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Game Master Tips With Matt Mercer – The Rule of Cool

As a general rule, RPGs are the stories of awesome people who do awesome things. Unless your game is hyper-realistic, it can benefit from applying the Rule of Cool: “The limit of the Willing Suspension of Disbelief for a given element is directly proportional to the element’s awesomeness.” However, there are still some things that you need to keep in mind!

  1. In an RPG, the Rule of Cool means giving your players the chance to perform ridiculous stunts or bend the rules a little bit in the sake of an awesome scene.
  2. Be warned, you should establish the level of craziness your game will allow early on to play with people’s expectations.
  3. Apply the Rule of Cool sparingly—that goes for the GM just as much as the players! Too much gonzo action will turn your A Song of Ice and Fire RPG into a Dragon Ball Z game faster than you can say “Super Saiyan.”
  4. Gauge which player actions are viable, and which are abuse. This is more art than science, but you should reward creativity while dissuading players from reaching too far too often.
  5. And don’t forget: most RPGs are designed to tell stories of epic fantasy! Never say never—there’s always the chance someone rolls a natural 20!

Of course these are just the basic tips written out in a handy list format. If you need more detail, check out the video above with Critical Role’s illustrious DM, Matt Mercer. We’ll have more Game Master Tips every Friday, so stay tuned!!

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