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MoonHunter Sayeth 20170529


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Reading List to up your game II

MoonHunter was all about "the reading list" last post. They are great books to improve your story instincts and your implied structure of a game.

So I was looking for something in my old posts. You know me, I am old so I can't remember how brilliant I was a few years ago. I am always going back and reading things I have previously written. Then I found something of interest (of course not the thing I was looking for, that came later), but interesting never the less. MoonHunter was asked about GMing books from Game Sources. While not what I was planning to blog about next, it was topical to the blog. Here was the list that I came up with.

The Original StrikeForce by Aaron Allston (and the new one was good too).
I was a story oriented GM before that was a thing. This books helped me hone my GMing to a fine point.

Robins Laws of Good Gamemastering -
Really, you shoud read it

I found the Dream Park Adventure Design section to be inspirational, it was the first time Beats and plot archetypes were mentioned in a game section.

These are all older references. Some of the gems they contained are considered "common knowledge" now... no longer innovative to a experienced reader because it has already been absorbed and dispersed to gamerkind.

Still a GM needs a book like a blade needs a whetstone.

There are more of course. There is always more. Someone always has their two cents to add. Most of it is the same old, same old, reworded and repackaged. Some are truly innovative.

Hamlet's Hitpoints
It will help make you conscious of your story's actions by the examples there.

from Engine Publishing Go buy a bunch, you won't regret it.

Never Unprepared: The Complete Game Master's Guide to Session Prep
I tend to do all my prep far ahead of time, just fine tuning my work just before the session. Still, until you start doing that, this is a great book on session prep.

Odyssey: The Complete Game Master's Guide to Campaign Management
You have to be prepared for the long haul. You also have to be prepared for the strange and wonderous creatures called Players.

Focal Point: The Complete Game Master's Guide to Running Extraordinary Sessions
The table time is where the game really occurs. There are things you need to be aware of to run an awesome game.

Unframed: The Art of Improvisation for Game Masters
No matter how skilled you are in planning a game, occasionally it goes off the rails. Improvising by building on what you have is a great tool to have in your kit.

To be honest, some of best GMing advice I have gotten is from writing books. While novel writing books are useful, the ones geared towards film are better. Games are normally paced at the speed of video (Movie/ TV)... they are stories over time, rather than the novel's story through path. Gamers like movies. If you pace your game like a movie they respond positively. You can pace it like a TV show or a TV show with season arc, or a comic book, and if you must a novel.... it gives you a mental format to follow. As an aside: because mentally formatting play like this, you can keep using the golden rule, "Is this the way it would happen in a movie (inset medium)? // Is this something I would find in a good movie?" as a rule to measure if what you are doing is "in line" with your vision.

But I did a lot of that last post.

I would also recommend checking out some books on storytelling (the verbal kind), acting, and film directing. I don't have any stand outs that will automatically improve your gaming presentation. However, just a few tips and directions will help you highten your presentation at the table.

I am on a roll, sourdough not kaiser. I am working on keeping up this schedule.


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You ever look at something you write a little later and go... "Dang! How could I have forgot that?"

Listen Up You Primitive Screwheads!
Mike Pondsmith
Probably the most blunt book on GMing I have read. There is however, a lot of great stuff and advice worth listening to for both cyberpunk and non cyberpunk play.

Gamemastering by Dominic Wasch
It goes into a lot more detail with a comprehensive review of GM techniques taken from old school keyed map locations to Forge inspired Bangs and Kickers. It attempts to approach the topic in an technical, almost academic style. I am sure there is something in this book for everyone though the conceit of adding a test at the end of each chapter is unforgivable.

I am sure there will be more.
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The GMing Advice in the 7 Seas books is top notch. Pick an edition and read. I like first. I think it is my favorite GMing/ Storytelling section in any game book.
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