"How to GM" Books

Discussion in 'Roleplaying Games' started by Apparition, Feb 10, 2018.

  1. daniel_ream

    daniel_ream Active Member

    Joined:
    Aug 29, 2017
    Messages:
    245
    Likes Received:
    174
    While this is true, I think the takeaway here is not so much "no prep" as "you have already prepped as much as you need to, you just don't realize it". Does anyone come to RPGs with truly no prior art in their experience?
     
  2. Voros

    Voros Doomed Investigator

    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2017
    Messages:
    663
    Likes Received:
    731
    YDIS is pretty much over now, he hasn't posted much over the last year and a half. It was always just a huge troll of the OSR. It is interesting how much attention it attracted. I can't imagine whoever is behind it has any intention of contributing anything useful. Although I have to admit to finding some of the posts amusing and effective in puncturing some of the pretensions of the OSR, the 'community' in the comments though is pretty much the dregs of the net, little better than YT comments.
     
  3. Voros

    Voros Doomed Investigator

    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2017
    Messages:
    663
    Likes Received:
    731
    That was kinda my impression from the sample I read, could be useful for some I guess but I got enough project management training via work it isn't something I'd like to spend my freetime reading.

    I've read some grognards put down Aaron Allston's Dungeon Master's Kit but I thought it came with some very good forms for organizing a session and NPCs and some interesting advice on how to handle investigations in an RPG.
     
  4. Baulderstone

    Baulderstone Legendary Member

    Joined:
    May 13, 2017
    Messages:
    1,349
    Likes Received:
    1,923
    No, but I think there is a certain skill to taking in art and finding the game hooks in it.

    In my case, I mainly read GM books to get ideas. I could see someone finding this book useful if their issue was organizing their ideas.
     
  5. Voros

    Voros Doomed Investigator

    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2017
    Messages:
    663
    Likes Received:
    731
    There's lots of reasonable, good advice in the Primer but I think it is pretty narrowly focused on D&D, I'm not sure much of his advice tranfers to other kinds of games.

    And much of the good sense is all mixed in with overstated assumptions about 3e D&D play and claims about 'old school play' that in no way reflect my experience of playing D&D throughout the 80s.

    I think that it is a common mistake to argue in favour of something by taking potshots at something you don't like. I remember doing that myself when I wrote my first published music review in the university newspaper, where I felt the silly need to slam Kenny G in a jazz review, as if anyone reading a jazz review took Kenny G seriously. It pained me to see that lazy thinking in print and I vowed to never do it again.

    I agree more with this and this critique of the Primer.

    I much prefer Jason Cone's Philotomy's Musings. His ideas are much more distinctive and interesting to me and he never feels the need to caricature other editions or games.
     
    Edgewise and The Butcher like this.
  6. TristramEvans

    TristramEvans Science Ninja Moderator

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2017
    Messages:
    1,982
    Likes Received:
    2,117
    Wasn't Zak S revealed to be behind the YDIS blog, or am I thinking of something else?
     
  7. Voros

    Voros Doomed Investigator

    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2017
    Messages:
    663
    Likes Received:
    731
    That was another troll blog.
     
  8. Baulderstone

    Baulderstone Legendary Member

    Joined:
    May 13, 2017
    Messages:
    1,349
    Likes Received:
    1,923
    It's hard to keep track of those.
     
    Rich Harkrader and Voros like this.
  9. Dumarest

    Dumarest ¡Californio y vaquero!

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2018
    Messages:
    894
    Likes Received:
    1,184
    Doubt it since they skewered him pretty good. I've seen maybe 2 or 3 articles on there; they were somewhat funny in the taking windbags and blowhards down a notch or three. Could've done without the constant homophobic stuff.
     
  10. Edgewise

    Edgewise Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2017
    Messages:
    175
    Likes Received:
    263
    I guess it depends. There are four principles: (1) rulings, not rules; (2) player skill, not character abilities; (3) heroic, not superheroic; and (4) forget game balance. I think applicability depends on the principle - #3 seems like the one that I'd say is more game-dependent. The others I could apply to most RPGs, I think.

    For what it's worth, I think that part of Finch's purpose in writing the Primer was to promote Swords & Wizardry, and to help people understand the way he intended it to be used. While I don't think he narrows his argument for this purpose, I do think it colors the whole thing.

    I have to say that, unlike you and the two critiques you cite, I really don't see the primer as any kind of attack. Nowhere does it say "new-school gaming is garbage." It doesn't even really criticize other styles of play, and goes out of its way to explain that it's presenting a bland interpretation of modern gaming in order to highlight the mechanical differences.

    I think the Gnome Stew article gets something important wrong - this isn't a paean to 1e play; it's actually hearkening back to 0e. That might be why his 1e buddies scoffed that the primer represented their old experiences. The Refereeing and Reflection article is a lot more accurate when it says:

    But what I think both articles get wrong is the notion that the primer is suggesting that this is the One True Way, and that all others ways are wrong. It's presenting a way, not the way. Naturally, Matthew Finch thinks that it's a very good way, and I do, too.

    This is sort of where I was going with the punk rock comparison. It's presenting a very purist image of a certain gaming style, but I don't think it's insisting that you absolutely must play this way without any deviation. The idea is that, by presenting this mode of play so starkly, you have a clearer view of the underlying philosophy.

    At least, that's my take.

    I'll have to check it out.
     
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2018
    Baulderstone, Voros and The Butcher like this.
  11. Voros

    Voros Doomed Investigator

    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2017
    Messages:
    663
    Likes Received:
    731
    Number three is the one I was thinking of too. Lots of games are based on superheroic play.

    I've seen Finch say on DF he wrote the Primer as a pitch to 3e players explaining the supposed difference in play styles as those he encountered online didn't seem to get the advantages of a rules light system like 0e. I think he should have been more upfront about that as the vague references to 'modern gaming' just seem completely inaccurate outside a D&D frame.
     
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2018
  12. Baulderstone

    Baulderstone Legendary Member

    Joined:
    May 13, 2017
    Messages:
    1,349
    Likes Received:
    1,923
    Dumarest likes this.
  13. Spinachcat

    Spinachcat Legendary Member

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2017
    Messages:
    426
    Likes Received:
    516
  14. Dumarest

    Dumarest ¡Californio y vaquero!

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2018
    Messages:
    894
    Likes Received:
    1,184
    That is interesting reading. I have read the first few pages and wouldn't mind playing OD&D as he envisions it.
     
  15. Baulderstone

    Baulderstone Legendary Member

    Joined:
    May 13, 2017
    Messages:
    1,349
    Likes Received:
    1,923
    Finch's Primer is like the quick pitch for people who just want to get an idea of what old school play is. Philotomy's Musings is a practical handbook for someone that actually wants to play OD&D.
     
    Voros and Edgewise like this.

Share This Page