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4/16/2018 7:47 pm  #1


Any tips for a first time GM?

Hello all again!! Been a while but session 1 for "Ghost Ship of the Dunes" officially kicks off for my home group this week and I couldn't be more excited to show them the world of Hyperborea. Any tips for a first time GM who might be a little anxious? Anything is greatly appreciated

 

4/18/2018 3:14 pm  #2


Re: Any tips for a first time GM?

Hey Krom!

I'm not sure if you mean for gm'ng in general or specifically for the adventure....so I'm gonna do in general

1)You don't need to use all the rules the first time you play. The combat rules are complicated and hard to implement at first. Just go around the table in combat and give everyone a turn not worrying too much about phases and such. Leave out the advanced combat rules at first adding them in slowly as the campaign progresses.  
2) Don't feel like you need to know everything.  Sorcerers should be in charge of their spells and implement them correctly. The different classes should be able to tell you what they can do with their various abilities.  Print out specific monsters to make referral during the game easier.
3) Your pace with a new system as a new gm will not be as quick, it's ok have fun.  If you need to look stuff up at first then do so. You're in a learning stage. Later you will be comfortable with adjudicating vs looking everything up.
4) Read the module pretty thoroughly and discover the hard-points i.e. those situations that must be done correctly to move the adventure forward.  The other details of the adventure are more fluid so if you drop a monster or non essential treasure or something don't sweat it.
5) Give everyone a job, like mapper, session scribe, treasurer, etc. this helps folks pay closer attention.
6) All those things that your other gm's previously did that really irritated you? Don't do those! (assuming you have played before)
7) Don't be adversarial, do hold on lightly to NPC's even your favorites, include everyone, allow more than the one solution to challenges.  Let your players be geniuses, heroes, wise people, or rogues supreme!
8) If everyone has fun you win!

 


“How can I wear the harness of toil
And sweat at the daily round,
While in my soul forever
The drums of Pictdom sound?” 
 

4/18/2018 5:04 pm  #3


Re: Any tips for a first time GM?

Great advice from a veteran GM!


Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea - A Role-Playing Game of Swords, Sorcery, and Weird Fantasy
 

4/18/2018 5:13 pm  #4


Re: Any tips for a first time GM?

mabon5127 wrote:

8) If everyone has fun you win!

 

In my mind, this is really the key point. How good or bad of a night you are having as a GM is irrelevant, as long as the people at your table are having fun. 

Mabon's list is spot on, and he's a great GM, so he knows what he's talking about. http://cdn.boardhost.com/emoticons/happy.png

 

4/18/2018 7:54 pm  #5


Re: Any tips for a first time GM?

Mabon gave great advice. I would like to say that #5 is a great help to new DMs. Don't be scared to delegate bookkeeping and minutae to players (mapping, timekeeping, controlling henchmen, quartermaster, recording damage on monsters, rules lawyer, etc). It 1) preserves your brain's precious bandwidth for more critical tasks and 2) keeps players engaged in the game.

 

4/19/2018 4:15 am  #6


Re: Any tips for a first time GM?

All excellent and pertinent advice. I'd rank them in importance of:
1. Everyone have fun.
2. The PCs are the geniuses, heroes, sages, and rogues of note, even at 1st level.
3. Rules: just have the basics of combat, saving throws, attribute checks (tests and extraordinary feats) and my favorite, the non-standard task, down; make rulings on the rest, based on role-playing.
4. I ran Ghost Ship for my group, having read through it once to get an idea of the situation, then had to adjust as my players went off in a random direction: it's a fantastic adventure, with some very flavorful Hyperborean elements, so play those up.


"My own concepts in this regard are easy and clear, and I am sure that the word 'simplistic' will be used by my critics. These folk are callow and turgid of intellect; I am reassured by their howls and yelps."
Jack Vance, The Face
 

4/19/2018 6:46 am  #7


Re: Any tips for a first time GM?

Some good advice here, but I’ll still add my thoughts, Krom. When I run games at conventions, which often feel like “first games” because I don’t always know the players and the players don’t always know AS&SH...

- I don’t get too hung up on resolving every single situation according to the letter of the law. No one wants to watch me thumb through a rulebook. If I don’t know the answer, I assign some odds that are usually modestly in the players’ favor (my gift to them for not knowing the rule) and keep the game going. After the session’s over, I go back and look it up.

- I always say YES, YOU CAN TRY when people ask if they can do something non-standard (and provide a framework for trying). This “try anything” freedom is an important part of what separates table top games from computer games. We are not bound by a program! Now, I may also say that the desired activity requires an extra roll (e.g., a test of strength/dexterity or a d6 random probability) or requires extra time to complete (e.g., an extra round for positioning), but I try to give my players the freedom to try cool stunts. Otherwise, what’s the point? Might as well play Nintendo.

- I give people do-overs if they get blown up as a result of misunderstanding a rule. I had a guy once who didn’t realize that enemies could interrupt his spell and cause him to lose it, for example.

- I help the mapper fix obvious mistakes until we get in sync on how my descriptions translate to paper.

When I run first games at home, it can also sometimes be helpful to use the first session to roll up characters and then do a kind of “test run” through an arena style combat (something that doesn’t count). This can often address a decent number of basic issues before they arise in a more meaningful context.


Blackadder23: Insanely long villain soliloquy, then "Your action?"
BORGO'S PLAYER: I shoot him in the face
 

4/19/2018 12:48 pm  #8


Re: Any tips for a first time GM?

Chainsaw wrote:

When I run first games at home, it can also sometimes be helpful to use the first session to roll up characters and then do a kind of “test run” through an arena style combat (something that doesn’t count). This can often address a decent number of basic issues before they arise in a more meaningful context.

Yup this is a good way to get everyone tuned up for the real adventure.  
 


“How can I wear the harness of toil
And sweat at the daily round,
While in my soul forever
The drums of Pictdom sound?” 
 

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