Principles for Wardens


  • Provide useful information about the game world as the characters explore it.
  • Players do not need to roll dice to learn about their circumstances.
  • Be helpful and direct with your answers to their questions.
  • Respond honestly, describe consistently, and always let them know they can keep asking questions.


  • Default to context and realism rather than numbers and mechanics.
  • If something the players want to do is sincerely impossible, no roll will allow them to do it.
  • Is what the player describes and how they leverage the situation sensible? Let it happen.
  • Saves cover a great deal of uncertain situations and are often all that is necessary for risky actions.


  • The game world is organic, malleable and random. It intuits and makes sharp turns.
  • Use random tables and generators to develop situations, not stories or plots.
  • NPCs remember what the PCs say and do, and how they affect the world.
  • NPCs don't want to die. Infuse their own self-interest and will to live into every personality.

Narrative Focus

  • Emergent experience of play is what matters, not math or character abilities. Give the players weapon trainers and personal quests to facilitate improvement and specialization.
  • Pay attention to the needs and wants of the players, then put realistic opportunities in their path.
  • A dagger to your throat will kill you, regardless of your expensive armor and impressive training.


  • The game world produces real risk of pain and death for the player characters.
  • Telegraph serious danger to players when it is present. The more dangerous, the more obvious.
  • Put traps in plain sight and let the players take time to figure out a solution.
  • Give players opportunities to solve problems and interact with the world.


  • A Treasure is specific to the environment from where it is recovered. It tells a story.
  • Treasure is highly valuable, almost always bulky, and rarely useful beyond its worth and prestige.
  • Relics are not Treasure, though they are useful and interesting.
  • Use Treasure as a lure to exotic locations under the protection of intimidating foes.


  • Give players a solid choice to force outcomes when the situation lulls.
  • Use binary "so, A or B?" responses when their intentions are vague.
  • Work together using this conversational method to keep the game moving.
  • Ensure that the player character's actions leave their mark on the game world.

Die of Fate

  • Occasionally you will want an element of randomness (e.g. the weather, unique character knowledge, etc.).
  • In these situations, roll 1d6. A roll of 4 or more generally favors the players.
  • A roll of 3 or under tends to mean bad luck for the PCs or their allies.
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