Pathfinder Roleplaying Game: GameMastery Guide (OGL)

4.30/5 (based on 44 ratings)
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

Note: This product is part of the Pathfinder Rulebook Subscription.

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Are there errors or omissions in this product information? Got corrections? Let us know at store@paizo.com.

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4.30/5 (based on 44 ratings)

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My inner DM is rolling in the possibilities

5/5

wow, i bought this cos ... i love the other pathfinder stuff i have already, hoping to find a gem of wisdom or two, and it blew me away!, so much useable stuff and insightful advice, after DM,ing for 25 years this still offers me tonnes of inspiration, three cheers paizo!!


Mostly good, but...

3/5

OK I have to start by saying I really do love what Paizo has done with 3.5 and taking the mantle of the RPG and raising the bar. I really do. And this book is good. But it's not great.

First, what's good about it.

The artwork is on par with the rest of the PFRPG line so far. In other words, fabulous.

The NPC builds of varying levels for each "type" of NPC make for a wonderful time saving device for GMs who know roughly what they're looking for and just need a quick and dirty set of stat blocks for the band of highway robbers that set themselves on the road the PCs are travelling down. On a related note, I also like the random tables for giving NPCs little quirks that make them memorable.

Also, each DMG type book you ever get has a section on "how to run an RPG" and I usually skim or skip those because I've been roleplaying for a long time. But there was actually useful stuff in this one for me.

OK, now the stuff that was not so good.

At times I felt like I was reading the Paizo product release catalog. I lost count of the number of times I was told in the first 50 pages how useful and wonderful the Combat Pad is for tracking initiative. I own the Combat Pad, and yes, it is cool. I get it. Miniatures, flip mats, modules, adventure paths, map packs, the crit and fumble decks, and so on. I get it - they're useful. But I don't like paying $40 for what at times felt like blatant advertising.

There are also what seem to be an inordinate number of typos and spelling errors in the book. Another layer or two of proofreading would have done wonders.

Overall though, more good than bad, and it's definitely a book I will use significant parts of. So I think 3 stars is reasonable. I could probably be convinced to do 3.5 but that doesn't exist, and I don't think I could give it 4.




Would Be a 5 If I Wasn't Such a Stickler

4/5

First off, let me say I love this book. There are so many things in it I found extremely useful, and have taken notes to bring to the table for the next time I run. I did notice it seems more geared to GMs who create and run their own worlds/adventures as opposed to published modules/APs, however, it's more than useful for GMs of all types. The one issue I had with the book is the numerous typos. I know they get busy, but I've not seen another Paizo product with nearly as many typos; I felt the urge to make use of my ever-present red pen on the pages. Despite this, I recommend this product to any GM.


Excellently written, very helpful book!

5/5

First thing to keep in mind about my review for this book is that the Pathfinder Gamemastery Guide is not a Rules book, so we must not judge it at such. Instead, it is a book of tips for GMs, new or experienced. As an experienced GM (or DM) myself, I was originally hesitant to buy this book. What could it contain that I don't already know? Eventually, I had some money burning a hole in my pocket and I noticed it at my local Borders. So I figured, what the heck, I already have all the other Paizo products... mine as well complete my collection.

Well, there is good and bad news. The good news is that it did include a lot of information that I didn't consider before. I also realized better ways to do things and solutions to problems I didn't even realize I had. The next session I GMed after buying this book ran a lot more smoothly. Not just for the players, but the normal stress level of GMing was down. Some nice tips! Also, I find the NPC Gallery at the end of the book EXTREMELY useful for not only giving a base to start ones own NPCs from, but providing stat blocks for those random NPCs that you didn't anticipate your players interacting with much. I will also mention that the book is VERY WELL WRITTEN. It's simply a masterpiece.

The bad news is that the book probably IS more tailored to new GMs. I would highly recommend this book if you intend to GM for the first time, and if you have this book, let new GMs borrow it since it is more useful to them.

But overall, worth your money!


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It looks like the Kingmaker adventure path will be getting some mass combat rules which is great, is there any plans to include naval combat or ship rules in this book or any other book on the horizon?

Dark Archive

Just realized it got pushed back. :-(

So what amazing product has been put in its February slot?

Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

dm4hire wrote:

Just realized it got pushed back. :-(

So what amazing product has been put in its February slot?

We haven't added any products—we're just taking the time to do this right.

Dark Archive

Vic Wertz wrote:
dm4hire wrote:

Just realized it got pushed back. :-(

So what amazing product has been put in its February slot?

We haven't added any products—we're just taking the time to do this right.

And this is why we (your devoted fans) love you guys. The level of quality of work is simply unparalleled. I would rather wait an extra 30 days for a great book that im going to use for 10+ years then have that much sooner for an okay book.

Dark Archive

DragonBringerX wrote:
Vic Wertz wrote:
dm4hire wrote:

Just realized it got pushed back. :-(

So what amazing product has been put in its February slot?

We haven't added any products—we're just taking the time to do this right.
And this is why we (your devoted fans) love you guys. The level of quality of work is simply unparalleled. I would rather wait an extra 30 days for a great book that im going to use for 10+ years then have that much sooner for an okay book.

Hear hear! I have been totally blown away with the PF RPG core rulebook and the Bestiary, and on top of it all (having been so disappointed in most 3E supplements) I thought that APG simply couldn't add ANYTHING I would like or need or care about to the game -- however, having seen the playtest previews, I must confess that it appears I was wrong. Jason & The Paizo Design Team has NOT lost any "steam", and it looks like Paizo will actually EXPAND on the existing mechanics in innovative and exciting ways! If it means a few extra months of "polishing", I'm totally cool with that -- better that it will be done "right" than release something that is in serious need of houseruling/revision/errata. So, by all means take your time with GMG and APG! :)


Sounds great, I will definitely get a copy in 2010.

What I would also like to see in this book:


  • basic adventure design principles with level-dependent facts to consider; for example 'flight becomes available to PCs at level 5'
  • tips how to handle higher-level PC's abilities; for example 'how to set up challenging mystery plots after scry/commune become available'
  • tables with easy, challenging and hard DCs depending on PC level; makes it easier for a DM to set appropriate ad-hoc DCs for special situations


Kevin Mack wrote:
Ah well time to sell a kidney.

Then we can thank god we have 2!!


Preorder so far away....


I like everything I've read in the product description so far...

one additional thing I'd like to see is GM advice on how to create balanced prestige classes.

I dropped out of D&D after 3rd edition but before 3.5, so I don't know if this topic has been addressed anywhere else in the past. Moot point even if it was since we're talking about Pathfinder here, not D&D.

But I personally have a lot of ideas kickin around in me noggins for some prestige classes, but I sure could use some professional advice on how to make them balanced and playable and workable and fun and entertaining for me games, you know? :P


I have yet to find a G/DMG that really shows a person how to create a decent story. Plot, Conflict, etc. I have very little imagination when it comes to this kind of thing. Even if there's just a little chapter with tables that you can roll off of would be nice.

Just my 2 cp.


I would like a sentient book that understands everything about the universe and focuses it all down onto where I need the most help shoring up my DMing techniques! Yeah. Hyperlinked and with a plug-in to disguise gamer funk from players please.

;)


Seeing what Paizo has given us so far I am really looking forward to this one. I can't wait to see what they compile in here for us.

Dark Archive

I hope there will be pre-made encounters that feature terrain effects as well -- during the last session it took me some digging (in the middle of a combat) to find all the relevant rules and modifiers when someone asked "Can I charge or run in this forest, or do I need to roll an Acrobatics check? Does it cost two squares if I just move?".

I'd really, REALLY appreciate it if there would be a desert, forest, underwater, swamp, etc. encounter (one for each terrain, that is) that dealt with terrain modifiers and how to apply them; for example, "each creature can roll percentile dice to see if that square contains a tree" and "If someone uses Stealth...". Maybe these encounters could even list the most common skill checks associated with that terrain? It would be much more helpful than flipping between the skill and environment sections in the book when you're running, say, a combat in a cavern (with a slippery, uneven floor with several "levels" that require Climb checks to travel between) that features an underground river and a lake, plus half the combatants are making attacks from water against land-bound opponents who are taking cover behind stalacmites.

Anyway, just some thoughts. :)

Dark Archive

I didn't/couldn't read every post on this product, but did someone pipe up about rules dealing with high-level (12-13+ level) games/campaigns? Is is that covered under "broken"?

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

12-13 is OK, I consider it still mid-level. Stuff gets wonky at lvls 16+.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

eirip wrote:
I love the cover art. Is that going to be the final cover?

It's the final art, yes. The look of the cover could still change, but that should be pretty close.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Is there any chance for a full author list ? From what I've gathered, apart from the Paizo staff there are several freelancers on the project - Jason Nelson, Hal McLean and Richard "M'naaaar" Pett as far as I remember. Who else is contributing to the GMG ?

Also, kudos for this book Paizo. Anything you do for time-starved DMs is great.

Contributor

Mnaaaaaaar

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2008 Top 16

Mr. P is back!

Paizo Employee Creative Director

Gorbacz wrote:

Is there any chance for a full author list ? From what I've gathered, apart from the Paizo staff there are several freelancers on the project - Jason Nelson, Hal McLean and Richard "M'naaaar" Pett as far as I remember. Who else is contributing to the GMG ?

Also, kudos for this book Paizo. Anything you do for time-starved DMs is great.

We'll probably be announcing the full author list at some point. Not yet, though! :)


Hal Maclean wrote:
Mr. P is back!

HUZZAH!


If I preorder, will I get the pdf for free?

Scarab Sages

Twin Agate Dragons wrote:
If I preorder, will I get the pdf for free?

You have to be a subscriber to get the free PDF


DragonBelow wrote:
Twin Agate Dragons wrote:
If I preorder, will I get the pdf for free?
You have to be a subscriber to get the free PDF

Did they change it then? I know paizo gave away the core rulebook and bestiary to those that pre-ordered.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Erm, nope. There was no such promo - you had to subscribe to the RPG line in order to get the PDF.

Paizo Employee Franchise Manager

Gorbacz wrote:
Erm, nope. There was no such promo - you had to subscribe to the RPG line in order to get the PDF.

Yup, but if you preordered and then subscribed, your preorder was converted automagically into the subscription. Perhaps that's the cause of the confusion?

Contributor

My dear chaps and chapesses, Erik and James came down to let me out only yesterday. I've been locked in a moist chamber in the northern Marshes of Finland, with a steady drip drip drip until I completed Thousand Screams.

There are quite a few of my own screams in there, lots of screams in fact.

Screams.

Screams!

Wahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!

The Night!

The NIGHT!

Can't wait to see the gamemastery book to see what goodies we can unleash in the future.

Now, back to your cells cupcakes!

Slithers off to yorkshire.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Now I know why one could hear a faint scream in the howling northern wind lately ... Mr. Pett was writing his adventure.

Dark Archive

Richard Pett wrote:

My dear chaps and chapesses, Erik and James came down to let me out only yesterday. I've been locked in a moist chamber in the northern Marshes of Finland, with a steady drip drip drip until I completed Thousand Screams.

There are quite a few of my own screams in there, lots of screams in fact.

Screams.

Screams!

Wahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!

The Night!

The NIGHT!

Can't wait to see the gamemastery book to see what goodies we can unleash in the future.

Now, back to your cells cupcakes!

Slithers off to yorkshire.

So it *was* you I have heard howling in the chamber next to mine, during the cold, dark nights! I *thought* I recognised the desperate, otherworldly cries and incoherent sobbing, but I assumed it was only the North Wind or those damned Imps playing tricks with my own deranged mind. Good to know I still have some shreds of sanity and reasoning left! Having said that... I hope you enjoyed your stay in Finland, where the ideals and spirit of Cheliax reign supreme! ;)


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Richard Pett wrote:

My dear chaps and chapesses, Erik and James came down to let me out only yesterday. I've been locked in a moist chamber in the northern Marshes of Finland, with a steady drip drip drip until I completed Thousand Screams.

I really hope you didn't met her

Scarab Sages

Richard Pett wrote:

My dear chaps and chapesses, Erik and James came down to let me out only yesterday. I've been locked in a moist chamber in the northern Marshes of Finland, with a steady drip drip drip until I completed Thousand Screams.

Slithers off to Yorkshire.

{Fixed that for you; it's upper case, when you refer to the home of England's capital city...}

Slithers is right, or maybe Squelches.

Thanks to the recent blizzards and the sudden thaw, I hope you brought your bog-snorkelling kit.

Contributor

Snorter wrote:
Richard Pett wrote:

My dear chaps and chapesses, Erik and James came down to let me out only yesterday. I've been locked in a moist chamber in the northern Marshes of Finland, with a steady drip drip drip until I completed Thousand Screams.

Slithers off to Yorkshire.

{Fixed that for you; it's upper case, when you refer to the home of England's capital city...}

Slithers is right, or maybe Squelches.

Thanks to the recent blizzards and the sudden thaw, I hope you brought your bog-snorkelling kit.

Ah, but I was in Rotherham, and that's surely yorkshire

Squelches is right, I hope you have some ranks in swim.

Huzzah!

Contributor

Cormac wrote:
Richard Pett wrote:

My dear chaps and chapesses, Erik and James came down to let me out only yesterday. I've been locked in a moist chamber in the northern Marshes of Finland, with a steady drip drip drip until I completed Thousand Screams.

I really hope you didn't met her

Nice stuff cormac, alas all I got was vaughn in drag, singing down at the old bull and bush in baratone.


it says May, but i thought i heard at a gaming store it was supposed to hit shelves in march...or is that a different book?

Dark Archive

nicholas mork wrote:
it says May, but i thought i heard at a gaming store it was supposed to hit shelves in march...or is that a different book?

If I understood correctly, they pushed back the release date to "get it right" (i.e. some parts of the book still needed to be polished). And I'm glad that they did it -- it shows how dedicated to producing quality Paizo really is! :)


hmm... additional advanced rules for sanity and hauntings, you say?

cooooll

i personally like a little chocolate with my peanut bu... uh, i mean, horror with my fantasy.

Shadow Lodge

SamuraiSpirit wrote:

hmm... additional advanced rules for sanity and hauntings, you say?

cooooll

i personally like a little chocolate with my peanut bu... uh, i mean, horror with my fantasy.

Only makes sense, what with the relatively heavy Lovecraft influence on Golarion.


Kevin Mack wrote:
Ah well time to sell a kidney.

I hear you can get $90,000 for a testicle. And with roleplaying being almost as expensive a habit as hard drugs, you may just need it.


Sunos wrote:
Kevin Mack wrote:
Ah well time to sell a kidney.
I hear you can get $90,000 for a testicle. And with roleplaying being almost as expensive a habit as hard drugs, you may just need it.

Dang, $90,000? That's pretty tempting, ya know .... ;) Especially since the operation is a lot less invasive .... hmmm ....


Carnivorous_Bean wrote:
Sunos wrote:
Kevin Mack wrote:
Ah well time to sell a kidney.
I hear you can get $90,000 for a testicle. And with roleplaying being almost as expensive a habit as hard drugs, you may just need it.
Dang, $90,000? That's pretty tempting, ya know .... ;) Especially since the operation is a lot less invasive .... hmmm ....

And 50% of the population has two of those as well! And, weigh the odds. Those of us with a chance at reproduction only need one, while others who've tossed the option out the window for whatever reason (or have all the rugrats they want) don't need any!


But worth it as we all agree...lol


Every time I think Paizo is going to drive me insane with all the OUTSTANDING resources they have produced, they produce another one... dang...Well, just tallied up my cart for all of their back issue resources, and it looks like around $400... good thing I don't have to explain it to the wife, or she would have both my testicles AND the $180K to show for it.

The Exchange

Pathfinder Maps, Pawns Subscriber

Me likey!

Dark Archive

Zuxius wrote:
Me likey!

You likey me? ;P


Sunos wrote:
Kevin Mack wrote:
Ah well time to sell a kidney.
I hear you can get $90,000 for a testicle. And with roleplaying being almost as expensive a habit as hard drugs, you may just need it.

Why buy testicles?!

I mean, who'd WANT three?

GRU

Dark Archive

GRU wrote:
Sunos wrote:
Kevin Mack wrote:
Ah well time to sell a kidney.
I hear you can get $90,000 for a testicle. And with roleplaying being almost as expensive a habit as hard drugs, you may just need it.

Why buy testicles?!

I mean, who'd WANT three?

GRU

You're a fish... what do you know about human testicles?

Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

Asgetrion wrote:
GRU wrote:
Sunos wrote:
Kevin Mack wrote:
Ah well time to sell a kidney.
I hear you can get $90,000 for a testicle. And with roleplaying being almost as expensive a habit as hard drugs, you may just need it.

Why buy testicles?!

I mean, who'd WANT three?

GRU

You're a fish... what do you know about human testicles?

You've never heard of fish balls?


Coincidentally, Mr. Fishy's balls cast its shadow today and thus proclaimed six more weeks of winter. Brrr.

Dark Archive

Vic Wertz wrote:
Asgetrion wrote:
GRU wrote:
Sunos wrote:
Kevin Mack wrote:
Ah well time to sell a kidney.
I hear you can get $90,000 for a testicle. And with roleplaying being almost as expensive a habit as hard drugs, you may just need it.

Why buy testicles?!

I mean, who'd WANT three?

GRU

You're a fish... what do you know about human testicles?
You've never heard of fish balls?

Of course I have -- all Chelaxians are great culinarists! Now, fish balls are salty, but human testicles taste... a bit weird, like telephone-flavored ice cream! ;)

Dark Archive

Urizen wrote:
Coincidentally, Mr. Fishy's balls cast its shadow today and thus proclaimed six more weeks of winter. Brrr.

Are you sure it was Mr. Fishy?

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