Sunday, August 21, 2011

Building a better GM

On Hill Cantons, ckutalik asked GM's to list their three best practices, techniques, or tricks used at the table.

I don't claim to be an exemplary referee. After all, it was only a year ago that I started playing again and discovered the OSR. However, I've found the following techniques help me at the table:

  • Always say "yes" to players.
  • If the players, in their deliberations at the table, theorize about something more interesting than what you actually planned, drop your plans and use the more interesting idea.
  • Never keep the players waiting—not even for 30 seconds—while you look up something in a rule book. Just make a plausible ruling and move on. You can check the rulebook after the session.


  1. Succinct but remarkably spot-on! I agree with all of these 100%, and follow #1 and #2 rigorously. I cheat some at #3, occasionally making them wait a few seconds. But I keep myself on a short time clock with that sort of thing.

  2. Good stuff... but totally not how I run games at all. :)

    Except I don't like slowing the game down, so I try and pick systems where I don't need to look things up.

  3. Good list. Especially about the never making players wait. I need to remember that one more often.


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