I’ve always enjoyed collections of tips and advice for playing and running roleplaying games (as should be evident from the links I post here), and I always seem to find something in them that benefits my games. “How to be an Expert GM” from Avalon Games is an informal essay on improving GMing skills and presenting an enjoyable roleplaying experience to the players. The writing is a bit casual, but the advice is sound, and it gave me a few points to ponder about my own GMing style.

The subjects covered here include crafting the theme of your campaign, giving your players motivation, playing without adventure hooks, using props, and more. Any GM can find useful advice here, but I think it would be most beneficial to moderate or inexperienced gamemasters.

Check out How to be an Expert GM at DriveThruRPG.

This PDF is part of an extended “How To” series from Avalon that includes How to Make a Great Character, How to be a Great Player, How to be a Great GM, How to Make a Great Dungeon, and How to Make a Great Campaign. There’s also a bundle of the series (minus Expert GM, but including the Fantasy Maker Handbook, reviewed below) available at DriveThruRPG.

The Fantasy Maker’s Handbook is a workbook for creating your own fantasy world. Each page contains topics for the GM to consider about the fantasy world they would like to create, and the idea is to fill in the spaces on each page as ideas are developed. While the title says “fantasy,” this is a tool that could be used for any kind of world-building, even alternate history or real-world settings in undiscovered lands. It could also be used for fleshing out sections of an existing campaign world.

There isn’t much in the way of tips, suggestions, or guidance in the workbook – the direction you take is entirely up to you. This is simply a series of subject areas such as flora and fauna, weather, politics, and technology (to name a few) that you may want to consider when detailing your world.

Included in the package are blank grid and hex pages for mapping out specific areas or the entire globe, blank lined paper for taking notes, and an image file of parchment, presumably for printing out and using as a prop.

Check out Fantasy Maker’s Handbook at DriveThruRPG.

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