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Cyno's Role-Play: Rule Book

Guidelines for Game Master


  • Be bold, adventures can take place anywhere.
  • Use sub-themes
    • Add variety to adventure.
    • Can be very different set of locations, or related sets (e.g. different worlds, or just different stories).
    • The theme should permeate throughout the adventure


  • An adventure can present several featrues to the players
    • a goal to be accomplished
    • puzzles to be solved
    • interaction with the adventure world
    • a story
    • maps, pictures, and sounds may be used to enhance your game
  • Have events happen to carry the story along
    • Events don't have to be linear in occurrence.
    • An event could occur to sidetrack the players.
    • The adventure world should not be static. (e.g. a store owner is not always waiting in the store.)
  • Have alternative plots, endings, or even objectives
    • Players select which story line.
    • Players, as they play, select their own destiny, with some puzzles applying to different scenarios.
  • Have unified but open scenario
    • Unified: work out the history of the adventure world that explains each object and character, and details the events before the adventure begins.
    • Open: although the full history is available, holes can exist to be filled later. It would make add-ons possible.
    • This background will provide the foundation and basis for the adventure's puzzles and situations.
  • Have a step by step build up to some climax or high point. Something exciting should happen at this point.
  • Have some factors in the adventure that are random with each game
    • e.g. safe combination, encounter, a true maze


  • No irreversible puzzles, unless the players are experienced and understand the consequences to their actions. For example:
    • More than just one chance to do something.
    • Important objects can not be destroyed.
    • No irrecoverable situations.
  • Have several solutions to problems
    • Sometimes the players are clever, and can come up with solutions that the GM did not anticipate. Do not rule out their solutions as impossible. If the solutions are fair, reward them by allowing them to accomplish their goals with their solutions.
    • Avoid thinking, "if I spend time putting it in, then everyone must encounter it".
    • GM must be dynamic.
    • The players are more satisfied when their actions accomplish something.
    • In order to increase satisfaction, allow the players to accomplish minor goals within the adventure, in addition to the final overall goal.
  • Have solutions with a moral quality or sense of purpose.
    • Avoid bland do-it-because-you-can type of puzzles.
    • Could have some emotions attached (e.g. rescue a fuzzy animal).
    • The players should feel a sense of accomplishment.
  • Have fair and logical puzzles
    • Puzzles can be as different and wild your imagination, but they must be logically solvable given the circumstances that the players are in.
    • The puzzles should fit into the overall theme. Sometimes puzzles can simply be reworded to fit into a particular theme.


  • No illogical mazes, mixed-up directions, or impossible-to-map locations
    • A maze should be a real maze, not a set of impossible-to-map rooms.
    • Even if the adventure consists of independent sets of locations, there should still be a logical layout to the map.
  • No empty or useless rooms
    • A location just for the sake of completeness may add to the theme, but from the players' point of view it is disappointing.
    • It is especially true if the descriptions of the rooms are short, since for long descriptions the location can significantly add to the mood and feel of the adventure.


  • Have information sources, sometimes during the game. E.g. a wise, old man telling stories to the players.
    • Gives background info on objects/characters.
    • Gives hints / how to use objects.
    • Plot development.
    • Humor.
  • Have "helper" characters, act as an ally to the players
  • Have character interaction
    • Conversations
    • Puzzles involving other characters.
    • Getting hints from characters.
    • Characters which follow the players. These characters are especially useful, since they can be kidnapped by the villain for the players to save.


  • No deaths.
    • No unavoidable dangers / always have warnings. If the player can be killed, then he can be warned of the danger.
  • No dwindling vital resource constraints (battery, air, time) that is unrecoverable. Time restriction may be allowed for experienced players.
    • As part of a puzzle, having to refill a resource is all right.
    • Never use a limiting factor which can halt an adventure and force players to restart, it is an unnecessary obstacle.
  • Have a high carry limit, or no limit at all for beginning players.
    • Object-count dependent.
    • Object size/weight dependent.
  • Any of the above restriction can reduce the fun in a game. Reduce the restriction as soon as the game becomes a drag. The purpose of the game is to have fun, not bookkeeping.
  • Having no restrictions can also cause boredom. Players without restrictions can become too powerful, and the tasks they perform will become unchallenging. Keep your games balanced.