How to GM Anything (For Beginners)
I’m cannibalizing myself. Don’t go there.
This is the bonus tip of the week for people looking to become GMs. Am I posting this outta the goodness of my heart? Sure. Why not? Do more GMs, mean the continued proliferation of games, and, hence, the propogation of Reality Blurs into more people’s homes in some intensely viral matter? One day, hopefully, but for now, I just want everyone to get in on the fun and have a good time.
This was originally written to a guy who wanted to help his girlfriend try her hand at GMing. (She’s been gaming for two months.)
Ahem. Here we go.
Here are a handful of suggestions for you to give her:
1. She needs to read through the rules completely. If she already has, read through again with particular focus on the combat section.
2. Practice in a friendly environment. She should try running a mock combat with one person. I’d suggest you. That way, she can familiarize herself with narrating the combat and keeping track of modifiers. This is a great opportunity for her to make sure she understands how to handle combats and wounds. There is an article in Sharkbytes about wounds to add clarity, if there is any confusion.
3. Grab a simple starter scenario- The Eye of Kilquato is good or, if you like Japanese Fantasy, I’ve received feedback that Journey to Red Temple by yours truly is especially friendly to novice GMs. Whatever she gets, she needs to read through closely and look up any rules questions she might have.
4. Finally, a real game! She’s got to jump in feet first and run a session. The GM screen, while not absolutely necessary, is helpful, or at least a print out of the charts and what-have-you. Miniatures are helpful to visualize combats and who is where. Those little guys are especially useful to starting GMs.
5. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes. And for you, be accepting of her mistakes. With every RPG, there is a learning curve. I’ve found SW is a great entry-level system for novices and almost instantly picked up by any experienced roleplayer. She’ll get the hang of it.
6. Take bigger steps. I’d also suggest, if she’s roaring to run a campaign, that Evernight fits the bill. A great linear campaign by Shane himself. My daughter, 11, is running me through this and she’s not having any problems handling it, after being taken through the boot camp above.
7. One more thing. Have FUN!!! That’s why we’re all doing it. If everyone is having a good time, even if some rules got slaughtered along the way, then the session was a success. Keeping things moving and injected with energy and all that other good stuff. Sometimes, we take overselves way too seriously, don’t we?
8. Regardless of the outcome, tell her some people naturally make better GMs than players, but you can get better at either through practice!
Do warn her that gaming is addictive, whether you’re player or GM. She might want to find a less harmful habit like parasailing.
These words are as true today as when I wrote them two days ago!