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  1. Gaming books are just like any other book - they have word count targets as well as page count targets and the people who write them tend to go over their allotment. This requires an editor to trim the fat. Unfortunately one of the first things to go under the knife in a core book is the game master advice portion of the book. As anyone that's read more than a few tabletop RPG books has noticed, there is always some system specific advice, but the general advice seems to be the same basic ideas, maybe presented slightly differently, but repeated over and over across the industry. Fortunately over the last couple of decades more and more books geared specifically for game masters have been published. For those GMs that want to up their game, whether it be plot, combat, handling NPCs, worldbuilding, or problem players there's advice out there for that. Not all of them give good advice and not all are worth picking up. This thread aims to be a resource, not just creating a list of books but also giving a bit of a review. The books listed here will not include core books unless someone finds one with unique advice. At this point my idea is to keep the list more general and avoid books that are majority system specific. You won't find the DMG listed here, but you might find a DMG II. After all, that's where the advice that got cut out of the first one ends up. Title: Cityscape Authors: Ari Marmell & C.A. Suleiman System: 3.5E d20 (w/ a lot of more generally applicable sections) Publisher: WOTC (2006) ISBN: 978-0-7869-3939-8 In Print: No Title: GM Essentials Book 1: NPC Essentials Authors: Johnn Four System: Nominally 3.5E d20, but only one chapter is really tied to that system (a mini-adventure) Publisher: RPGObjects (2003) ISBN: 978-0-7869-3939-8 In Print: No (?) Might be available electronically from Role Playing Tips (Johnn's Blog) Title: Hamlet's Hit Points Author: Robin D. Laws System: None Publisher: Gameplaywright (2010) ISBN: 978-0-9818840-2-8 In Print: Yes Title: Heroes of Battle Author: David Noonan, Will McDermott, Stephen Schubert System: 3E (but applicable to other systems) Publisher: WOTC (2005) ISBN: 0-7869-3686-X In Print: No Title: Kobold Guide to Worldbuilding Author: Wolfgang Bauer, Michael Stackpole, Keith Baker, Monte Cook, and others System: None (fantasy-oriented) Publisher: Kobold Press (2012) ISBN: 978-1936781119 In Print: Yes Title: A Mighty Fortress Author: System: 2E d20 (but it is also a historical reference) Publisher: TSR (1992) ISBN: 1-56076-372-8 In Print: No, but .pdf Title: Play Dirty Author: John Wick System: None Publisher: John Wick (2015) ISBN: 978-0990547853 In Print: Yes Title: Play Dirty 2 Author: John Wick System: None Publisher: John Wick (2015) ISBN: 978-0990547860 In Print: Yes Title: Robin's Laws of Good Game Mastering Author: Robin D. Laws System: None Publisher: Steve Jackson Games (2002) ISBN: 1-55634-629-8 In Print: Not last I checked, but you can track down a .pdf
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