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This chapter will give a general overview of the role of the DM and what you'll need to know to perform your duties.
Before we begin, it is important that you first have the knowledge of the game's rules found in the Player's Guide. Be sure you have a good grasp on that information before proceeding.
As Deckmaster, or DM, your role is to create (or select) the adventure, play the various enemies and challenges the players will encounter, make judgments for interpreting the rules, and facilitate storytelling at the table. It's quite a varied role with a good bit of responsibility. Fortunately, Triptycho makes it pretty easy even for newcomers to run a successful game. This guide will give you all the tools you need to run fun scenarios for your friends without a lot of stress or hard work.
In Triptycho, you can either create your own adventure or select a pre-built adventure to run. A typical adventure runs the course of a single level of play, with the players gaining a level if they are able to reach the end. So, a level 1 adventure will feature scenarios designed to challenge level 1 players, and upon completing the adventure, the players will achieve level 2. At that point, you can then run a level 2 adventure to keep the game going.
It's a good idea to pick a starting level and run a sequence of adventures to tell the complete story of the hero characters the players have created and developed. You may want to make minor modifications to the storyline of subsequent adventures based on what your players have achieved prior, the goals they seek to achieve, and/or presenting the consequences of prior actions. This way, the players have a real hand in guiding what happens within the game's plotline. For many players, that means greater investment in the game and more fun had at the table.
Another option is to run a series of “mini-adventures” that each resolve much more quickly than a standard adventure. These tell shorter stories designed to be completed in just one or two play sessions. If you run these, you may want to string three or four of them together before granting the players a level up so that they have more time each level to experience the results of their deck-building strategies (and to acquire enough Wealth to purchase proper equipment). Of course, the rate of advancement is entirely up to you, so you're welcome to level up faster if you wish, provided you increase the Wealth gains to compensate.
For new players, it's best to begin at level 1. In general, the difficulty and complexity of the game increases as levels increase.
As DM, it's your job to play all the non-player characters, or NPCs, in your game. This includes everything from random people that offer a bit of dialogue to the set of villains and even non-sentient challenges like traps and bad weather.
Side characters that don't get involved in scenarios, such as townsfolk, barkeeps, and travelers that the players have friendly dialogue with, are yours to roleplay as you see fit. You can use them to provide clues, develop a background for your world, and help tell the story of the adventure. If you're not really into roleplaying, you can largely skip this if you wish.
For the remainder of the NPCs with whom the players have antagonistic interactions, you'll play them using representative cards. See the chapter on running scenarios for more information.
The DM is the referee making final judgment calls regarding how the rules should work at the table. While most rules are quite straightforward with little need for interpretation, invariably your players will ask to do things that aren't precisely covered by the rules. In this case, it's your job to determine how those actions should interact within the game.
Because the whole point of playing the game is to have fun, you should take a general approach of allowing player actions that are outside the rules so long as those actions don't impede on the fun of other players at the table. If there are no mechanical consequences to an action (such as within a scenario, or having implications on Karma or Wealth) it's probably best to just go along with it.
Further sections of this guide will provide more specific recommendations for handling rules judgments, optional rules, and more.
If you're overwhelmed by what you've read so far, don't worry! You can start off by keeping things very simple. Just play the game as a series of scenarios, loosely connected with a bit of description as to what happens between each one. Minimize roleplaying and player choice outside of scenarios, and ask your players to stick to their cards when determining what activities to engage in. This will give you an opportunity to master the game's functions without having to worry too much about making unexpected rules judgments and deal with story consequences and the like.
As you gain confidence in running scenarios, you can slowly branch out from there. Give your players choices on how they approach a situation, with different scenarios resulting depending on what they choose. Sprinkle in some free-form roleplay and storytelling between scenarios. Play around with some of the optional rules. As your experience grows, so to will the depth of the game you're able to offer. Start with baby steps, and soon you'll master the position of Deckmaster!