35 minutes | Jan 2nd 2021

802 Thirteen Game Master Rules

Last time I shared my vision for approaching roleplaying games as a sacred imaginary birthright, a means to transcend - if only for a little while - the mundane rush of everyday life and replace it with worlds of wonder shared through collaboration with other human beings. Collectively, we have the ability to imagine and create for ourselves shared secondary worlds, inhabit them with characters whom we individually care about, and share their stories through the medium of the roleplaying game. 

Building on this vision, today I want to explore some thoughts that have been bubbling under the hood as I have been wrestling with my diagnosis of Generalised Anxiety Disorder. I want to explore the Rules that I have - over a lifetime of gaming and roleplaying - constructed around the concept of being the Game Master.

Many thanks to Derek and Josh for their valuable call-ins!

Game on!

My Thirteen GM Rules Compiled:

1. Playing games should be a positive and enlightening experience for everyone at the table

2. It is the gamemasters responsibility to make sure the players are having a good time

3. The GM needs to know everything about the game system and the game world before play begins

4. The GM should not force the players to play their predesigned adventure

5. The player is sovereign over their character

6. The GM should be prepared to handle any choice the players make

7. The GM should never look anything up at the table

8. Always make honest die rolls, no fudging be bound by the results

9. The monsters or opposition should always act in a rational and tactically understandable way

10. The game world needs to make sense to everyone at the table

11. Players expect you to be able to answer any question they ask

12. Players expect you to challenge them but ultimately to let them win

13. It's wrong to kill the player characters


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