In Stuff to Watch, Matthijs asked if someone could give Arnold's GM tips in writing. I made some short notes while listening, so I'll share what I have. The notes are not complete and may be twisting what Arnold was really saying because I filtered it through my own experience etc. I hope someone can add/correct or maybe Arnold can pitch in himself.
GETTING PLAYER BUY-IN
-give them a survey asking "what have you been doing?", use what they write and remember
KEEPING IT INTERESTING:
-use Fiasco relationships (quite literally) between NPCs - they're great because they're messy
-map out those relationships if PCs are staying in one place for longer
-Fiasco-style NPC Needs to complicate matters
-map stuff to at least two other things, if you can't why is it there?
-something about TSoY and scene keys I didn't really catch this
-have cards (or a list) with cool element that you want to introduce, then spring them at an opportune moment - don't plan, don't commit to outcomes, only elements (frex, you want them to see a monster - you don't care what the monster is doing, how they deal with it, if they deal with it, whatever, just pop in the monster)
-three major factions per town, each with its own agenda
-proto-NPCs, especially for games with tons of skills and crunch
-in task resolution-based games, the moment you don't understand intent, ask; why are they doing what they're doing
-make sure players are comfortable with questions (play for some time, let them ease in), least they turtle up
-Wick's "don't describe what he's wearing, tell me how he's dressed" maxim, don't say "he's wearing rich saffron robes with dozens of blah blah..." say "he's dressed like a scholar"
-"after dark", post game summaries of things the players may have missed, hooks for future sessions...describe what they have seen or heard, not what they did
-ask them to write down three things they care about on index cards, don't even specify what - characters, goals, objects, doesn't matter, just ask what they want