Concept – Game Master PC Reference Sheet
I have been running games for about as long as I have been into gaming. I was in 3rd grade when Hero’s Quest came out and before long, I was drawing dungeons for my brother to run through. This went on for years with games like Dragon Strike and Advanced D&D.
Nowadays I run games like Mansions of Madness and have even written several stories for the game myself.
So while I haven’t had the chance to GM any Pathfinder games yet. I’ve already started noodling around with ways to make the experience more immersive and surprising for PC’s.
One thing that I’m a huge fan of is secret GM rolls. There is something unnerving about the roll of a die hidden behind the screen at just the right moment. I’m also a huge fan of meaningless rolls behind the screen. It keeps the PC’s guessing whether or not something is about to happen or if they narrowly avoided springing a trap, hearing a monster or finding some valuable information.
So… let’s say.. the PC’s decide to take a dark corridor to the east of the slain guards watch post. Being sure to approach slowly they enter the passage led by the Barbarian, Grau and Cleric, Farindar. The GM has a choice now because he knows that in just a few moments they will happen across a pressure plate trap upon the floor.
Option One: He can ask the two party members in the lead to make a perception check. Alerting them the presence of some unknown danger up head and effectively breaking the tension of an immersive moment.
Option Two: He can refer to his notes where he has recorded their Perception modifiers before the session. Rolling two checks in secret behind his screen. The PC’s will then be cued to make a roleplaying choice… stop and search.. continue and call the bluff of the GM’s roll.. or use another skill to see if they missed something.
I’m going to say that Option Two usually is the winner during surprise encounters and perception based skills.
All of this to say that I think it would help me to develop a GM PC Reference Sheet to fill out prior to a session being started. As a GM, it is recommended that you do this anyway but I doubt it’s common practice.
The sheet, which I created is specifically for Pathfinder Society Game Play. Thusly it has sections for 6 characters to fill out their character name, class, race, ability scores + modifers, AC, Touch, Flat, saves and most importantly Perception and Initiative Mods. Sleeved inside of a plastic protector this could be reused for multiple games.
Good GM’ing is all about preparation and having information on hand that is quickly accessible. By recording this information before a game starts, the GM is able to better control encounters and immerse the PC’s in the story.