It’s time to save vs. awesome! The Jovial GM has arrived!
This is how the journey starts. No lightshow, fanfare, or lah-de-dah. Just a guy with a blog and an idea or two for articles. Welcome to the Jovial GM.
What the Heck is the Jovial GM?
Fair question. That would be me. I am the Jovial GM, professional gamemaster extraordinaire and writer of articles of impeccable instruction designed to teach you how to be almost (but maybe not quite) as awesome as me. I’m a satirist and a taco-powered philosopher. (In a pinch, I can convert cheeseburgers or pizza into fuel, as well.) I am classically trained in the art of being both vague and specific, often at the same time. I am your polyhedral sensei, your world-building rabbi, and the FedEx driver delivering a serious crate of adventuring goodies right to your mental doorstep. The curator, if you will, of all that will be available here at JovialGM.com, a site mostly dedicated to the pipe dream of becoming a full-time pro gamemaster, but may also evolve into a role playing advice site of little to no renown.
Or I might just be some guy with a WordPress install and the temerity to suggest he knows a thing or two about role playing games.
That Doesn’t Tell Me Who You Are…
The Jovial GM, or course, is just a nom de plume. (Isn’t that a great phrase? Say it with me. Nom de plume. You can feel the italics tickle your nasal passages, vibrating with arrogant titillation as the idiom instills a certain degree of superiority into the left frontal lobe of your cerebral cortex, can’t you?) My real name is an unfortunate, bland, and pedestrian one, like Evan, Patrick, or Brian. No offense to those of you who bear those names (mine might be among them!), but nobody wants to be named Evan, Patrick, or Brian.
Well, maybe a few people. Evan Rachel Wood, Patrick Stewart, and Patrick Warburton, who are actual physical manifestations of unadulterated awesome. And then there’s Brian Blessed, who has really ruined the name for anyone else using it, what with his history of sparring with the Dalai Lama, climbing Mt. Everest, knocking Doctor Who out cold, and keeping a full grown grizzly bear hidden behind his massive beard. If you’re going to be named Brian, you must be Brian Blessed. Otherwise, what’s the point?
I am neither of the aforementioned Patricks, nor am I Evan Rachel Wood or Brian Blessed. But since we’re all going to be great friends, you are going to need to call me something. As I am indeed jovial (a word that, in this context, means “endowed with or characterized by a hearty, joyous humor or spirit of good fellowship” rather than “of or relating to the god Jupiter”), and I am a GM, the Jovial GM seemed a reasonable option. But if you really must call me something more name-like, well…
I am Simon of the House Fiasco, first of my name, the jack of some (but really, not many) trades, the most jovial of game masters, regent of hooligans and rapscallions, lord of nothing in particular, scribbler of words, eater of Hawaiian pizza, protector of small fur-bearing animals, breaker of chairs, and speaker of dad jokes and silly voices.
Simon Fiasco, the Jovial GM.
What Can I Expect from JovialGM.com?
There are all sorts of crazy plans in the works for this place! In fact, the Forge of Unmitigated Awesome™ – which, as I am certain you have already surmised, is what I call my brain – has been working overtime to create a plethora of options for those of you who want to take your GM skills to the next level. Just think of this site as the glass elevator designed to take you to every nook and cranny of my own personal chocolate factory. Only instead of chocolates, I’m churning out gooey ideas and rich, scrumptious words, coated in a witty – and sometimes sarcastic – candy shell.
Okay, maybe that was too much. Was that too much? Yeah. Too much. Maybe even a little gross, huh? Yeah. Sorry about that.
Allow me to be more specific.
Experience and Stuff
This one should be obvious, but since I’m calling myself a professional gamemaster, I should probably have some sort of qualificatons, right? I mean, what kind of pro GM, game advice, and unlicensed therapy service would I be providing if I neglected to actually address what made me qualified to discuss the matter at hand – Game Mastery? After thirty-five years of being Game Master, Dungeon Master, Storyteller, Narrator, Arbiter, Director, Producer, Referee, Lorekeeper, Moderator, Guide, Judge, Big Mac Daddy, and a dozen other names, I have a small satchel of thoughts on the subject. Just a few. Tiny things.
Maybe you will find them useful.
Creation, Destruction, and Everything In Between!
Let’s face it, worldbuilding can be an unrighteous pain in the posterior. History. Geography. Geology. Religion. Politics. War and peace. Life and death. Apocalypses and extinctions aplenty! It’s like college homework, only there is no professor grading your efforts, just a group of people depending on you, the GM, to provide them with a setting in which their characters can adventure and thrive. You have the figurative weight of a world on your shoulders, but you don’t have to carry it alone. I’m here for you, and worldbuilding is something we’re going to dive headlong into, sooner or later.
(Probably sooner than later, but since I am not only jovial, but also lazy, it might be later.)
What is that sound I hear? It’s the triumphant call announcing the chariot bearing the Jovial GM to your aid! Swing low, sweet chariot!
Heroes, Legends, Soundrels, and Villains
Do you want your players to meet Mulvark the Dwarf, or do you want them to meet Mulvark Two-Axe, retired, one-legged adventurer, agent of the Knights of the Shield, and proprietor of the Cloak & Swagger, a tavern catering largely to shady types and the disenfranchised of Neverwinter? Look, not every NPC needs a deep backstory, but one who ends up as a recurring ally to your player characters – or their nemesis! – requires special attention only you can provide. By investing effort into these kinds of characters, you create more than set pieces, more than just scenery for your players to ignore.
Tomfoolery, Shenanigans, and Other Antics
I’m not going to lie here: I like to have a good time. It’s entirely possible I will do it at your expense and absolutely certain I will do it at my own. This is your first and only warning. They don’t call me the Jovial GM for nothin’, bub!
Maps and Map-Like Things
Maps are self-explanatory, but for those who aren’t sure exactly what I mean, I will expound upon the concept. I like making maps – that is, committing a geographical location or archaeological construct to paper (or pixels) as a means to enhance immersion and fun at the game table. Most GMs do it, at least insofar as making some scribbles on graph paper so they have a general idea of where the players are at any given moment. The goal here is to post two of these each month, screen quality, for you to use at your leisure. Cities, towns, wilderness areas, caves, ancient temples. General fantasy stuff, but who knows? Maybe some sci-fi will sneak in there, too.
You know, because my maps are just that awesometastic.
Or maybe I just like to share. (I mean, I’m okay, but nobody’s paying me for my cartography services…)
Is That It?
No freakin’ way! Expect the unexpected from the Jovial GM! In all likelihood, that’s just my way of saying I haven’t quite figured out what in the heck I’m doing here, other than the stuff I’ve already outlined. But while that’s true to some extent, I have a couple dozen articles already in the works, so we’re this little journey we’re taking together is going to be just fine for the time being.
I’ll figure out the rest as we go.