The Game Master

The Game Master is a book about roleplaying games.It is intended for game masters from the aspiring novice trying to figure out how to launch their first campaign to the veteran who wants to discover how to consistently produce games that work and avoid train-wreck campaigns. It aims to foster a deeper appreciation of the unique nature of RPGs as both a dynamic literary form and a type of entertainment.

It is available as both a softcover book and an eBook which is free to distribute. The book was updated to a second edition as of May 20, 2012.

Click the banner to order the softcover and/or download a copy of The Game Master from DrivthruRPG:

What is The Game Master about?

The Game Master covers two major topics:

1) It is a how-to guide for creating and running an RPG campaign, including a detailed guide on how to design a campaign and assemble a group, and various tips, tricks, and advice for running the game.

2) It is a philosophy of narrative roleplaying. Along with the practical advice, I discuss the fundamental nature of RPGs, the laws and limitations of the medium, and a set of foundational principles which I believe underlie any truly great roleplaying endeavor.

You can check out sample excerpts from Chapter 2: The Group Contract and Chapter 9: Writing Adventures.

Who made it?

Hi, I’m Tobiah Panshin. Go to the About page to learn more about me.

So can I just give a copy to anyone I want?

Absolutely! Part of my goal in writing The Game Master is to foster discussion in the roleplaying community. The more people who can read and enjoy my book, the better. By all means feel free to give to your friends, post it to bittorrent or other websites, and spread the word. Just please don’t go around spamming it.

Are there any limitations on what I can do with The Game Master?

The eBook edition of The Game Master is available under a Creative Commons license, as follows:

Creative Commons License
The Game Master by Tobiah Panshin is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at

In simple language, this means you are free to copy, distribute and transmit the work, as long as you don’t change it, don’t charge money for it, and you provide credit to me (preferably in the form of a link back to this website).

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8 Responses to “The Game Master”

  1. […] effective the ideas in the book can be at a gaming table. The entire 172 page .pdf is available free to download, however I strongly urge you to make a donation to the upkeep of the website. If you feel unsure if […]

  2. […] Yes, I still play Dungeons and Dragons. Yet there is little writing about how to write a game. This was a good one. You can download it here for a donation or for free. […]

  3. […] gripe, you can’t complain about the price. It’s available for free as an eBook or PDF on Tobiah’s website, and at DriveThruRPG. Or if you’d rather have a printed copy, it’s just $9.99 through […]

  4. […] Book: The Game Master: A Guide to the Art and Theory of Roleplaying by Tobiah Panshin […]

  5. […] Jakiś czas temu znalazłem w internecie ciekawą pozycję. Chodzi mi o książkę The Game Master która dostępna jest darmowo pod tym adresem: […]

  6. […] talk about this principle, which I call “Narrative Uncertainty”, in some detail in my book. It is the idea that persons, places, and events that are not actively being observed by the reader […]

  7. […] in comic books can be done in RPGs, if you consider that, as Tobiah Panshin put in their book ‘The Game Master: A Guide to the Art and Theory of Roleplaying’, ‘an RPG world is like a Schrodinger’s Universe. It exists in an ephemeral and shifting […]