Wednesday, March 24, 2021

What does the Game Master need?

 The question placed as the title of my post is what's on my mind right now. My Treasures, Serpents, and Ruins house rules for players are pretty much set, and ready for play testing to make sure I didn't include anything bone headed. So I'm working now on revising what I've got listed for the GM. 

In the past, I didn't really bother to codify things, since I was able to just use the BX/BECMI/RC rules on the DM side of things. But if I want to release this thing to the wild, it would be good to write up my own version of how to run the game. Besides, there are some things I do differently, and the rules for the players are assuming those differences. 

When I first started codifying things, they were basically just the bare bones essentials that you need at the table to run the game. Dungeon exploration routines, wilderness exploration routines, combat rules, and that was about it. But that's not enough. If I expect people to purchase the game, I need to provide more than that. I need to assume there might be some people for whom this is their first RPG, or at least their first old school D&D-based game. 

So, I came up with this breakdown for the Table of Contents. This is still subject to change, but right now these are the main sections that I'm thinking a GM would need to run the game. Oh, and if you're looking for the treasure tables and magic item descriptions, they're in the Bestiary and Treasury, not the GM's Guidebook. 

Table of Contents

The Basics


What You Need to Play

Game Terms

Dice Codes

Experience and Rewards

Example of Play

Running the Game

Dungeon Exploration

Wilderness Exploration

Social Exploration


High Level Games

Adjudicating Rules

Preparing for the Game

Adjusting Game Complexity and Tone

Character Creation

Player Character Abilities

Dungeon Creation

Home Town Creation

Wilderness Creation

NPCs and Factions

The Campaign World


  1. Hmmm ive been thinking the same about my home rules but that’s a big list! Not sure I’ll ever go that far. looking forward to see how this develops.

    1. Well, like I said, I wouldn't very much beyond the Running the Game section if it were just for me.