a good point and you will address the situation differently in the future. These are imperfect games played by people, so there is no reason to expect things to be right every time.

When you are wrong, admit it with out shame. There is no way on gods green earth that you will make the right call every time, accept that, strive to do better and all that jazz.

No plan survives contact with the enemy. That is to say that you may have it all planed in your notes and head just how a game is going to go down, but you have to remember that the people playing are going to have their own plans and plots.
So it is said that if you know your enemies and know yourself, you can win a hundred battles without a single loss.
If you only know yourself, but not your opponent, you may win or may lose.
If you know neither yourself nor your enemy, you will always endanger yourself.
~Sun Tsu The art of War~


Rewards:
Created a Hot Topic.
cynthialee

Crossbowman
Crossbowman
 
Posts: 1686
Images: 4
Joined: Tuesday September 27th, 2011 10:56am
Location: the forests of Washington State
Forum Language: English (United States)
Evil Sorcerer: Zargon
Hero:
Usergroups:
Adventurers' Guild Group Member Champion Group Member

Re: How to be a great GM?

Postby knightkrawler » Monday March 30th, 2015 12:07pm

When a rule is debated, define your interpretation and if there's still debate, make a decision and write it down to follow along from there on.
HQ - Heroes & Villains (Dropbox-download link) https://www.dropbox.com/sh/jgj0kzsys9w38oh/AAA_VEHx6vMv4HKRX7IiOWTFa?dl=0
Feedback http://forum.yeoldeinn.com/viewtopic.php?f=38&t=3560
Gallery http://forum.yeoldeinn.com/viewtopic.php?f=56&t=1972&hilit=knightkrawler+gallery&start=200
____________________________________________________________________________________________________________

I've found a way of paying off old debts:
Always make more promises than you can break.


Rewards:
Grin's Stone Map Created a Hot Topic. Participated in four (4) Miniature Exchanges. Killed a mighty Fimir! Shattered a Skeleton! Destroyed a Zombie! Unravelled a Mummy! Crushed a powerful Chaos Warrior! Smashed a massive Gargoyle! Encountered a menacing Chaos Warlock!
User avatar
Cheese Baron
knightkrawler
The Furry Blue Derailer

Witch Lord
Witch Lord
 
Posts: 5821
Images: 27
Joined: Friday May 25th, 2012 2:26pm
Location: Regensburg, Germany
Forum Language: English (United States)
Evil Sorcerer: Morcar
Hero:
Usergroups:
Adventurers' Guild Group Member Champion Group Member

Re: How to be a great GM?

Postby cynthialee » Monday March 30th, 2015 12:21pm

Don't be afraid of dire consequences.
Let me tell you about Sargon of Ket:
Sargon was my NPC. He was a seriously powerful Black Ops type who worked for the Emperor. The character was written up powerful enough that I should be able to kill 3 of the 5 heroes in battle should they decide to kill this NPC. Well they didn't like Sargon and they were afraid of him, but they knew they had to work with him as he was the only one who knew the locations of the quest objectives the Emperor wanted.
Well on the way to the first quest objective the players got into a combat with some thugs. Just basic badguys on the tough side of town who were trying to extort new comers to the area. Well we put the mini's out and rolled initiative. Sargon was surrounded by 3 dudes. The rest of the party at various states of distress due to their own troubles excepting Keltan the Archer. Well the player of Keltan decides he is going to assist Sargon and shoot one of the badguys. I reminded the player that if he botched I would have to rule that Sargon could be hit and make him roll to hit against Sargon...Well don't you know it, the player rolled a critical botch, followed by a critical hit on his ally Sargon. Sargon took a +5 slaying arrow through his skull! Well things proceeded to get very problematic for the heroes from this point on. The Emperor assumed the heroes killed his prize rogue and spy and the heroes went on the lamb from that point on.
When Sargon took that hit the players jaws all dropped, Mike went ashen and they almost expected me to over rule the dice. But I had enough of Keltan firing crossbow bolts into a melee when he knew the potential results of a botch. No way was I going to over rule that poetic justice.
So it is said that if you know your enemies and know yourself, you can win a hundred battles without a single loss.
If you only know yourself, but not your opponent, you may win or may lose.
If you know neither yourself nor your enemy, you will always endanger yourself.
~Sun Tsu The art of War~


Rewards:
Created a Hot Topic.
cynthialee

Crossbowman
Crossbowman
 
Posts: 1686
Images: 4
Joined: Tuesday September 27th, 2011 10:56am
Location: the forests of Washington State
Forum Language: English (United States)
Evil Sorcerer: Zargon
Hero:
Usergroups:
Adventurers' Guild Group Member Champion Group Member

Re: How to be a great GM?

Postby clmckay » Monday March 30th, 2015 12:48pm

That's cool story.

I'm curious......you seem to be much more D&D with HQ. How do you do this? I'm not wanting to go all RPG, but have been wanting to have much more continuity throughout the adventures. I've tried blending in an overworld map and free choice of locations, etc. All with mixed results.


Rewards:
Grin's Stone Map Zealot Miniatures: Twisting Catacombs Kickstarter Backer Destroyed a Zombie! Encountered a menacing Chaos Warlock!
clmckay

Elven Archer
Elven Archer
 
Posts: 526
Joined: Sunday March 16th, 2014 10:25am
Location: USA
Usergroups:
Adventurers' Guild Group Member Champion Group Member

Re: How to be a great GM?

Postby knightkrawler » Monday March 30th, 2015 1:44pm

I also have a background world of my own in my head and a continent roughly sketched out with ideas of political factions and a wild smorgasbord of historical backgrounds.
Maybe, when I rewrite the questbooks in the vein of this, I'll flesh the world out as I go along instead of trying to do this beforehand, similar to what Cynthia has been doing.
A world fleshed out by campaigns and storytelling, with me as the narrator.
Last edited by knightkrawler on Monday March 30th, 2015 3:13pm, edited 1 time in total.
HQ - Heroes & Villains (Dropbox-download link) https://www.dropbox.com/sh/jgj0kzsys9w38oh/AAA_VEHx6vMv4HKRX7IiOWTFa?dl=0
Feedback http://forum.yeoldeinn.com/viewtopic.php?f=38&t=3560
Gallery http://forum.yeoldeinn.com/viewtopic.php?f=56&t=1972&hilit=knightkrawler+gallery&start=200
____________________________________________________________________________________________________________

I've found a way of paying off old debts:
Always make more promises than you can break.


Rewards:
Grin's Stone Map Created a Hot Topic. Participated in four (4) Miniature Exchanges. Killed a mighty Fimir! Shattered a Skeleton! Destroyed a Zombie! Unravelled a Mummy! Crushed a powerful Chaos Warrior! Smashed a massive Gargoyle! Encountered a menacing Chaos Warlock!
User avatar
Cheese Baron
knightkrawler
The Furry Blue Derailer

Witch Lord
Witch Lord
 
Posts: 5821
Images: 27
Joined: Friday May 25th, 2012 2:26pm
Location: Regensburg, Germany
Forum Language: English (United States)
Evil Sorcerer: Morcar
Hero:
Usergroups:
Adventurers' Guild Group Member Champion Group Member

Re: How to be a great GM?

Postby cynthialee » Monday March 30th, 2015 3:07pm

About 20 years ago I resolved to have all my high fantasy games on the same realm regardless of the mechanics system we are using at the time. The actions of powerful heroes has consequences that in some cases can be far reaching. They have built empires, destroyed kingdoms and in some cases inflicted great sorrows across the lands. (idiots accidently spread plague to a unsuspecting kingdom due to ignorance of the players, wiped out an entire culture and it took them a long time to put two and two together to figure out the plague was their fault)
My game world is built on a combination of my prior efforts at developing a game world combined with a couple decades of various player groups doing their thing. All the while I try and keep in mind that NPC's are doing their thing. The more things change the more they stay the same. It really doesn't matter if NPC the Magnificent is deposed and his throne is seized by NPC the Mediocre due to the support of the players; there will still be a kingdom, there will still be intrigue and commerce will go on regardless of who does what.
I do not shy away from allowing players developing characters that are indeed the most powerful men and women on the planet on a personal power level. If nothing else I can always use sheer force of numbers to defeat them if needed. One of the most important lessons they have learned at my table is it does not pay to have the entire village turn against your heroes.
So it is said that if you know your enemies and know yourself, you can win a hundred battles without a single loss.
If you only know yourself, but not your opponent, you may win or may lose.
If you know neither yourself nor your enemy, you will always endanger yourself.
~Sun Tsu The art of War~


Rewards:
Created a Hot Topic.
cynthialee

Crossbowman
Crossbowman
 
Posts: 1686
Images: 4
Joined: Tuesday September 27th, 2011 10:56am
Location: the forests of Washington State
Forum Language: English (United States)
Evil Sorcerer: Zargon
Hero:
Usergroups:
Adventurers' Guild Group Member Champion Group Member

Re: How to be a great GM?

Postby cynthialee » Monday March 30th, 2015 3:37pm

(sorry I am just talking my face off with this topic but it is one of my favorites and I have spent so much time debating these topics with my brother and his BFF)

Do not be stingy with treasure and experience points. Now you don't want the heroes advancing faster than the campaign level, but there is no sense in being a miser. Heroes need allot of cash to properly adventure and explore. The players don't want to be stuck at the same power level for an inordinate amount of time. It is a game and you want them having fun so they come back. Now I almost never give them enough treasure to become wealthy, but I have given out enough treasures to make many of the heroes rich. Also I tend to err on the side of generous with EXP in games that use them as an advancement tool. If you take the long arduous route so that the heroes face every monster in the various power levels then you are not leaving anything for a future campaign. For games that use large amounts of EXP for levels I would advise increasing experience point awards by 50-75% that which is recommended in the book. For games that use skill based systems that award a few experience points per game session I recommend adding the following EXP awards to the wrap up and awards phase of game play:
1 Exp if the GM had fun
1 Exp for the Hero who faced the most danger
1 Exp for the hero of the player who takes game notes
1 Exp for the hero of the player who acts as hostess/moral officer for the game session {at my table this is the person who runs for pop, chips and sharp pencils ect...}
5 Exp for mission accomplished (not an award that happens every game for obvious reasons)

With higher experience point awards it increases the chance the player will get to see end game with their hero. The best characters are the ones we start from scratch and make it to the final battle so to speak. Those heroes are hard to attain with peoples real life schedules interfering with game time. Even with a generous Exp scheme it can take a very long time to see a character to end game.

With large sums of cash the heroes will be able to move armies and acquire rare and esoteric items for the wizard. One way I like to control the power level of the game and focus the money of the hero is a simple move like showing the warrior the best sword in the weapons store in the big city. It is a plus uber weapon of nasty doom and despair and it just happens to have a price tag of oh, my Goddess I will never afford this sword...But somewhere along the way you know it is time for that sword to become the warriors, he has saved every penny he could get for many levels but he is still short by allot. That is a good time to give a large treasure out at the end of a campaign. Suddenly the warrior has enough if he can get the other players to pitch in for him. Player plays the social cards on the other players and sure enough they do it and the warrior has the sword while becoming in hock to the other heroes. Of course you use the sword as a start point of a new campaign. When I pulled this one the sword was an epic item that was the property of a demi god NPC in my game. As long as the weapon sat on the shops shelves and no one claimed it as theirs for battle, the demi god was not aware it was on the mortal plane. Once the warrior started slaying with it, the demi god became aware his weapon was on the mortal realms and he started to send minions to get his sword back. Of course our warrior did not care to surrender his new shiny weapon of doom!

(I seem to have digressed.)
:D
So it is said that if you know your enemies and know yourself, you can win a hundred battles without a single loss.
If you only know yourself, but not your opponent, you may win or may lose.
If you know neither yourself nor your enemy, you will always endanger yourself.
~Sun Tsu The art of War~


Rewards:
Created a Hot Topic.
cynthialee

Crossbowman
Crossbowman
 
Posts: 1686
Images: 4
Joined: Tuesday September 27th, 2011 10:56am
Location: the forests of Washington State
Forum Language: English (United States)
Evil Sorcerer: Zargon
Hero:
Usergroups:
Adventurers' Guild Group Member Champion Group Member

Re: How to be a great GM?

Postby Diggin » Monday March 30th, 2015 4:06pm

Wait what? don't stop there! did the demigod get his sword back?
"Good and Evil, there never is one without the other."
Diggin

Fimir
Fimir
 
Posts: 66
Images: 0
Joined: Thursday January 8th, 2015 8:35pm
Forum Language: British English
Evil Sorcerer: Morcar
Hero:
Usergroups:
Champion Group Member

Next

Return to Ye Olde Pub

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: CommonCrawl [Bot] and 0 guests