The Generic Game Master's Helper is a software program designed to aid game masters while playing RPGs. This is a generic program suitable to any fantasy or even non-fantasy setting, and has a number of useful features that DMs can use to speed up or improve their games. This review is for version v3.0 of the GGMH program, and was reviewed on a system running Windows XP. This software program is written specifically for the Windows platform, although that is by and large the only requirement for running the program.
The program is very easy to install and offers to opportunity to abort the installation on numerous occasions. Installation is quick and without any quirks. There is an option to uninstall the program once installed. The program interface is very simple and easy to use. The main window contains a single piece of artwork, and each of the menus operates by bringing up pop-up windows that enable one to use the various features of the software. There is an adequate help system as well, whereby the user can gain more information on each of the various features by simply pressing a key.
There are a number of features that are included in the program: dice roller, random weather generator, random name generator, random business name generator (shops/taverns), traits for NPCs (personality and appearance), random treasure generation (coins and gems only), and the function to generate short blurbs for side encounters. Each function is accessible from the menu, although only one can be active at the same time. This to a certain extent limits the usefulness, as I can certainly see the need arise where one may want to use more than one of these functions at the same time, and have all the pop-up windows open at once. Each pop-up window contains the full functionality of the feature, as well as some additional artwork to support the feature, although in most cases it has little to do with the function of the feature itself.
The features themselves all work as expected, generating the required data as they should. For the most part, I found a lot of these useful, and most of them provided something interesting to use in game or even out of game when preparing for an adventure. Being able to generate random names, business names, and NPC traits in one package has a certain appeal to it. However, there are a couple of quirks that could probably be improved upon. For one, the dice roller could at least have included something a little more useful for character generation. Many games use the mechanic where you roll a number of dice and drop the lowest, and there is no facility for this. Also being able to see what each individual die roll was when rolling more than one would've been useful in addition to the total provided. The dice roller is fairly random, though not perfect by any means.
The other features provide loads of options, although I suspect that once again the random nature of the options is not always as random. It was fairly easy to generate the same name more than once with just a few simple clicks, in particular for some of the features such as the side encounter generator. The names function work very well, although once again the business names tended to generate similar names a little too often for one's tastes. Having said that, the name generator itself tends to generate odd names here and there with too many consonants crammed together which makes the names rather strange to read or pronounce ('Brklaingin', for example).
Overall I think some may find this a useful package, particularly if you're working in campaigns with lots of travelling or lots of NPCs that need to be detailed. The average dungeon crawl will naturally not find much use for this, but when preparing for city-based adventures or campaigns this can help a lot. While the features are useful, I think they're not quite random enough and don't generate enough options. Too often the same result comes up a few clicks after the result came up the first time. This can certainly be improved upon.<br><br>
<b>LIKED</b>: A collection of useful features and an easy-to-use interface with no apparent bugs or quirks.<br><br><b>DISLIKED</b>: The random nature of the various features is quite poor with the same result coming up too frequently just a few clicks down the line. This plagues most of the features of the software program. Even though the program can supposedly generate thousands of variations in each feature, the randomization doesn't allow this well enough.<br><br><b>QUALITY</b>: Acceptable<br><br><b>VALUE</b>: Disappointed<br>