Review | “How to Game-Master like a Fucking Boss” by Wenger As’Nas Satanis

  

Finally, I’ve got the time to do a review. This time it’s Venger Satanis “How to GM like a fucking boss”. I’m reviewing the PDF version of the book, which Mr. Satanis provided as a free review copy.

The short version:
If you’re a new or veteran GM and need some specific advice or GM:ing tips when you’re stuck in old ways, this is a great book for you. Full of advice on various aspects on game mastering and with a lot of old school style random tables to get your creative juices flowing. Available on DriveThru RPG in PDF and print formats.

The longer version:
Title: How to Game-Master like a Fucking Boss
Author: Venger As’Nas Satanis
Publisher: Kort’halis Publishing
Vendor: DriveThru RPG
Format: PDF or print (softcover) 124 pages
Price: 18 USD PDF; 23 USD print

Physical: The PDF looks professional, good layout and use of white space, easy to read. The art is well done and plentiful. Full old school including lots of tits’n’ass. Definitely on the NSFW side of things. Personally, I like the 80’s “Heavy Metal” magazine look, but if you’re offended by such things, the book might not be for you or your delicate senses. The book is organised with an index in the front, sporting lots of topics. Sadly, no bookmarks. There’s no broader organisation level, like chapters covering various topics, which makes the book a bit hard to grasp as the indexed topics feel a little random. Which is all fine if the author intended the book as more of an encyclopaedia rather than a book to read from cover to cover. However, a linked or bookmarked index would have helped immensely.

Pages 1—69 is full of GM advice covering topics like:
* Why do we role play?
* How to GM like a boss
* Various GM styles
* GM preparation advice
* How to handle various player types
* How to handle various player situations
And lots more. Actually, the missing chapter structure makes this part of the review hard to write because of the multitude of shorter topic passages in the book. It’s mostly very sound and good advice though.
Pages 70—97 is a collection of old school style random tables for the GM. The tables are usable for any game, but mostly focused on fantasy and horror. For me, this collection of tables is worth the price of admission. Awesome stuff, and if you don’t like the particular tables here they will inspire you to write up your own.
Pages 98—116 present a fantasy language, by Mr. Satanis himself. I can’t see myself using it, but I’m sure some will love it.
And last, pages 118—121 consist of a series of generic maps by master map-maker Josephe Vandel of Google Plus fame. Awesome.

So how does this book hold out against other books on the art of GM:ing? Quite well, I think. The author has a nice unpretentious language and gives good and usable GM advice. In conjunction with books like Sly Flourish’s “The Lazy DM” I’d say that you have a pretty solid set of GM advice for most games.

I’m definitely getting the print version of the book to sit beside “The Lazy DM”. A bookmarked PDF and it would live on my iPad as one of the “core” PDFs to use at the table.

Well done, Mr. Satanis 🙂

Written on location, by the pool, in Thailand

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