Game Leading

A Game Leader needs to be many different things. They need to be creative, be a fair adjudicator, a diplomat when personalities clash, a story teller, an event organiser, an actor and an encyclopedia of rules. But there is one thing the Game Leader is not.

They are not in charge.

The Game Leader does not tell people what to do. They are not masters of the game who lay down the law and decide how the game will be played. Their word is not final. They are just one of the players around the table who collaborate to create a game world. The only difference between the Game Leader and the other players is that instead of playing a character the Game Leader plays the whole world.

Resistances & Monsters

One of the most common tasks for a Game Leader is to set the resistance against a character's action. If there is a combat situation and a monster is involved this is straightforward - each monster has a fixed dice value used in all actions and Resistance actions. When the Game Leader is having to ad-lib or the characters are doing something unexpected there may be no monster or clear guidance to the appropriate difficulty.

Game Leaders should simply trust their judgement. Pick up whatever seems an appropriate number of dice and roll them. If the task seems a tall order for the character, roll lots of dice; if it should be easy, roll less. The game's rules have been specifically designed to support this quick and easy approach. Game Leaders should avoid getting bogged down in checking rules, especially for rolls of little importance. If the outcome has the potential to significantly change the direction of the narrative it is appropriate to pause for a reasonable amount of thought and discussion with the group before deciding on the resistance.


A lot of the characters' actions will not be against an opponent but attempts to discover clues or information for a crime scene or a person. In these situations when no one is actively resisting the characters' actions the Game Leader does not set a resistance. Instead the Game Leader will have a range of results and will select which information to give based on a range of factors.

It is in plain sight or unmissable once a person has spent a few moments in the room; a dead body on the floor, the style of the wallpaper.
Out of sight but easily found by anyone taking a moment to look around; a box under the bed, a bloody hand-print.
Requires effort to find; a hidden safe behind the picture, a small trail of blood.
A tiny detail, a needle in a haystack or something needing real skill to discover; a scrap of paper between the floorboards, suspicious transactions in an accounts ledger.

The character takes their action, stating their goal and the advantages being used, and rolls their dice. The Game Leader uses this to decide what information to reveal. The character who searches the wardrobe will never find the bomb under the bed no matter what they roll on the dice but it is obvious to the character who actually looks under the bed. The result is also based on the advantages being used by the character. Seeing through a closed door is trivial to a superhero with X-ray vision or a psionicist with clairvoyance, yet the same door would foil the elf with amazing (but otherwise normal) eyesight.

The other factor is the role of the Game Leader. Their job is to make the game fun for all the players which includes making tasks challenging and letting characters fail. However, if players miss a vital clue or walk past the secret door leading deeper in to the dungeon the adventure will fizzle out which is no fun for anyone. Deciding what information to give out and when to give it is the heart of the Game Leader's role in the game.

Game Leaders should encourage players to do more than simply roll dice. When players specify what they are trying to acheive, how they are doing it and for how long, the game stays focused on role playing and is less about dice rolling. The role playing may help the characters if they look in the right spot or ask the right questions but it could also hinder them.

Based on the player's role playing, the advantages used, their dice score and circumstances, the Game Leader uses their judgement to decide the outcome of the character's action.

The Game Leader's Goal

The goal of the Game Leader is not to kill the characters or prevent them achieving their objectives. A Game Leader can do this any time they want by setting stupidly high resistances or throwing wave after wave of over-powered creatures at the party. Instead, a game should be like a roller coaster: full of ups-and-downs, fear and screaming but with everyone arriving safely at the end, laughing about the experience. The art of being a good Game Leader is to push the characters to the edge of their abilities but no further.

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open/mechanics/6d6lite/gameleading.txt · Last modified: 2014/05/09 10:43 by tregenza
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The 6d6 RPG tabletop store is owned and operated by Chris Tregenza. Who also owns and runs Myomancy, a site about ADD / ADHD medication, Autism and Dyslexia Treatments and also site called Poosk. Chris also provides copy-writing, web design SEO advice to sites like Dingles' Games pathfinder rpg resources.