the wonder of role-playing games: reviews, solo rpgs, old-school & narrative games

03 Jan 2023

Jim Murphy: Run Your Games Simply

Here are some notes about Jim Murphy’s tips on Run your own RPG simply:

Run your own RPG simply

  • What game system am I going to use?
  • relates to the game world, not necessarily the mechanics
  • rules give you a basic framework and color
  • you can also use books (Lord of the Rings, Star Wars, etc.)
  • it should be simple and quick, people don’t have the patience to play the whole weekend
  • don’t run the rules, let someone other be the rules keeper
  • mechanics-wise: ideally everything should be in your mind, you only need a short primer
  • you don’t need to know all the details, figure it out on the go, embellish, make it up
  • let the players drive the campaign, you present the world
  • present 3-5 encounters, set them up in order
  • the rule system will run itself, the dice will determine the luck: that’s not your job
  • your job is to present the story and wind it down
  • if something’s going bad, it’s a chance to add new color
  • listen to the players: if they want more details, give it to them; if they want less, give them less
  • throw out something really cool/interesting at the beginning (e.g., a magic item)
  • you don’t need to know at the beginning of the campaign how it will end
  • the players always need to feel that they are the ones to make the game happen
  • make the experience for the players memorable, exciting
  • keep it simple: a map, a few encounters, a big baddy, a bag full of treasure, maybe a village