Three modes when playing the game: exploration, social interaction, combat.
- Similar rules happen in each of them, such as ability or skill checks, but the focus changes.
- Time may pass differently, often in bigger chunks during exploration and in smaller chunks during combat.
Resolving action: when the outcome is in doubt, roll a d20.
Setting difficulty targets for actions
Running combat during an encounter
Balancing a combat. http://kobold.club/fight/#/encounter-builder
Designing encounters to achieve story and world goals
Three aspects of the game world and game play: simulate a fantasy world, present a satisfying story, and be a fun game. (Credits to http://jyenicolson.net/exalted/ for this.)
- Simulation follows principles of internal consistency in the game world. Events occur because that is how the world works; many events may occur for world reasons outside of player character actions.
- Narrativist follows principles of making a good story centered on the player characters. Events occur because they are dramatically appropriate.
- Gamist follows principles of maximizing the fun of playing the game. Events occur because the players will enjoy those more than alternatives. One example would be characters find complex traps in a place that a simulation wouldn’t agree with and that doesn’t do anything to further a narrativist’s story, all because the players enjoy bypassing traps.
Making rulings. Where rules are silent or unclear; where DM and players want something different from what the game says; house rules; changing mind or deciding that the initial ruling is bad (not as fun as an alternate, not right for how the game world should work, not fair to some character).
Continual improvement as a DM. Prep, running, post-game analysis.