Even though I don't currently make any money directly, I consider myself a professional Game Master. However, running games is an extension of my writing, designing, and self-publishing in the roleplaying game industry. And I do make money from authoring RPG books, such as How to Game Master like a Fucking Boss.
I've blogged about rule #1 in Game Mastering multiple times. The last time, I described it as "Find the fun." But now I want to update it with an alternative phrase that I think has more impact - "Make it awesome!"
Now, "make it awesome" can mean different things to different people. That's as it should be. What's awesome to me will not necessarily be awesome to someone else. So, it's incumbent upon players and Game Masters alike to search for others who have a similar view of the word "awesome".
I'll discuss that subject in more detail another day... because this article is actually about something else, something more specific than awesomeness, and I'd like to get to it now.
It seems that approximately once per session, there's a pitched battle with multiple foes. A PC faces off against an opponent with dwindling Hit Points. The PCs rolls his attack and it's a critical hit! Maybe a multi-crit and/or exploding dice situation if you're playing a game like Crimson Dragon Slayer or Alpha Blue. The PC does 30 points of damage - but the monster targeted only had 4 Health left.
Gaaahhhh! How lame is that? What a waste! Disappointment all around. The players feel it and I feel it, as well. It's the inverse of awesome.
This past weekend at Gary Con, without hesitation, I made a ruling. It wasn't the first time I had come up with this particular solution, but from now on, it's set in stone. Want to know what I did?
I merely carried the damage over to the next foe! Whoever was closest to the attacking PC and/or previous victim, took the remainder of the damage. Either that, or something changed in the battle landscape which gave the PCs an advantage on their next attack(s). That's it.
Definitely wasn't rocket science and I can't take credit for inventing this efficient solution. Maybe you've been using it for years, but from now on it's going to be the law at my table. For many, it won't be "realistic" enough, perhaps they find it too hand wave-y or the rule makes combat go faster (and they don't like that for some reason). For me personally, it's awesome and that's exactly how I want to run my games.
Authored by Venger Satanis