I regularly see commentary online that treats Angry GM’s columns as a guilty pleasure.
The usual take goes something like this: “I like his ideas, but I don’t like how he presents them.” How he presents them, of course, is through a bluntly unapologetic voice. I suspect that most readers realize this is a persona — one he’s established right in his name. Angry is the Lewis Black of gaming columnists. Despite what they say, I also suspect many of his readers know, deep down, that the Angry shtick is part of the draw. Too many writers out there are too diplomatic. Bluntness has some appeal.
Read between the lines and it’s pretty clear that Angry cares a lot about his players and their experience, so he’s not a jerk, even if his online persona cheerfully waves that flag. It’s also clear that he really knows how to run a game. He’s a font of good advice — some of the best advice on the Web.
I highly recommend a recent Angry column for GMs because it hits on some principles that could make nearly any GM better. Titled “You Don’t Need a System,” his article argues that any rule system you create (or use) to manage what happens “off-screen” in your campaign setting is a waste of energy. His thesis boils down mostly to this: You’re not a computer and your players aren’t playing a computer game, so use your imagination to work out those off-screen details.