Gamemastering Rules & Guidelines

Running a game- or, gamemastering- is an opportunity to host fun for your friends and to inspire great stories and exciting adventures. In an attempt to keep games in Wyrmspire as consistent and fair as possible, we use the following rules and guidelines for hosting and running games.

Hosting Your Game

Not every player is going to be ready to game at a moment's notice, and not every player character is going to fit into all adventures. As a result, it's necessary to give people proper warning that you plan on running a game, and to provide enough information so they can decide if it's going to be appropriate for their character.

First off, you need to announce that you plan to run a game. At least 8 hours notice is preferable, but not required (such as if you decide spontaneously to run a game). You must do this by making a thread in the game planning category of the forums- see the sticky thread there for details. At your option you can also post a message in the #session-sign-ups text channel on the Wyrmspire Discord Server announcing your intent to run a game- this will be more likely to get the immediate attention of people that are around at the time if you wish to discuss your upcoming game with prospective players.

Your announcement needs to include the following information:

  • A 3-level range of characters your adventure is appropriate for (such as 1-3, 5-7, or 9-11).
  • A short summary of what the adventure's about, so that players can decide if it's appropriate for their character or not (for instance, a paladin is probably not very interested in an adventure that involves raiding a village for loot).
  • The time you plan to run your adventure, and about how long you expect it to take.

See the game planning forum category for more information.

Building Adventures

Adventures are the heart of Pathfinder. They set up challenges and foes for the heroes (or at least protagonists) of the story, and provide the core of each session. We trust you to create adventures with challenging problems for the player characters to solve and interesting people for them to meet and interact with, but we have a few rules regarding combat encounters that need to be followed.

Gamemasters need to be familiar with the rules on creating encounters from the PFRPG Core Rulebook. These should be followed while designing encounters, with these guidelines and adjustments:

  • Challenge Range: Most encounters should have a CR between APL-2 and APL+3. You can go higher or lower, but should avoid doing so unless you have a very good reason for it (players will rightfully be upset if their 1st level party is suddenly set upon by a dozen wyverns) and the players have been sufficiently warned of extremely dangerous encounters awaiting them. If you are using many small encounters during a session, they should lean more towards APL-1 and APL-2 encounters. If you plan to run a game with very few encounters, such as one or two big fights or a large encounter with multiple waves, the encounter should lean towards APL +2 or +3.
  • Designing Encounters: Combat encounters are more than just throwing a monster of a certain CR at the party and hoping for the best. They are meant to be highlights of an adventure. Fights should be dynamic, fun, and interesting. Very rarely should PCs encounter lone enemies with a CR more than 2 higher than their average party level. Encounters are built using the XP budget system described in the Gamemastering chapter of the Core Rulebook (a CR 1 encounter is worth 400 XP, so it could support 4 100 XP kobolds, or 3 135 XP goblins, or 2 200 XP 1st level human barbarians, etc). By using this simple yet effective experience budget system, you can add and remove creatures from your your encounter until you hit the right amount. We recommend reading this article on the subject of encounter design.
  • Larger and Smaller Parties: The standard rules for encounter creation suggest altering the APL of a party with more than 4 or fewer than 4 PCs in it. To simplify your job, instead of increasing or decreasing the APL of a party (and the CR of encounters you use) based on their size, simply adjust the experience budget of encounters by 25% for each PC above or below 4, decreasing your budget for a reduced number of PCs, and increasing it with a larger party size. For example, a CR 5 encounter usually has an experience budget of 1,600 for a party of 4 PCs. If you were building such an encounter for 2 PCs you would reduce that budget by 50% (down to 800), and if you were building the same encounter for 5 PCs you would increase your budget by 25% (up to 2,000).
  • Negating Players: Avoid adventures where certain types of party members are rendered completely useless. Running a game where every enemy is immune to magic is very irritating if you are playing a blaster, and a game where every enemy is immune to weapons will frustrate barbarian players. This is triply so if it is for a nonspecific reason, "plot purposes", or anything else that is primarily driven by GM fiat. Encounters where a certain method of attack isn't particularly effective, or a character doesn't shine their brightest are fine- this is generally only an issue when a player is completely prevented from participating in encounters for most of a game.

Player and GM Rewards

We have our own system for handling the experience and treasure players receive from encounters in a fair manner, and GMs receive compensation for their own characters for running games. See the Adventure Rewards page for more details.

Game Reports


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