Jan 17, 2012

The Game Master Pride March

I'm sure anyone who reads RPG.net or theRPGsite knows Matucsz Bartuski, whose name I am fairly sure I have just mispelt, who posts under the handle "Rincewind1". He's been pitching an idea that I think is a pretty good one: To compile a book of system-neutral Dungeon Master advice, along with example dungeons, encounters and tables. The idea is that it's a book by DMs for DMs, especially new ones, that teaches you how to DM while showing off the diversity of methods you can use, so that new people don't get locked into One-True-Wayism or frustrated as they hit the limits of their current note-taking skills. The book would be available as a free pdf for download, to make it easily available to new people.

As a self-taught DM, I can appreciate the difficulty that people who pick up a RPG for the first time have in using it to translate all the cool stories, ideas, characters and adventures into something that five or so people sitting around a table can all experience. Hell, I think it was only five or six years ago that I ever heard of Robin Laws' Guide to Gamemastering, and it was only two or three years ago that I actually read it. And beyond just books that focus on player psychology (which seems to be what most "Gamemastering" books are about), there's a huge and valuable discourse over all sorts of minor practices that might seem obvious to you, but that have never occurred to anyone else (Ask two people how to run a flashback in a session, and you'll get three opinions).

Training new DMs is the single most critical thing you can do to perpetuate and grow the hobby. DMs put together games. They convince their friends to come over Saturday night to try this cool new game they just picked up, and it's DMs who drive people away if they suck. I've been talking about the need to train new DMs for a couple of years now, and I'm extremely pleased to see other people are picking that idea up and running with it.

What You Can Do:

1) Read the post where Rincewind presents the idea.
2) Propose an idea to him for a short article about some interesting thing you do or can do at the table that you don't think other people do. Even 250 words is tons.