First off, I am a new GM, this is my first time running a campaign.
My main problem is that I get so nervous describing locales and progressing through the story, that I feel (in my mind) I have ruined the moment. The BBEG I spent weeks pondering over, how he would look, his goals and ambitions, etc. I describe him in 4 words.
He's not scary and powerful to me. I've been doing this for 4 months already and I haven't hit my stride yet. Has anyone experienced something like this? The party is supportive, but in my mind, I feel I could do better.
You are not alone brother.
If description is a problem for you, write out what you want to say and use that as a reference. It works for me. Don't read it word for word but it gives you something to fall back on so you aren't stumbling. Glad to hear your players got your back though.
Wish I could help, OP. I'm in kind of the same situation although I'm still running a module for now.
I typically try and feel better by telling myself that I can't trust my own perception of myself so I have no choice but to trust my players when they tell me they enjoyed themselves. Go easy on yourself, OK bro?
May i ask why do you fell like that at this moments?
Is something happening?
Do you get nervous only at this moments?
What passes trought your mind when you start a description?
What do you think when you start to ponder?
I don't know what kind of mindset a DM goes into, I've never played a tabletop game in my life. I am well acquainted with the rules of my game, (pathfinder) but my only point of reference are DMs who are very skilled at what they do. No pauses, and keep the sotry flowing. The players are responsive, whereas I have to prod mine to roleplay or look deeper for clues to a puzzle. They don't assume there is more than I am letting on.
So it all boils down to I'm putting a lot of pressure on myself to keep the flow going, but in doing so, I crack, and pause more than if I just calmed down I don't know if long pauses to root through rulebooks or trying to remember that story element are common your games.
Oh no, prodding people to roleplay happens to all of us.
Sometimes people just sit there for an hour at a time without saying anything except 'Power Attack' That's just what happens. You can't stop that. You can try to alleviate that by clever uses of NPCs (But not party members) to encourage RP, but if they aren't feeling it the players aren't feeling it.
As for pauses in the story, well sometimes the RNGoddess throws you into something stupid. Like for instance. My newbie party was taking a boat along a coast when suddenly random weather check ended up... HURRICANE!
That fucked up my next month's worth of content.
That's all in practicing public speaking. It takes effort to get rid of that. Best you can do is study up and have firm image in your head. Practice is really the key to public speaking. Make a conscious effort to stop yourself from using those sounds even if it takes an extra second or two to collect yourself.
So you worry that you over conplicate actions on your rpg, and because so you focus so much to make sure your players can follow the "script" is that it?
Also, if you're new don't worry about it, not every GM knew what he was doing on his first time. I know there are some with good flow for stories and others who know well the set of rules.
What it could help you is a good block note, you can write some of the main rules, or the rules you think will most be common in your game let the notes by your side and you check then. I, as a DM when i make my adventures always take notes on the events and have a note for the traps and other stuffs.
Also you can always ask for small pauses something like 10-15 minutes between 1hour of game so you can re-arrangeyour stuffs. But this are the stuffs that work for me.
OP I'm a DM of over 10 years and I still have really bad anxiety over my campaigns. Do you drink while you're gaming? I drink while I'm gaming and have for like 5 years. I think that might be the problem. I can't DM now without drinking because the anxiety gets to me. I've got roots in acting, and I know how to portray a character and I know how to do slight improvisational acting. But I've started to stumble on words recently, like my vocabulary is slipping. Like you, my players have my back, but jesus I wish I could get over this anxiety. Almost every single session I feel like I've ruined my setting and campaign more and more.
Do not overprepare, do not underprepare. Create yourself tools like scenery descriptions, battle maps, monster stats blocks and use your players descriptions.
Also, use the rule of the 3 whys. It helps to figure and ground things down. Once you get you BBEG figured out, he'll be far more believable.
Alternatively, downplay him until it becomes clear he attempts to be underestimated, or have him be under a curse that makes him just a bit off.
It ain't a problem, just an opportunity you have not found out yet.
Well nigga as a fellow thespian I wish I knew what to tell you.
If you have someone you can do this with, practice your voice by reading out loud to someone. If there's no one (heck, maybe even if there is someone) record your voice and adjust until it's more like what you want.
Speak slowly enough to form your thoughts. Reading will help, as you can usually read faster in your head than with your mouth. Eschew "um" and shit like it; no one will be mad that you pause occasionally.
At games, occasionally put the ball in the players' court. A big decision for them to argue about is a fantastic break for you while the players keep each other engaged. It helps if you demonstrate now and again that their decisions matter.
Also keep in mind that as long as you keep shit moving, your players will fail to notice a lot of your mistakes. And if you figure out your shtick and sell it well, they'll forgive even the fuck ups they notice.
Best advice I can give is when GMing, Every session, write down the following on a sheet of paper you keep in front of you the whole session:
-Always describe as many of the five senses as you can when describing everything to the players.
-what is the NPCs motivation