Saturday, 15 February 2020


The following will not make it into the final BUTCHERY zine (still time left to back I think??) because the zine format is too svelte to warrant a DMG and I also think writing actual, practical GM advice is a task somewhere between Herculean and Sisyphean (most people seeking it don’t need GM advice they just need life advice, and the best actual GM advice is learned through play).

Still, here’s a thing:

from Dark Cloud - not a direct inspiration for BUTCHERY but it shows up in almost everything I make so

Narrator Styles

The way the Narrator approaches their role is up to your group and specific to your game. Here are some ideas to get your started.

Old School Style

Classic tabletop adventure games leaned heavily on the conversation aspect of gameplay. In the olden days of the 1970s, rules and tools involving dice and numbers were only used as a fallback to adjudicate perilous situations or inject randomness into the proceedings for fun.

To play in an Old School style, the Narrator should present tricky obstacles of all kinds within the fiction - social, physical, mental, etc - and allow the players to come up with creative solutions. Players who think outside the box, work together and make cool things happen don’t have to roll dice; just use conversation to progress the fiction. They might not even end up fighting most monsters!

Storygame Style

Some tabletop games focus on creating a narrative around the table - not just playing around within a fiction, but making the events of that fiction look like a structured story during play. This can be tough for casual gamers, but is great for players who like writing, acting or improv!

Storygames like using rules and tools to govern aspects of the characters that are key to the stories being told; not just rolling for physical danger like the rules in BUTCHERY suggest but during “social” scenes as well. What if a butcher’s Alignment affected their personality, and they had to roll Ritual-style checks to determine how they acted in certain scenes? That could generate a lot of conflict or other interesting events to build a story from.

Modern Style

Mainstream games like those you see on big online streams often include tropes from video games, like stats that go up with each “level” a character attains, or more structured stories that allow the game to focus on the rules rather than working out events through conversation alone.

You could make a game using BUTCHERY more like these kinds of games by letting characters improve their Skill Levels over time, perhaps offering “experience points” to spend each time you play. Focus on the hunt, and make sure you have a dramatic and interesting combat scenario to spring on your players at the end of each game.

No comments: