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GM Tips #02 – The Social Contract, or the “Golden Rule” Of RPGS

Allow me to present the article written by a much more prolific game writer and commentator, Eric Evjen, on the importance of the social contract in setting up a role playing game. It may seem like a lot of it would go without saying, but that is a certain road to misunderstanding. A skewed expectation can harsh a whole game, for just one person or for the whole group.

Erik Evjen

As far as the scope of “GM Tips” goes, I want to make sure I cover things in a chronological fashion in the same way I go about starting my own campaigns. Obviously, you need to pick a game system to run (GM Tips #01 is a primer of some great d20 games to try out), but once that’s settled you’ll need to figure out how you want to run your campaign.

This is where the “Social Contract”, or the “Golden Rule” as I like to call it comes into play: I find it extremely important to sit down with my potential players and discuss what they’re looking for when they come to play in one of my games. Likewise, I also like to let them know what I’m looking forward to running or how I’m doing it.

What is the “Golden Rule”? Essentially, an agreement between the GM and…

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