Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Now Playing at a Free Download Near You: The GM Challenge Compilation

The GM Challenge Compilation is now available for your reading pleasure. There are two versions: the “no-frills” (but printer-friendly) 50-page version and the “deluxe” one illustrated by the dark and weird work of Harry Clarke.

Both versions can be downloaded here.

I am little amazed now that I have put it together in one place by how large the number of selections are—and how quickly it came together. Kudos to all the good sports who participated. I have a list of 11 new techniques that I will be experimenting with at my own home table, so selfishly I leave this as a happy man.

You will note that I didn't include the cap-stone introduction and analysis I talked about yesterday. There is an interesting diversity of approaches you will see cropping up in the posts, some even directly contradicting others. This is a fine and healthy thing that underscores the basic truth that GM styles and player group cultures vary. You will find that some tips may work wonders for you and others will bomb.

I will let readers draw their own conclusions, the selections stand on their own—warts and all.

It is also important to draw readers and contributors attention to the edits I did on pieces to make them punchier and keep the repetition down. Not a single properly-spelled word was changed, but in many pieces I cut introductory and concluding paragraphs to highlight the laundry lists proper.

If you have a strong opinion about a particular piece I strongly recommend that you follow the link to the original piece—there may be nuance and useful information in cut paragraphs, cross-links, and comments that you will glean there.

If  motivated, I may release a second version by the end of the week that includes any useful suggestions from the peanut gallery (drop them below if you think you have one) and any last-minute contributions.


  1. Thanks for taking this time to put this together for everybody, Chris. It will be very useful.

    Beautiful illustrations, too!

  2. Nice compilation. Thanks for putting this together.

  3. Haha, I sound like a right dick in that!

  4. There's a few in there I missed the first time around, so thanks for pulling it together Chris.

  5. This was a good idea, thanks for doing the work.

  6. Thank you for the compilation. I will be bookletizing it and adding it to the Old School Primer and Philotomy's Musings...

  7. De nada. Actually thanks to many of you, you were the ones writing and thinking about this stuff. Very thought provoking especially when you sit down and read it as a whole.

  8. Very, very cool. I missed the deadline but my own thoughts are here: (include at your leisure).
    -- Risus Monkey (otherwise known as Tim Ballew)

  9. Thanks for putting this together. I'm glad I got to contribute.

    I've also learned a few things about GMing from it - a couple new techniques I can try and a couple new spins on techniques I already use. Plus there is always that nice bit where someone explains why something you do works and how to make it work better. :)

    Fun stuff. I don't think it's the greatest "starting guide to GMs" book but it sure makes an excellent tip book for experienced ones. Since I'm one of the latter I like that in a book. :D

  10. Thank you! As a young GM, I'm looking forward to reading this and improving!