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good books with advice for GMs

Started by Tranlin, May 14, 2007, 04:32:45 AM

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What are some of the best books that offer advice on GMing? 

Ron Edwards

Hello, and welcome to the Forge!

This could be an excellent thread topic ... but you'll have to adjust it a little to meet the topic requirements for posting here. This is Actual Play, and all threads must include discussion of real events that happened during real play experiences. They can be old or new and can concern any role-playing system. There is no way to have discussions about role-playing at the Forge without doing this.

Here's my suggestion: describe a session of your own experience in which things turned out in such a way that you wished you could have read or had some kind of GM advice guide to rely upon in dealing with it.

That will help everyone reading this to understand what kind of GMing advice you're talking about, so they can make suggestions for reading without having to guess. If they just chimed in to respond to your general inquiry, they would have to guess, and the suggestions would, cumulatively, be useless.

Final moderator point: no one else is to reply with helpful suggestions for reading until that information is available.

Best, Ron


I do not desire to describe a session.  It does not really relate to my goal.  If I cannot create a post without having to give a session description, I guess I need to move on to another web site.

I am interested in books that give general GMing advice.

I do a fairly good job running modules.  I feel that I do not do as well when I run campaigns that I created by myself.  I would be interested in books that discuss campaign creation (I like to use already established settings, so I would not be interested in a books that revolve around system or setting creation).

I am probably going to run a Unknown Armies game next.  I would also be interested in any links with ideas for Unknown Armies.



Quote from: Tranlin on May 14, 2007, 05:21:58 PM
I am probably going to run a Unknown Armies game next.  I would also be interested in any links with ideas for Unknown Armies.

Okay, that's helpful.  I'm pretty familiar with Unknown Armies.  Let me see how I can help.  I'm going to have to start with some more questions though.

First, you said that you don't think that you do well running campaigns that you've created yourself.  Could you give me some details on that?  Was there a particular campaign that you were really jazzed about that didn't come together well?  What happened there?

Second, specifically regarding Unknown Armies, I'm going to assume that you're familiar with the three different power levels discussed in UA, 2nd ed.:  street-level, global-level, and cosmic-level.  Which one are you aiming at?  I ask because the ways to approach game setup are going to be different for those different levels.

Oh, and welcome to the Forge!  I hope that we will be able to help you out.
Seth Ben-Ezra
Dark Omen Games
producing Legends of Alyria, Dirty Secrets, A Flower for Mara
coming soon: Showdown


I feel as though the campaigns that I make myself tend to not be as creative.  I would like my next campaign to focus quite a bit on intrigue.  I would like to have red herrings, multiple secret power groups vying against each other, and I would like to have things rarely be how they first appear.  In the past, I have had a hard time pulling this off or coming up with an intricate plot line.

I actually have not yet read the Unknown Armies rulebook.  I am ordering it today (I own a game shop).  After doing some research, Unknown Armies appears to best fit the type of game that I am wanting to run.  I would like to have the campaign start out on a street level and as the campaign progresses and the characters realize interconnections that are occurring, I would like to have it progress to a global level.  It is possible that I would like to have it progress to cosmic level, but that would be quite a ways down the road.


Ron Edwards

There still needs to be some description of actual role-playing experiences. This is absolutely mandatory. Without it, the thread may not continue.

It's your choice whether to post here or not; the rule is not negotiable.

Seth, that was a nice gesture on your part, but there is no "sort of" actual play posting. It is or it isn't.

Best, Ron