Dungeons. Dragons. Graph paper. Funny dice.

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.


Carter Soles, August 21, 2011 at 8:34 PM

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.

Stuart, August 21, 2011 at 10:02 PM

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.

Rainforest Giant, September 1, 2011 at 12:06 PM

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

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