We are all in a position where we are striving to manage both ourselves and the players, while presenting the best possible game we can despite our limitations. Game play is mastered through a practical use of time, an understanding of goals, the mastery of the game's immersive qualities and our most intrinsic motivations. These elements of game play are universal - and they are, for the most part, wholly ignored by game manufacturers.
I have written a book that discusses role-play the way an academic treatise would discuss a subject among professors or the way that a trade manual would discuss the subject among masters of that trade. There are thousands of practitioners of role-playing games who are wallowing, uncertain of what they are doing, particularly because there is no standard by which they can judge themselves.
Therefore, rather than present a series of things not to do, the book concentrates upon those things that a DM does that work - and why they work! I believe that by firmly understanding why a particular running succeeded, a DM can build upon that understanding and ultimately learn to reproduce that result over and over. The book How to Run proposes to give that understanding.
And because most of that time has been spent in serious disagreement with the game's mainstream, the content of my mind expressed in these pages will prove to be well outside what the reader would normally expect to find. The reader will take note, I don't see Dungeons & Dragons as a game, but as an personal expression, a form of performance art, in which participants are enabled and empowered to investigate and comprehend parts of themselves in exactly the way we imagine artists do.
Players are, in the strongest sense, creators. Creators of character, creators of circumstance, creators of a destiny, contained inside a structure that enables them to seize a moment in time and make it their own. This sense of gamesmanship that I have permeates the pages of this small but enthralling book, one that promises to be consumed greedily.
I simply don't believe that the traditional game can dismiss the importance that dungeons have for players and for the opportunities they present - and at the same time, as with all things, I tend to look at dungeons askew from the usual tricksterism that's constructed of traps and clever rube goldbergs. My view is that dungeons are small, profound worlds unto themselves, allowing for endless variety for player and DM alike. I believe firmly that this book accomplishes the goal in expressing these possibilities.
There we are. Three books, all available for sale from my table at the Expo beginning Friday morning. Come around, have a chat, talk about your hopes and dreams and we'll see if we can't raise the bar for your players higher than they've dreamed!