Game Master Tips and Tricks

Game Master Tips and Tricks

Four tips and tricks for Game Masters to help you improve your adventures!

From Roleplaying Tips #481

Write A One Line Idea For Every Area And Region

From: Mike Bourke via

I like to write a one line idea for every area and region I place on a map, and every culture, just in case I need to improvise because the party has moved in a radical direction (either geographically or in terms of plot).

My players are able to spot the delaying tactics and make a big thing of my being caught short, largely because I've been so successful at using these one line starting points and thinking on my feet that I have a reputation of never being caught.

d6 - My Favorite RPG

From: Leonard Wilson

West End Game's d6 System not only happens to be one of the most under-sung RPG engines out there, it's recently gone open license, inviting the gaming community at large to polish it up and restore its luster.

Even better, they've released free PDFs of their core rule books (d6 Fantasy, d6 Space, and d6 Adventure) and an assortment of supplemental goodies, which can be downloaded from

The d6 System is most famous as the engine driving its old Star Wars RPG. It captured the fast, freewheeling cinematic experience so effectively that I've yet to meet a gamer who played it that doesn't still refer to it as the "real" Star Wars RPG. Once you've experienced its elegant and adaptable simplicity, it can be hard to imagine recapturing that Star Wars feel with the rules-heavy d20 engine.

On the continuum between rules heavy and rules light, the d6 System neatly claims that no-man's-land between d20 and FUDGE, the existing leaders in open-license RPG systems. And while I'm a big fan of FUDGE, the increased mathematical meat of d6 allows more room for character growth, making it a stronger option for extended campaign play, or for when you just feel like having a little more room to tinker with probabilities.

Favourite RPG: Zodiac

From: Christopher 'Frogg' B.

There are many free indie games out there, from the classical console games turned tabletop like ZODIAC and Returners (both Final Fantasy RPGs, the former much simpler and rules-liter then the latter), to the comical like Risus (Cumberland Games) and the StickGuy RPG series (1km1kt).

I like to state that, though many of the Indie RPGs are free, it doesn't mean they're not worth downloading. Their worth is in what they are about, what all RPGs are about: having fun.

ZODIAC, for example, might be rules-lite, but it doesn't take away from the fact that it's a decent Final Fantasy RPG, and with some of the optional add-on rules, such as the Guardian Force/Aeon system (my creation, I might add) or the Better Skill system (by my friend Xaos, similar to D&D 4E skills) makes it more of an RPG similar to commercial RPGs.

If you ever have time, go take a look around the net for some free RPGs and see if you don't find something of interest. If you like Final Fantasy games then ZODIAC Or Returners might be right for you.

If you like true fantasy RPGs, then there's Dark Fantasy and Advent Magicka Rising. If you're in the mood for superheroism, then there's Hero 8 by Mind's Eye Publications. Are you silly? Stickguy and Risus are for you.

I would be very happy if you could either state in a small section or dedicate maybe one issue to free indie games around the World Wide Web. I'm pretty sure there are many out there who would love to get their hands on some free stuff like that.

Readers, if you have any tips or recommendations for free RPGs, drop me an email. Thanks!

Copyright 2010, Johnn Four,

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