Welcome back to our Let’s Study series on Atomic Robo the Roleplaying Game. Today we’re taking a quick look at the GMing chapters. Given all the good things that I’ve read from Atomic Robo so far, I’ve got high expectations that these will be informative and useful for the GM.
I have to admit that I like the refreshing nature of the “What You Do” section of the chapter. GMing is occasionally arcane in nature, especially to those new to the hobby, so having something like this helps immensely. The book breaks it down into 4 key activities: Start and end scenes, play the world and the NPCs, judge the use of the rules and give the PCs things to do.
It’s a good breakdown of the role of a GM, and each step is given ample explanation and key advice all in a language that is friendly and refreshingly approachable. The addition of a few comic panels now and then doesn’t hurt when keeping the mood of the chapter light.
The chapter also goes over the “laws” of gamemastering, nothing new to old hands, but still good to read over. This section contains old nuggets of advice like “Never let the rules get in the way of what makes narrative sense” it’s an appeal to common sense, which is surprisingly absent in some of the more rules-oriented games, so seeing it here is something that made me smile.
At this point the book starts to get specific with how to apply the Fate Core rules from a GM’s perspective. This is invaluable to me as it delves into the why part, rather than the how of the rules. I’m not exactly a young GM, so systems like Fate seem a little arcane to me
The book is very thorough in terms of treatment, and will require a real sit-down read through by the GM to digest everything. If you’ve ever been curious about Fate, this is the best GMing chapter to address the system and how to use it in a game.
The following chapter, “Telling Stories The Atomic Robo Way” moves on from mechanics, to structure presenting the narrative scaffolding that holds an Atomic Robo game toghther. From Scenes, to issues to Drama, the chapter is a look behind the craft of storytelling from an Atomic Robo perspective. Again the book showcases the inherent understanding (and mastery) the authors have over the art of dramatic pacing and storytelling. It’s a great read to get a feel for the hows and whys of a good action-adventure serial and how to bring that feel across to your games.
Tomorrow we wrap up our Let’s Study series on Atomic Robo with a conclusion and review, as well as a few words on the other chapters that cover the timeline, Tesladyne industries and character writeups.