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The GameMaster's Apprentice: Universal Instruction CardsClick to magnify
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The GameMaster's Apprentice: Universal Instruction Cards

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Quick-Reference Cards for the GMA Decks!

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Note: If you wish to purchase the Print on Demand Instruction Cards to keep with your deck, be sure to combine your order of this product with the deck itself, or order two or more copies of the Instruction Cards! This mini-set is only six cards, and DriveThru will not print orders that small individually.

The GameMaster's Apprentice decks are game-system-neutral cards (in many varieties, including genre-neutral, sci-fi, horror, fantasy, steampunk, and Age of Sail!) 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. They are also great for writers and teachers of creative writing looking for unusual prompt and idea generators. 

This particular card pack, freely available as a PDF (along with the Quickstart Guide book and the complete, minimally-formatted Instructions document) is designed to help anyone get started with the GMA decks as quickly as possible, and provides a quick summary of card contents, brief explanations of character and random event generation, examples of how to answer various questions, and quick-reference tables for the Elements, Tag Symbols, and Norse Runes.

Also included are two blank Tag Symbols table cards, which can be written on when sleeved (or form-filled and printed out from the PDF) to provide personalized, reusable tables in a portable format!

While these reference cards use the Fantasy Deck as an example, the basics here apply to all the GMA Decks! The complete instruction document explains minor differences in the few places they exist.

These instruction cards, the Fantasy deck, and the original GMA Base and Genre Decks were brought to life by their Kickstarter backers, and would not exist in their current form otherwise! Thank you for your support!

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Reviews (2)
Discussions (3)
Customer avatar
Gary S May 24, 2024 12:47 am UTC
Is there a VTT version of this deck that could be imported to something like Forge-VTT as a module containing the card deck?
Customer avatar
Nathan R May 24, 2024 1:40 am UTC
I believe the Instruction Card Images .zip is included, but if you don’t see it in your library, email me at!
Customer avatar
Craig W April 11, 2022 10:22 pm UTC
Got an email today stating "PS: To inspire some curiosity, here is an image from our current alpha version of one of our new theme decks! Can you tell what the genre will be? ;-)"

You inspired curiosity by mentioning an image that was not included.
Looking forward to whatever it may be!
Customer avatar
Nathan R April 11, 2022 10:39 pm UTC
I know, I’m so sorry! I must have embedded it incorrectly, as DriveThru stripped it out of the final email. That said… the genre is Cyberpunk, and shoot me an email and I’ll happily send you the image directly!
Customer avatar
Craig W April 13, 2022 1:17 am UTC
It's cool. I'll wait for the reveal. I just thought it was amusing. These things happen!
Customer avatar
Guy W June 08, 2021 5:55 pm UTC
Hello Mr. Rockwood. Have you ever considered putting together a resource that is a version of the GMA Universal Instructions but covers the full range of your products: GMA, DOT, Portal Tarot. In this, a person would find, not instructions for how to use per se, but rather a 'cookbook' of examples in various areas which show how to generate both simple and complex prompts for categories like: Character/NPC generation and traits, Dressing, Plot/Story, Combat/Conflict, Clever Uses of Dice Wheel (in addition to a dN roll). This could include examples for using the character/trait icons on the DOT, perhaps getting clever on using the DOT as a tarot like deck by allowing reversals on a three card draw using a top/middle/bottom icon. Your three basic products alone could replace books and whole slew of tables.
Customer avatar
Nathan R June 09, 2021 2:31 pm UTC
Thanks for the kind words! I see what you mean; currently, ALONe is the best bet for examples of how you can use all sorts of my cards together, but I do actually have some plans for something that would be an example of how you can use them all (and other randomizers) together!
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File Last Updated:
January 21, 2022
This title was added to our catalog on August 19, 2017.