So I wanted to lay out a few points, in the vein of Angry DM’s Game Mastering Credo. These are put up for point of reference as to how I am planning to approach things, and (very importantly) so that you guys can give me feedback as to what you are looking for. What I list here might not mesh with what you want, so let me know if that’s the case! This is a starting point, nothing more.
- In order to keep the game moving as much as possible, let’s keep rule discussions to a minimum. You guys have been pretty good about this so far, but it bears mentioning. Rather than looking rules up and such, I’m going to try to (when possible) just give a ruling if there is uncertainty about something, right or wrong. If it turns out that we did the wrong thing, then that’s my bad and I’ll try to learn from it going forward.
- I am planning to run combat encounters in the Angry DM’s self-described style of “build fair, play to win”. That means that I’ll make encounters which should be of appropriate challenge levels, but once things get going I’m not going to fudge rolls to make it easier or harder on the fly. That means, among other things, that characters might die and the party may be out-matched. If that happens, remember that flight is a valid option. If something turns out too hard or too easy, then I’ll learn from it for future sessions, but in the moment I’m not planning to pull punches. This is because I believe strongly that without the possibility of failure, success isn’t as meaningful. Nobody has fun if I just hand out victory.
- Corollary to the above two points: if I make an on-the-spot ruling which turns out to be wrong, and winds up having significant negative consequences for a character (death, mainly), then we can retcon things. My ignorance of the rules should never cause one of you guys to get screwed. But again, that’s a discussion for in between sessions, not during them, just so that things keep moving.
- I am going to try to give you guys more non-combat approaches to situations (and entire non-combat encounters, for that matter) than we had during the last adventure. I thought that one of the drawbacks of Keep on the Shadowfell wound up being that the right approach was pretty much always to bash people’s skulls in. Now, there’s still going to be plenty of bashing skulls. And bashing skulls might even be the most obvious approach a lot of the time. But I will try to ensure that, a decent amount of the time, bashing skulls isn’t the only approach.
- I may do stupid things, or make bad decisions which make things not fun. It’s happened before and will surely happen again. Please smack me if I do.
- Not everything is possible, or beatable, etc. But I also won’t let you guys wander into such situations, or waste precious resources on actions which can’t succeed, without knowing the possible (and probable) consequences. If you decide to draw swords and try to kill the king in the presence of the royal guards, well… that’s probably not going to go well for you. And I won’t stop you if that’s really what you want to do. But you should at least be armed with that knowledge. ;)