Pathfinder Roleplaying Game: GameMastery Guide (OGL)

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Pathfinder Roleplaying Game: GameMastery Guide (OGL)
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Rule Your World!

Players may be the heroes of the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game, but whole worlds rest on the Game Master's shoulders. Fortunately for GMs, the Pathfinder RPG GameMastery Guide is here to back you up. Packed with invaluable hints and information, this book contains everything you need to take your game to the next level, from advice on the nuts and bolts of running a session to the greater mysteries of crafting engaging worlds and storylines. Whether you've run one game or a thousand, this book has page after page of secrets to make you sharper, faster, and more creative, while always staying one step ahead of your players.

The 320-page Pathfinder RPG GameMastery Guide is a must-have companion volume to the Pathfinder RPG Core Rulebook. This imaginative tabletop game builds upon more than 10 years of system development and an Open Playtest featuring more than 50,000 gamers to create a cutting-edge RPG experience that brings the all-time best-selling set of fantasy rules into the new millennium.

The Pathfinder RPG GameMastery Guide includes:

  • Tips and tricks for preparing and running a better game, suitable for beginning GMs and battle-hardened veterans.
  • Step-by-step walkthroughs for creating campaign worlds, cities, cosmologies, feudal systems, and alternate dimensions.
  • Difficult player types, and how to handle them gracefully.
  • New rules for subsystems like hauntings, chase scenes, fortune-telling, gambling games, mysteries, and insanity.
  • Charts to help you generate everything from interesting NPCs and fantastic treasures to instant encounters in any terrain.
  • Advanced topics such as PC death, game-breaking rules, overpowered parties, solo campaigns, and derailed storylines.
  • Sample NPC statistics for dozens of common adventuring situations, such as cultists, guardsmen, barmaids, and pirates.
  • ... and much, much more!

ISBN-13: 978-1-60125-217-3

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Last Updated - 1/22/2014

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Essential for New GMs, Handy for Veterans

5/5

Published back in 2009, the GameMastery Guide was one of the early hardcover books released for Pathfinder. I think it's an overlooked gem, as I crack it open before and during sessions as often as any book other than the Core Rulebook. Weighing in at a hefty 320 pages, the GameMastery Guide has advice on the usual topics that new GMs need help with, but it also contains so much more, like little new rules subsystems, a gallery of pre-made NPCs, all sorts of random tables, tracking sheets, etc. It's a very handy compilation of material specifically designed for Pathfinder, and I'd recommend it as an early purchase for any GM getting into the game.

We have to start with a shout-out to that awesome cover, featuring Runelord Karzoug seated on his throne. I'm partial, since I'm running a certain AP at the moment, but artist Wayne Reynolds knocked it out of the park there. There's no way the interior artwork could be as good, and it's true that many of the interstitial drawings are recycled from other products or are forgettable placeholders. However, the artwork accompanying the NPC gallery is solid and fits the feel of Golarion. If I were using letter ratings, the cover art would get an A+ and the interior art and layout would get a C+.

The book is divided into 9 chapters, with multiple appendices and indices.

Chapter 1, "Getting Started", is stuff that experienced GMs will have seen a thousand times before, but that new GMs will appreciate. It covers stuff like a gaming glossary, how to deal with sensitive topics, how to find players and set aside a place to play, developing house rules, etc. It's standard advice, and if I had to quibble with anything it's that the section is so focussed on catering to players' desires that it leaves out a crucial consideration: the GM needs to have fun too! I did like the idea of creating a custom player's guide before each new campaign, and that's something I'll probably do in the future.

Chapter 2, "Running the Game", talks about preparation, presentation (music, handouts, lighting, etc.), building encounters and adventures, and how to handle in-game problems (PCs missing a clue, getting too much treasure, etc.). Again, it's all solid advice (though I don't agree with customising encounters for PC abilities, as that holds the risk of undermining the very advantages they've worked to gain). I think the best bit in the chapter is the "Game Changers" section, with talks about how to handle problems specific to Pathfinder: spells involving invisibility, teleportation, lie/evil detection, flying, auguries, and more. These spells can dramatically change the game and wreck certain types of plots if a GM isn't careful. The section ends with some good tables: fifty different adventure plots, twenty plot twists, and a bunch of macguffins. Good material if you're creating your own adventures and get stuck in the brainstorming.

Chapter 3, "Player Characters," talks about handling metagaming, introducing new players into the game, handling treasure and character death, whether to allow evil PCs, and different types of common players like the "One-Trick Pony" and the "Rules Lawyer". It's a good and useful discussion, as experienced GMs will encounter these various player types sooner or later and knowing what to look out for and handle them is important if groups are going to persist in the long-run. I think what the chapter is missing is the frank advice that some players just aren't right for some groups, some groups are dysfunctional and need to disband, and that the GM (unfortunately) often has to make the hard calls. It's a responsibility that goes beyond preparing and running adventures, since real people, real relationships, and real emotions can be involved. I'd rank the chapter as average.

Chapter 4, "Nonplayer Characters," goes into the basics of giving NPCs personalities and roles in the game. I especially liked the section on traps a GM needs to avoid when running NPCs (such as making them too intrusive, too decisive, too good at combat, etc.). The section introduces a new concept of "NPC Boons," which are special little plot or mechanical advantages that NPCs of different types can give to PCs. We'll see this concept more in the NPC Gallery at the end of the book, but the idea would be that, for example, befriending a local tracker would give the PCs a +2 on Survival checks in the area for one month, or that buying a drink for a down-on-his-luck nobleman could result in a primer on local politics and a +2 bonus on Knowledge (nobility) in the city. Etc. It's a nice way to quantify and reward PCs for good role-playing and encourage those players who are only in it for the bottom line to have more patience with what may at first seem like irrelevant asides. After some fairly mundane advice on villains, the chapter concludes with a great collection of tables: NPC backgrounds, goals, physical characteristics, personality characteristics (some of these are hilarious and memorable, and I wish players were as creative!), occupations, secrets and rewards, and even the surely-delightful "Random Adventuring Party Name Generator". If you want to be cool, join the "Reputable Pearly Kraken Monster-Slayers in the Shadow of Angels"!

Chapter 5, "Rewards," contains an insightful discussion of why rewards manner and the different ways they can be conceptualised and allocated. It goes through the difference between steady small rewards versus occasional big ones, intrinsic vs. extrinsic rewards, and how different players value different things (e.g., is it all about the gold, or is getting on a first-name basis with the barmaid better?). It even gets into little details, such as exactly when XP can be awarded (I forget that some groups do it after every single encounter, while others only do it during true in-game downtime). There's some good advice on how to handle spell research and magic item crafting that makes it clear the whole process needs to be treated more as an art than a mechanical formula. This chapter has a *lot* of random item and random magic item tables, which is really useful when you need to see what a little shop in a small town happens to have in stock, or what that NPC wizard you weren't expecting the PCs to rob from has in his satchel.

Chapter 6, "Creating a World," is for GMs who do something I've never really done in Pathfinder (though I have in science fiction settings): create a brand new campaign setting. It has a nice process of answering a set list of questions to gradually firm up the details of the new world and to simplify (to some degree) the difficulty of conceptualising everything all at once. The geography advice is probably over-ambitious, but the concepts are explained really well. The chapter goes through different types of societies and different technological levels. It's not a chapter I'll use, but it's very good for homebrew GMs.

Chapter 7, "Adventures," has tips for running stories in different environments (dungeons, the wilderness, etc.). It has particularly good advice on dungeons, with a useful key to map symbols that I should use more often. Again, there's a ton of great tables to stimulate creativity, including random tables on where dungeons can be found, what type they are, what's in different rooms, and several random monster encounter tables (which I wouldn't actually roll on, as they have the common problem of spreading CRs from as low as 1 to as high as 13 in the same table!). The chapter has a section on planes and planar traits, which is an important reference for later products that make specific use of the mechanics presented here. Similarly, it has a section on stat blocks for settlements (used in most Pathfinder products) that is quite important in determining what's for sale in a community, the highest-level of spellcaster available, etc. I use the settlement rules a lot, and although I think they're sometimes a bit cumbersome in play, they're important in making sure that a hamlet "acts" differently than a metropolis. This chapter is packed with a lot of other material, including a two-page rules-set for ship combat (it seems worth trying), lots of random tables for ships and sailors, and, one of my favourite things, random tables for tavern names and unique traits. There's a lot here that I'm going to photocopy and keep with my GM screen to help me quickly come up with more flavourful interludes when I'm running games.

Chapter 8, "Advanced Topics," introduces several new little rules sub-systems: chases (elegant, but not completely satisfying), natural disasters, drugs and addiction (happens too quickly and needs a slower progression of effects), fortune-telling (too general), gambling (done well), haunts (one of the best innovations of Pathfinder, great for story-telling), hazards (mostly supernatural ones, but very clever), and sanity/madness (too simplistic, but not bad for just 2 pages). Some of these sub-systems, like chases and haunts, are seen in a lot of other Paizo products, so having the rules on how to run them is really useful. Other topics touched on in this chapter have been developed in far more detail elsewhere, and may be of more limited usefulness. Still, there's enough of enduring value to make the material here worth reading.

Chapter 9, "NPC Gallery", is one of those things every Pathfinder GM needs: full stats (and even pictures and descriptions) for NPCs encountered on short notice: bandits to spice up overland travel, city guards for when the "Chaotic Stupid" PC gets too obnoxious, the bard intended purely as tavern-dressing that the PCs are surprisingly interested in, the shopkeep they want to try to bluff for a discount, etc. There are dozens and dozens of great NPCs here, both low-level "townsfolk" and high-level threats, and all are fully fleshed out with gear and boons (from Chapter 4). In addition, there's really good advice on how to swap out a feat here or a weapon there to create different variations on the stock NPC. I've used this chapter a lot (as have many PFS scenarios). The later publication of the NPC Codex and Villain Codex makes this section slightly less crucial, but I still get a lot of use out of it.

Apart from indices and an appendix (on recommend reading and films), the book ends with a miscellany of tracking sheets--a Campaign Sheet, a Settlement Sheet (something I should actually use, now that I think of it), an NPC Sheet, and a Basic Rules Cheat Sheet (that I'm going to start handing out to new players to ease their transition into the game).

From the chapter summaries above, you can tell the book is just chock-full of useful advice and resources for running the game. Although essential for new GMs, even experienced ones will still find a lot here to make the book worth buying and reading.


Right Next To The Core Rulebook On My Shelf!

5/5

This product was amazing. I was blown away by the advice given to create a world and how to deal with several issues that have come up in recent gaming sessions. The crunchy side of the book was OK, but I really haven't had any need to pull out those rules and use them in my games. I overall really enjoyed this product, and can't wait to see what comes next!


The Essential Tome of GM'ing

5/5

This pearl of GM manuals should be found from every already practising or aspiring-to-be GM's collection. Yes, it's that great, even for folks who don't run Pathfinder. Well written, easy to understand, beautiful to look at... not to mention a well of inspiration it also achieves to be. It's a near perfect package of knowledge how to run smooth, richer, better RPG campaign. Sure, there are chunks of system specific stuff inside, but the most important bits of knowledge of how to run your game are universal and will fit in any system and game table. For juniors, it is essential. For the vets, well, if you're already good at what you're doing, you can always be better, and perhaps you're not perfect and can learn at least one useful new trick out of it.


Great addition

4/5

Read the book cover to cover. Although most of it is repetition for old-time gm's I like the style, flavour and content of the book. It's pure inspiration and also a few goodies that are easily put to work: chases, hazards, haunts - now tried out with success in my current campaign.

A bit to many references to the Core Rulebook annoys a bit.


As a veteran GM thus book left me pining for alot more

3/5

Honestly this book is not at all needed if you have any GM experience at all. Has some good world creation tips but otherwise feels overly simplistic. My opinion would change greatly on this book if I was new to gaming however.


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Dark Archive

Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

The book is being shipped out to subscribers at the moment. I believe the street date is very late June.


Pathfinder Companion, Maps Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
CapeCodRPGer wrote:

All the places i checked online, FLGS I have called have said the same thingt until July 13, that the Gamastery Guide will not be out until July 13.

But Paizo is saying it is shipping now. So what one is it?

Both, Paizo is shipping now to subscribers and distribution. It usually takes a few weeks for books to get to distribution and then to the FLGS.

Paizo Employee Chief Creative Officer, Publisher

Actually, neither.

The "street date" for the product, when it will go live in stores, is June 30th. We have already shipped the books to distributors, after which we began packing and shipping subscriber orders. We time things so that subscribers should start to receive the book at the same time it becomes available in stores. A few might get it a couple days earlier, just as the book might pop up in some stores a day or two early based on how fast local trucks and postage works out for them.

Because the entire system is automated, subscribers can access their PDFs when the book ships from our warehouse. It takes several days for all of the books to ship from our warehouse, which is why some subscribers have access to their PDF right now, and some don't.

The book should be widely available, to everyone, on June 30.

Liberty's Edge

I just orded it from Paizo. UPS shipping this time so I won't be stressing LOL.

Thanks for the info.

Scarab Sages

Woot Can't Wait!


Will this be available to purchase at Paizocon?

Paizo Employee Chief Creative Officer, Publisher

Yes.


Thanks Cosmo! (And all the other Paizo staff of course!)


Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Lost Omens Subscriber

I should probably know this, but what are the critters pictured on page 190 and 193? I want to say fiends, and 193 looks kind of like a vrock, but more hawk-like and with a stinger tail. 190 is kind of like a marilith, but could be something from the fire plane considering her page number. Whatever she is, I want to send a dozen against my party. Ok, maybe only a half-dozen. They're level 14 right now. ;)

Or are these critters from Bestiary II?

Paizo Employee Creative Director

deinol wrote:

I should probably know this, but what are the critters pictured on page 190 and 193? I want to say fiends, and 193 looks kind of like a vrock, but more hawk-like and with a stinger tail. 190 is kind of like a marilith, but could be something from the fire plane considering her page number. Whatever she is, I want to send a dozen against my party. Ok, maybe only a half-dozen. They're level 14 right now. ;)

Or are these critters from Bestiary II?

The creatures on those two pages are example super-tough monsters that live on the outer planes. On one level, they're there to simply illustrate a pair of strange monsters that dwell on outer planes (one the Plane of Fire, and one the Abyss.)

On another level, they're easter eggs for those who follow Golarion products.

Page 190: Ymeri, the Queen of the Inferno
Page 193: Pazuzu, demon lord of the sky, winged creatures, and temptation

Both of these characters are probably well above CR 30, so sending a dozen against your party will probably end the game very quickly.


Pathfinder Companion, Maps Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Erik Mona wrote:

Actually, neither.

The "street date" for the product, when it will go live in stores, is June 30th. We have already shipped the books to distributors, after which we began packing and shipping subscriber orders. We time things so that subscribers should start to receive the book at the same time it becomes available in stores. A few might get it a couple days earlier, just as the book might pop up in some stores a day or two early based on how fast local trucks and postage works out for them.

Because the entire system is automated, subscribers can access their PDFs when the book ships from our warehouse. It takes several days for all of the books to ship from our warehouse, which is why some subscribers have access to their PDF right now, and some don't.

The book should be widely available, to everyone, on June 30.

I stand corrected then.

Paizo Employee CEO

Good news! We just moved up the release date to next Wednesday, the 23rd of June! One week early! Congrats to our warehouse team for busting their humps to get the books out to distributors early. :)

-Lisa


Paizo Charter Superscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

*keeps on waiting for his subscription shipment...*

Dark Archive

Lisa Stevens wrote:

Good news! We just moved up the release date to next Wednesday, the 23rd of June! One week early! Congrats to our warehouse team for busting their humps to get the books out to distributors early. :)

-Lisa

Will this bump up the release date for the PDF also? And good work on cracking that whip! ;-)

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Paul Ryan wrote:
*keeps on waiting for his subscription shipment...*

Same here. You're obviously not paying Cosmo enough (or too much, for that matter). ;)

Paizo Employee CEO

dm4hire wrote:
Lisa Stevens wrote:

Good news! We just moved up the release date to next Wednesday, the 23rd of June! One week early! Congrats to our warehouse team for busting their humps to get the books out to distributors early. :)

-Lisa

Will this bump up the release date for the PDF also? And good work on cracking that whip! ;-)

Yep, the PDF will also move up to the 23rd.

-Lisa

Dark Archive

Lisa Stevens wrote:
dm4hire wrote:
Lisa Stevens wrote:

Good news! We just moved up the release date to next Wednesday, the 23rd of June! One week early! Congrats to our warehouse team for busting their humps to get the books out to distributors early. :)

-Lisa

Will this bump up the release date for the PDF also? And good work on cracking that whip! ;-)

Yep, the PDF will also move up to the 23rd.

-Lisa

Woot!


deinol wrote:
James Jacobs wrote:
I'll keep pushing for some sort of "Guide to High Level Play" though. Whether or not that manifests as a big giant hardcover rulebook or something smaller... can't really say yet.
I expect hardcover will wait for epic, but I'd buy a Chronicles sized (64 page) book on high level play.

+1 and +1 for the book on haunts and traps...a Grimtooths for Pathfinder would be awesome

Scarab Sages

Waiting for mine to come in the mail.


Mine's in the mail, too. Really excited to get this.


Pathfinder Companion, Maps, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Still waiting to be notified that mine is in the mail so I can download the PDF...

Apparently, the whining thing doesn't work for subscribers after all. Oh, well. At least the release date has moved up and I can get it when every one else does next week. ;)

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 8

James Jacobs wrote:
AnthonyRoberson wrote:

The only dissapointment that I have had so far with the book (unless I have missed it somehow) is there is nothing that addresses the biggest problem I had with 3.5 - handling high level characters. I would have liked to see any of the following topics addressed:

- balancing/running high level encounters
- tips for running smooth encounters/combats with high level NPCs
- challenging high level PCs, with a focus on how to deal with particular high level spells and magic items

I've been pushing for us to publish a "Guide to High Level Play" for a while now. And I do wish we'd had a larger portion of that in the GameMastery Guide, but we decided it'd be better to skew this book toward more broad game support. After all... the VAST majority of those who play RPGs don't play super high level, and this is only our third book.

I'll keep pushing for some sort of "Guide to High Level Play" though. Whether or not that manifests as a big giant hardcover rulebook or something smaller... can't really say yet.

YES PLEASE.

Designing high level adventures takes probably the most time and needs the most guidance, and yet there is nearly NOTHING out for it.

I know the old adage is that no one buys high level adventures, but I really wonder if this is a chicken-and-egg issue, where there are few high level adventures and source materials, so everyone plays low level adventures only, and then everyone gets into their low level stuff, so they don't buy high level stuff when it's finally made available. There's no support so people don't play it and people don't play it because there's no support so there's no support so people don't play it and then people don't play it because there's no support....

I realize the bulk of games will always be around 4th-12th level but having the ability to easily go beyond that, with materials at the ready of SOME kind, however minimal, would be so much more lovely than what we've got now.

Whether these game mastery guidelines are folded into an epic level book (but it would be nice to have guidelines for level 15+, not just level 20+) or are their own mini publication like the Adventurer's Armory, that's fine by me.

Shadow Lodge

I really see the "Guide to High Level Play" as something that should be put into the eventual Epic Level book. I definitely should be a part of the Pathfinder RPG line, not one of the product lines devoted to the campaign setting. Also, despite my suggestion and assumption that it would be a part of the Epic Level book, I don't think it should restrict itself to level 20+ play. As DeathQuaker said, starting it at about level 15 or so would be good.


Am I the only one not to be bowled over by this? I just opened the covers and at first glance I am fairly disappointed. I looked through the table of contents and flipped quickly through about 60% of the book and my impression is a lot of fluff and a lot of needless tables and stat blocks.

I will read it cover-to-cover as all my books, but right now I'm regretting my purchase. :(

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Shadrhar wrote:

Am I the only one not to be bowled over by this? I just opened the covers and at first glance I am fairly disappointed. I looked through the table of contents and flipped quickly through about 60% of the book and my impression is a lot of fluff and a lot of needless tables and stat blocks.

I will read it cover-to-cover as all my books, but right now I'm regretting my purchase. :(

And what were you after ? The description pretty accurately tells what's inside.


Gorbacz wrote:
And what were you after ? The description pretty accurately tells what's inside.

Re-reading the description, you are correct. I suppose it is my fault for not considering more carefully exactly what they would deliver. My impression of the PF team so far is that they have boiled 3.5 down to the essentials, fixed what was broken, added what was missing, and delivered big chunks of useful game mechanics. I was expecting the Gamemastery book to do the same, and didn't really consider evaluating its real use (I'm a subscriber, although I'm not sure why it doesn't list it with my alias).

The bottom line is that I just assumed (my fault) that anything they produced would be useful on a regular basis. I expect to use less than 25% of this book less than 10% of the time.


I for one am really jazzed to see it includes tables and npc stats...something I was alway clamoring for in the 3.5 days. Will be looking for it at my FLGS next week.
-IO

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Shadrhar wrote:
Gorbacz wrote:
And what were you after ? The description pretty accurately tells what's inside.

Re-reading the description, you are correct. I suppose it is my fault for not considering more carefully exactly what they would deliver. My impression of the PF team so far is that they have boiled 3.5 down to the essentials, fixed what was broken, added what was missing, and delivered big chunks of useful game mechanics. I was expecting the Gamemastery book to do the same, and didn't really consider evaluating its real use (I'm a subscriber, although I'm not sure why it doesn't list it with my alias).

The bottom line is that I just assumed (my fault) that anything they produced would be useful on a regular basis. I expect to use less than 25% of this book less than 10% of the time.

What you are after is the Advanced Player's Guide, as it includes new crunch and options. GMG is a book of tools useful for running the game.

Subscriptions only show on the primary alias :)


A week early? Woohoo! So does htat mean the Amazon will ship a week early too?

Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

Snoring Rock wrote:
A week early? Woohoo! So does htat mean the Amazon will ship a week early too?

The distributor Amazon purchases from should be updating them with the new date; whether or not they actually do anything with that is up to them.

Liberty's Edge

Shadrhar wrote:
Gorbacz wrote:
And what were you after ? The description pretty accurately tells what's inside.

Re-reading the description, you are correct. I suppose it is my fault for not considering more carefully exactly what they would deliver. My impression of the PF team so far is that they have boiled 3.5 down to the essentials, fixed what was broken, added what was missing, and delivered big chunks of useful game mechanics. I was expecting the Gamemastery book to do the same, and didn't really consider evaluating its real use (I'm a subscriber, although I'm not sure why it doesn't list it with my alias).

The bottom line is that I just assumed (my fault) that anything they produced would be useful on a regular basis. I expect to use less than 25% of this book less than 10% of the time.

Right there with you on this. I was expecting a chapter on "how to" DMing but not several. I was hoping for a more tool box and got more advice column I guess.


waiting intently for the PDF


Shadrhar wrote:
The bottom line is that I just assumed (my fault) that anything they produced would be useful on a regular basis. I expect to use less than 25% of this book less than 10% of the time.

Yes, if you are not a GM looking for general advice (the first half of the book) or if you're not a GM who likes statblocks and writer's-block tables (the second half), this book probably isn't for you. As far as precedent, I think that's what most DM books have been.

Statblocks and writer's-block tables are my bread and butter, so I'm having a hard time grasping your response. I can only imagine your style of GMing is radically different from my own. Paging through this book gives me the desperate urge to GM.

Contributor

My copy just arrived today, along with Kingmaker 4 (which I did the fiction for).

Apart from a printer's error of a few pre-dog-eared pages, it looks absolutely beautiful.

It also looks highly useful, as it has stats for such common but overlooked NPCs as the barmaid. There's also the random tavern name generator. The third tavern name I rolled up was The Noisy Trousers.

Obviously this is where they have the chili cook-off or the cassoulet that's been simmering for 30+ years.


So I can buy the book but not the pdf???


Kthulhu wrote:
I really see the "Guide to High Level Play" as something that should be put into the eventual Epic Level book. I definitely should be a part of the Pathfinder RPG line, not one of the product lines devoted to the campaign setting. Also, despite my suggestion and assumption that it would be a part of the Epic Level book, I don't think it should restrict itself to level 20+ play. As DeathQuaker said, starting it at about level 15 or so would be good.

I would actually go from level 12 on up.


Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Lost Omens Subscriber

I found chapters 7-9 to be gold. Planar traits, wild magic, city stat blocks, chases, addictions, gambling, haunts, insanity, and npc statblocks will all find use in my game.

Yes, there was a lot of advice, but I kind of expect that from a DMG. Your mileage may vary. I don't regret the purchase.

Shadow Lodge

Sharoth wrote:
Kthulhu wrote:
I really see the "Guide to High Level Play" as something that should be put into the eventual Epic Level book. I definitely should be a part of the Pathfinder RPG line, not one of the product lines devoted to the campaign setting. Also, despite my suggestion and assumption that it would be a part of the Epic Level book, I don't think it should restrict itself to level 20+ play. As DeathQuaker said, starting it at about level 15 or so would be good.
I would actually go from level 12 on up.

That's a pretty good starting place as well.

Let's face it, a character is pretty damned epic by 10th level. They can survive things that would kill an average commoner a dozen times over, they can single-handedly slay things that would destroy entire villages, etc.

Shadow Lodge

deinol wrote:
Yes, there was a lot of advice, but I kind of expect that from a DMG. Your mileage may vary. I don't regret the purchase.

I fully expected it to be mostly advice. After all, the vast majority of crunch needed for GMing a game is in the Core Rulebook. The GMG provides much needed advice on actually running the game. The tools/crunch will only get you so far. I'd say, based on my skimming through it, that the GMG would be a pretty decent purchase for a GM of ANY system.


Great NPC section, well done Team Paizo!

Dark Archive

For those of us who love more powerful games, Epic Play starts around 16th level, methinks - especially if the group has more than four players. I'm currently playing and leading a game in FFG's Midnight setting and the characters are 16th levels. Magic items are pretty rare in Midnight, so the characters have perhaps half as powerful equipment as they would in Golarion, for example, but the game has already at the point where they either don't have any challenges to them, or where they have to fight NPCs who can kill them all in a single round. So now we mostly role play.


Exiled Prince wrote:
So I can buy the book but not the pdf???

The books retail street date is the 23rd. Thats when the PDF will be available too.


Paizo Charter Superscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

I really wonder what people who are surprised/disappointed by the contents of this book were expecting. Can you elaborate?


Pathfinder Companion Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Charter Superscriber

I want a poster of that cover!!!

Sovereign Court RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32, 2010 Top 8

Ahhhhhh

You may have Paizo-con... but guess what large heavy book I have in my hands.
(And guess which adventure I have, with my name in it)

Liberty's Edge

Zaister wrote:
I really wonder what people who are surprised/disappointed by the contents of this book were expecting. Can you elaborate?

Disappointed is far from the correct word. The quality of all of the chapters is great and I'm enjoying reading them. I would have just liked to have seen the first 5-6 chapters parsed down by 1-2 chapters and then add more of what Chapter 8 has got. That's all.

More GM toolbox to customize your game with chase rules, insanity, or vehicle rules. I don't consider these "advanced topics" any more than the poison rules or environmental rules in the core book. They are just additional rules that can be excluded or included depending on how a GM would like to tailor their game to suit the campaign they would like to run. From a social combat-based political campaign to an airship-based campaign.

Contributor

Quite honestly, I think the book is very well done, and the only things I don't care for are ones that I still think should be in the book.

There are long sections about how to plot a game, types of player personality types and how to deal with them, styles of games, etc. With almost thirty years of GMing experience under my belt, these sections are of little use to me, but they would have been amazingly useful to me thirty years back, and they need to be in the book because for many GMs, this will be their first book and the advice is necessary and useful.

Everything else is neatly laid out and is something I will use all the time. I've lost track of the number of times I've needed the stats for the unstatted barmaid, but right there in the book are the stats for the barmaid along with a couple other tavern denizens. And then there's just plain fun stuff like the incredible page of fine point words that every DM should know. I'm a sucker for new vocabulary and I'm going to be perusing that page a great deal, combing through for the words that are unfamiliar to me or that I only faintly know.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Evil Lincoln wrote:
Shadrhar wrote:
The bottom line is that I just assumed (my fault) that anything they produced would be useful on a regular basis. I expect to use less than 25% of this book less than 10% of the time.

Yes, if you are not a GM looking for general advice (the first half of the book) or if you're not a GM who likes statblocks and writer's-block tables (the second half), this book probably isn't for you. As far as precedent, I think that's what most DM books have been.

Statblocks and writer's-block tables are my bread and butter, so I'm having a hard time grasping your response. I can only imagine your style of GMing is radically different from my own. Paging through this book gives me the desperate urge to GM.

I guess he may be using the adventure paths, which are, of course, heavily pre-scripted.

I'll get the PDF of this book as soon as feasible, but I probably won't need it as much anymore as I would have half a year ago, since I now changed to running AP's instead of self-made campaigns ( due to time constraints ). But it'll be interesting to read the fluff and for 10$, I surely won't complain. :) Can't wait for the AGP to come out, though.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Turns out that handling over the "words every GM should know" chapter to a hairy, half-mad British genius was a brilliant move. Well played Paizo, please hire Mr. Pett more often. His madness is most pleasant to behold.


Pathfinder Companion, Maps Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Mine arrived today and I am greatly pleased with the entire book so far. I may have to declare the best GM book since the 1st edition DMG, might. I have to finish reading it first.

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