member, 1 post
Sun 1 Jan 2017
at 23:13
When should you start GMing?
Hi there. I'm pretty new to this forum, and to RP in general, but it's been something I've wanted to get into for a while. I'm getting involved in a couple of games, and I think I'm settling in pretty well so far.

I am interested in GMing a game at some point, and have a couple ideas floating around in my head, but am a bit uncertain about a few things. How much experience should I have as a player before GMing? If I haven't played the system before should I do that first? Are there any resources on this I can take a look at? Am I just overthinking this, and should just go start a game?

Any advice regarding this is much appreciated. Thanks.
 moderator, 15242 posts
 He's big, he's bad,
 but mostly he's Ron.
Sun 1 Jan 2017
at 23:30
When should you start GMing?
The answer to your question would be, "When you feel like it."

Basically, when you feel confident in you ability to run a game, and have a story that you think will work, then go for it.  Experience in the system helps, but isn't essential (otherwise nobody would ever GM new systems, because nobody has any experience with them).  This is especially true in a PbP forum, where you can take the time to check up on specific rules questions.

And if you make a mistake, discuss it with the players and get it right next time.
 member, 51 posts
Sun 1 Jan 2017
at 23:43
When should you start GMing?
Everyone has to start somewhere somehow.  There's all kinds of Youtube channels (Matthew Colville comes to mind, he speaks mostly about Dungeons and Dragons but the general method would work for any system) and gaming blogs/sites (Tribality) that try to give methods, tricks, tips, etc, but honestly the best way to learn is by doing.

There's a million different ways to get started, I personally do the "Who? What?  Where?  When?  Why?" approach to establish the campaign premise, with a short answer for each question so I have a focus.  Note I leave out "How?" if the answer to "Who" are the player characters, but I include it if the "Who" is the antagonist.

It might or might not be a good gateway to use a canned adventure (most normal people call that a premade campaign) or a series of small pre-made adventures to help take some of the burden off so you can think about the game at large rather than the details.  I've gone to this now that I'm old and busy.
 member, 6877 posts
 Gaming for over 30
 years, and counting!
Mon 2 Jan 2017
at 02:42
When should you start GMing?
One of the best GMs I ever played with had no experience to speak of...certainly no more than the rest of us playing.  His family was friends with one of the guys writing for TSR, and gave him a set of D&D rulebooks for Christmas.  Since he had all the books, and he was interested in running the game, he started, and a group of us all agreed to play.

There is no 'should'...GM when you feel like it.  If you want to do it to learn how, or if you feel like you already know, or if you have a story that you just have to explore and can't find anyone else to do the job...it's all good.  No GM is going to be perfect, no GM is going to gel with every potential player.  Part of it is learning how to figure out what works and what doesn't, and that will change with every group you play with.  If you feel like you've got a handle on the system and a story to tell, give it a shot, experience or no.
Tyr Hawk
 member, 263 posts
 You know that one guy?
 Yeah, that's me.
Mon 2 Jan 2017
at 03:23
When should you start GMing?
I'd just like to echo the sentiments I've seen thus far, and add that my first experience GMing was also my third session of gaming. The first two I was a player, but by session three I was put in charge. In the beginning, there were no DMs. Somebody started without ever having been a player before (because that's how the world works, someone has to do it first), and plenty of people still do. Just so long as you have fun, and the other people in the game have fun, experience is not necessary.

So, GM when you feel you're ready. Or GM when you don't feel you're ready. GM when you're bored, or when you're excited. GM when you've got an idea. GM when you've got no idea. GM when you want something that no one else is selling. GM when you think what you're selling is better. GM when you're tired of being a player. GM before you ever get the chance to be a player. GM all day, and half the night, and then GM on the reverse schedule just for kicks. GM whenever and wherever you want to, because there's really only one "should" as far as timing for GMing, and that's when you have players.

Not when there are players, mind you, but when you've got players in your game. That's when you should GM.

Hope this helps, and I look forward to you joining the GM club. ;)
 member, 707 posts
Mon 2 Jan 2017
at 10:36
When should you start GMing?
I agree with the others above, GM when you feel you're ready (actually a little before, cos you'll never feel ready).

You can open and close games easily here (and some games only last a few weeks before they collapse anyway, no matter who is running them) so don't worry about trying something out. Your first game doesn't have to be perfect, and probably won't be. Your five-hundredth game probably won't be perfect, either.

Open up a game and poke about with it, learn how the GM Menu works, then put an ad out for a group of players who are willing to work with a first-time GM, so their expectations won't be too high.

Then just have some fun. :)
 member, 3 posts
Tue 3 Jan 2017
at 04:16
When should you start GMing?
Thank you all for the encouragement and advice. I'm taking a crack at running Call of Cthulhu, and suspect it will go well. Looking forward to it.
 member, 1422 posts
 Ocoee FL
 40 yrs of RPGs
Tue 3 Jan 2017
at 16:47
When should you start GMing?
In reply to Quasar_42 (msg # 7):

Which edition will you run?
 member, 4 posts
Tue 3 Jan 2017
at 18:44
When should you start GMing?
7th, it's what I have and seems to have fixed some problems without adding too many more.