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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Average product rating:

4.30/5 (based on 44 ratings)

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Simply Amazing

5/5

Despite the fact that this sort of information has been presented before for previous versions of the game, the presentation here is truly stunning. On top of all the useful information on running the game, the sheer amount of useful tables and stat blocks means I'll be coming back to this book again and again in my home game. Great work!


Not what I expected

2/5

Looking through this, I have to say it seems to be mostly a repeat of what I have seen from WotC's Dungeon Master Guides. I clearly received the wrong impression for this book.

The saving grace from getting just 1 star from me were the tables and the NPC write ups. Other than that, I didn't get what I really was expecting from this book. Which was in depth gaming mechanics for some tools GMs really need.

For example, on the sections for Space Travel, Future Tech, or Time Travel, there's no solid game mechanics for running these in your games. Just advice. These are the sorts of things, even if only for one adventure, a GM needs to have on hand. But they weren't available.

The Gambling section was another. I wholeheartedly got this in hopes there'd be a few pages worth of solid game mechanics for running Gambling scenarios and using the Profession (gambling) and other skills for the mechanics.

To use as a comparison, Dungeon Master's Guide 2 from Wizards of the Coast provided some decent game mechanics for "Running a Business". I wanted to see more game mechanics for scenarios a DM wants to run than a half a book of advice. I was sorely disappointed in this.

Maybe something for Paizo to consider if they decide to do a "GameMastery Guide 2"?


Great book, but you may have seen much of it before

4/5

This is a comprehensive GMing guide. It's one part AEG Toolbox, one part DMG 2 (for 3.5), and one part Robin's Laws.

If you're new to GMing, and/or don't have any of the aforementioned works, it's five stars all the way. Don't hesitate to buy this book.

If, on the other hand, you've read (and loved) some of those earlier works, or have many years of GMing experience, you'll still find something here -- but not all of it may be new. It's still a great book, but I'd say it's a three star book for older hands. The PDF is still well worth the price, but I'd skip hard copy.

(****-)


Swiss Army Knife for the DM

5/5

This book is supposed to be useful for both veteran GMs with three bookshelves of 3.5 material and new Pathfinder GMs who don't have such experience nor library. It's hard to do a good book for both those audiences, and I think that Paizo pulled it out perfectly.

A veteran will likely find some of the GMG material "old story", while a newbie will never use some of the advice on more advanced world building topics, but this book is useful for both. The NPC gallery is alone worth the asking price, as are new rules for settlements (city statblocks that actually mean something more than telling you that 89.5% citizens are human).

Also, random tables. You can't have enough of these. And finally, the "words every DM should know" page is golden. Especially for non-native English speakers who can bump their Lingustics skill up by a rank just by learning all the words on that page.


Pathfinder RPG - Gamemastery Guide

3/5

After reviewing the material in this book, all I can say is that I'm glad I only paid $10 for the PDF version, it's a good book and full of useful information, but mostly rehashed from similar 3.5 material. If you absolutely must have the hardcover look around on the web for a better price because $40 is just too much for this book.


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Dark Archive

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

I'd recommend you listen to the latest episode of Know Direction. In that episode, F gives a rather comprehensive description of what the book's about.

Dark Archive

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.

haunt and chase rules are both from the APs. I would imagine there will be more detail though.

I can see viriatoe's point though, and the book won't suit everyone. This isn't a DMG, it's a different beast and some people will want to wait and see.

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2008 Top 16

hogarth wrote:

The random tables might be neat, though.

That's the section Richard Pett and I worked on. I think we turned in something like 120 to 130 pages worth of lists and tables (and nearly 40,000 words).

Wes told us to make these lists useful for both beginners and old hands at running games so there's quite a range of stuff in them. I don't know if I should get too specific before the book actually comes to light but there's some really fun stuff in it.


Ravenmantle wrote:
I'd recommend you listen to the latest episode of Know Direction. In that episode, F gives a rather comprehensive description of what the book's about.

Thanks. I'll check it out.

Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

Blazej wrote:
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.

Yep—what he said. We've really only just started to reveal what's between the covers.


I can't wait to get my copy, have it pre-ordered. :)


quick question, I know that if we subscribe we get the pdf for free, but I was wondering if we get the free pdf if we preorder, (I personally am hoping it is a yes but doubting that will be the case.)

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

No, but you can pre-order by subscribing :)

Dark Archive

TheJew wrote:
quick question, I know that if we subscribe we get the pdf for free, but I was wondering if we get the free pdf if we preorder, (I personally am hoping it is a yes but doubting that will be the case.)

No but you can as mentioned subscribe and get the PDF for free and then if you really wanted to you could cancel afterwards if you didn't want the Advance Players guide which is the next book.

Paizo Employee CEO

Viriato wrote:
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.

Also, remember that part of what we are trying to do with the PFRPG is to keep rulebooks in print so that new players and GMs can have access to this information. We can't make any assumptions that all of our customers have all the 3.5 era books you mention. All of them are out of print and thus not available at retail stores. GMs with huge libraries to draw upon will find more overlap in our rulebooks, but after looking through the GMG this weekend, there is a LOT of stuff that I don't have in my 1,000 book collection. Whether this is enough of a difference for somebody who has a big library to make the new book worthwhile is a decision only you can make. But you will see a mix of new and old going forward as we bring back into print rules that we feel need to be in print for a vibrant game system.

-Lisa

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Lisa Stevens wrote:
but after looking through the GMG this weekend, there is a LOT of stuff that I don't have in my 1,000 book collection.

Dang, that's a lot of books!

Dark Archive

Githzilla wrote:
Lisa Stevens wrote:
but after looking through the GMG this weekend, there is a LOT of stuff that I don't have in my 1,000 book collection.
Dang, that's a lot of books!

If only I could have afforded to keep all the books I've ever owned throughout my gaming life, an 1k collection would most likely be small compared to what has passed through my fingers.

Oh well, this book will have to make up for what I have squandered away out of necessity.


Stray thought but I wonder how well this will go to recreating aspects of SpellJammer using Pathfinder.


FenrysStar wrote:
Stray thought but I wonder how well this will go to recreating aspects of SpellJammer using Pathfinder.

oddly enough I am working on doing just that, with a game I will be running this semester up at my University. there is a site that has space ship combat, and design rules for 3.0, and what I love about pathfinder is it doesn't take long to update everything. Still it would be nice if they did have rules for spelljammer in their as all i have from the site are basics for ship building and space combat.

Owner - House of Books and Games LLC

Githzilla wrote:
Lisa Stevens wrote:
but after looking through the GMG this weekend, there is a LOT of stuff that I don't have in my 1,000 book collection.
Dang, that's a lot of books!

Sure is. I'm pretty sure she has me beat, though I've got so much stuff packed away and/or not entered into the computer that it's hard to tell.

Scarab Sages

dm4hire wrote:
If only I could have afforded to keep all the books I've ever owned throughout my gaming life, an 1k collection would most likely be small compared to what has passed through my fingers.

If you published RPG books for a living you'd probably have held onto them. =)

Me, I don't have an excuse for my shelves of books...

Scarab Sages

Dark_Mistress wrote:
No but you can as mentioned subscribe and get the PDF for free and then if you really wanted to you could cancel afterwards if you didn't want the Advance Players guide which is the next book.

...except of course that you DO want the Advanced Player's Guide.


My question is will this book present more uses for skills? I've always been a proponent for the players to use their skills more often, but it can get tedious trying to be imaginative all the time and for a GM to come up with an on-the-spot ruling without giving it proper balance. I know my players tend to use their skills for whatever it published. (and WotC's 3.5e books and Dragon Magazine content have new skill uses placed randomly everywhere, had to put them together in one file).

An expansion on new skill uses, particularly with Craft, Profession, Knowledge, and Perform, is always welcome. Uses for Profession (herbalism) has always been a huge topic that needed expansion. Granted, I was happy to see Profession get real good use in DMG2 thanks to the "Running a Business" rules. I now have players willing to invest in Profession. One wants his wizard to run a chain of restaurants with Profession (cook), and another wants her character to eventually settle down and own her own tavern and brew her own alcohol, but would like for it to continue making money as she is out on adventures from time to time. I have another with Profession (gardener), too. I was glad to see Pathfinder RPG Corebook explain that the Profession skill can be used as a more specific use of the Knowledge skill, too.


I pre-ordered mine as well. But now that it's June, it would nice to know when it's going to be released. Are they waiting for the last second???


keltic1701 wrote:
I pre-ordered mine as well. But now that it's June, it would nice to know when it's going to be released. Are they waiting for the last second???

Last second before what? Since it's the beginning of June, there are still four weeks in which it can be released and still fall within the estimated release date. They've said it will be available for subscribers to pick up at PaizoCon, and that's two weeks away, so chances are good it'll be out before then.

The Exchange Contributor, RPG Superstar 2008 Top 6

yoda8myhead wrote:
keltic1701 wrote:
I pre-ordered mine as well. But now that it's June, it would nice to know when it's going to be released. Are they waiting for the last second???
Last second before what? Since it's the beginning of June, there are still four weeks in which it can be released and still fall within the estimated release date. They've said it will be available for subscribers to pick up at PaizoCon, and that's two weeks away, so chances are good it'll be out before then.

From my reading of the PaizoCon pickup post, GMGs won't be shipping before the con...

Jon Brazer Enterprises

Russ Taylor wrote:
From my reading of the PaizoCon pickup post, GMGs won't be shipping before the con...

:( *sad panda*


Pathfinder Companion, Maps Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Russ Taylor wrote:
From my reading of the PaizoCon pickup post, GMGs won't be shipping before the con...

Actually the way I read it is that the June shipments are going to start shipping a week from today. And it should be all shipped before the Con, thus the requirement to select the pick up option by next Monday.

Scarab Sages

Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Card Game, Companion, Maps, Pathfinder Accessories, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Charter Superscriber
keltic1701 wrote:
I pre-ordered mine as well. But now that it's June, it would nice to know when it's going to be released. Are they waiting for the last second???

What I have seen on subscription page has been mid-June. Also, Paizocon attendess can pick up their subscriptions there and that begins on the 18th. So, around Paizocon either just before or just after I would suspect.


Shem wrote:
keltic1701 wrote:
I pre-ordered mine as well. But now that it's June, it would nice to know when it's going to be released. Are they waiting for the last second???
What I have seen on subscription page has been mid-June. Also, Paizocon attendess can pick up their subscriptions there and that begins on the 18th. So, around Paizocon either just before or just after I would suspect.

Ah! I didn't check the subscription page. I was was only looking at the GMG page itself. It makes sense to release it on or around Paizocon. I just wish the would put that on the GMG page and not have to hunt around for it. Thanks for the heads-up. Now if I can only get Paizo to nail down a firm date for APG release! <grin>

Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

keltic1701 wrote:
Ah! I didn't check the subscription page. I was was only looking at the GMG page itself. It makes sense to release it on or around Paizocon. I just wish the would put that on the GMG page and not have to hunt around for it. Thanks for the heads-up. Now if I can only get Paizo to nail down a firm date for APG release! <grin>

On our product pages, we just put the month. Why? Because "release date" means different things to different people. Some people would be looking for the date we'll start shipping out preorders and subscriber copies, and other people would be looking for the date on which they should start looking in retail stores—and those dates tend to run two to three weeks apart. But we don't really have the room to explain all that on every product page, so we just put the month.

Our product schedule page, though, is geared towards subscribers and online purchasers, so we can afford to be a bit more specific, and tell you whether it will ship to subscribers in the early, middle, or late part of each month. (People looking for retail dates can just add half a month to those estimates.)

There are a number of reasons why we can't be more specific than early/middle/late. The big one is that, due to the vagaries of shipping and customs, we often don't know the exact date things are going to arrive until they actually arrive... and the other main one is that is takes several days to fulfill all subscriptions and preorders, so providing an exact date would be misleading anyway.

Now, one time per year, there's an exception to all this, and that's Gen Con. We knock ourselves out to make sure that we have our August products in hand so that we can debut them on the first day of Gen Con each year. So, barring catastrophe, the release date for the APG will be the first day of Gen Con Indy: August 5.


Lisa Stevens wrote:
GMs with huge libraries to draw upon will find more overlap in our rulebooks, but after looking through the GMG this weekend, there is a LOT of stuff that I don't have in my 1,000 book collection. Whether this is enough of a difference for somebody who has a big library to make the new book worthwhile is a decision only you can make.

My point exactly, ms. Stevens, which is why I asked for a more precise answer as to what exactly I could expect concerning new content, as the product's description is necessarily vague in its spielishness. "And much, MUCH more" and "a LOT" doesn't really cover it. Even the interview Ravenmantle helpfully pointed me to doesn't really go much beyond "it has tables, lots of tables, tables about everything!" and merely elaborating on what the short product description already says. A superficial overview on the new stuff would be enough for me, but so far it just looks like lots of tables, a helping of common sense, and a couple of new rules or rehashed subsystems.

I guess I'll just have to wait for a detailed review before deciding whether or not the book is worth an investment. Thank you for your reply, nonetheless.

Grand Lodge

Here it is June... and it is not out whahawha!!! :)

Any news on the day it is coming out yet??

Dark Archive

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

I'd check a few posts above yours. :)


Deanoth wrote:

Here it is June... and it is not out whahawha!!! :)

Any news on the day it is coming out yet??

Patience is a virtue.

Dark Archive

Twin Agate Dragons wrote:
Deanoth wrote:

Here it is June... and it is not out whahawha!!! :)

Any news on the day it is coming out yet??

Patience is a virtue.

BAH! I demand my copy *NOW* or else I'll curse all Paizo staffers with baldness!


I have pre ordered this in the Uk. 30th June according to Book Depository


Pathfinder Adventure Subscriber
Asgetrion wrote:
Twin Agate Dragons wrote:
Deanoth wrote:

Here it is June... and it is not out whahawha!!! :)

Any news on the day it is coming out yet??

Patience is a virtue.
BAH! I demand my copy *NOW* or else I'll curse all Paizo staffers with baldness!

You mean they will all look like Sean???? OMG !!

-- david
Papa.DRB

Dark Archive

Papa-DRB wrote:
Asgetrion wrote:
Twin Agate Dragons wrote:
Deanoth wrote:

Here it is June... and it is not out whahawha!!! :)

Any news on the day it is coming out yet??

Patience is a virtue.
BAH! I demand my copy *NOW* or else I'll curse all Paizo staffers with baldness!

You mean they will all look like Sean???? OMG !!

-- david
Papa.DRB

Hey, that's a great idea! I will polymorph everyone into SKR clones (without the 'Sunglasses of Extra-Coolness', though) -- brilliant! :P


Ohh gambling rules? Is that what I read on the description? I hope it's a good set of gambling rules, I always felt that was lacking in the game was a solid set of gambling mechanics. Especially since I have a few players who have PCs with Profession (gambling) ranks.


PDF available at 30th June! I can't wait! 8)


Aww at the end of the month? More like July LOL Lame.

Grand Lodge

Awwww what happened to mid-June :(


Wait.... what happened to the hardcover version? Why did it go from preorder to unavailable?

Dark Archive

I really hope this doesn't affect me being able to pick up my copy at PaizoCon.......The burning desire for this book knows no bounds.

Dark Archive

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

Er...it's still mid-June and my subscription page still says I can pick it up at PaizoCon. Not that I'm going to PaizoCon. So yeah, I'm sure they'll start shipping out subscription copies very soon.


Flying out to Seattle is not in the budget. I still need to call a hotel in Pittsburgh about my reservation for Anthrocon. This would be nice to read on the train. And this book sounds like it could help with my thoughts of running either SpellJammer or Dragonstar with Pathfinder.


Xen wrote:
Awwww what happened to mid-June :(

I know nothing and may be 100% wrong.... so don't sue me.

I'm pretty certain the June 30 date is the date it will be released for general purchase as a PDF. This has no bearing on the ship date / pdf availability date for subscribers.


BryonD wrote:
Xen wrote:
Awwww what happened to mid-June :(

I know nothing and may be 100% wrong.... so don't sue me.

I'm pretty certain the June 30 date is the date it will be released for general purchase as a PDF. This has no bearing on the ship date / pdf availability date for subscribers.

And is in fact about two weeks after it ships from paizo.


Jim Strebeck wrote:
Wait.... what happened to the hardcover version? Why did it go from preorder to unavailable?

Uh, its still preorder.


vagrant-poet wrote:
Jim Strebeck wrote:
Wait.... what happened to the hardcover version? Why did it go from preorder to unavailable?
Uh, its still preorder.

That is because it changed. It was unavailable for a day or two, at least.


And I just got my "in the next week or so..." e-mail.


BryonD wrote:
And I just got my "in the next week or so..." e-mail.

Huzzah! That means their in the offices or will be soon! Shipping might start monday!


Pathfinder Companion, Maps Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
BryonD wrote:
And I just got my "in the next week or so..." e-mail.

I just did as well. WOOT!!!

Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

vagrant-poet wrote:
BryonD wrote:
And I just got my "in the next week or so..." e-mail.
Huzzah! That means their in the offices or will be soon! Shipping might start monday!

The "unavailable" status was the result of somebody flipping a switch that shouldn't have been flipped. We are indeed preparing to fulfill subscription copies and preorders starting next week.

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