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

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4.30/5 (based on 44 ratings)

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Awesome!

5/5

From what I'd seen, this was definitely going to be a useful book and it didn't disappoint! Packed with some of the best advice for GMs, tables galore and a who's who of generic fantasy NPCs, this book is a MUST for GMs of any game :)


Refreshing

5/5

This book is an example of why I have converted to Pathfinder.

While I understand that a bit of the content has been recycled from numerous other books and I have read it before, the package as a whole comes across fresh and well written.

As someone who has the DMG from every edition of D&D and several other games and even Gary Gygax's Dungeon Mastering novel/handbook I was not expecting a lot despite Paizo's excellent track record.

As I start my new campaign, I am going for minimalism. I have three bookcases of RPG books and toolkits but with my Pathfinder Campaign, I want to have a small selection of books to reference. The stats, charts, NPCs and locations in this book replace many other sources I would have to use. Core Rules + Bestiary + Players Book 2 (when it comes out) + iPhone Rules App and this book will have me set up happily.

Worth every cent (despite very high Aussie prices). Get it!!


Very well done, and a handy all-in-one GM toolkit

5/5

As others have said the production values are outstanding in the Gamemastery Guide. My expectations were skewed a bit; I was reasonably expecting a book that contained a great deal of "how to" advice and suggestions for new GMs, maybe some more advanced advice for the veteran GMs, followed by a smattering of useful content that can be applied at the game table as-is. Instead, I was delighted to find a book that provided a very concise overview of all the relevant steps and points of interest a GM is or will find useful in the course of his "career" followed by extensive chapters full of hard, ready-to-go charts, tables, stats and advice for the GM to use. Not just "when you have time, sit down and roll up the dungeon" type stuff, but the kind of material that facilitates the sandbox-style on-the-fly kind of gaming I prefer. You know, the kind where you're players have wandered in to a new town, and after reviewing the scenario you have laid out decide that they are much more interested in chasing butterflies out yonder over "that castle on the hill" that you had drawn on their map but never considered the ramifications of? This book will give you plenty of useful tools to figure that stuff out, on the spot if needed. The extensive catalog of fully statted sample NPCs in the back is an extra perk. All of this material will prove equally useful to a novice GM like my wife or a veteran GM like myself, I feel. Only those who have a phobia of, or are allergic to charts need not apply!

Anyway, I'd use this book with more than just Pathfinder, as it's a good toolkit for any sort of fantasy game, but as a pathfinder GM book its invaluable to me and I am now plotting out my next campaign in Pathfinder with it. So far my favorite RPG buy this year.


Good, but not what I thought it would be.

3/5

I will admit I was a little disappointed with this book. I was under the impression from previews that there would be some airship & space travel rules here. Wasn't expecting much, but at least a solid look at any type of vehicle rules. I appreciate the tables & NPC stats, but that wasn't exactly why I wanted this book. I have other products that can fill all the charts & stats out.

I would have given it 4 stars, if I judged this book solely on production values. I was expecting something else, though. My rating is from the disappointment. I have been GMing since 1985, so I have read most of the advice from other sources. Nice to have it all in one place, but not really much I haven't seen already.

I recommend this for beginning GMs, but the value isn't as high for experienced Game Masters.


Gorgeous, useful, but with filler

4/5

First off, this book is gorgeous. Everything from the front cover, to the layout, interior artwork, to the back cover, etc. looks incredible. If Scarlett Johansson were a book, she might look like this.

As far as content, Chapters 6-9 I found particularly well done and useful. This includes material on world building, adventuring, some advanced topics (eg haunts), NPCs, etc. Specifically, the questions to think about in Chapter 6 and the tables in Chapter 7 will have the greatest utility for my game.

That said, parts of this book are rehash or feel like an annoying conversation with a stranger who insists on pointing out the obvious. Filler? Or material for novice GMs? You decide. For example, I'm fairly confident that you don't need to pay $40.00 for a book that tells you young children might be disruptive to your game. Or that someone may have an allergy to animal fur. In addition, some of the rewards section is just cut and paste from the core rulebook (EG Table 5-9 in GMG = Table 15-4 in the CR [and many other tables in that chapter]).

With that, I am not disappointed with my purchase. It will certainly have some use and I will admire the artwork for some time to come. It's really 3.5 stars for me but I decided to round up because of the presentation.


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camelCase?


I am excited about this book.

Does anyone know if it will have comparable things to the Dungeon Masters guide II for 3.5? I felt alot of that was useful. If this book did the trick I would retire the Dungeon Masters guide II.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

Mournblade94 wrote:

I am excited about this book.

Does anyone know if it will have comparable things to the Dungeon Masters guide II for 3.5? I felt alot of that was useful. If this book did the trick I would retire the Dungeon Masters guide II.

There'll be some overlap, but not 100% overlap. Both books will still be helpful.


I'm really looking forward to this book :D

I must say though, I hope that the 'difficult player types' section (or some other section) will go over how to deal with stealthy characters. The stealth rules are kind of vauge and spread out in the player's guide (they weren't so great it 3.5 either) and it seems like different people have completely different ideas of how and when stealth can work.

Paizo Employee Chief Creative Officer, Publisher

The book doesn't cover how to deal with stealthy characters. The problem players section is more about how to deal with rules lawyers, inattentive players, newbies, etc.

The Exchange

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
Matrixryu wrote:

I'm really looking forward to this book :D

I must say though, I hope that the 'difficult player types' section (or some other section) will go over how to deal with stealthy characters. The stealth rules are kind of vauge and spread out in the player's guide (they weren't so great it 3.5 either) and it seems like different people have completely different ideas of how and when stealth can work.

That might be worth starting a thread over in Rules Questions.

Dark Archive

Erik Mona wrote:

The book doesn't cover how to deal with stealthy characters. The problem players section is more about how to deal with rules lawyers, inattentive players, newbies, etc.

Oh thats easy, kill them all and let Lisa sort them out. :)


Erik Mona" wrote:
The book doesn't cover how to deal with stealthy characters. The problem players section is more about how to deal with rules lawyers, inattentive players, newbies, etc.

I had a feeling that would be the case. Hah, I'll have to read the rules lawyers section to see if I can get myself to be less of one when I'm a player as opposed to a GM ;)

delabarre wrote:
That might be worth starting a thread over in Rules Questions.

Lol, it seems like there's a dozen threads about various issues and questions about stealth. The one thing they have in common is that they never end with everyone agreeing. At the moment, how good stealth is basically depends on the GM, and that's why I was wondering if it would be in this book. Maybe I will try putting together a giant 'stealth questions' list to see if I can get an offical response though.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Well, how good Stealth is basically depends on the GM. :)

Paizo Employee Creative Director

Gorbacz wrote:
Well, how good Stealth is basically depends on the GM. :)

Or Diplomacy.

Or illusions.

Or crafting magic items.

Or bards.

"GM interpretation" doesn't only affect Stealth, in other words. :-P


James Jacobs wrote:
Gorbacz wrote:
Well, how good Stealth is basically depends on the GM. :)

Or Diplomacy.

Or illusions.

Or crafting magic items.

Or bards.

"GM interpretation" doesn't only affect Stealth, in other words. :-P

Exactly :D

I guess it would have been better for me to ask about a 'GM Interpretations' section with recommendations about those sorts of issues rather than a stealth section. I guess I'll just keep on reading the forums though.


Any information on the PDF price?

Liberty's Edge

Any hint (other than "June") as to an actual street-date, yet?


Sorry if this has already been answered!

How will this book compare to the DMG and DMGII of 3.5? I found the GM section in the core book to be... lacking some useful detail for newbie GM's, so I was just wondering.

I'm going to buy it anyway though :)

Paizo Employee Creative Director

english_petal wrote:

Sorry if this has already been answered!

How will this book compare to the DMG and DMGII of 3.5? I found the GM section in the core book to be... lacking some useful detail for newbie GM's, so I was just wondering.

I'm going to buy it anyway though :)

If we did our job right, it will be better than the DMG and the DMG II.


James Jacobs wrote:
english_petal wrote:

Sorry if this has already been answered!

How will this book compare to the DMG and DMGII of 3.5? I found the GM section in the core book to be... lacking some useful detail for newbie GM's, so I was just wondering.

I'm going to buy it anyway though :)

If we did our job right, it will be better than the DMG and the DMG II.

i have faith

The Exchange Contributor, RPG Superstar 2008 Top 6

I'm gonna go ahead and edit that "if" right out of that post, it makes it more accurate :)


Just read the new blog post about the GM Guide. I have a question about the NPC stat blocks:

Will there be ship captain and deck hand stats among the NPCs? I really need generic seafaring types for my campaign!

Scarab Sages Contributor, RPG Superstar 2008 Top 4, Legendary Games

Denim N Leather wrote:

Just read the new blog post about the GM Guide. I have a question about the NPC stat blocks:

Will there be ship captain and deck hand stats among the NPCs? I really need generic seafaring types for my campaign!

There are!


Jason Nelson wrote:
Denim N Leather wrote:

Just read the new blog post about the GM Guide. I have a question about the NPC stat blocks:

Will there be ship captain and deck hand stats among the NPCs? I really need generic seafaring types for my campaign!

There are!

*Sigh of relief*

Awesome! Cause the thought of rolling up all these characters from scratch using Stormwrack was driving me to drink lol.


Sample NPC statistics? For town guards? You mean, the 2nd "most killed by PCs" creature of all times (#1 being the goblin)? How come no one ever thought about that before? I'm buyin'!

Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

Pravus wrote:
Any information on the PDF price?

It will be $9.99.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

10 bucks ? Paizo wins.

Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

Floyd Wesel wrote:
Any hint (other than "June") as to an actual street-date, yet?

If you look at our Product Schedule page, you'll see we currently estimate having it in our warehouse in mid-June, and the retail release date is usually about two weeks after that.

The Exchange

This might be a stupid question, but is there anything in it for players rather than gms, or should we save our money for the books coming out later this summer?

Paizo Employee Creative Director

Logan the Great wrote:
This might be a stupid question, but is there anything in it for players rather than gms, or should we save our money for the books coming out later this summer?

As with the vast majority of our books, there's usually a few things in there that players might enjoy... but the title of the book should lay it out that this book is primarily aimed at Game Masters.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Maps, Pawns, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Vic Wertz wrote:
Pravus wrote:
Any information on the PDF price?
It will be $9.99.

Not that I'm going to complain, but I'm a little curious as to why the cheap entry point on this product?

It sounds like this is nearly completely original content... and it doesn't sound like it is a necessary book for running the game?

It sounds like a ridiculously AWESOME book, though.

Dark Archive

Perram wrote:
Vic Wertz wrote:
Pravus wrote:
Any information on the PDF price?
It will be $9.99.

Not that I'm going to complain, but I'm a little curious as to why the cheap entry point on this product?

It sounds like this is nearly completely original content... and it doesn't sound like it is a necessary book for running the game?

It sounds like a ridiculously AWESOME book, though.

My guess is cause it is part of the default 3 book core set, established by DnD over 30 years ago. Players Handbook, Gamemaster Guide and Monster book. So by having cheap PDF's for those three books it is a easy buy in for groups to try Pathfinder. But thats just my guess.


The "unusual options" from today's blog might actually convince me to use Pathfinder for something.

Though you listed "Space Travel" twice.

The Exchange

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
SilvercatMoonpaw wrote:
Though you listed "Space Travel" twice.

They like space travel. ;-)


After seeing the new pics for this, I wish I had been sitting on the toilet...or wearing a diaper! Can't wait to get this book!!


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
hedgeknight wrote:
After seeing the new pics for this, I wish I had been sitting on the toilet...or wearing a diaper! Can't wait to get this book!!

Too Much Information, Hedgeknight! :D


This looks to have the potential to be my favorite book. Notice I didn't say gaming book. I said book. Got time to kill, pull out the GameMastery Guide. On a long trip (where I am NOT the driver, lol), pull out the GameMastery Guide. Doctor's visit, GameMastery Guide.

You get the idea.


ericthecleric wrote:
hedgeknight wrote:
After seeing the new pics for this, I wish I had been sitting on the toilet...or wearing a diaper! Can't wait to get this book!!
Too Much Information, Hedgeknight! :D

Yeah, that's like enough to get you arrested in some states.

Dark Archive

ericthecleric wrote:
hedgeknight wrote:
After seeing the new pics for this, I wish I had been sitting on the toilet...or wearing a diaper! Can't wait to get this book!!
Too Much Information, Hedgeknight! :D

Yeah I agree way TMI.


Everything I see on this makes me glad I have it on pre order.


This book is what I've always wanted from a GM book. I'm going to do whatever I can to get the money for this book, even steal a kidney if I have to (Selling my own would just be crazy).

Dark Archive

Almost finished listening to Know Direction Episode 10.

It's resold this book to me, when I'd forgotten I wanted it in the first place.

p.s. Wes is a good laugh to listen to.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I love the cover. I can imagine what it says: "Welcome, I am Runelord Karzoug the Claimer, master of Xin-Shalast and scion of Thassilion. My burning glaive rests on my lap, my hand is on the globe of world domination, my pet dragon is languishing behind my throne, there is a glass of frosted orange juice on my table and the question that can't help but to come on my mind is: and you are ?"


Looks like I need to resubscribe to that feed.


Vic Wertz wrote:
Floyd Wesel wrote:
Any hint (other than "June") as to an actual street-date, yet?
If you look at our Product Schedule page, you'll see we currently estimate having it in our warehouse in mid-June, and the retail release date is usually about two weeks after that.

Two weeks after mid-June? So that's almost in July! CAN'T... WAIT... ANY LONGER...

Silver Crusade

Gorbacz wrote:
I love the cover. I can imagine what it says: "Welcome, I am Runelord Karzoug the Claimer, master of Xin-Shalast and scion of Thassilion. My burning glaive rests on my lap,"

Kyra: There's an ointment for that.

Valeros: Yeah, it really works too!


GroovyTaxi wrote:
Vic Wertz wrote:
Floyd Wesel wrote:
Any hint (other than "June") as to an actual street-date, yet?
If you look at our Product Schedule page, you'll see we currently estimate having it in our warehouse in mid-June, and the retail release date is usually about two weeks after that.
Two weeks after mid-June? So that's almost in July! CAN'T... WAIT... ANY LONGER...

You could always subscribe to the PFRPG line and get it in mid-June.


gimme, gimme, GIMME!


I know this has been asked before, but I found the replies rather unsatisfactory.

What are this book's main selling points for someone who has both the DMG and DMG2? The product summary covers what seems to be just more of the same, and I don't really care if it has "more" content if "more" content just means that it has some new stuff and the rest is just an updated version of the previous two books' tips and advice. I am also unimpressed by the touted number of tables, as it kinda screams "filler" to me, with the manifold random X generators available out there.

Don't get me wrong: Pathfinder RPG is one of the best things that has happened to this business in a long while, and I really want to support the product. I jumped aboard because it would enable me to make use of my considerable 3.X library without having to buy everything all over again except for the Core Rulebook itself, but this sounds just like the type of overlap I *didn't* want PF to be...

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Viriato wrote:

I know this has been asked before, but I found the replies rather unsatisfactory.

What are this book's main selling points for someone who has both the DMG and DMG2? The product summary covers what seems to be just more of the same, and I don't really care if it has "more" content if "more" content just means that it has some new stuff and the rest is just an updated version of the previous two books' tips and advice. I am also unimpressed by the touted number of tables, as it kinda screams "filler" to me, with the manifold random X generators available out there.

Don't get me wrong: Pathfinder RPG is one of the best things that has happened to this business in a long while, and I really want to support the product. I jumped aboard because it would enable me to make use of my considerable 3.X library without having to buy everything all over again except for the Core Rulebook itself, but this sounds just like the type of overlap I *didn't* want PF to be...

Dunno about you, but having tables to randomly generate the things that most often require random generation (Inn names, tavern menus) plus 100+ generic NPC statblocks is enough to sell this book to me.

Also, new city stablocks, chase rules, sanity rules, haunts ... the list goes on.


Gorbacz wrote:
Also, new city stablocks, chase rules, sanity rules, haunts ... the list goes on.

All of which have already been covered before, some of them twice, *and* in a fashion that's compatible with the current PF ruleset. I'm not saying it can't be done better, but that's the type of stuff one might expect in a rules conversion web enhancement, or the like. I am more than capable of getting my own fluff (not even intended to be a pun), so crunch is what I'm mostly after in a product like this, and thus far it doesn't look like I'll be gaining anything new from it.

I want to be sold on Pathfinder rulebooks, I really do, but from what is presently known, there's nothing in this book that would lead me to preorder it. Guess I'll be waiting to know exactly what "AND MUCH, MUCH MORE!" is...

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I'm really curious where you have Pathfinder haunt and city statblock rules "covered before, some of them twice". Because as far as I know, both of those will be introduced in GMG.


Viriato wrote:
I want to be sold on Pathfinder rulebooks, I really do, but from what is presently known, there's nothing in this book that would lead me to preorder it. Guess I'll be waiting to know exactly what "AND MUCH, MUCH MORE!" is...

For that I can only suggest keeping an eye on, and looking though, the Paizo blog as the release of the Gamemastery Guide gets closer. It might just reveal what you are looking for.


Gorbacz wrote:
I'm really curious where you have Pathfinder haunt and city statblock rules "covered before, some of them twice". Because as far as I know, both of those will be introduced in GMG.

They've been covered "in a fashion that's compatible with the current PF ruleset" (to quote the poster) in previous adventure paths. The new versions might be revamped slightly, of course.

----

This doesn't seem like my kind of book. Philosophy (whether it's "philosophy of gaming" or "philosophy of life") usually falls into two categories for me: obvious truisms (in which case I don't need someone pointing them out to me) or doubtful opinions (in which case I prefer my own, non-doubtful opinions).

The random tables might be neat, though.

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