Does the GM have to know all the rules ?

Does the GM have to know all the rules of a game system? 

NO! 

That is right. You don't have to know all the rules. Trust me when I say that your players would rather play with a GM who does not know all the rules than Wait a few months for a GM to memorize every spell, sub game system (Like Shadowrun Deckers). Players are more forgiving than you think when it comes to rules as long as the GM is fair when it comes to rulings.

Here are a few tricks to learning a new game system. 

Get to know the core mechanic by heart. 

Getting to know the core mechanic of a system is very important. As a GM if you can get this one part down everything else is simple. If nothing else knowing the core rules will allow you to make decisions on how a player should resolve casting a spell or how to jump over that Ork that came out of nowhere. Basically, the Core rules fill in the gaps that the combat, Magic & Hacking rule sets do not cover. In most game systems if you know the core rules you already know 70% of the combat system. 

Make notes 

You can't know it all. We are not computers. So take notes. That is what your GM screen is for. Make notes for those complex systems that you always forget. Write down the target numbers needed to make that saving throw vs poison. 

Set expectations 

So just the other day I ran Numenera for the first time. I was very clear with my players that I had not run the game before and that I did not know the rules. Setting the expectations with the players does two things. First, it lets the players know that you are going to make mistakes and they are going to have to be ok with it. Second, it makes it ok in your mind to not be perfect. It's ok to make mistakes 

Make Rulings vs looking everything up. 

The Game must go on. Avoid looking up the rules during the game. So if something new comes up make a ruling based on what makes the most sense vs hunting 20 min for the exact rule (that may or may not exist). when you make a ruling on a rule that you are unsure of it's important to let the players know "I'm making this ruling one time because I want to keep the game going. we can look up the exact rules after the game for the next time this comes up". I have rarely had a player protest this (Rules lawyers are an exception because they always argue the rules) 

 

Read more: Does the GM have to know all the rules ?

The Shackles of Hope : Want to play?

So as you could imagine I have my ears to the ground for games that I might want to join in. The problem with living in Sydney is that Time zones are not my friend and all the really cool games are like at 6 AM. (Honestly I am the worst player ever without my coffee). So just because I can't play does not mean that you can't 
 
So this one was brought to my attention by one of my Twitter buddies Enigmaze. We have been talking off and on for over a year now. So check this out.! 
 
 The Shackles of Hope
 
Sunset Age: The Shackles of Hope is an adventure designed to span 10 to 13 sessions and advance characters from level 3 to level 8. The adventure begins in the Grecian-styled port city of Mistros, where news comes that the Seastalkers, a sinister band of pirates that often lurked in the Tyrantsbane Reef, have been mysteriously vanquished. With the Seastalkers gone, exploration beyond the reef--and, specifically, the lands of Yamatojima--is now possible. The government and many other guilds within Mistros rush to be the first to establish trade routes, contact, and political alliances with the uncharted lands of Yamatojima. Will the adventurers' ally with one of these interests or explore these exotic lands for their own reasons?

As the party lands in Yamatojima and discovers the city of Yurumoto, they quickly learn that the beautiful countryside belies a land rife with strife and civil turmoil. Yurumoto, the City of Forgiveness, is not as romantic as its name suggests: the city is highly segregated, divided by large quarantine zones and plagued by rumors of pestilence; peasants lament their souls being destroyed and their existences forever erased from the annals of history, and several clans vie for power both locally and nationally in the wake of the Emperor's death.

Can the adventurers survive their first contact with this foreign land? Will they choose to explore the city's political arena? Will they try to find the rumored promise of the city or will they seek to empower tyrants and despots to further oppress the peoples of Yamatojima? Be ye enemy or be ye, friend? That is the question the adventurers must wrestle with as they navigate the socially complex city of Yurumoto.


Throughout this adventure, players will explore themes such as the following: the limits and cost of redemption; the limits of duty; duality in reality; existential desperation; the nature and burden of power in the throes of moral ambiguity; the devastation of isolation and social castigation; the struggles of a foreigner; East vs. West.

For the next two weeks, applications are being accepted to fill 5 player slots for this campaign. If you would like to join, you can find more information and apply at:
https://app.roll20.net/lfg/listing/85975/sunset-age-the-shackles-of-hope

Read more: The Shackles of Hope : Want to play?

The Shackles of Hope : Want to play?

So as you could imagine I have my ears to the ground for games that I might want to join in. The problem with living in Sydney is that Time zones are not my friend and all the really cool games are like at 6 AM. (Honestly I am the worst player ever without my coffee). So just because I can't play does not mean that you can't 
 
So this one was brought to my attention by one of my Twitter buddies Enigmaze. We have been talking off and on for over a year now. So check this out.! 
 
 The Shackles of Hope
 
Sunset Age: The Shackles of Hope is an adventure designed to span 10 to 13 sessions and advance characters from level 3 to level 8. The adventure begins in the Grecian-styled port city of Mistros, where news comes that the Seastalkers, a sinister band of pirates that often lurked in the Tyrantsbane Reef, have been mysteriously vanquished. With the Seastalkers gone, exploration beyond the reef--and, specifically, the lands of Yamatojima--is now possible. The government and many other guilds within Mistros rush to be the first to establish trade routes, contact, and political alliances with the uncharted lands of Yamatojima. Will the adventurers' ally with one of these interests or explore these exotic lands for their own reasons?

As the party lands in Yamatojima and discovers the city of Yurumoto, they quickly learn that the beautiful countryside belies a land rife with strife and civil turmoil. Yurumoto, the City of Forgiveness, is not as romantic as its name suggests: the city is highly segregated, divided by large quarantine zones and plagued by rumors of pestilence; peasants lament their souls being destroyed and their existences forever erased from the annals of history, and several clans vie for power both locally and nationally in the wake of the Emperor's death.

Can the adventurers survive their first contact with this foreign land? Will they choose to explore the city's political arena? Will they try to find the rumored promise of the city or will they seek to empower tyrants and despots to further oppress the peoples of Yamatojima? Be ye enemy or be ye, friend? That is the question the adventurers must wrestle with as they navigate the socially complex city of Yurumoto.


Throughout this adventure, players will explore themes such as the following: the limits and cost of redemption; the limits of duty; duality in reality; existential desperation; the nature and burden of power in the throes of moral ambiguity; the devastation of isolation and social castigation; the struggles of a foreigner; East vs. West.

For the next two weeks, applications are being accepted to fill 5 player slots for this campaign. If you would like to join, you can find more information and apply at:
https://app.roll20.net/lfg/listing/85975/sunset-age-the-shackles-of-hope

Read more: The Shackles of Hope : Want to play?

Free Spellbook PDF for your players.

So one of the things that drives me nuts as a GM is having the mage player always trying to borrow the core rule book to look up the stats for their spells. Like I am going to tell them no they can not look up a rule. However, it is disruptive to the game as they are often wanting to look at all the pages that I have book marked. 

So what I have made is a cool hangout where you can print out the player's spells. No more flipping through my book in the middle of the game! 

This PDF is a free handout. Download it now. 

Free PDF spell book handout for your Mage characters

This is a simple (And Free) handout to give to your mage characters/players. The idea is that if they are using this to record their spells they are not spending time disrupting the game to look up the spell information. and it looks cool 

 

 

 

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What are the rules of being a Gamemaster?

It's one of those questions of "Who makes the rules for the rule makers". 

We game masters have unlimited power. We can make it rain. We can make in train indoors. We can make it rain cats. Or pelt the characters with falling flaming cows from the sky. Not one player can stop us except for leaving the table. The problem is that where the players are fighting vs the mechanics in order to achieve some goal or level up. The game master is playing a MetaGame. A game within a game. The problem is that I have seen very few source books or RPG systems even mention this game. 

Making sure the players have fun 

Yep, the Goal for Gamemasters is really that simple. The players should always be having fun. The mechanics, the plot, the storyline and even the world that was built is secondary to this goal. Far too often Gamemasters see the mechanics, the Plot, and the storyline as the goal of the game but they are really only the tools to achieve the goal. 

So as a Gamemaster how to you archive this goal? 

  1. Having a clear idea that the GM is not the star of the show.
  2. Never "Railroad your player" 
  3. Never look at get game as "GM vs Players" 
  4. Never think "I need to punish my players" 
  5. Always think about what would make a fun plot. 
  6. Find new ways to get feedback from your players 

Read more: What are the rules of being a Gamemaster?

Illustrations by Kevin C Mason

 Illustrations by Kevin C Mason 

I have been an artist for all my life. When nobody is looking I am drawing. When I have nothing to do I am painting. When I am walking down the street my mind is working on a way to paint the sunset. My Art style changes often. This gives me a variety of skills to draw from. Though my focus is on the game space I am more than able to adapt to other intensities 

More importantly what I can provide a client is a level of professionalism that is rare in the art world. I work well with clients often asking for feedback. I see creating artwork for a client to be an interactive process. Not only do I strive for a level of quality in my work, I tend to finish the work on time. 

Below is a sample of some of my work. You can contact me This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

 

 

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I have been busy? Working on Invoke ... I wish.

  So one of the biggest problems with being a creative person is that the paychecks are not always when you want them. This means having a job to pay the bills while you are working on your bigger projects. Also being that I have a family to feed we just can't do the whole "I can eat instant ramen one more night". So off to get a job I go. 

One of the biggest problems is that I'm very good at what I do. REALLY good. This means I have tons of experience and awards it also means that most companies are afraid to hire me at a lower rate because they fear that I will jump ship the moment someone offers me a decent paycheck (They are not wrong). The other problem is that at my level of expertise there are not many jobs and the few that exist result in a 90 min train ride into Sydney.  This is time away from family and projects. 

So what does one do with this problem when you have a major project coming up? You get a Job at a factory.

That is right I am not doing IT anymore I'm working on a factory building RVs.  

But lets look at this closer 

  • I can walk to work. 
  • The hours are 7 Am to 3:30
  • No Train fees 
  • No weekend shifts 
  • I can be home by 3:45 and start working on Invoke 
  • I can leave my job at the factory 
  • The work is so easy part of my brain is writing stories. 

So that is what I have been doing. New job making is so I can still eat while working on Invoke. This does mean that I'm not going to be spending as much time on Twitter. it also means that I'm going to be a little slow on listening to Podcasts.

 

So Expect more from this space soon. As am spending a Hour or two every day working on Invoke.  

Read more: I have been busy? Working on Invoke... I wish.

List of Amazing RPG & Board Game artist for hire.

People keep telling me that one of the biggest problems for building a Boardgame or publishing an RPG is finding an artist to do the artwork. That comes from a lot of artists are spending a lot of time honing their skills and not marketing themselves. Personally, as I am writing this I keep thinking that I should be painting that "Street Preacher" for the RPG Starfall or finishing up Invoke. So what I have done is collected a few artist that I think that you will like. Few have been working in the creative sector for some time and have an impressive portfolio and CV. There are a few that have never earned a dime for their artwork, and yet they are an amazing artist. (Do we really want to judge an artist by how many paintings they have sold? ...I'm not)

I want to point out that I'm not the agent for these artists so you will have to contact them yourself. I also want to state that I do not claim any of the copyright of the images on this blog post except for the ones that I have created myself. 

I am also going to keep adding to this post. So if you are an artist and would like to be listed check out RPG artists wanted for blog post.

Read more: List of Amazing RPG & Board Game artist for hire.

RPG artists wanted for blog post.

 

Are you an artist who is looking to do commissioned artwork for RPG or Boardgames? Or is this something that you have been doing for some time? Maybe you are a cartoonist who has some awesome characters you are willing to license to a game company. OR Maybe you are that talented artist who draws characters for all the players at the table & figured it is time you got paid for your hard work. Well, I'm looking to give you a little more exposure. (No not that kind of exposure. Actual exposure! )  

I'm working on a blog post that is going to highlight artists who are skilled in the area for RPG and Boardgame art. I want to make a blog post where game designers may find you. 

Here is what I need. 

  • A Paragraph about you as an artist. What techniques you use, What style of art, And Maybe an influence or two. 
  • A Small sample of your work at least 300 Pix wide as a teaser  (We want them to go to your website ) 
  • Contact info 
  • OPTIONAL: A photo of you 
  • Once the blog post is up I need help sharing it. The more people share the post the greater the chance you will get hired. 

Sent it to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  "Artist Blog" 

 

Ok, you are wondering "What is in it for you? ", I am an artist as well. Though we are all trying to get the same clients I have never seen art as a competition. I figure that if I have an amazing blog post with a list of artists (I'm included in the list) then there is a chance that someone is going to like my style of art and hire me. And if that means that 20 other artists get work before I do FANTASTIC !!!!!  I am all about giving to the community. 

I will not Post 

  • Copyrighted or Trademarked Material: Sorry no Wonder Woman or Fan Art. 
  • Hentai or Adult Material: Trust me I am not a prude by any stretch but the target of this post is for game creators some of them may be looking for artist for a kids game 
  • Racist, Hate or Misogynistic art: Most of it is crap anyway  

The Good Stuff 

  • This cost the artist nothing 
  • I'm not claiming the art in any shape or form 
  • I'm not an art agent so there are no commissions for the work you might get from the blog post. 

Read more: RPG artists wanted for blog post.

RPG Portraits

Read more: RPG Portraits