I picked up Spirit of the Century at this year’s GenCon, in part because I enjoy pulp games but mainly because I’d heard that it was full of good GMing advice.
And so far, it is — and not just for Spirit, or even just for pulp games. It offers good foundation-level tips on writing and running adventures, on putting your players first and on all sorts of other useful topics. In fact, page for page, it offers more digestible, immediately practical GMing advice than any other gaming book I’ve read recently.
The thing is, browsing through a copy in the store, you might very well miss that aspect of the book — and I’m sure there are plenty of other gaming books out there with similar surprises for GMs.
So how about it: What gaming books have you read that offered solid GMing advice with broader applications — stuff you can use in lots of games, not just the one where you found the advice?
Update: I’ve taken all of the recommendations made in the comments and listed them below for easy browsing. My thanks to everyone who has contributed to this list.
- Amber Diceless Roleplay
- Angel RPG
- Buffy RPG
- Burning Wheel
- Campaign Law (Rolemaster)
- Changeling: The Lost
- Characters and Viewpoints, Orson Scott Card (not gaming)
- Dogs in the Vineyard
- Dream Park RPG
- Dungeon Master’s Guide (1st Edition)
- Dungeon Master’s Guide II
- Feng Shui
- Galaxy Guide (d20 Star Wars, revised)
- Game Master Law (Rolemaster)
- Listen Up, You Primitive Screwheads! (CyberPunk)
- Nightmares of Mine supplement
- Over the Edge
- Promethean: The Created
- Risus Companion
- Roleplaying Mastery (Gary Gygax)
- 7th Sea
- Sorcerer (also Sorcerer and Sword and Sorcerer’s Soul)
- Star Trek Narrator’s Guide (Decipher)
- Star Trek core books (Last Unicorn Games)
- Star Wars Gamemaster’s Guide (WEG’s d6 version)
- Traveller (the original book)
- Usagi Yojimbo RPG (Autumn Moon edition)
- Vampire: The Masquerade (1st Edition; also their Player’s Handbook)