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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Errata
Last Updated - 1/22/2014

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

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4.30/5 (based on 44 ratings)

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A game master's best friend

5/5

One thing I've learned by game mastering is that you can always learn. Every game session brings its load of questions and problems, and the GameMastery Guide is there to answer them. Game mastering is a hard thing to learn or teach, but this book is full of helpful tips that every GM should know. If there had to be a bible of GMing, I would choose this book for its great, straight to the point advices. Also, the tables are fantastic and enable a much faster play!


The fascinating PathfinderRPG:Game Mastery Guide

5/5

The Pathfinder RPG:GameMastery Guide is the best book on the subject. It leaves the Dungeon Master's Guide in the dust. You can set up your whole world and go as far as getting all the major people you need with no problems. It has all the charts you'll ever need to come up with and you can set up your whole game with a minimum of work. You will have tons of hours enjoying running the game or playing in the game. Paizo has brought together the best group of writers that could have been to make this the most enjoyable game. Your friends will want to play in your world and will find no problem enjoying the time they spend there. Keep up the great work. Hope you will continue to set up these books as this one is.


Best for newbies, but useful for everyone.

4/5

Getting a Game Master's Guide together for a role-playing game is pretty hard work. Everyone has a different opinion of what it should include. Thanks to the fact that the Pathfinder RPG already has all the necessary rules information in its Core Rulebook and Bestiary, Paizo manages to dodge this difficulty a bit with their GameMastery Guide, focusing on advice and tools that both new and experienced GMs can use. While there's a little rules information, the book is mostly chocked full of advice and tools ranging from random treasure tables to dozens of ready-to-use NPC stat blocks.

In terms of usefulness, the book is definitely going to be used more by new or inexperienced GMs. The bulk of the guide is advice ranging from getting a playing group together to world-building and designing adventures. Mind you, it's all good advice - the writers remain well-grounded in what is useful to gamers now, even bringing in technologies such as text messaging and wikis that can be useful tools for a GM. However, if you're an experienced GM, most of the advice amounts to a retelling of what you already know. The tables and stat blocks, however, are extremely useful in games, allowing any GM to speed things up by having a ready-made stat block of the city guard the PCs just enraged or a random table to roll on when the PCs discover a surprise cache of treasure. Whether this information justifies the price tag, though, is a matter of opinion. New GMs should definitely pick up this guide, as it is a great toolbox to learn how to run a game. More experienced GMs might find the book less useful outside of a few key sections. Fortunately, for the latter, there's always the option to just purchase the PDF for about $10 - an excellent compromise that allows everyone to use the wealth of material within on their own terms.


Superior Game Master Guide

5/5

Paizo delivers on the promise of offering something for the new and for the experienced.
I've been playing and running games since 1991, and most game mastery guides of the many systems I've used in the past usually review the same advice. That advice is present here, but there's more. For the first time I've read advice how to handle running a game in the context of the real world setting such as difficult players or who brings snacks and cleans up. I also enjoyed advice on how to reward players with more than just experience and loot, suggesting boons from npc contacts. I also enjoy ideas for alternate ideas for game settings such as the future or if everyone was evil.


Highly Recommended!

5/5

Found this gem on the shelves of my local Hastings bookstore last weekend. A great addition for veteran, and novice GMs alike.

Two claws up from the DragonDaddy!


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Asgetrion wrote:
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?

Would I lie to a Chelaxian dwarf who dances in the nude with only his beard as cover?

Uh...scratch that. ;)

Dark Archive

Urizen wrote:
Asgetrion wrote:
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?

Would I lie to a Chelaxian dwarf who dances in the nude with only his beard as cover?

Uh...scratch that. ;)

Who said that my beard covers anything? Maybe I like twirling it around as I dance, hey? ;)


Asgetrion wrote:
Who said that my beard covers anything? Maybe I like twirling it around as I dance, hey? ;)

Like a feathered boa or a whip? :P

Paizo Employee Franchise Manager

Ok, while I'm as much a fan of threadjacking as anyone, can we keep this off the product page for the next huge PFRPG release?

Owner - House of Books and Games LLC

yoda8myhead wrote:
Ok, while I'm as much a fan of threadjacking as anyone, can we keep this off the product page for the next huge PFRPG release?

And the beauty is, the look your avatar is giving is PERFECT for that statement :)

Sovereign Court

Pathfinder Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Charter Superscriber

I am very interested to know when the files for this book are going to be finalized and sent off to the printer...

Dark Archive

Oliver von Spreckelsen wrote:
I am very interested to know when the files for this book are going to be finalized and sent off to the printer...

Me too! And hopefully we'll be seeing some previews soon. :)

The Exchange

Pathfinder Maps, Pawns Subscriber
yoda8myhead wrote:
Ok, while I'm as much a fan of threadjacking as anyone, can we keep this off the product page for the next huge PFRPG release?

Well anyway...


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Asgetrion wrote:
And hopefully we'll be seeing some previews soon. :)

Yes, some previews would be nice! Maybe some artwork? Please?


And our wish is granted.

Dark Archive

Majuba wrote:
And our wish is granted.

Ah, my prayers to Asmodeus have been heard... and it probably helped that Wes traded his twisted, withered soul for an Erinyes secretary some years ago! ;)

The Exchange

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
Majuba wrote:
And our wish is granted.

How bad is it that I knew which spell they were using before I read the filename of the image?


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Majuba wrote:
And our wish is granted.

Paizo is great! Paizo is great! Paizo is great!


You mentioned "tables" in the blog post, made me think:

What are the chances that the missing SRD tables will make it into the GMG? Specifically I mean the tables for rolling basic weapon and armor types as treasure, but I think there are one or two other tables that got left out.

The Exchange

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
Evil Lincoln wrote:
What are the chances that the missing SRD tables will make it into the GMG? Specifically I mean the tables for rolling basic weapon and armor types as treasure, but I think there are one or two other tables that got left out.

Our understanding is that the GMG will have the random treasure tables that didn't make it into the Core Rulebook. (This is the MOST important thing in this book for me, at least.)


delabarre wrote:
How bad is it that I knew which spell they were using before I read the filename of the image?

I'll say it is not very bad at all. Especially if you say the same about my recognizing it. My son thought "Noooo, that's too obvious. They're casting Lightning Bolt metamagicked with the Fire Substitution feat."

I gave him points for creativity.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

Evil Lincoln wrote:

You mentioned "tables" in the blog post, made me think:

What are the chances that the missing SRD tables will make it into the GMG? Specifically I mean the tables for rolling basic weapon and armor types as treasure, but I think there are one or two other tables that got left out.

The GMG will have all the missing tables so you'll be able to roll up all sorts of random treasure! YAY!!!!


James Jacobs wrote:
The GMG will have all the missing tables so you'll be able to roll up all sorts of random treasure! YAY!!!!

I detect a hint of sarcasm. :)

You know what is strange? I offer this as game design fodder:

I don't roll random treasure, but the absence of the fundamental equipment tables bothered me immensely. So much space was taken up in the CRB by tables for generating treasure randomly, including power types for weapons.

It's never really been a tool that I reached for, but the one time I reached for it (to populate my shops according to PRPG's new availability rule) I found it was an incomplete system. Since I would have been perfectly okay with no randomization of treasure at all, my next thought was: why is this taking up space in the book if I can't generate random treasure with it?

The tables are in the GMG, so I consider the offense to be entirely redressed. Now that it's a process that I can use from start to finish — even though I will probably NEVER do so — the presence of those other tables in the CRB is now justified. The heavens have aligned and all is right with the world!

Now, if I am really bored and I want to roll to generate every item for sale in Magnimar, I CAN! I won't. But it's nice to have the option.

I know this is kind of silly, but I figure there might be some value in it for future design consideration. (the end)

Paizo Employee Creative Director

Evil Lincoln wrote:
James Jacobs wrote:
The GMG will have all the missing tables so you'll be able to roll up all sorts of random treasure! YAY!!!!
I detect a hint of sarcasm. :)

What you're detecting is my own dissatisfaction and frustration with the fact that the tables were missing from the core rulebook in the first place. They SHOULD have been in there. Putting them in the GMG fixes the problem, but it's still frustrating.


James Jacobs wrote:
What you're detecting is my own dissatisfaction and frustration with the fact that the tables were missing from the core rulebook in the first place. They SHOULD have been in there. Putting them in the GMG fixes the problem, but it's still frustrating.

Oh. In that case, I applaud your honesty — last time I raised the topic the response seemed like "Eh you didn't need those tables anyway." And that's sort of true, I didn't.

It was a pretty minute oversight in a 500 page masterpiece, don't dwell on it too much.


This book is more like Dungeon Master Guide I or more like Dungeon Master Guide II ? Because i liked a lot of the later.

Or it will be all new ?


Not sure if its already been said or not, but if we order via Paizo, will we also get a PDF version?

Thanks for your time.

The Exchange RPG Superstar 2010 Top 32

If you subscribe to the RPG line you get free pdfs. Actually, you get free pdfs for all the lines you subscribe to (all the lines that have pdf versions). You also receive the Pathfinder Advantage: 15% off of suggested retail price of all products on paizo.com (with the exception of non-Paizo PDFs). This 15% discount even applies to other Paizo subscriptions that aren't normally discounted!

If you just order the book you do not get a free pdf.

Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

carborundum wrote:

If you subscribe to the RPG line you get free pdfs. Actually, you get free pdfs for all the lines you subscribe to (all the lines that have pdf versions). You also receive the Pathfinder Advantage: 15% off of suggested retail price of all products on paizo.com (with the exception of non-Paizo PDFs). This 15% discount even applies to other Paizo subscriptions that aren't normally discounted!

If you just order the book you do not get a free pdf.

Mostly right... but the Pathfinder Advantage is a benefit for Adventure Path subscribers only.

Sovereign Court

YUp it was advantage and the free pdf's that finally convinced me to go all out on subs..in the end even with postage it works out a lot cheaper than buying the dead tree retail in the UK and then buying the pdf's as well.

Plus I got fed up with the delays imposed on my FLGS by Esdevium..

The Exchange RPG Superstar 2010 Top 32

Oops - thanks for fixing that Vic! My own version was a bit rambling so I copied it from the subscriber page. The Adventure Path subscriber page, I guess :)

Shadow Lodge

Wellard wrote:

YUp it was advantage and the free pdf's that finally convinced me to go all out on subs..in the end even with postage it works out a lot cheaper than buying the dead tree retail in the UK and then buying the pdf's as well.

Plus I got fed up with the delays imposed on my FLGS by Esdevium..

Same for me. Things seem to take FOREVER to ship to APO addresses, so the PDF versions are great.

Shadow Lodge

In fact, I just today recieved a book (Shackled City AP Hardcover) that was originally shipped out on January 19.


I think this will be the part I'm most looking forward to: "Tips for creating memorable Non-Player Characters, guidelines for followers, cohorts, sages, and hirelings, and more than 100 stat blocks for common NPCs such as guardsmen, knights, bandits, pirates, villagers, and nobles."

L


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

OK, just two more months to wait.
When will we see some previews of the content?


Stupid question. Why did this get pushed up till July 2010? Thanks.

Paizo Employee CEO

MRblahface wrote:
Stupid question. Why did this get pushed up till July 2010? Thanks.

Because we refuse to publish a book that isn't the best that it can possibly be. Sometimes that bites us in the rear end when it comes to hitting deadlines, but I would rather have that happen than publish a book that we aren't 100% happy with just to hit a deadline.

-Lisa

The Exchange

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
Lisa Stevens wrote:
Because we refuse to publish a book that isn't the best that it can possibly be. Sometimes that bites us in the rear end when it comes to hitting deadlines, but I would rather have that happen than publish a book that we aren't 100% happy with just to hit a deadline.

<insert frustrated gnashing of teeth>

Would it be feasible to get a preview PDF of the random treasure tables to tide us over?


Lisa Stevens wrote:
MRblahface wrote:
Stupid question. Why did this get pushed up till July 2010? Thanks.

Because we refuse to publish a book that isn't the best that it can possibly be. Sometimes that bites us in the rear end when it comes to hitting deadlines, but I would rather have that happen than publish a book that we aren't 100% happy with just to hit a deadline.

-Lisa

Lisa,

I am happy with that response. I just gotta say that I love PFRPG, my friends love PFRPG and I got some one into PFRPG, who loves PFRPG! It is always better to push something back to polish it and give it a little more love then release it prematurely. Thank you for the response and like I said It was a stupid question.

-MRblahface

Paizo Employee CEO

MRblahface wrote:

Lisa,

I am happy with that response. I just gotta say that I love PFRPG, my friends love PFRPG and I got some one into PFRPG, who loves PFRPG! It is always better to push something back to polish it and give it a little more love then release it prematurely. Thank you for the response and like I said It was a stupid question.

-MRblahface

Trust me, nobody is more frustrated when something slips a deadline date here than me and the rest of the staff. It is like a purple worm, gnawing at your insides. But I would rather have that purple worm gnawing than release a bad product. Now I wish we could have had a slam dunk, killer book on schedule, and that is something that we will learn from this book and hopefully make strides towards for the next ones.

-Lisa

Paizo Employee Creative Director

delabarre wrote:
Lisa Stevens wrote:
Because we refuse to publish a book that isn't the best that it can possibly be. Sometimes that bites us in the rear end when it comes to hitting deadlines, but I would rather have that happen than publish a book that we aren't 100% happy with just to hit a deadline.

<insert frustrated gnashing of teeth>

Would it be feasible to get a preview PDF of the random treasure tables to tide us over?

Stripping out the tables and then relaying them out as a separate PDF is, unfortunately, exactly the type of side-project that makes books late. It might only make the book a few days or a week late (table layout is probably the most DIFFICULT part of layout for a book like this, because it's tough making the tables look good AND do what they need to do), but it's kind of like the death of a thousand cuts. I'd rather keep it to the death of 995 cuts (or less) when it comes to such a fate.

So... we'll see what we can do regarding previews and stuff, but something extensive is relatively unlikely.


Hey No problem with it coming out later as long as its a great book like all Paizo books have been

The Exchange

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
James Jacobs wrote:

Stripping out the tables and then relaying them out as a separate PDF is, unfortunately, exactly the type of side-project that makes books late. It might only make the book a few days or a week late (table layout is probably the most DIFFICULT part of layout for a book like this, because it's tough making the tables look good AND do what they need to do), but it's kind of like the death of a thousand cuts. I'd rather keep it to the death of 995 cuts (or less) when it comes to such a fate.

So... we'll see what we can do regarding previews and stuff, but something extensive is relatively unlikely.

Okay. I appreciate that you guys are moving at 125% of Safe Cruising Speed, and there's not a lot you can do if the balrog illustration comes back from the artist at the eleventh hour...with fairy wings...except bite the bullet and slip a few weeks.

Dark Archive

Lisa Stevens wrote:
MRblahface wrote:

Lisa,

I am happy with that response. I just gotta say that I love PFRPG, my friends love PFRPG and I got some one into PFRPG, who loves PFRPG! It is always better to push something back to polish it and give it a little more love then release it prematurely. Thank you for the response and like I said It was a stupid question.

-MRblahface

Trust me, nobody is more frustrated when something slips a deadline date here than me and the rest of the staff. It is like a purple worm, gnawing at your insides. But I would rather have that purple worm gnawing than release a bad product. Now I wish we could have had a slam dunk, killer book on schedule, and that is something that we will learn from this book and hopefully make strides towards for the next ones.

-Lisa

You know, i was just wondering this myself, and I can say i could not be any more happy to hear this. If a product is delayed due to shipping errors i get frustrated, but if a product is delayed so that it can be finished correctly, then by all means do so. In a year or 2, people wont remember the PFGMG was delayed a few months, but they will remember if it was poorly edited, written, art'ed (?), etc. So thank you for the taking the extra time (no really).


Actually glad its being slightly delayed as May was looking to be a big month anyway subs wise..and we don't want the warehouse staff having hernias do we


We all know that's Karzoug, but is that Kazavon from CotCT hanging out with him?

Paizo Employee Creative Director

Ice Titan wrote:
We all know that's Karzoug, but is that Kazavon from CotCT hanging out with him?

Nope. Kazavon is a LOT bigger. That's just some mook dragon Karzoug subdued.


Can you guys please put this on pdf? This would be amazing and I have no time for looking through a book.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

bathayer wrote:
Can you guys please put this on pdf? This would be amazing and I have no time for looking through a book.

We do PDF versions of all of our books. So... yup! We will!


James Jacobs wrote:
Ice Titan wrote:
We all know that's Karzoug, but is that Kazavon from CotCT hanging out with him?
Nope. Kazavon is a LOT bigger. That's just some mook dragon Karzoug subdued.

I figured it was Ghlorofaex...

Sovereign Court

KnightErrantJR wrote:
This is exactly the type of thing I was hoping for when it came to the "other" hardcovers for the PFRPG game. Something that is going to be a good toolbox for a GM.

Couldn't agree more. My only sadness is that I'm going to have to wait till July 2010 to get my grubby hands on it. Bah! Looking forward to all the new Pathfinder books in the future.

Sovereign Court

Lisa Stevens wrote:


Because we refuse to publish a book that isn't the best that it can possibly be. Sometimes that bites us in the rear end when it comes to hitting deadlines, but I would rather have that happen than publish a book that we aren't 100% happy with just to hit a deadline.

-Lisa

A decision that does Paizo credit IMHO. I hate buying RPG books and then finding typos and bad cut/paste jobs ruining the overall grammar. As we say in software development. Cut and Paste is an invention of the Devil. You wouldn't believe how much source code I messed up by careless cutting and pasting, unless I'm very thorough and careful -which is not as easy as it seems.

Hope you have good copy-editors at Paizo. I can't begin to tell you how many books I purchase by well-known authors from "respected" publishers only to find unacceptable numbers of typos. OK the odd typo is easy to ignore. Spell checkers are your friend, but spell checkers only correct words spelled incorrectly. Grammar checker software is for the most part pretty primitive and relying on these products is perilous. Nothing can replace careful reading by the copy editor. Kind regards and good luck with Paizo and its product lines


Just curious - why is it already "pending" in "my subscriptions"?


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Maps, Rulebook Subscriber

I'm ready to hear about the ...and much, much more bullet point in the product description ;).

Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

I've updated the product description and cover image to reflect the finished product.

(The only change in the cover is that the "M" is now correctly capitalized.)

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