Johnn Four Made Me a Better GM, and He Can Make You a Better GM Too


I’ve been subscribed to Johnn Four’s RPGTips email since I started gaming. Looking back at my email, it looks like it was at least 2005, but I know it went back much, much earlier, probably back to 2000. Most of what I learned about game mastering came from those weekly tip emails.

The great thing about Roleplaying tips is that Johnn’s tips are generally system and setting neutral, applying all across the board. I tended to use those tips for the Star Wars D20 RPG, but those exact same tips influenced all my other settings.

For example, issue 290, Customizing Common Races, Part 1, the furthest back I can find in my email, has great articles, such as “Use Folk Songs For Inspiration“,  “Use Chess For Campaign & Adventure Inspiration“, and “Online Egyptian Tomb Maps“. Huge diversity in subjects, and each in small, bite-sized pieces, easy to read in a couple of minutes and go.

How can you become a better GM thanks to Johnn Four?

  1. Subscribe. Go get on his email list. No, he’s not paying me. Get on that email list and get your weekly tips.
  2. Use the tips! If you need some inspiration week to week, pop open the latest tip and utilize at least one tip from that week. Running Star Wars back in the day, I found that I could do this easily. Often, fifteen minutes before the other players arrived, I would hop onto my email, graze over the latest tips, and start running.
  3. Get more tips! Johnn has written a bunch of really great books on gamemastering. I myself own his Inns and Taverns book, and it’s been invaluable. Check out, in particular, his site on running faster combats. The site will teach you how to really make your combats dynamic.
  4. Get blogging! Johnn runs the RPG Blog Carnival every month. If you yourself are a blogger, I really encourage you to get over there and join in.

Short story? Johnn Four is my hero, made me the game master I am today, and everyone can be made a better GM thanks to him.

2 thoughts on “Johnn Four Made Me a Better GM, and He Can Make You a Better GM Too

  1. Thanks for the shout out Mark.

    I’d add a #5 not attributable to me: GM as often as you can. Your players will love you for it. 🙂

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