The Game Master is a book that gives a great understanding of the dynamics of gaming groups. In easy terms, Tobiah describes how to assemble a group of friends into a cohesive party and lead them, with a willing and helpful Game Master, consistently, into one enjoyable and successful role playing experience after another. His methods are usable across all genres of role playing, from Sci-fi to Steam Punk to Fantasy .
After a quick explanation and discussion of what a role playing game is, we are shown a breakdown of the component parts of the game.
Now it`s onto Assembling the Group, starting with The Group Contract. For character creation, it`s necessary to examine the goals for both the players and the GM. We`re told that for the players, it`s just to create a character with stats but for the GM, he must ensure that the character don`t feel thrown into the midst of a game. To achieve this end, Tobiah has come up with 4 excellent suggestions as follows
-The characters should fit the game.
-The characters should fit the setting.
-The characters should fit the campaign.
-The characters should fit the the group.
The discussion of character creation then moves onto the 4 Golden Rules which are so on point that I have printed them out and have posted them on the wall above me where my players can see them at all times during play sessions.
I am also considering using Tobiah's idea, which he calls "Funny Hat Gaming" in my own games. Funny Hat Gaming is a term that he uses to describe the way we, as participants, portray nonhuman races and he suggests that all player characters be human...leaving the elves, dwarves, and halflings to regain their other worldliness.
Tobiah puts down on paper something I have always striven to do for my characters and usually ask of my players...create useful backgrounds but he takes a new and innovative approach to this as well. He explains the purpose of the background and how it is really more for the GM than the player. He also gives us a looks at what a bad background would be.
Throughout his book, Tobiah uses examples from pop culture from over the last 40 years that most of us rpg geeks use regularly in our games and most of us probably regurgitate quotes from during every game session we play in. His references to his games make me think he was part of my gaming group over the last 33 years of my participation in role playing.
I have not finished reading Tobiah Panshin`s but I will and I`ve already recommended to over 10 people in my 2 gaming groups and at my local hobby store. I know if you are into Rpgìng you must get this book! Especially you GM`s!