By Kirk Botula. A fantastic supplement published for AD&D 2nd Edition. It's not, as the title suggests, simply a rogue's gallery of various BAMFs; rather, it contains detailed instructions on the universal skills of GMing.
Character design is illustrated by an evil warlord called Bakshra. Botula takes you through each step of fleshing out his character, from ability scores to dining habits, ending up with a detailed, believable, realistic character. Then, at the end of the process, he reveals that Bakshra was designed from a set of randomly rolled abilities.
The rest of the chapters build up from this character he's designed. To illustrate the operations of networks and hierarchies, Botula provides descriptions and analyses of the Fallorian Alliance (a network of nasties to which their evil warlord belongs) and the Bloodhounds (his minions, organized in a quasi-military hierarchy).
The rest of the chapters continue in this vein, covering such subjects as the principles of adventure design
, when and how to act out the mannerisms and speech of NPC
s, obscure death
s, and story flow.
This book taught me the skills I needed to run some of the best and most memorable gaming sessions my group has ever had. I recommend to any GM or anyone who's even thinking about GMing. And don't worry if AD&D isn't your gme of choice; the lessons learned from this book can be applied in any gaming system at all. Too bad TSR couldn't publish more material like this.