The Adventure Guide’s Handbook: Running the Game

  1. Adventure Guide’s Handbook
  2. Arcana

The Adventure Guide’s purpose is to:

1. Provide the opportunity for adventure.

2. Decide the odds.

Deciding odds is relatively easy. When a player has their character do something that isn’t automatically successful, you choose the ability the player rolls against and the ease or difficulty of the roll. There’s a table for this in the rulebook. All you need do is decide if the task is “easy”, “difficult”, “a snap”, or “nearly impossible”, and so on.

The hard part of being an Adventure Guide is providing the opportunity for adventure. This means creating and role-playing all of the people, creatures, and situations that the player characters encounter.

Providing adventure opportunities involves both preparation and execution. What kind of preparation and execution will depend on the kinds of adventure you and your friends enjoy. Preparation can include drawing maps of places to explore, outlining encounter timelines, and preparing statistics for non-player characters.

Execution can include describing those places as the player characters see them, unfolding encounters according to player character actions, role-playing the other characters and creatures that the player characters encounter, and managing conflicts (fights) between player characters and non-player characters.

As the Adventure Guide, your duty is to present the game world, its inhabitants, and its choices to the players. Other games call your role gamemaster, referee, and storyteller. You are all of those titles. As gamemaster you are the player who can most make or break the other players’ enjoyment of the game. As referee you are called on to mediate between the players and the non-player characters and situations in which the players’ characters find themselves. As storyteller you will present the various threads, events, situations, backstories, and adventure hooks that the players will choose from to create the narrative of their adventures.

Some players will prefer fewer choices, some more. It is up to you to discover which they prefer and to create the adventure accordingly.

Remember that the players’ characters are the heroes of the story. Everything that you create are vehicles for the player characters to be heroic. All of the adventures, the non-player characters, the countries and continents and worlds, are all for their benefit. It’s your situation, and their story.

Remember also that role-playing gaming is a shared experience. Everything that you do as Guide you do along with the other players in the game. Role-playing is not an adversarial game, and Guiding is not an adversarial experience. You can’t win if the players lose. “Losing” and “winning” should not retain their traditional meaning in a role-playing game. You aren’t the dealer in blackjack.

  1. Adventure Guide’s Handbook
  2. Arcana