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4E Sell a 4E DM on Gamemastery Guide

Mercurius

Legend
I'm curious about the Gamemastery Guide. I DM 4E, have all the DMGs starting with the 1E, and many other reference works besides (World Builder's Guide, Ultimate Toolbox, Magical Medieval Society: Ecology and Culture, etc). I am an intermediate DM--I've been playing for 25-30 years but sporadically over that time--and don't feel like I need the standard DM's advice. I am a voracious world-builder and am always looking at new and interesting ways to build encounters and adventures, plus I love random DM's tools and information. I also think that the Pathfinder Core Rulebook is the most aesthetically pleasing D&D book that I've seen--much nicer than the 4E books, imo.

So my question: Should I buy this book? Does it have anything to offer me and enough to pay $10 for the PDF or $26 for the hardcover on Amazon?

While I'm at it, can someone post a simplified table of contents with page numbers?

Thanks!
 

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Crothian

First Post
If you were running Pathfinder I could recomend it as it has some useful bits like stat blocks for generic NPCs for that game. But I'm not sure it covers anything you won't already have that you would be interested in as a 4e DM.
 

Well here are my 2 cents on it.

I think maybe 60% of the stuff in the GMG has already been covered in other DMG books you already have, or already know from experience. For the other 40% there are some cool ideas on encounters like chase scenes. There are some nice tables: Random NPC creation (backgrounds, goals, physical & personality characteristics, etc..), random reward generation, random dungeon toolbox, random tavern generation, random urban location generation and encounters, and more.. A gallery of pre-generated NPC archetypes, and finally a pretty good chapter on world building advise.

I would think it is certainly worth the price for DMs creating/running their own world, just ignore the first bit of the book which I think is really targeted at novice DMs.
 

Azmyth

First Post
Hmm, I don't know how the 4e angle plays into this, but here goes:

The GMG is a wealth of tools for a GM at any experience level.
The NPC section is awesome.
Random Magic Item charts are heavenly!
If you take it home and read it, this book will make you a better GM.
Much of the book is a polish and restructuring of many concepts covered in the past, but in true Paizo fashion, they did it better.

I recommend that you pick one up the next time you're in your local.
Spend a little time reading before you consider your purchase of the book.

Careful, you might just get sucked into Pathfinder RPG. I did and I haven't been a happier gamer in 10 years!
 

Psion

Adventurer
Honestly, it's a very good book, but I think it has less to offer an experienced GM with a collection of DMG editions and lots of experience under his belt than it does a new GM.
 

IronWolf

blank
With the books you've listed as already in your possession I'm not sure how much value you will get out of it. It is a great book and I enjoyed everything from the basic GM advice to the random tables to the NPCs to the chase rules.

You might find the PDF at $10 to still be worth it for the random table aspect. There is a world building chapter as well, though if you are an experienced world builder your mileage from it may vary. If you have a chance to flip through it first, that would likely be the best idea.
 

I recently gave a copy of this to the 4e DM in our group (although he is not exclusively 4e). He still thought it useful and valid for his more recent 4e work - YMMV.

Chapter 1 [6-21]: Getting Started
Chapter 2 [22-55]: Running a Game
Chapter 3 [56-77]: Player Characters
Chapter 4 [78-99]: Nonplayer Characters
Chapter 5 [100-137]: Rewards (Pathfinder focused towards end of this chapter)
Chapter 6 [138-169]: Creating a World
Chapter 7 [170-227]: Adventures (Pathfinder focused in the middle of this chapter)
Chapter 8 [228-251]: Advanced Topics
Chapter 9 [252-309]: NPC Gallery (Pathfinder focused)
Appendix etc. [310-319]: Stuff

I would have to say it is the most comprehensive DM/GM guide for the D&D game. Just about any major topic you can think of is in here somewhere. There is just years and years of wisdom in this book like an amalgum of the best bits from previous DMGs but with more (Azmyth nails it here). There is just a lot of stuff in here (with chapter nine being the only chapter with almost complete stat block filler - otherwise it is mostly writing and discussion or cool artwork). If you are a completist, consider this the "Alternative 4e DMG". If you appreciated the layout and presentation of the Core Rules Book, then this is its equal in my opinion.

I would advise either purchasing the hardcover or not worrying about it. The pdf (that you get as a subscriber) that I have is OK but coming from your angle, I think you would appreciate being able to handle this book and reading bits here and there as you like. While you may know or have access to a lot of the "novice" information already, reading through this again nicely focuses and refereshes everything again if you usually take turns DMing.

Hope this helps.

Best Regards
Herremann the Wise
 

Mercurius

Legend
Thanks, everyone, you've all been very helpful. Unfortunately I am now more confused than ever! (But in a good way!) I would read one post and think, "Sounds good but I don't need this," and then I would read the next and think, "Hmm...tempting...it is 'only' $26 on Amazon"...back and forth, back and forth.

The closest store is 45 minutes away, but if I get a chance I will browse through it and, if I like it, wait a bit for a slow month of RPG purchasing (say, after all the Essentials stuff in the next few months) and then pick it up.
 

Bigkilla

First Post
I own every book Paizo has made for Pathfinder and IMO it is the book I liked the least. I have been playing RPG's in one form or another for 31 years and the book is of little use to me as a GM. I'm not saying it is a useless book or that it would be horrible for everyone just that it is basically of little to no use to me.

If you have any experience GMing a game or have any other GM guides there is not a lot of new info there IMO, most of the stuff is common sense suggestions and ideas that most any experienced GM would know of think of himself.

About the only things I found useful were the drug addiction section along with the sanity section and random magic item section.
 


JoeGKushner

First Post
Honestly, it's a very good book, but I think it has less to offer an experienced GM with a collection of DMG editions and lots of experience under his belt than it does a new GM.

I agree with one addition. It's a good read. Sometimes you get into a rut, sometimes you fall into a pattern. Getting ahold of something written with a more modern audience in mind isn't a bad thing.
 

IronWolf

blank
Honestly, it's a very good book, but I think it has less to offer an experienced GM with a collection of DMG editions and lots of experience under his belt than it does a new GM.

I agree with one addition. It's a good read. Sometimes you get into a rut, sometimes you fall into a pattern. Getting ahold of something written with a more modern audience in mind isn't a bad thing.

I think JoeGKushner brings up a good point, sometimes even experienced DMs fall into a pattern and while the pattern may work for them it isn't a bad idea to look at a book focused on the art of GM'ing to get a refresh - even if you're thinking you don't need it. I have several of the DMGs, but the Gamemastery Guide does seem to bring it all together in one book which is nice.
 

pawsplay

First Post
The world-building part would be a good selling point for a non-Pf GM. On the other hand, you already have lots of world-building stuff. The gripping hand is, if you have that much already, you will probably read more. :)
 

JoeGKushner

First Post
I think JoeGKushner brings up a good point, sometimes even experienced DMs fall into a pattern and while the pattern may work for them it isn't a bad idea to look at a book focused on the art of GM'ing to get a refresh - even if you're thinking you don't need it. I have several of the DMGs, but the Gamemastery Guide does seem to bring it all together in one book which is nice.

And I forgot to add, it's one hella of a illustrated book. Good looking stuff there.
 



Mercurius

Legend
I ended up buying this book and like it a lot. In some ways it reminds me of a newer, shiner version of a 1E hardback in that there is just a lot of random goodness thrown into the book, a great book for browsing. Now I'm tempted to pick up the Advanced Player's Guide, even though I don't play Pathfinder...
 

Azmyth

First Post
Congratz on the GMG.
The APG would be a great purchase (even though you don't play PF).

Maybe then, you might just want to try it!
If your weekly group doesn't play PF,
I'd recommend finding a local Society game!

If you were in my Region, we'd show you a good time! ;)
 

Mercurius

Legend
I'm happy enough with 4E (overall; there are things I don't like about it), but also wouldn't hesitate to play Pathfinder if the context was right.

BTW, are you in Concord, NH? I'm near Milford, about an hour to the south.
 


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