The format of this book is
simple and straightforward.
The first sections pertain to material contained in the PLAYERS HANDBOOK,
and each pertinent section is in corresponding order.
Much information was purposely omitted from the latter work, as it is data which would not normally be known -- at least initially -- to a person of the nature which this game presupposes, i.e. an adventurer in a world of swords & sorcery.
It is incumbent upon all DMs to be thoroughly conversant with the PLAYERS HANDBOOK,
and at the same time you must also know the additional information which is given in this volume,
for it rounds out and completes the whole. While players will know that they must decide upon an alignment, for example,
you, the DM, will further know that each and every action they take will be mentally recorded by you;
and at adventure’s end you will secretly note any player character movement on the alignment graph.
After the material which
pertains directly to the PLAYERS HANDBOOK
comes the information which supplements and augments.
There is a large section which lists and explains the numerous magical items.
There are sections on the development of the campaign milieu, dungeon design, random creation of wilderness and dungeon levels, and the development of non-player characters. In fact, what I have attempted is to cram everything vital to the game into this book, so that you will be as completely equipped as possible to face the ravenous packs of players lurking in the shadows, waiting to pounce upon the unwary referee and devour him or her at the first opportunity.
Thus, besides the systems, I have made every effort to give the reasoning and justification for the game. Of course the ultimate reason and justification is a playable and interesting game, and how much rationalization can actually go into a fantasy game? There is some, at least, as you will see, for if the game is fantasy, there is a basis for much of what is contained herein, even though it be firmly grounded on worlds of make-believe. And while there are no optionals for the major systems of ADVANCED D&D (for uniformity of rules and procedures from game to game, campaign to campaign, is stressed), there are plenty of areas where your own creativity and imagination are not bounded by the parameters of the game system.
These are sections where
a few hints and suggestions are given, and the rest left to the DM. There
is so much that could have been included herein that a maior part of authoring
this volume was deciding what would be omitted! The criterion was usefulness.
First came material which was absolutely vital to play, then came the inclusion
of what would be most helpful to you, and finally
interesting items of broad appeal which tend to improve the flavor of a campaign were sifted into the work. Material included was written with on eye towards playability and expedition. The fun of the game is action and drama. The challenge of problem solving is secondary. Long and drawn out operations by the referee irritate the players. More ”realistic” combat systems could certainly have been included here, but they have no real part in a game for a group of players having an exciting adventure. If you will do your best to keep the excitement level of your games at a peak, you will be doing yourself and your participants a favor which will be evident when players keep coming back for more.
The final word, then, is
Read how and why the system is as it is, follow the parameters, and then cut portions as needed to maintain excitement.
For example, the rules call for wandering monsters, but these can be not only irritating - if not deadly - but the appearance of such con actually spoil a game by interfering with an orderly expedition.
You have set up an area full of clever tricks and traps, populated it with well thought-out creature complexes,
given clues about it to pique players’ interest,
and the group has worked hard to supply themselves with everything by way of information and equipment they will need to face and
overcome the imagined perils.
They are gathered together and eager to spend an enjoyable evening playing their favorite game,
with the expectation of going to a new, strange area and doing their best to triumph.
They are willing to accept the hazards of the dice, be it loss of items, wounding, insanity, disease, death,
as long as the process is exciting.
But lo!, everytime you throw the ”monster die” a wandering nasty is indicated,
and the party’s strength is spent trying to fight their way into the area.
Spells expended, battered and wounded, the characters trek back to their base.
Expectations have been dashed, and probably interest too, by random chance.
Rather than spoil such an otherwise enjoyable time, omit the wandering monsters indicated by the die.
No, don’t allow the party to kill them easily or escape unnaturally, for that goes contrary to the major precepts of the game.
Wandering monsters, however, are included for two reasons, as is explained in the section about them.
If a party deserves to have these beasties inflicted upon them, that is another matter,
but in the example above it is assumed that they are doing everything possible to travel quickly and quietly to their planned destination.
If your work as a DM has been sufficient, the players will have all they can handle upon arrival, so let them get there, give them a chance.
The game is the thing, and certain rules can be distorted or disregarded altogether in favor of play. <colors added>
Know the game systems, and
you will know how and when to take upon yourself the ultimate power.
To become the final arbiter, rather than the interpreter of the rules, can be a difficult and demanding task, and it cannot
be undertaken lightly, for your players expect to play this game, not one made up on the spot.
By the same token, they are playing the game the way you, their DM, imagines and creates it.
Remembering that the game is greater than its parts, and knowing all of the parts,
you will have overcome the greater part of the challenge of being a referee.
Being a true DM requires cleverness and imagination which no set of rules books can bestow.
Seeing that you were clever enough to buy this volume,
and you have enough imagination to desire to become the maker of a fantasy world,
you are almost there already!
Read and become familiar with the contents of this work and the one written for players,
learn your monsters, and spice things up with some pantheons of super-powerful beings.
Then put your judging and refereeing ability into the creation of your own personal milieu,
and you have donned the mantle of Dungeon Master.
Welcome to the exalted ranks
of the overworked and harrassed, whose cleverness and imagination are all
too often unappreciated by cloddish characters whose only thought in life
is to loot, pillage, slay, and who fail to appreciate the hours of preparation
which went into the creation of what they aim to destroy as cheaply and
quickly as possible.
As a DM you must live by the immortal words of the sage who said: “Never give a sucker an even break.”
Also, don‘t be a sucker for your players, for you‘d better be sure they follow sage advice too.
As the DM, you have to prove in every game that you are still the best.
This book is dedicated to helping to assure that you are.
Komus the Conjuror wrote:
Wow I can't believe you're being asked recipes...I mean, you're like a god to me and my friends who grew up enamored with your incredible creative masterpieces. Your ideas really found their rightful place in the excellence of your expression. Few writers I read today can inspire as much as some of your writings have done.
Sorry to be kissing butt here but I wanted to say that, being as I am autistic, I had a very troubled and difficult childhood that was made better because of D&D and AD&D. I realize you've moved on from these, and that you're happy the way things turned out, after all what can one accomplish by dwelling on the past right? Even so, I for one wish TSR would've been spared its demise. To my mind, nothing beats the original RPG. I still have all my hardcover AD&D books except the DMG (and I miss it as it was my very first AD&D book), which was lost a few years ago. Anyway, your works have meant alot to alot of people, I'm sure you know that but I wanted to say it regardless. I do wish you many, many years of fun gaming and I'm glad you're so generous with your valuable time as to speak with everyday gamers like this.
My thanks for the kind words.
Well, cooking is creative too, so why not an occassional post about that?
As a matter of fact, I had
a really difficult childhood too--mainly because I was a difficult child.
Chess and other games, as well as much reading, helped to keep my head on a bit straight.
You should pick up another DMG methinks.
Clearly you are most serious about this matter, and I relate to what you are saying
If I were to write a rule regarding rules, I believe I would do it in this general way:
While this work contains clear, concise, and complete rules for the game, they are not graven in stone. Each Dungeon Master is unique, as if the player group. Together they develop a special world of their own, the campaign setting. As this environment is created by the group, the rules that govern it must suit their needs. In short, the DM has carte blanch to alter the game rules, doing so with the advice and concent of the players if a wise game master.