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Unit 7 Calendula Place, 752-778 Christchurch Rd
Bournemouth, England, BH7 6DE
United Kingdom

01202 309938

A board game Cafe in Bournemouth specialising in barrista grade coffee and board games.


GM School

Games Master School

Ever thought about running your own role playing game? Wondered what it takes? GM School is our attempt to share what our resident GMs have learned in their experiences as a GM and to help you get the confidence to run your own games.

Upcoming Events

Our GM School events take place in the evenings (6.30-10.30pm), between our Campaign Seasons and alongside our One Shot Adventures. Sign up is not required, though our usual gaming fee per attendee applies. They are designed to help you hone your Games Mastering skills and help you gain the confidence you need to run a game yourself.

Wednesday 17th October 2018 - Big Mistakes
Sunday 6th January 2019 - Villains you love to hate
Sunday 3rd March 2019 - Overlooked rules
Wednesday 22nd May 2019 - TBC
Sunday 14th July 2019 - TBC
Wednesday 17th July 2019 - TBC

GM School Intro

24th June 2018

Part 1 features an introduction to our resident GMs, an overview of what a Role Playing Game is and a Games Master's role. They go on to discuss various aspects of planning to run a game including; plot, timing, dice rolls, props and resources.

Part 2 includes the discussion of table management, from lines and veils to difficult players and spotlight vs balance.

Part 3 is the Q&A from the discussion and sees our GMs wander across a number of issues including their worst moments.

Campaign Building Workshop

15th July 2018

The Campaign Building Workshop was an interactive session for GMs looking to build out a campaign. For this our resident GMs discussed, inspiration, tools and processes they use to do this. One of the biggest take-a-ways was not to plan too far ahead, but to have an overarching story concept. Additionally the GMs recommended using ideas from your players in game and in character generation to fill out the details and potentially re-direct your story. We also provided a Campaign Checksheet that covered the core areas our GMs look at when setting up a campaign and a completed Campaign Checksheet Example.

Table Management

26th August 2018

Our table management discussion covered an array of topics on all sorts of issues with players and working through problems at the table. The main take-a-ways were that any issue you face is always a player player problem and you should consider how to manage the player. Also that the more you've thought about possible issues before the more likely you are to be able to handle any issues fairly. Session 0 (pre-play set up) can be a great resource for establishing the rules for your game and we found an excellent checklist by HazeZero on reddit. While we wouldn't suggest trying to go through everything with players it is probably a good idea for you as GM to have a clear answer for all these issues. We've tidied up Haze Zero's post in this document for your use

Preparing to Improvise

14th October 2018

Covering many areas this session encouraged GMs to relax, players are there to enjoy your game, and particularly when they hand you a strange decision, they will give you a moment or two to figure things out. The biggest take-away was to prepare loosely around an antagonist’s motivations or final goal and allow other parts to move. So rather than planning for a merchant to approach the players in the tavern and offer to sell them what happens to be a cursed item, just know that you want the cursed item to end up with the players. We also discussed re-using stat blocks and revising improvised rules for consistency. Finally we created some plot outline sheets for the attendees to mock up a story with lots of detail. As an exercise we then threw curve balls at the plots to practice coming up with improvised changes.


It is worth noting that google is an amazing resource for a huge amount of content on any roleplaying game and this shouldn't be overlooked, but these sites have a particular focus on the hobby.

Game Materials and Rules

Dungeons & Dragons - The official webpage for D&D, largely product information and adverts, but some useful content

5th Edition Wiki - Open game licensed version of some of the core rulebooks

The Hypertext SRD - The hyperlinked d20 System Reference Document

D&D Beyond - Masses of resources for D&D much of it also useful in other game systems

D&D Quick Reference - great clickable list of actions and conditions

Drive Thru RPG - A great digital store for everything RPG related including a good selection of free resources

Dungeon Masters Guild - Similar to Drive Thru RPG, but exclusively focused on D&D in partnership with Wizards of the Coast 

RPG Sheets - A comprehensive source for RPG Sheets for most games, often with multiple variants (weirdly no D&D 5e sheet)

DnD Spells - A great resource for putting together spellbooks and spell cards

Strolen's Citadel - This link goes straight to the classic '5 Room Dungeon' article, but there’s plenty more to discover here

Medieval Fantasy City Generator - Generates city maps with a number of details that you can set

Not Another Tavern Generator - Generates tavern names, owner and clientle descriptions and a menu for more taverns than you count

Lines and Veils - an excellent description of the use of lines and veils

Matt Mercer’s GM Tips - tips from Matt on how to be a better GM

Videos and Podcasts

Critical Role - Voice actor Matthew Mercer leads a group of fellow voice actors on epic Dungeons & Dragons campaigns.

Encounter Roleplay - Mentioned during our first event, a D&D twitch channel that includes breaks for the GM to discuss decisions and choices

High Rollers DnD - UK based D&D videocast

D&D Twitch Channel - Regular high quality RPG content with the occasional advert 

Dice Camera Action - Chris Perkins GMs D&D with Holly Conrad, Jared Knabenbauer, Anna Prosser Robinson, and Nathan Sharp playing

Further details of all our RPG events can be viewed on our Facebook events page or you can pop in store for more information.

Note that sign ups  for specific RPGs are only available in store and that pre-payment is required.

Unless otherwise stated all our RPG events attract our regular gaming fee per attendee.