Friday, February 23, 2024

TS&R GM Guidebook Progress

In the past week or so, I've made some good progress on my TS&R Game Master Guidebook.

I finished up rules for naval mass combat (modified and simplified from those in the module M1 Immortal Storm), wrote some general guidelines for high level epic quests, and revised the section on artifacts. I still need to write up some more sample artifacts. I had an example of creating an artifact from an earlier draft, so that got a touch-up, and I have a list of legendary items from various myths and legends that I plan to give the 1E AD&D treatment, describing the item and its purpose, but leaving the specific powers and drawbacks to the individual GM. 

Oh, and now I'm working on describing the Planes of Existence. 

Once I get the artifacts and planar stuff done, all I have left to do is outline some optional or alternate rules (like suggestions for different ways to do energy drain attacks, or using X in d6 for Thief Skills instead of percentages, or optional rules for multiclassing, or using BX/BECMI style race-as-class). I do have 1st drafts for some parts of this last section done already, as the ideas come to me. 

Once that's done, I was planning to put in a section with quick reference charts from around the book, but I realized that I already intend to release a simple rules reference book for more experience GMs, so this might not be necessary. It would be roughly the same thing, and since the majority of people will own these as PDFs, it might be easier to have quick reference stuff in one document window and more detailed rules explanations in another. 

Once all that's done, I'll give everything an editing pass, and see if I can get someone else to read through it as well. Sometimes I get to rambling and over-explain things, or make an assumption that some point is obvious and don't explain it well enough. When I'm teaching in class, I can tell from student reactions that this is happening and correct myself. When I'm writing, I don't have that luxury. So a pair of fresh eyes or two will help me to improve and clarify things a bit. 

The book chapters are: 

The Basics: what is an RPG, how do you use these funny dice, what is the reward-feedback loop, player-centered play, etc.

Running the Game: How to manage character creation, how to manage a game session, procedures for dungeon/wilderness/town-social exploration, rules for combat, advice on adjudicating rules.

Preparing the Campaign: How to set up a campaign, create a home town, create dungeons, wilderness, NPCs and factions, and how to bring it all together into a campaign world.

High Level Games: Running domains, mass combat, magical research, epic quests, planar adventures, artifacts. 

Modifying the Game: Advice on limiting races/classes/spells to fit the campaign, optional rules, alternate rules systems. 

If I can keep up the pace over the next week (the final week of winter break for my university), I may be able to knock out the first drafts of the sections I still have to write. Then, if I can find a few people to give me some feedback, I will hopefully get this thing ready to release sometime over the summer or fall of this year, along with the Rules Reference book. And then I can consider compiling everything I've put out for TS&R into a print-on-demand volume, and also work on player and monster books for other genres besides Euro-fantasy and Asian fantasy.

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