Gamemaster Guide discuss (1 posts)


Publisher: WotC
Item code: TSR02801
Release Date:
Format: Hardcover
Page count: 256
ISBN: 0-7869-0729-0
Price: US$ 19.95 Alternity Role-Playing Game En science fiction

Introduction (3 pages)
Describes what Alternity is, what roleplaying is and how to use the Game Masters Guide - from the point of view of the potential Gamemaster. Players should not read this book if they do not intend to run games themselves.

Chapter 1: Fast-Play Rules (5 pages)
The concepts of being a gamemaster and running this mini-adventure are outlined here. A short adventure introduces first time and veteran gamers to the Alternity rules system. It is quick, easy and fun.

Chapter 2: Hero Creation (13 pages)
The steps to hero creation are explained from the Gamemasters point of view, with tips on what to watch and how to help players create characters that are fun to play and more than just a collection of statistics on paper. This chapter also details the process of creating new species for your games that are actually playable.

Chapter 3: Gamemasters in Action (30 pages)
This is one of the most important chapters. Everything from rolling dice, using time units, sight and detection, down to movement, combat, damage and hazards - this is the chapter you need.

Chapter 4: Skills (14 pages)
This is another important chapter. How to use skills as single and complex checks is explained from the Gamemasters point of view. All of the skills are listed here, but the descriptions deal what the skill will most likely be used for and how to deal with specific situations and the use of each skill.
The use Abilities is detailed so players can actually use their abilities in games.

Chapter 5: Perks & Flaws (4 pages)
The selection process has tips for game balance and spotting the possible problems with certain combinations. Each perk and flaw is explained along with how players will probably try to take advantage of or ignore it. This game is not for powergamers.

Chapter 6: Supporting Cast (8 pages)
This section deals with creating all of the non-player characters in the story. How to create them quickly, efficiently and how to make best use of each type of character the players are likely to meet on their adventures – that is what this chapter is about. The concept of differing grades of supporting cast is brought in here, Marginal, Ordinary, Good and Amazing supporting cast, that is not to say that an Ordinary person isn’t the most important, but it is a measure of their experience and power.

Chapter 7: Attributes (8 pages)
Attributes are the morals, motivation and character traits that make up character. In other systems this would be called an Alignment – like good, evil, lawful, unscrupulous or diabolic. But in Alternity alignments are not so restrictive nor are they definate. They are called attributes, they are your characteristics and your qualities – they are probably the most important part of the whole game. A how you roleplay your attributes will not only give you a bonus achievement point, but also create an exciting memorable story - and that is the whole point of Roleplaying.

Chapter 8: Achievements (3 pages)
This chapter explains how and when to award achievement points, when to take them away and how to oversee the heroes advancement in your games.

Chapter 9: Running the Game (10 pages)
The art and science of the Gamemaster. This is probably the best description and set of guidelines you will ever come across in a Role Playing Game rule set, as is this whole Gamemaster Guide

Chapter 10: Vehicles (6 pages)
Vehicle construction rules, for the gamemasters use only - to design the vehicles for their games, with full details on each component and prices. Just about any type of Sci-Fi vehicle can be created with these rules. Vehicle combat with how and when skills are used, also how to run the scene is detailed with options for each gamemasters style and needs.

Chapter 11: Spaceships (9 pages)
Spaceships are an important form of travel in most hi-tech sci-fi. This chapter deals with full construction rules, repair, combat and the role of every crew member plus all of their skills needed and how to use them. Combat is similar to Vehicle, with more maneuvers available and a lot of outer space specific details.

Chapter 12: Alien Artefacts (4 pages)
This is the 'cool' section. Alien artefacts can have fantastic powers and they are great things to use in a Sci-Fi game. Whole campaigns, adventures, legends and stories can revolve around a single object with strange powers, obviously if lots of people want it - there is adventure to be had. An artefact can be more than just an object, it can be a place, vehicle, implant, worn device, machine or even a procedure. Given a rich detailed history an artefact can be the focus of a very fun campaign.

Chapter 13: Campaign Design (11 pages)
So how does a gamemaster create a campaign? Where to start? How much detail is needed? What to plan ahead for if players think of something else?. This chapter and the following two chapters go into great detail concerning creating the best game you possibly can. If you follow every step you will have a great campaign. All it takes is preparation and planning. Here you will decide on what is available to the average person, the technology levels, aliens, artefacts etc.

Chapter 14: Campaign Architecture (15 pages)
Now you get down to actually putting your ideas on paper (or computer). Designing Star Sectors, Star Systems, Planets, Civilisations, Places etc. If you have some key places in every place the players could visit, along with some supporting cast and notes – then you have a campaign world!

Chapter 15: Adventure Design (7 pages)
Will all of your campaign notes complete you can start work on the actual adventures that the players will be trying to complete. There are differing styles and type that each gamemaster likes to run, but basically there is two types, Spontaneous and Planned. Spontaneous adventures can be quickly designed with minimal notes and a few important scenes and supporting cast may be all you need. Planned adventures take require more preparation with a general goal or storyline in mind – but with a flexible plot line that the players can actually become a part of. Gamemastery is not about the Gamemaster, it is about the Heroes - the Heroes are the focus of the story, they are not the gamemasters enemy.
The end of this chapter has four adventure ideas to start you thinking about what adventures you can write.

Chapter 16: Optional Rules (5 pages)
Alternity is a very flexible system with all of the aspects of Sci-Fi being available for use. But as a Gamemaster you may not have a place for everything that is possible in the future. This chapter poses the questions, do mutants exist? Its your game, as the gamemaster you decide what is and isn't right for your games. Mutants, Psionics, Cybertech, Artifical Intelligence, Cyborgs, Genetic Manipulation and so forth. Pick and choose. If you want magic and super human powers in you game you can use FX too. Everything is covered and if there is something you want that isn't covered, you have the guidelines to create it.

Chapter 17: Creatures and Aliens (6 pages)
A whole chapter of typical animals and alien types ready to use. Very useful reference material for creating your own beasties and very useful for those times when you haven't got the statistics of an animal or creature on hand.

Appendix: AD&D Game Conversion Rules (5 pages)
Full rules for bringing AD&D fantasy characters into the Alternity game, along with conversions for innate abilities, skills and magic. Magic and spells must be converted into a skill or power to work in the Alternity system, so there is a fair bit of work and balance required, but it is fairly simple.

Index (5 pages)
All terms and tables are listed alphabetically with page reference for both Players Handbook and Gamemasters Guide.

Game Record Forms (4 pages)
Ship design form, Ship status record form, Supporting Cast Statistical Form, and Star System Record Form are the final section. Acknowledgments and references are on the last page.

Discussion forum


(1) in The best 'HOW TO ROLEPLAY' book I have seen. by TerroX on 15-12-2000


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