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MoonHunter Sayeth 20170526


Game Guru-Thread Shepherd
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Validated User
Reading List to up your game

When you are a game master, you always need to try and up your game... always try to be better. After all, why stay a low level GM, when you can work at it a little and become an Epic GM that everyone wants to play with.

While GMs will need to work on "presentation", and there will be some posts on that, they need to be able to plan out possible stories and how they can branch. Most GMs (and players) have an innate sense of story... how it should flow, when things should happen, when to predict clues or obstacles will show up. A Great GM is conscious of that sense of story and is aware of what needs to happen next. Do you want to be a Great GM? Of course you do. So let us hone your sense of story.

I have some things I want to say about it... but you may or may not agree with me. How about some people who write stories for a living... hit movies and novels. They might be someone you should listen to.

How about you do a little homework that will up your game immensely? Then we will come back and work with it. And if you don't do the reading, don't worry, we will go over parts of it in class.

Be a Pro: Read and Learn.

Story: Substance, Structure, Style and The Principles of Screenwriting
by Robert McKee

Gaming is more about storytelling through time, than writing. Running a game is more like a movie or television show than it is a story. The book is written on how to deal with such elements as time. Yes you have to adapt it to gaming, but it presents some great ideas.

The point of this book on the list is to ensure that you are conscious about what an entertaining session should have.

Story Engineering
by Larry Brooks

This book will teach you the six things you need to pay attention to when setting up a campaign and crafting plotlines/ story arcs. The parts on story structure is the important part in this book for GMs.

Story Physics
by Larry Brooks

This book gets a bit repetitive at times, but that is only to make sure that the key points sinks in. Not on the same level as the first two books on this list, but a powerful tool.

Last but not least

Dialogue: The Art of Verbal Action for Page, Stage, and Screen
By Robert McKee
This one is for players and GMs who want to "up there game". Dialogue teaches how to craft effective speeches for characters. It shows how to ensure dialogue holds the audience's attention, how to 'time' dialogue and how to retain motivation and to provide productive information within dialogue.

by James Burke
This could include Connections II, and if you haven't understood the process by now, Connections III. These are the best education in setting design. Any Setting. (Videos are great, the books are still interesting even after you have seen them.) It changes the way you think about history and about social/ technical growth. Instead of things that just appearing because you want them in your setting, you learn how to put together steps and ideas to get what you want.... and some of the odd side effects of having one thing gets you other things. It shows you quirks and changes so your world has more verisimilitude.

Suggested Reading List

Writing Mysteries
By Sue Grafton
Multiple award winner and gives you a feel for how to run a mystery and some tips on presenting material.

Writing Science Fiction and Fantasy
by Orson Scott Card
Multiple award winner (the book). Gives you a good feel for the creative process of creating and maintaing a fictional universe.

These Books will form a foundation for you to improve upon. They are written for other media, so you will have to adapt them to gaming. That is actually the point. I need you to think about it. To think about how these ideas apply to gaming. Theses ideas will then gel in your mind. You will see how it all comes together. Once it comes together, it will form a strong foundation for you to build upon.

Now there are some other seminal works of GMing, about GMing, that will be listed in future posts. Most are from Gnome Stew folks, but some are great works in the past. I will touch bases with those and give you more to think about.

MoonHunter Sayeth: Thou Shalt Always Try To Be A Better Gamer

Hoorah! First post on a scheduled date!

More reading list


Game Guru-Thread Shepherd
RPGnet Member
Validated User
There are two more books that come highly recommended to me. Both are about Screenwriting. I keep coming back to screenwriting, but games are presented much like movies... as stories over time.

Save the Cat by Blake Snyder
Save the Cat Strikes Back by Blake Snyder
Screenwriter's Bible by David Trotter

And while I am here.... Here is a slide show about how to write a better story/ Screenplay
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