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Game Master's Guide
Hosting a Game
Tables. All players have their own Table page, where they can host games as the Game Master.
Tone. Before starting, make sure everyone knows what kind of tone is okay during the game. (e.g. serious all the time, anything goes, etc.)
Scenes. Fabletop works best with short, quick quests. Each quest will be divided into 3 or 4 Scenes, taking 40-60 minutes each.
To start a scene, just select GM Menu > New Scene, add some miniatures, and you're ready to go.
GM Tip: Start the game in the middle of the action, so you don't waste too much time in the opening "quest giver" stage. Essential background info can be provided via flashback.
Dungeons. It's easier to present dungeons as a one-by-one series of rooms, instead of trying to navigate a map with a lot of trivial choices.
One-Shots. We recommend short quests that can be completed in one session, especially if you are starting with a new group. Longer quests can be broken up into individual "episodes".
Improv. It's pretty easy to run quests with no preparation. Just set up an initial scene and improvise based on the actions of the players. You can even ask them to fill in details during the game, making it more collaborative.
Example Quest Outline
Initiative. Don't make players roll for initiative -- it really slows things down in a chat-based system.
Movement. As a player, it's no fun to move half-way to an enemy, and then have to wait 10 minutes for your next turn to finally do something.
Damage. Attack rolls do 1 damage per Star. There are no stats for defense, but you might allow the player (or a teammate) to use a Power point roll to dodge or block a severe attack.
Spillover. Extra damage from melee attacks can "spill over" to nearby targets, if it makes sense. This also helps balance out the extra danger of being in the front line.
Healing.The party can heal +50% Life by resting in complete safety for a night. Healing powers heal 2 Life per Star.
Tags. Edit the miniature Tag to mark effects such as prone, disarmed, frozen, etc. The GM can decide how these effect the game itself (e.g. missed turns, required skill rolls, etc).
Pace. Combat should be quick, unpredictable, and exciting. So don't worry too much about ranges, modifiers, etc. Instead, try to focus more on a creating variety of interesting outcomes, like what you would see in an adventure movie or novel.
Monsters & Enemies
There are no official monsters in Fabletop. You can create your own using just two stats: Life & Attack (# dice).
Examples. See the preset miniatures for more examples.
Damage Tag. When an NPC is hit, you can track how much total damage has been taken, by editing the miniature Tag (e.g. "Damage 2").
Powers. Enemies can use special powers or stunts any time, but should usually wait one turn before using them again.
Dangers. Special attacks and traps do a fixed amount of damage, but the player rolls to resist or reduce the effect.
Example tactics for humanoids:
kick, punch, head butt, grapple, disarm, hidden knife, throw weapon, charge, climb, jump, taunt, take cover, call for help, withdraw, feint, play dead.
Example powers for monsters:
bite, claw, ram, poison, acid, fire, electricity, cold, shriek/roar, blinding flash, web, breath, fly, levitate, teleport, high speed, tail whip, eye beams, petrify, regenerate, shield, reflect attack, shapechange, grow, disappear, possess, mistform, effect triggered on death.
Combined Rolls. Tasks that allow for cooperation might allow more than one player to roll, with the Stars from all rolls added together.
Multiple Rolls. For tasks that take extra time to complete, the GM might ask for additional rolls, which are added together.
Opposed Rolls. If a player is directly opposing an NPC (e.g. an arm wrestling contest), treat it as a normal roll versus a predetermined difficulty (usually 1-2 stars).
Rewards are given using the "Give Party" menu option, or via the /stat command.
Experience (XP).At the end of each session, reward 1-10 XP to everyone in the party (usually 2 XP per hour of solid gameplay). You can base this on how much was accomplished, how difficult it was, how well they roleplayed, and how quickly you want the characters to advance.
Magic Items. Most magic items can be added as Bonus traits. (e.g. a Ring of Shadows +2, which adds 2 dice to Stealth rolls).
Keep it Short. The best descriptions are often the shortest. Full sentences aren't even necessary. Let the players fill in the blanks in their heads (and assume the worst). e.g. "Fear is in the air. A howling SHRIEK! Then... silence."
Sound. "Sound effects" are a quick and creative way to provide description. e.g. "drip... drip... drip..." and "Ka-chattle-chattle-clank!"
NPCs. Try to give NPCs different mannerisms, via speech or emotes. e.g. "Ay, watcha doin'?", -- scratches underarm --
One-Shot Powers. At character creation, let players create a power that can be used once per session, listed in their Notes.
Remember, there are a hundred other things players could be doing, rather than playing in your game. Always keep their enjoyment in mind.
While you get to set the direction, the players want the freedom to play their characters and (with some help from the dice gods) ultimately determine the final destination.
Think of it this way: Fabletop is like a computer RPG, but with super-flexible AI and a plot that can go in any direction! As the GM, you get to provide that experience.
Happy adventuring, and be sure to share your experiences (and log snippets) with us in the forum!