I've been GMing for... Throne, 9 years? Seriously?
I've been having a lot of fun running my current Only War game. Because who doesn't like hellish urban combat that tends to leave at least one character in Critical Damage per combat?
I'd say my most important discoveries GMing were that planning is only good in moderation and that cheating is okay if it makes the game better. Too much planning leads to inflexibility, which can lead to railroading. Too little leaves things disjointed and confusing. And as the GM, if a situation is harder than it should be, fudge rolls, remove undiscovered components of the situation, whatever. Too easy? Fudge rolls, give the boss extra HP, bring in enemy reinforcements, and so on.
>>43079039 I've been GMing for about 30 years now (jesus!), with large gaps in there of non-activity. I pretty much make my own systems these days.
It's kind of hard to give advice to somebody without knowing anything about them. It's sort of like me asking you how I could improve my basketball game without telling you anything about how I play. But with that said...
Talk to your group beforehand about the tone and etiquette of your game to make sure that everybody's on the same page. How serious or silly is the game? How much table talk and joking around is okay? How much are people expected to actually role-play their characters? What's the focus of the game? Is it okay to try to kill other players or leave the group (hint: no)?
You can save you so much heartache and trouble if you do that, and it's something that it took me decades to figure out. I always assumed that people would naturally pick up on things like this, but it's not all obvious, and some people are completely oblivious.
I started GMing around 8 years ago. Since then, I've run the wide majority of my group's games, my latest being a 1 on 1 with a close friend. Savage Worlds has been my favorite at the moment.
All of >>43081009 is very handy advice that I have only recently been putting to work. Having a list of appropriate names for NPCs can help alot when you need to create one on the fly. When needed, slap like two characteristics on them quick (kind, eager, greedy, cowardly etc), think of their profession and you'll have something to work with in a snap.
>>43081310 Oh and here's an important one that *lots* of GM's don't get. You're in charge of pacing. If the game drags on and doesn't go anywhere, chances are that it's your fault. It's up to you to rush through or skip past unimportant stuff while letting more pivotal stuff play out (noting that I'm talking about important in a game-sense and not merely a plot-sense, so a character-building scene where the PCs chat around a campfire could work, just as long as folks are into it and it feels like the right time).
As GM, you have a lot of tools at your disposal to accomplish this. You can vary the amount of feedback you give people from role-playing out entire conversations to just give a synopsis like: "After questioning the peasant for half an hour, you figure out that she really doesn't know much about the bandits, other than that they always seem to strike on the southern road, within a few hours ride of town."
When I'm anxious to get to the point (maybe a meeting the next day that will give them enough information to start their adventure), I'll say something to the effect of "Okay, you manage to find all of the equipment on your list, so mark off your gold. And if nobody has anything else they want to do, I'd like to skip ahead to your meeting with Xius..."
Probably started in '04, '05? I don't have a favourite, but I tend to run a lot of Storyteller system games. One of the first games I ever ran was oWoD, and I find it both manageable, nuanced enough to create interesting things, and with just enough narrativism baked into the system.
Best advice I can give to a first timer: 1. it's not going to be perfect, focus on doing what you can now and evaluating later 2. Keep things moving. Don't spend too long on a combat, on a puzzle, in a room, unless it's clear the player engagement is not waning 3. write characters into the story you've made. This way they are immersed in the narrative and have clear goals. 4. Shut down arguments, make a ruling, and make note you'll pick up any dissatisfaction postgame 5. keep things moving
>>43079039 I've Been GMing since the early 90s and I honestly think that the best piece of advice a new GM can get is:
Let the players actions write the story.
I see so many GM's who are, in my opinion, missing the point, and focusing so much on how to contain the players within their pre-planned story (just look at all the threads that basically read: "Waaaa my players broke my plot")
Companies who want to sell you adventure models have tricked new players into thinking that a good DM is someone who knows 3 sessions in advance what's going to happen. But if you do that, your players are basically just along for the ride while you reveal your painstakingly written story piece by piece, and you don't really need them for that. If you sit down at the start of a session and knows where it's going to end, you're not role-playing, you're just inviting a group of people to watch you jerk off over your fantasy amateur fiction.
Focus on keeping the world moving and making it react to the players, and don't be one of those GM's who's biggest problem is how to manipulate the players into doing what you want.
You can still nerd out about the setting and the people in it and have tons of potential situations for the players to end up in or a huge gallery of npcs, but see where their choices lead them instead of pulling them along on a leash towards the starting point of your "quest" or whatever.
My second piece of advice is: Always make characters together on the first session. It lets you avoid those annoying false starts when everyone was supposed to show up with a finished character but someone inevitably doesn't. It lets you give the players a theme to focus on "Okay, you're all playing soldiers or people who associate with soldiers" instead of everyone showing up with characters that have absolutely no reason to know one another or have met in the first place. "You all start in a tavern" is terrible.
>>43084715 I agree that you shouldn't try to force the PC's to follow a long, pre-ordained path, but I think that trying to run an open sandbox is normally a mistake, even for experienced GMs. Most people just can't do it right (and it takes a combination of the right kind of GM and good, proactive players), and it turns into a campaign where nothing much happens, and the stuff that does feels half-assed and ill-prepared.
So I think it's normally a good idea to set adventure parameters ahead of time. Something along the lines of: "This is the tale of how a band of intrepid adventurers delved into the cursed mines of Akkonab." Then, you have a particular area you can focus your preparations on, while leaving wide latitude for the players to determine their own direction within this broad area.
Of course, you should make sure that whatever the theme of the adventure is is something the players are into (discuss it with them before you put any work in if you don't know them very well). And once they completed an adventure, and their characters have a toehold in the world, you should give them more latitude to determine the focus / area of their next adventure. To allow you to prepare ahead of time, you can question them about what their characters want to do next, and make an adventure based on whatever consensus they committed to.
>>43084835 I disagree. If you let your players do anything they can think of, and nothing happens, you're either stuck with unimaginative players or you don't have the DMing chops to pull it off, that's pretty much it.
Telling them to board the train just compensates for the problems, it doesn't solve them.
When you give players more freedom to make their own choices, including mistakes, you let them set the stakes and help them get more invested. They can choose to dip their toes in the shallow end, focus on social play or exploration, or they can choose a more go big or go home approach, and they know that the world is going to react to their actions.
As soon as you constrain things beyond settling on some area and cool situation where they start off, you're essentially telling them that you have stuff planned here, so they can just sit tight and wait to get swept up in adventure, and that you have prepared something you know they can handle. It's terrible for immersion and just perpetuates the style of play where people sit around waiting for the questgiver to stumble into the tavern or whatever.
Fuck it. Let them sign up as caravan guards, be thieves or bandits, start a business, make enemies, whatever they feel like. Make them play interesting people with goals and motivations beyond "I want to be an effective part of my dungeoncrawling group".
>>43084715 this is too prescriptive. There's endless bad ways to game, but no one right way to do it.
>>43084921 you're stuck in a crude sandbox/railroad dichotomy. A sandbox is a particular kind of tabletop experience and their are plenty of problems. As soon as you start to suggest things that mitigate those problems, you've got the framework of a guided narrative. That is to say, some kind of tension, some kind of motivation etc will all rely on constructs the players can either engage with or go off into the dwarven mountains and bloviate about interkingdom economics. The level to which any individual engagement becomes the primary goal of the gaming session is strongly a matter of the needs and preferences of your group.
3 years, on a casual level tho(always only one game on web)
>What is your favorite system to run
I love cthulhutech and Eclipse phase since I find them much closer than people think they're(one is uberfuture on steroids, the other is ubermagic with tech... on steroids)
But Im looking for more systems, like a Star wars systems that lets you play a Shith in a rightfull way and not just like an "accident", or a W40K system that has good vehicule rules for earth and air combat and recently I was looking for something that could let you play as a soviet tanker in Afganistan or the always hypothetic NATO/PACT clash without nukes(or just under NUTS doctrine)
what is the best advice you can give for a first time GM/DM.
>Find a player you like and KEEP IT to death, stable and interested people are very rare and should be considered a treasure since they can keep your game on even in your lowest moments.
>Have in mind that players that want to inmerse in the universe are rare, what people want its not to read long posts but to live their character so action should come first than reading.
>>43079039 Make very simple plans and just be prepared to add a shitload of stuff as you go.
Also, use a lot of comic shit, don't care a lot about seriousness because your players will probably do that. It would be easier to keep seriousness in the moments that really need it if it's contrasted with a lot of comical and light-hearthed scenes and characters.
>>43084715 >"You all start in a tavern" is terrible. To be fair, the first time I ran D&D, I did exactly that because of precisely how cliche it is, but y'know what? It had NEVER happened to any of the players I gamed with. We had also never rescued a princess, or fought a dragon that was actively terrorizing the countryside. We had never had to roll up on a evil mage unless they were a necromancer, and we had never had to stop a rampaging orc horde from ravishing a city. There comes a point where "cliche" stops mattering if it never happens, ipso facto logic replacing actual experience. And you know what? I did all those things. And we all had fun.
My friends told me like a month ago they were going to start doing dnd (5e) and somehow I was made DM. After 3 sessions I've realised it will be very hard to actually direct the party as almost nobody is all that interested in talking to npc's unless they come to them. I have ideas for mini dungeons and encounters that I know they'll love but how to string them together into a plot is beyond me right now.
I prefer Gurps and Fate, simply because having to learn a new system if you want to change genres is kind of a pain, and both are really flexible
My advice to beginners >Learn to wing it. Things will eventually go off the rails, and you need to deal with the unexpected
>Use the three clues rule. If you need the PCs to discover something, have at least three clues/methods that will point them in the right direction
>Learn what your players like, and adapt accordingly. Maybe they're combat loving murderhobos who'll never talk to anyone unless forced. Maybe they're huge roleplayers who try to talk out every encounter without drawing their weapons. Maybe they're something else, and most likely they're a mix of all of these.
>Cheating and bullshiting is okay sometimes. Sometimes the RNG gets a hateboner for your players, and while it can be fun sometimes, having a near party wipe from a meaningless random encounter where everyone rolls poorly isn't fun. Also, this kind of goes back to my first point, but you are the only one who knows what you've got planned, so feel free to adjust your plans on the fly. Boss too easy? Throw in some extra mooks and pull out some new powers for the second stage of the fight. Your players will never know that it wasn't meant to be that way from the beginning.
Craft a world with a few plot threads for players to follow and be prepared for just about any possible outcome. I once crafted a 4hr dungeon that was completely ignored. But make a world. Don't railroad. If players wanna drop your shit to go butt fuck a dragon, plan it out. It's not all about you.
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