RPG Primer and Old School Playbook

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Solomoriah
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RPG Primer and Old School Playbook

Post Thu Sep 18, 2014 7:39 pm

EDIT: I've made this a proper project. This first post will contain the most current downloadable PDF of the book; for the moment, I'm keeping this one personal, so I'm not planning to release any ODT format versions. I may change my mind later... still thinking about it.

For the sake of posterity I'm retaining the original first post below:

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Before we get started on this discussion, go read this:

http://angrydm.com/2014/09/dear-wotc-wh ... ing-games/

If you're old like me and can't read that page because the text is too small, use CTRL + (hold Control and press the plus sign) to make it bigger. Do it repeatedly and it just keeps getting bigger. Eventually, like me, you'll be able to read it.

Go ahead, I'll wait here.

Done? Good. Now, tell me your opinions on this. Is this something we could do? Should do?
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Dimirag
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Re: Teaching New Game Masters

Post Thu Sep 18, 2014 8:49 pm

Funny thing, I have some similar thoughts on that subject some days ago.

In the old days the GM's learned on their own, they where the First Generation GMs.
Then the Second Generation came, where a new GM learned the game via another GM.
And until today it mostly remains the same.

But thanks to the internet we reach more potential GMs, and, thanks to the forum they can get help from other players and GMs, the problem is, that we can't be with them when they start playing with their friends, so there's a delay between the game and the help needed.

I remember that the first D&D manual I got in my hands got a solo adventure that was also a tutorial, and it was pretty good, it let's you choose between different option while adventuring and tell you what to roll and what to add when needed.

What I though was, how if we do some adventures like that? In a manner similar to videogames tutorials, it could be a kind of railroad (for both players and GM) so the GM has to follow the steps given by the adventure while learning how to do some basic stuffs.
Sorry for any misspelling or writing error, I am not a native English speaker
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Re: Teaching New Game Masters

Post Thu Sep 18, 2014 9:16 pm

Yes. Not just yes but YES. Thanks to this individual for realizing and putting out the thought. Thanks to Solomoriah for bringing it up here. In my own lame brain way I've been trying to put the same thing in words myself. It's not just a question of improving flow however. It's a question of teaching new GM's was roleplaying is. I think it was Blazeguard who put it in a nutshell. Do we "roll play" or do we "role play"? Some say one some say the other. Truth is we have to do both because that's what rpg are supposed to do. If people don't have their imaginations sparked, if they aren't excited enough to not just play along but to contribute to the game, if they aren't excitedly jumping up in their chairs describing how they're doing in some hapless monster then, folks, we've failed as GM's and if we weren't taught any better than that then our mentor GM's failed us too. So yeah. We should put out a pdf on the why and how of GMing. An analogy if I may: The current state of affairs in the rpg world is similar to if you were trying to teach someone how to be a story writer and all you gave them was a dictionary, a book on grammar, and a thesaurus. Good luck with teaching them to be the next George R. R. Martin (insert fave author here).

PS: I'll go a step further and say that any pdf and or book about teaching GM's how to GM also needs to be about teaching players how to play. Delver has an awesome link about that so I'll let him post it.
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Re: Teaching New Game Masters

Post Fri Sep 19, 2014 12:17 am

That guy knows what he's talking about. I learned how to DM on my own. Yes, someone taught me how to play, but no one taught me how to DM. I learned from the Mentzer Basic fricking awesome Rulebook! And yes, I most definitely think we should have a starter adventure which teaches GMs step by step. And yes, an adventure. Not just a "Guide to GMing". People don't look at stuff like that. It sounds imposing, and complicated. Adventures sound fun and exciting.
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Solomoriah
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Re: Teaching New Game Masters

Post Fri Sep 19, 2014 7:47 am

Alright, here's what I'm thinking:

Introduction

Part 1: RPG Basics
This section would be about how to play an RPG. We'd be specific to BFRPG but explain that all OSR games have a similar core. The first part would be an example of play, followed by general guidelines and hints for players, and ending with a brief bit about how to be a Game Master.

Part 2: Sample Adventure
This would be a simple adventure, adapted for a low (but still possible) mortality rate, for a group of 3 to 5 beginner characters. It would include opportunities to fight (duh), cast spells, detect traps and pick locks, and turn the undead. Probably between 5 and 10 rooms, with some giant rats, a couple of skeletons, a handful of treasure including a little magic (a scroll, a couple of potions, a minor ring, and a shortsword +1 spring to mind). Most importantly, it would include guidance for the GM in how to run each room. I'd make the first two or three rooms a mechanical railroad (have to go through 1 to get to 2 and through 2 to get to 3) but then give the players a choice after that. Railroading the first rooms would allow the GM guidelines to not repeat too much. The introduction to the adventure should include hints about converting OSR adventures on the fly... my existing agreement with Dan Proctor, Stuart Marshall, and Matt Finch which allows me to call their games by name (and reciprocates the same to them) will help with that.

Part 3: Game Mastery
This last part would be more advanced material. Some of the stuff I posted on the blog might be appropriate. Also, I seem to recall Stuart Marshall (Papers & Paychecks) has written some material that might be appropriate. Perhaps he'll collaborate with us.
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Jered Taikith
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Re: Teaching New Game Masters

Post Fri Sep 19, 2014 8:13 am

I was tossing and turning on this last night thinking about the article and trying to figure things out. I think -1Warrior and Solomoriah are on the correct path.

I would only include the notion that it be written in such a way that there is an "offstage guide" going along with the GM and Players as they progress through the adventure. Maybe in an outlined box in a different font or something. Maybe enhancing what adventure booklets already have: as notes to GMs written as though an experienced GM were guiding a new GM along as the game was being played.

Something else too: Each room of the simple dungeon should serve a unique purpose in teaching the GM's/Players a certain point in mechanics application or suggestions on how to role play it.

I think this pdf/book/adventure should be open to community input without going overboard (by which I mean that we certainly don't want to end up with an ungainly elephant of an adventure on the one hand but we also should try to avoid something that is only one GM's perspective). We all know that even very experienced GM's run their games from either the "roll play" perspective or the "role play" perspective so I fondly hope that we can somehow explain both, or better yet, show how they are done both at the same time.
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Re: Teaching New Game Masters

Post Fri Sep 19, 2014 9:12 am

I anticipate writing the example of play and the adventure myself, though as usual I will work in the open and accept commentary from anyone.
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-1warrior
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Re: Teaching New Game Masters

Post Fri Sep 19, 2014 10:25 am

Sounds great to me.
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merias
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Re: Teaching New Game Masters

Post Fri Sep 19, 2014 12:26 pm

A great idea. Just throwing this out there - what about a B1-style adventure where the framework is in place (maps, room descriptions) but the GM has to key it from a provided list of monsters and treasure? They would get experience keying a dungeon and have an opportunity to be a little creative, like noting where or how treasures are hidden, or what monsters are doing.
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dymondy2k
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Re: Teaching New Game Masters

Post Fri Sep 19, 2014 3:20 pm

Solo.. This is huge.. I can't speak for others but I am a learn by example kinda guy. So to have something walk me through it goes so much further for it having it make sense in my mind..
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