Articles for Game Masters

by Neal F. Litherland

I’ve sat at many game tables over the years, attended more than a few LARPs, and run my share of games. Throughout that experience I have noticed that whenever a game master talks about how the rules “just get in the way of their story” it sends up a big, fat, red flag that tells me to get going while the getting is good.

If you are a game master who feels that rules are nothing more than an impediment for the story that you’re telling, take a moment to step over to the other side and try to see things from your players’ perspective.

by Neal F. Litherland

If you’ve ever read Tolkien’s work, you’re probably familiar with the old complaint that he’ll spend half a page on how green the grass is, or provide the history for a dozen generations of trees as the Fellowship walks past them on the road. A lot of game masters will attempt to duplicate that style and feeling, believing it will make their games more immersive.

I can tell you this right now… it won’t. 

by Alice Liddell
A common mistake that new DMs make is boxing their players into a corner. In one of my early game experiences, I was playing with a group of friends and a first time DM. Our entire party died during our second session. This was due to an unstoppable army of baddies, low level characters, and an “infinite health zone” that none of the players knew about. 
by Neal F. Litherland

As a game master it is very easy to get caught up in the power of creation. The intoxicating feeling of knowing that everything in the world bows to your whims and desires is a rush you can’t get from any other hobby. What a lot of us forget is that tabletop RPGs aren’t a solo endeavor; you’re all here to have fun together.

Which is why it’s a good idea to sit your players down and talk to them about what kind of game they want to play before you get too deep into game prep.