December 4, 2013

TFT - Notes on Successful Game-Mastering

The Fantasy Trip was a role-playing game that came out in 1980 with the release of In The Labyrinth, the core rule set. It also included Melee (tactical combat) and Wizard (spellcasting), as well as the Advanced versions of them. The game was written by Steve Jackson who later used the system as a base for GURPS. This series of articles is a look at the rules of The Fantasy Trip as seen through modern eyes.

In The Labyrinth concludes the book with the topic Notes on Successful Game-Mastering. The publisher of Metagaming, Howard Thompson, attempts to sum up what it is the one philospohy of running a successful game.

"A GM is a solo entertainer of an unusual new variety. He is a writer, performer, and group facilitator rolled into one. Players participate in an adventure campaign for entertainment — not to let the GM be a petty god and manipulate their characters at will. It takes practice, attention, and sensitivity to lead a group through an adventure and leave them feeling good (win or lose) when it's over. Thinking of yourself as a semi-professional entertainer like a bard or other small-group yarn-spinner will help."

I particularly like the point about "leave them feeling good (win or lose) when it's over." For me that is the key to any good game. Challenge the players but leave them feeling good at the end. That is easier said than done as each player is different and all have different needs on how to "feel good" while playing an rpg. The trick of a good GM is to figure out what each player needs and to provide it.

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