GMing 101 – Telling Your Story Effectively

The GM – What is My Job?

What tools does a Game Master (GM) need?
Tools consist of both physical game playing aids, and mental practices and perspectives. The foundations of good judgement, flexibility, comprehensive knowledge of the rules, imagination and the ability to tell (narrate) a good story.

General Advice
Depending on the expectations of the play group, advice may not always be relevant. The perspective on these elements is a broad generalization from decades of input on managing game groups.

Always offer PC’s options but try to minimize forcing them to do something in order to tell the one story you either want to tell or feel familiar with. Reward ingenuity and creativity – the actions of the PC’s should have the most influence in setting the direction in order to empower and therefore involve them. The more they feel like they are making a difference, the more invested they become.

What Limits Should I Set on Characters?

What are the things that make each NPC unique?

What to do when you cannot lead the party by the nose.
= screw em, they lose, its up to them to jump in
Interactive = immersive; if no agency then why do anything?
Off script: not a sign of failure on anyone’s part. Don’t be afraid to stop and take time to re-plot and organize your thoughts on what comes next. It’s up to you if you want to find a way to connect back to the plot or take the story in an entirely new direction. Don’t be afraid to ask pcs – foiling gm plots can be unintentional and circumstantial, maybe players want the story they broke out of? Ask…

In Incarna published adventures, look for
General Adjusting of Encounters
DnD Specifics

Adjusting This Encounter
This encounter can be adjusted to fit party size, power, and player experience.
Weaker: These are things a GM can do to reduce the difficulty for players.
Stronger: These are things a GM can do to increase the difficulty for players.

General Features
Buildings, materials, roads/paths,


Did you feel having the background helped you play the characters better?