Rules Index | GM Screen | Player's Guide

Chapter 1: Gamemastery Basics / General Advice


Source Gamemastery Guide pg. 8
As a GM, you often make things up on the fly. You can find tips for improvising rules on page 491 of the Core Rulebook and within the Adjudicating Rules section of this book. When an issue seems to pertains to the story instead of the rules, ask yourself the following questions.
  • Does something already established in our story so far tell me what should happen here?
  • If an NPC is involved, what would their personality lead them to do?
  • What does the player expect to happen?
  • What would best fit the themes of our story?
You might not have a good answer for every question, but asking them can inspire useful solutions. If what you need to invent is significant in the storyline or world, there’s nothing wrong with asking the group to take a little break while you fill in the gap. If it’s not particularly significant and you can’t come up with anything more compelling, it’s also okay to say, “Nothing happens,” and move on.

Often, a player will ask, “What happens when I do that?” This is a good indicator that the player expects that what they’ve done will draw a reaction from an NPC or the environment. Unless the player is way off base, provide an in-game response, even if it’s minor. The player has telegraphed what matters to them, and the perceived importance of their action can draw them into the game.

False Information

Source Gamemastery Guide pg. 8
A critical failure to Recall Knowledge can result in you needing to convey false information, requiring some improvisation. If you aren’t careful, this information can be perceived by the PCs as too silly, or could derail the game. For example, if a PC misinterpreted text about the god of commerce, Abadar, saying they believe the god is an incompetent chaotic spendthrift who’s bad with money is absurd. Similarly, if they incorrectly believe Abadar will reward them with great wealth if they ring bells in four different temple corners, this could send them on a tangent.

Providing false information can cause the PCs to make mistakes, but the consequences should typically be immediate rather than continual or far in the future. Avoid dispensing false information that might not be used for hours or entire sessions, after the check is forgotten. If you’re unsure, the safest form of false information is information that’s wrong but not in a way that causes major consequences. Remember that a critical failure says you get incorrect information, not that you get important-seeming false information. Erroneously believing Abadar’s symbol is a set of scales instead of a key might lead to a miscommunication, but one that’s not dangerous, pretty easy to clear up, and only a little embarrassing for the PC.