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Tuesday, June 25, 2013

The 10 Commandments of GM'ing

Image is provided by Star Gazer.

By the way this site that I got the image from is a good reference for GM knowledge too. 

Ok I have no ten commandments but I was working on it. The concept intrigues me.My cousin and I have thought of ground principles that might help with being a game master. Among them would be some ground rules that might be guidelines as to measure the scales. For example I would say that if the characters do something there needs to be a ripple not necessarily a consequence or reward but something that says that they were there. If you bring up a sword, barn, fisherman (noun) etc. and the characters affect it then there is going to be consequence of your actions because the game is all about the characters. Like a novel or movie, a game is all about the characters and that sometimes means notes. If there is a fisherman that is affected have someone save a note as to what they did to affect them. If the GM describes a sword and its discarded by the characters, if you took time to create it have it show up again. If the characters burn down a barn or just sleep in it mark the impact.

The other point that I needed to make is ground principles need to be understood. Like if you swing the pendulum one direction (bad guys have the characters cornered) then have it swing in the opposite direction just as equal (help is on the way). The deeper the trouble for the characters, the greater the means to get out of the trouble. That being said if the characters dug themselves into the problem in the first place I would recommend a slower (yet equal) means of getting out.

Star Trek talks about a prime directive (ground rules that they will not break or have a great reason for breaking them) and N.P.C.'s should have a prime directive. Personally it should tie to their occupation, the one skill they are known for or history with the characters. Something that says that no matter what they will not break that rule (unless something comes up that is strong enough to break it; ie love, envy, hate, greed, jealousy etc.) Remember that this is an overwhelming sensation that forces them to break the code not just a whim.

Ill do more when I come to more inspiration and I hope to have Jayson and his brother Ron write something as well. Should you have an interest in putting in something into this pot please let me know. I would love to have your GM input.


Jayson said...

These are a great start! When speaking of diverting an NPC from his/her Prime Directive, I would say that the GM select only one of thoses vices to be their governing alterior motive (let's just call it the Governing Vice). This would be their major weakness. Something set in stone, but may not be know to the PC. This also does not have to be tied with their occupation (I.e. a Pirate's GV maybe LOVE rather than Greed). Now this isn't to say that other vices can't affect a single NPC. For instance the Love-struck Pirate example above maybe compelled by greed, too, just because he is a pirate. But, Love would always trump Greed.

By making these GV set in stone it gives the GM a guide on how to make the NPC "play in character". We talk so much about players need to play in character, but there is little talk of a GM playing in character. Well, this is it! This is how the GM plays in character. By writing PD's and GV for every NPC that is introduced...and then stiking to those!

killervp said...

The best 10 Commandments of Gaming I have ever seen, and the ones I strive for, are here-
They are also linked on the Rebuilt site, under the rules section.