riki.joat
 member, 27 posts
 Human
 Wizard
Sun 6 May 2018
at 17:49
New to GMing
Hello rpol, so I've never GMed a game before but I've played in plenty and I have a couple ideas for games, thing is I'm worried I'm biting off more than I can chew and I was looking some advice as to which game would be best for a new GM.

First idea is a crossover of Wizardry and Might and Magic based on pathfinder. I know this system well but to actually get the feel of the video games I'm taking the lore from I would have to modify some things in the classes, maybe even run as Gestalt. It would be a pretty big open world too with a mystery plot.

I could use a premade adventure but I'm strapped for cash on buying new supplements at least for the next few months.

I also thought about running a Pokemon Tabletop United game, probably just a basic game starting in Johto my favorite region, but not sure about interest in the system.

I also found this neat Magic the Gathering homebrew rpg on 4chan, worried that there isn't enough there to support a full game though. I won't link to it here because I'm not sure I'm allowed.

So yeah those are my ideas, any advice on which one I should try, or just general advice for a new GM. Thanks.
Yaztromo
 member, 179 posts
Sun 6 May 2018
at 19:54
New to GMing
My suggestion is to start small.
A one-off adventure, perhaps from some published source, that can last weeks rather than months or year, is ideal for learning the ropes.
You can go for big concepts and campaigns later on, once you feel more confident you can manage things properly.
Trying to learn how to do it while going on a massive game concept that will take years and years to see its end often proves tricky.
Talon
 member, 369 posts
Sun 6 May 2018
at 19:58
New to GMing
If this is your first time running play-by-post I'd also advise that rolling dice and resolving combat takes a lot, lot longer in this format than face to face. Keeping that in mind when structuring your game can make a world of difference (I also highly recommend making all combat meaningful for this reason, but that's obviously personal preference.)
DarkLightHitomi
 member, 1349 posts
Mon 7 May 2018
at 00:13
New to GMing
Here is a very important thing to remember, The GM is not there to tell a story.

GMing is an art, and personally I feel it counts as an art in the same way as painting, singing, or movie making.

I highly recommend reading everything you can from The Alexandrian, particularly these three links,
http://www.thealexandrian.net/creations/creations.html
http://thealexandrian.net/gamemastery-101
http://thealexandrian.net/word...ames/dont-prep-plots

That last one is especially important for developing one of the most crucial of GM skills, the ability to run the game spontaneously without any prior expectation nor idea of where events are going to lead nor how they will play out.

Now it is possible to run a game along a railroad, and a good gm can do so without it feeling too much like a railroad, but honestly, when starting out you should avoid that sort of game. The most important skill a gm needs, is to be able to spontaneously adapt to what the players are doing. The best way to build up and practice that skill is to simply not have anything in place that might encourage you to railroad the players, and that means running without a story plot.

You should consider the world as a character, the character you run, and thus your character "the world" interacts with the player's characters.

Basically, do not have any idea or concept of how events will play out. Do not plan on the players arriving at certain places, at certain times, in certain ways. Just don't do it.

Instead, build the world, then place a few figures in the world that have goals the players will want to stop, and make sure the players find out about it, then let the players handle it however they wish.
riki.joat
 member, 28 posts
 Human
 Wizard
Mon 7 May 2018
at 23:15
New to GMing
Thanks for all the advice, I'm going to read through this information and set up a simple world and give a short game a go soon.
horus
 member, 480 posts
 Wayfarer of the
 Western Wastes
Tue 8 May 2018
at 04:00
New to GMing
In reply to riki.joat (msg # 5):

You may wish to post your game proposal to Game Proposals, Input, and Advice.  I'd love to know when you kick this off.  (It's good to see new GMs.)
ScooterinAB
 member, 219 posts
Sun 13 May 2018
at 00:27
New to GMing
Yeah, as others said, start small. My advice would be to take what you think is starting small and go smaller from there. A single adventure of a game like D&D or Pathfinder (that has a lot of combat or opposed rolling) would take about a year to play through. I just started in a freeform game right now, and we've been posting once every few days. After a few weeks, we have covered about 10 minutes of game time. Even in a best case scenario, things are going to be slow.

This message was last edited by the user at 00:27, Sun 13 May.

horus
 member, 483 posts
 Wayfarer of the
 Western Wastes
Sun 13 May 2018
at 01:45
New to GMing
We've had some great replies so far.  I'd add that you want to run a game you'll enjoy running.  That seems obvious, but it's a neat trick to balance all the work of creating a game milieu with the enjoyment of actually running the game.  Make too much work for yourself and you'll end up feeling dragged down by the game.  Smooth out too many wrinkles and your game will lose depth.

Additionally, anything you can do to streamline game mechanics without watering them down too much is going to benefit you during play.

What do I mean?  For me, a lot of it is in how information is presented and shared.  I have a game where combat is a sequential affair, with combat turns divided into segments, and the "firing order" is governed by an Initiative roll.

Instead of asking for the initiative rolls, then coming back and asking for the actions, I ask for all of the combat turn info at once, then sort everything out in a consolidated reply to all participants.  To streamline this, I've developed a short table players can use to give me  their initiative, action(s), weapons, and modifiers in a particular turn (all the basic mechanical elements).  It helps make the flow of information from all players more consistent, concise, and better organized.  (But maybe I'm overthinking it?)

One of the players who joined early on in this game helped me playtest and develop these kinds of methods, so we had a chance to adjust and refine them before the game actually started.
biscuit
 member, 30 posts
Sun 13 May 2018
at 02:33
New to GMing
As one person said, GMing is an art.

The hardest part of GMing is not realizing the stages you will go through. Like all endeavours, you have the four stages of forming, storming, norming, and performing. Forming is the easiest part as it's your world and you can shape it as you want and players are easy to find. Storming is where most games fail. GM-player conflicts, player-player conflicts, plus the hassle of trying to get everything coordinated now that there are multiple people involved, and for a lot of GMs this is where their biggest headaches are. As it is also early in the game it is at this point that it is easy to lose confidence in your abilities and the ability of the game to last the long term. Once past this stage things get easier as you and your players get to know each other and understand how to communicate in a mutual way. After that, the GMing takes less time.

As far as what to do, if it's your first game, run a one-off as someone else suggested. It will get you a feel for how things on RPOL work and get you a feel for your players. If you and your players like it and want to continue, then you just use where the one-off ended as your starting point for the next adventure and you can build your world from there. Also by using a run-off, the characters start adventuring immediately, so there's less role-playing fluff at the beginning. This fluff becomes important for a long-term game, but for a one-off, most of it can be done in the OOC section.

As far as finding a one-off is concerned, money is not an issue. Drive-Thru RPG has a lot of free adventures. You could take one of those and use as is, expand it to add a little more, or modify it to be something similar but different. They may not be in your game system of choice, but the background, creatures, and context can be adapted.
tulgurth
 member, 187 posts
 35 years of gaming
 Still going strong
Sat 19 May 2018
at 20:06
New to GMing
Biscuit, great suggestion on Drive-Thru.  I would also suggest to the OP, Drivethru also offers other free material.  My suggestion would be "101 City Hooks".  Its a great source of hooks to get the creative juices flowing , but also as lead ins.

@OP, A great pro for RPOL, its gives you time to look up rules without slowing the game any further.  But allows more time to be creative.
riki.joat
 member, 29 posts
 Human
 Wizard
Sat 19 May 2018
at 20:11
New to GMing
Yeah I found a couple one off games, haven't looked at Drive thru yet but I will. I'm reading a lot and would start but my cousins getting married next week so I figure I'll wait till after the wedding to get started. Still I so appreciate the help and hope I can use all the tips.
LunarKitty
 member, 368 posts
Wed 23 May 2018
at 03:06
New to GMing
Another possibility is to run a freeform game. Just think of a small -but intriguing- scenario that could use a couple of players and run with the drama while you get a hang of the interface and keeping track of players without worrying about rules.
riki.joat
 member, 30 posts
 Human
 Wizard
Thu 7 Jun 2018
at 00:07
New to GMing
So after much reading and some helpful back and forth I'm setting up a game of Dragon AGE. I am starting with a prebuilt scenario and I'm going to be looking for a few people to join up. If you're interested please let me know. I'd love to have a few people who know GMing so I can get some thoughts on how I'm doing once we get into it. The game with be up in the next week and I'll send anybody interested a link. Thanks for the support.