Progress on Quest for the Guffin

One of the problems I faced trying to make a role playing game where someone from any level of experience could easily Game Master(GM) was that most new GMs don’t know where to start. Since my family is fairly new to RPGs in general, expecting them to become good GMs was unreasonable without strong instruction. They especially didn’t know how to start. Based on their feedback, I decided to create some mad lib-esque story introductions. This way they wouldn’t get overwhelmed right away and the plug and play nature opens it up to be reused and hopefully expanded upon when one becomes more comfortable and experienced with the game.

This is an example of a story opening. Currently I have multiple to choose from.

My most recent playtest was run by my mother. This was the first time we used the story openings, but the results showed. My parents appreciated them because it made it easy to get past the hardest hurdle, setting a good scene. In my mom’s game, she chose the opening that I titled “‘Monster’ Hunt.” A ninja has been terrorizing a palace and has set up its lair in the kitchen. The reward for bringing the ninja out dead or alive is a drunken donkey (I removed adjective cards so that one is my mom’s fault). Now that our goofy story has started, my father, brother, and I have to create our characters. My father is an unhinged knight who is the brains of the operation. My brother is a metalsmith who is the escapist. I am an orc who is the face of the group. Then we planned how we could capture a ninja, with my dad suggesting using poisoned sushi. First we had to get the sushi, and once we had enough of a story and plan going, it was easier for my mom to carry it. Though I did make comment on how she could improve how she GM’d, my mom did so smoothly. I think this was good direction. One thing I am uncertain about is if the combat is balanced enough. It is really hard for me to playtest it naturally and I have only had one successful game with the current rules. Hopefully, if combat won’t be much of an issue as it is not the core focus of my game, telling a good story is. If I was to speculate, I would say the combat is weighed heavily in the player’s advantage as it seems hard to die, yet again it seems just as likely to me that the enemy could have an easy time escaping. Currently the players each have 5 health and bosses have a minimum of 5 health. I don’t want death to be impossible, yet I don’t want bosses to be impossible. That is why I am hesitant to change these values. I am considering emphasizing in the rules that a GM can choose to have a character take damage on certain actions if they roll low. Hopefully this will raise the stakes slightly enough.


One thought on “Progress on Quest for the Guffin

  1. This is a great idea. The first time I played Dungeons and Dragons, I was the game master for a group of people who had also never played before. I think the best thing the book I had did was give me the information when I needed it, not before. So the first time I brought the players to a battle, the book told me how to battle. And throughout the book, there were notes on possibilities for what to say or do. If you could incorporate some things like that into your game, I think that would help with this issue a lot!

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