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The GameMaster's Apprentice: Base DeckClick to magnify

The GameMaster's Apprentice: Base Deck

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Sooner or later, you're going to need more story!

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The GameMaster's Apprentice is a genre-and-system-neutral deck of cards that can be used as either a supplement for traditional tabletop RPGs or as a complete game engine for GM-free solo or group RPGs. 

You can view the cards' complete instructions for free by clicking the preview link beneath the thumbnail above, or view the Quickstart Guide and a set of quick-reference PnP/PoD Instruction Cards here on DriveThru if you prefer (if you wish to purchase the Print on Demand instruction cards to keep with your deck, be sure to combine the order with the deck itself! They are only six cards, and DriveThru will not print orders that small). You can also scroll down to view the card overview image and watch a video of the cards in use! 

On each card is a set of fourteen individual randomizers; with 60 double-sided cards, you can generate literally millions of possible adventures, all without having to hunt through a book or PDF for a single table!

With these cards, you can:

  • Instantly generate NPCs with randomized names, motivations, and backgrounds.

  • Create random events or story seeds.

  • Provide sensory details or random loot for characters searching or stealing.

  • Run games without a human GameMaster!

And more--they even work brilliantly as creative writing prompt generators, and have been playtested by 9th-12th grade students of both English and Game Design.

If you want specifics, including examples of how to use the randomizers on the cards, the complete instructions are available in the downloadable PDF preview linked below the cover image/thumbnail, but you can take a look at the overview below to see the quick and dirty version of what is on each card, and you can view a video preview from the original Kickstarter that explains how to use the cards to run a GM-free game or generate a story for a traditional RPG. This video is the second in a series, so if you want to see the first (which details initial generation of the story), check out our website, www.LarcenousDesigns.com! 

Card Overview

These cards were created with the support of over 360 individuals on Kickstarter, and would not exist in their current form otherwise! Thank you!

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Reviews (33)
Discussions (49)
Customer avatar
Phillip L May 18, 2024 6:02 pm UTC
Hello, I saw some youtube vids about the cards, and was wondering which set would be the best to use along with Weird Frontiers RPG (Dungeon Crawl Classics). I'm guessing one of the horror decks? Or would the general deck be better?
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Customer avatar
Nathan R May 18, 2024 6:43 pm UTC
PUBLISHER
The Base Deck would provide a lot of flexibility, but yes, Horror, Weird Horror, or Steampunk might be good for a darker/stranger tone! I would personally go Base Deck, but also just so you know, I plan to release the “Base Deck 2e” sometime in the next few months, and there will also likely be a Kickstarter either this summer or next that will include cheaper access to all old and new decks alike.
If you would like to try multiple decks right now but can’t afford to, feel free to email me at LarcenousDesigns@gmail.com and I can send you discount codes for two or three.
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Customer avatar
Phillip L May 18, 2024 7:01 pm UTC
Thank you for the quick response. I'm just getting back into TTRPG/ SoloRPG (After years of distraction from PC games) and just trying to sort out so many new supplements and additions. Just had lots of dice and old, old books.
Customer avatar
James D March 27, 2024 12:12 am UTC
2nd edition?

Hello. I recently learned about your cards from The Dungeon Dive. I saw that you have a 2nd edition deck for Cyberpunk settings. Are you planning to update the other decks to 2nd edition soon? If so what will change?
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Customer avatar
Nathan R March 27, 2024 1:56 am UTC
PUBLISHER
Hello!
Yes, I am, and I’m currently wrapping up the first draft of the revised Base Deck! The changes will be to bring it into line with the new and altered content of the Cyberpunk Deck, with the exception that the “Evil Megacorporation” names will be replaced with a different flavor text footer (still under development).
I imagine the updated deck will be made public between now and late July or August, pending a possible Kickstarter (though the Kickstarter would actually be for additional new or updated decks, as the Base Deck 2e is already funded)!
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Customer avatar
Matthew H May 02, 2024 4:53 pm UTC
Any plans to update the fantasy deck in the next year?

Instant buy for me.
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Customer avatar
Nathan R May 02, 2024 10:21 pm UTC
PUBLISHER
Hi, Matthew!
Yes, updating the fantasy deck is planned for either 2024 or 2025, depending on how fast we can move through finalizing the Base Deck update and making one new one, Post-Apocalyptic, first.
Customer avatar
Sarat F September 22, 2023 8:14 pm UTC
PURCHASER
Anxiously awaiting the release of the Cyberpunk deck for non-backers!
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Customer avatar
Nathan R September 22, 2023 9:27 pm UTC
PUBLISHER
ASK AND YOU SHALL RECEIVE!
I was going to launch it tomorrow, but you commented literally while I was fidgeting with the page text, so I bit the bullet and published it. Enjoy! https://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/383715/The-GameMasters-Apprentice-2e-Cyberpunk-Deck
Customer avatar
Christophe T May 28, 2023 6:41 pm UTC
PURCHASER
Is the printed cards quality différent between a simple deck and a bundle ?
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Customer avatar
Nathan R May 28, 2023 11:17 pm UTC
PUBLISHER
All printed cards are the same (high!) quality cardstock, regardless of bundle or not.
Customer avatar
Steven W April 25, 2023 3:24 pm UTC
PURCHASER
I love the idea for using them with Roll20. When I come to create the custom deck on the platform it prompts me for a card back, is there one included in the VTT image files?
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Customer avatar
Nathan R April 25, 2023 3:37 pm UTC
PUBLISHER
There isn’t yet, but I have a default I can provide! I’ll upload it later today, or you can email me at LarcenousDesigns@gmail.com and I’ll share it directly.
Customer avatar
Joyce C April 25, 2023 10:36 am UTC
PURCHASER
Hello, I am new to these cards. May I ask if I can mix and match several decks together? Do you think this will affect the randomness, especially to the dice wheel? Thank you.
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Customer avatar
Nathan R April 25, 2023 10:53 am UTC
PUBLISHER
Hello! Mixing and matching is certainly possible, though I usually find that I just use the Base Deck at that point, to keep things easier.
And, if you are mixing less than a full deck together, yes, that would likely impact the random distributions of dice and yes/no answers. However, if you are playing solo or cooperatively, and no one is going to have their feelings hurt, I would say the loss of randomness there can be worth the interest of adding the genre decks together! If the dice feel cursed, consider allowing a reroll sometimes, and go from there?
Customer avatar
Gary W April 19, 2023 5:58 pm UTC
PURCHASER
Just a quick note that I hope may help somebody. I was unable to print the cards with my chosen online print service because they said the PDF was password protected - it is, I checked it on MAC and Win10 and it has an "owner password" set on it (or, at least Acrobat thinks it has!). In any case, as I said, my online print service said it couldn't print them because of it. I got 'round it by printing the document to a PDF and submitting that PDF to the online print service and all was good.

Just wanted to share in case this helps somebody else.

Great cards by the way - bought the fantasy ones as well because these look so good :)
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Customer avatar
Nathan R April 19, 2023 6:05 pm UTC
PUBLISHER
Gary, thanks for sharing—that’s so odd. I don’t have a password set and when I check my download, it doesn’t either. But you’re definitely not the only one having this issue.

I’m going to see if I can recreate the PDF and replace it so it is fixed from here on out. May take me a day or two to find the time, but it should be doable.
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Customer avatar
Gary W April 19, 2023 7:44 pm UTC
PURCHASER
Hey Nathan :) It his strange, I can open it with no problems but if I look at "properties" in Acrobat it tells me that there is an "owner password" and that as it's encrypted search engines cannot access the document's metadata. I can only assume that the print service I'm using relies on the metadata in some way and so can't do what it usually does. In any case, I got 'round it so I'm happy and have some great cards. Thanks!! :)
Customer avatar
Adam M March 11, 2023 8:46 pm UTC
PURCHASER
I just bought this deck and was about to print online using staples.ca and when I upload the file GMA_Base_PnP_5_9_15.pdf, the site gives me a warning "This PDF includes a password that may make it difficult for the print center to process. Please consider uploading one with the password removed." It doesn't ask me for a password when I open it on my PC. I've printed many of the pdf's I've purchased here and never seen this message before. Any ideas?
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Customer avatar
Nathan R March 11, 2023 8:49 pm UTC
PUBLISHER
It shouldn't need a password, but someone else once reported a similar warning (others have printed it successfully with no problems). If you attempt to print it out and it doesn't work, email me at LarcenousDesigns@gmail.com and I'll provide a new version directly!
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Customer avatar
Adam M March 11, 2023 9:03 pm UTC
PURCHASER
Yeah, I think it'll be printed fine, seems like a false warning. I just put an order through, so I'll see what happens. Thanks!
Customer avatar
Philipp K February 06, 2023 1:06 am UTC
PURCHASER
Is the Base Deck really filled with FUTURISTIC stuff like holographic statues and terraforming plans?! I just bought it as a physical deck and thought it said it should be genre-independant. Is the 'genre independant' Base Deck really SciFi?

Or is there an error, showing me the wrong cards? I have SciFi cards in my DTRPG Collection now under "GMA Base Deck". I sure hope, if it's an error, that I will get the right physical ones sent to Germany, cuz taxes and toll isn't fun.
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Customer avatar
Nathan R February 06, 2023 1:21 am UTC
PUBLISHER
The Base Deck has the art shown here, with a wood-grain board game texture, so that’s the way to be sure about the literal edition. If you were shipped the wrong one entirely, please contact DriveThru customer support, or email me at LarcenousDesigns@gmail.com, and we’ll look into it!
However, the Base Deck is genre-neutral in the sense that it contains a little of everything. For example, the card shown in the example image above has the belongings section “Investment: Mining rights, ownership shares, terraforming plans.” The concept of an investment is genre neutral, and then I made sure the three examples include one that fits a fantasy game (mining rights), one that fits a modern game (ownership shares), and one that fits a scifi game (terraforming plans). That pattern repeats on all the cards, fantasy/modern/scifi, though of course many individual examples might fit across multiple eras.
Does that clear up any confusion? If you have any other questions or concerns, feel free to reach out...See more
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Customer avatar
Philipp K February 06, 2023 8:12 am UTC
PURCHASER
That clarifies it. Thanks for the quick response! I did interpret the belongings section wrong and was confused by the fantasy/modern/scifi mix that goes the extra mile to offer something for every setting/situation. I was like "In what world would some hsve those three things?", though you're only supposed to look at the first, second or third respectively depending on setting, I guess. I'm glad, I got the right ones. Thanks again!
Customer avatar
Stacey R January 15, 2023 12:05 am UTC
PURCHASER
Hello, I am from the UK, how do I print this on A4 card stock when the default size is Letter sized paper? Thank you for your help.
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Customer avatar
Nathan R January 15, 2023 12:08 am UTC
PUBLISHER
Hello!
I can see about outputting an A4 variant and uploading it--I'm currently playing in an RPG and will be sleeping afterwards, but if you can give me 24 hours, I will either solve that or have discovered I can't!
If you want the file directly without having to wait for me to update the contents on DriveThru, please email me at LarcenousDesigns@gmail.com, and I'll send it to you if/when I make it!
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Customer avatar
Stacey R January 15, 2023 8:17 pm UTC
PURCHASER
Thank you for the quick reply.
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Customer avatar
Nathan R January 16, 2023 1:50 am UTC
PUBLISHER
Most welcome--and I've added an A4 paper test .pdf to the downloads for the GMA Base Deck! I can't guarantee the cards will be exactly the same size, since the difference may have led to Adobe compressing them slightly. If you print out a single page and take a look, you can hopefully determine if they are close enough (or even fully correct!); please let me know if they seem squished or too small, and I'll try again.
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Customer avatar
Stacey R January 16, 2023 2:28 pm UTC
PURCHASER
Where is the download please? It’s probably staring right at me but I can’t see it.
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Customer avatar
Nathan R January 16, 2023 2:34 pm UTC
PUBLISHER
No worries! If you go to the product page, all the digital downloads for the title are listed just below the preview image. Or go to the Library in your account and search for the title there; this particular file is “GMA Base Deck A4 paper test.pdf”
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Customer avatar
Stacey R January 16, 2023 3:23 pm UTC
PURCHASER
I looked at it and it seems fine to me. In fact, the cards seem slightly larger than the original.
Customer avatar
Kelly W November 01, 2022 10:43 am UTC
PURCHASER
is there any place other than here i can buy these, im from the uk and the shipping price is scary.

if i have print these off what size card do i need to get?
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Customer avatar
Nathan R November 01, 2022 10:57 am UTC
PUBLISHER
Hello!
I’m sorry about the shipping costs; currently this is the only printing source, and while I would love to find a good Uk printer for DriveThru to partner with, currently that’s been difficult.

If you choose to print them yourself, the PDFs are letter-sized paper (8.5”x11”) and can be printed on standard stock and cut out, and then optionally inserted into sleeves (the images are full-bleed so you can cut them to size for whatever sleeves are available). You could also use card stock, but then I’d suggest printing back to back and either not sleeving, or using transparent sleeves so you can use both sides.
Customer avatar
Nox S October 06, 2022 11:51 am UTC
PURCHASER
What kind of dimensions do the cards have? Can I put them in transparent sleeves that would work for Magic The Gathering cards?
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Customer avatar
Nathan R October 06, 2022 2:48 pm UTC
PUBLISHER
The cards are almost exactly the same size as M:tG cards, and I use these sleeves (also available on Amazon, etc): https://www.maydaygames.com/products/card-game-card-sleeves
Customer avatar
Craig W July 19, 2022 11:58 pm UTC
PURCHASER
I received an email (what seems like) a few months ago and learned that there was a new, updated version coming out... sometime. I'm just wondering if there is any news on that?
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Customer avatar
Nathan R July 20, 2022 12:25 am UTC
PUBLISHER
Yes! We are wrapping up graphics and specific plans to launch the Kickstarter for the Cyberpunk Deck (which will also be a beta for the new version of the cards) right now. I don't think I'm supposed to link directly off DriveThru from here, so if you'd like to see the Kickstarter preview, shoot me an email at LarcenousDesigns@gmail.com, and I'll send you the URL!
Customer avatar
Daniel Douglas C July 01, 2022 12:22 am UTC
PURCHASER
I already made two batch scripts for Windows OS to solve the issue. It renames all cards correctly for all decks. I normally develop using linux, so it took me a little more time to get used to Windows syntax.
If you are interested, I could hand over the files to you.
Those are two scripts, but you only call one of them directly.
- convert_GMA_filenames.bat
- sbscript.bat

One configures all needed parameters and just calls the second script, which then maps the numbers correctly.
In the end you have two folders where the original files resided:
- originals
- fixed

That way you don't lose any data and you cannot by accident run the script multiple times on already corrected files. THAT would cause havoc in naming and number mapping.
Reply
Customer avatar
Nathan R July 01, 2022 2:55 pm UTC
PUBLISHER
Cool! I'm glad you have a fix for yourself, and it's awesome of you to offer it to others who want it. Feel free to send the scripts my way at larcenousdesigns@gmail.com, though it might make the most sense if you just want to post the scripts somewhere online and provide a link here?
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Customer avatar
Stacey R January 21, 2023 6:47 pm UTC
PURCHASER
How can I access these scripts please?
Reply
Customer avatar
Nathan R January 21, 2023 10:00 pm UTC
PUBLISHER
Hello, Stacey; the original poster did send me some script files, but hasn't posted them publicly that I'm aware of. If you email me at LarcenousDesigns@gmail.com, I can pass them along.
Customer avatar
Rounak B April 07, 2022 3:43 am UTC
PURCHASER
Hello, I accidentally bought the version without the PDF for several decks...is there any way I can get the PDFs still?
Reply
Customer avatar
Nathan R April 07, 2022 9:51 am UTC
PUBLISHER
Sure thing! Email me at LarcenousDesigns@gmail.com with the order number of your purchase and I’ll send you codes for the PDFs. Sorry about the inconvenience!
Customer avatar
Piotr M September 09, 2021 1:16 pm UTC
PURCHASER
Hello. I just buyed cards and printed them. Is it possible to trtanslate PDF cards to polish language? As I see modifing is not permited. Kind Regards
Reply
Customer avatar
Nathan R September 09, 2021 3:53 pm UTC
PUBLISHER
Hello! I would love to translate the cards into many languages, but my company is really just me, and I don’t have the resources to arrange that at the moment.

That said, while I own the cards and don’t want people distributing them without permission, I am 100% ok with people making modifications for personal use! Email me and I’ll try to help you if you want to make yourself a translated deck to use in your home games: LarcenousDesigns@gmail.com
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Product Information
Adamantine seller
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Cards
60
File Size:
40.17 MB
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Original electronic Click for more information
Scanned image
These products were created by scanning an original printed edition. Most older books are in scanned image format because original digital layout files never existed or were no longer available from the publisher.

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For printed books, we have performed high-resolution scans of an original hardcopy of the book. We essentially digitally re-master the book. Unfortunately, the resulting quality of these books is not as high. It's the problem of making a copy of a copy. The text is fine for reading, but illustration work starts to run dark, pixellating and/or losing shades of grey. Moiré patterns may develop in photos. We mark clearly which print titles come from scanned image books so that you can make an informed purchase decision about the quality of what you will receive.
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File Last Updated:
January 15, 2023
This title was added to our catalog on January 29, 2014.