This is an interview with Andreas Lundström, RPG Game Master, podcaster, and music composer. His Sweden Rolls podcast was recently chosen as The Best Actual Play podcast of 2021 in the EN World poll. On the show, he has GMed Forbidden Lands, Tales from the Loop, Coriolis, D&D, and Vaesen – along with a handful of shorter episodes with other systems. He also produces music for several settings – he’s the one behind the official scores for Forbidden Lands – Bitter Reach, Vaesen, Twilight: 2000, and Cthulhu Sverige. You should definitely take a look around his Soundcloud profile! Today, he’ll share with us a good deal of his experiences and reflections from being a GM. You’ll find in this interview: How you transit from being an RPG noob to being a great GM (in a short time)? What are the basics of the sucessful GM’s prep routine? How to get better with improvising skills and why is that vital?
It's great having you here! I'm Andrzej and it's my place for sharing the hobby of tabletop RPG games, mainly from the GM perspective. If you are new to them and think about starting as a Game Master, you'll find plenty of my first-hand learning experience and hopefully some useful tips here. And if you're interested in some inspirations or session reports for your games, there's that too.
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The Aslene were fighting their way through the Shadowgate Pass, demons swarming all around them. Losses were heavy, and hope was waning. Still, it was better than the fate of the western lands where horses of outlandish creatures ravaged the refugees’ homeland. Among them, a warrior princess led the bravest fighters to secure the passage for their relatives. Old songs tell of her bow, shooting fiery arrows that made the fight with demons possible. She made her last stand in the mountain keep called Eagle Nest. And generating it was the first adventure site in my Forbidden Lands RPG campaign.
What I love about running an RPG in Middle-earth is, among dozens of others, delving into its fascinating lore – and preparing handouts for sessions requires amiably a lot of that. Luckily, I had a lot of free time for both when I ran the Ghosts of the Noman-lands. Last time, the companions finally got on the trail of one of the intertwining threads. The Gondorian ruins were one piece of a puzzle. Solving it was the whole point of the campaign, so I was more than eager to drive it home. And right when I write this post, The One Ring RPG 2nd ed. Kickstarter fulfillment is taking place, so there’ll be no better time for discussing physical props in Middle-earth. See my three ways of making those – with some great tools!
When Mara, Bruni, and Hrod set out with Grulf into the Thynde Range, they were probably readying themselves to meet deadly monsters or hostile characters like warriors or sorcerers. B t I suppose that they didn’t expect who their primary opponent would be for a good part of the campaign. Harsh weather can be as let al and fearsome for RPG characters as demons and warlocks – and fun, too, if you’ve got a sound generator for it! Mine is a single thing that I’m most proud of.
When I was running my first RPG in Middle-earth, I only vaguely understood the importance of the Corruption (or Shadow) mechanic. Along the way, I’ve learned how to use it and what shouldn’t I confuse it with. Though it was a bit bumpy way, the experience I gained in the session you’ll read about below helps me to GM almost every game I run now.