10 Best Pieces of GM Advice Ever

Puppet by Peter Taylor

It’s an exciting day. Here, at the shrine of my GMing acumen, I will bestow upon you the greatest pieces of wisdom that twenty years of GMing has to offer. This shall be my magnum opus, so listen well to the ten best pieces of GMing advice you will ever hear.

10. The Rules are Only Guidelines

The universeThe rich tapestry of your brilliant fantasy world is yours to manipulate as you please, always attentive to the ebb and flow of your whims. If a rule should offend you, pluck out its eye. If later, that rule should prove itself, raise it up to glory. Consistency is for mortals.

9. Never Forget, You’re Always Right

Decrees made from behind the GM screen are always correct, whether on questions of rule interpretation, lore, or player actions. Of course they touched the fuzzy bunny with razor sharp teeth. You said they did, which means they did. It’s too late to take it back now.

8. Kill the PCs

The wicked witch under a houseA good PC is a dead PC. The ability to make characters is a vital skill, and it’s important to help players practice. You’re mentoring. I like to open a game by killing a PC, or sometimes having the players choose which one of their number will be sacrificed upon my screen. I have a special die for it. All of the sides are skulls.

7. Be in Charge

Because you’re mentoring, you need to ensure that players are aware of the hierarchy in your game. They are at the bottom, and you are at the top. Your superiority as a human has endowed you with the skills to craft mystical realms and masterful tales and, in your greatness, you are magnanimous enough to share this gift with lesser beings. It is only fitting that they give you honour.

6. Never Bring Snacks

An excellent array of snacks is essential to any rpg, but you should never provide them or take measures to cooperate with your players. Instead, players should come forward in order of age and place them upon your black altar, so you may survey their offerings. Those who bring forth pizza and nachos will reap many blessings, but to the slacker who offers stale Halloween candy or worse, wholesome food, there shall be naught but wrath.

4. Humiliate Those Who Would Question You

The best way to answer any affront is with a sharp tongue. If someone should question your edicts, they must be punished swiftly for their heresy. Assert your authority by pounding your staff of office against the floor, and return their questions with questions of their own, directed at their manhood, sexuality, and self esteem. Remember, much like the famed fireball, your wrath extends in a 20′ radius, so no player is safe, not the slacker who always does the mapping or the girl who keeps coming even though she isn’t a real gamer, despite bringing her own dice and claiming to have played the game before.

3. More House Rules Are Better

You know the game better than anyone, so don’t be shy about improving it. Add rules for realism, remove rules that don’t make sense to you, and make sure you document everything. The hundred page house rules document is a crucible from which only true gamers worthy of your game should emerge.

2. Seriously, Kill the PCs

Sometimes PCs are persistent in their survival. They exploit the rules to stay alive, but in their naivete , they fail to realize that the rules work for you. Use the above eight principles to destroy them utterly. Cackle wildly at their misfortunes, and revel in their downfall. I’ve slept better ever since I began filling my pillows with their torn up, tear-stained character sheets.

1. The Most Important Thing is Your Story

Puppet by Peter Taylor

You are the Puppet Master.
Photo: nickstone333

You came to the table with a story to tell. Everything else is irrelevant. That story must occur in the manner you envision. All else is heresy of the worst kind, an affront not merely to your power, but to your very being. The creative energies of others are mere candles to your constantly exploding supernova, their feeble light unable to handle your nuclear fusion. Let those who grudgingly accept the morsels from your table be grateful, for grokking your tale in fullness would transform them.

There you have it, the only ten pieces of GMing advice that you’ll ever need. What? Only nine? You don’t like that I skipped a number? Well, it’s my blog. Here on my blog, we play by my rules. If you want to go back to all those other sissy gaming blogs with their friendliness and manners, you go ahead. TPK is only for hard-core gamers looking for a real challenge, not noobs who need to be pollycoddled. Yes, that IS a word, you’ll find it on page 47 of the house rules, if you’d bothered to read them. Jeez. Some people.

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