Rev2000
 member, 1 post
Wed 22 May 2019
at 19:51
Noob here how to start GM
There are few types of games I could run Western,Post Apocalypse or D&D just don't know how to get started is there a way to spectate?
donsr
 member, 1601 posts
Wed 22 May 2019
at 19:54
Noob here how to start GM
Browse so of the   'wanted player ' games.. you can see thier  write  up on to how the game is what what it is about.

The, most important..how you /what you want to do, because you are the person running.

do you want a 'dice rolling  game"

 do you want a story game

do you want a game  where you can  watch the charcters  grow?

pick your Fav genre..because if   you don't really like your  game?  the players sure won't!
Isida KepTukari
 member, 272 posts
 Elegant! Arrogant! Smart!
Wed 22 May 2019
at 21:17
Noob here how to start GM
Rev, if you want to spectate, you could find a game that interests you (by checking or searching the pages of the Wanted - Players forum), then messaging the DM via an RTJ asking if you can Lurk.  Lurking gives you access to all threads of a game, you just can't post, so you can easily see what's going on.
DarkLightHitomi
 member, 1563 posts
Thu 23 May 2019
at 01:40
Noob here how to start GM
Some of us are even willing to teach you as we go, letting you see what we did and explaining why we did it as well as sharing a lot of advice.

I commend you for asking to watch gms in action. Too many gms end up being bad or mediocre because they just try to pop into it themselves without really knowing the esoterics behind the real goals of a good gm.
Gaffer
 member, 1553 posts
 Ocoee FL
 40 yrs of RPGs
Thu 23 May 2019
at 12:19
Noob here how to start GM
Many games leave all their threads open to public viewing, so you don't even have to be an official lurker.
Brianna
 member, 2182 posts
Sat 25 May 2019
at 02:26
Noob here how to start GM
Welcome!  Have you ever done play by post before?  If not, I'd advise playing in a game first; in fact even if you have, that would allow you to learn your way around the site.
horus
 member, 750 posts
 Wayfarer of the
 Western Wastes
Sat 25 May 2019
at 04:55
Noob here how to start GM
Some of the best time I've spent here trying to learn to be a GM was lurking in a Firefly game.  Some things I figured out after trying to run a game myself:

Rule systems are very seldom written with play-by-post in mind.  Keep what works, and be ruthless about discarding what doesn't.  Rules-light seems to work better for me than super-duper-crunchy rules for every occasion, but that may just be me.

Communication is really key.  Make sure your players understand what kind of game it is, what minimum posting rate is expected, and so forth.  When so-called "real life" gets in the way, make sure folks know to let you know, too.  Check out some game ads in Wanted - Players to see what other folks are saying about their games.

RPoL has some really neat tools that you will never see unless you create a game, or get someone to let you Co-GM in one of theirs.  There's good info in the FAQs and Help, and it can't possibly cover everything, but it's a great place to start, and does get the technical basics conveyed well enough to get off to a good start.  There are a fair number of GM-related discussion in the Technical Discussions forum, too.

Realize that none of the GMs that have posted here have invited you to a game for a good reason:  they can't do that here.

(At least I think it's against the rules from my latest reading.  Check out the Site Policies section of the Help.)

Something that may help:  when you go to Wanted - Players, you can find games ran by a specific RPoL user by using the Search link at the bottom left of your browser window.  Click the button for "poster" and enter the RPoL user name for the GM whose game ads you wish to see.

This message was last edited by the user at 05:14, Sat 25 May.

Warrax
 member, 216 posts
Sat 25 May 2019
at 11:18
Noob here how to start GM
How to start GM'g...

Well, first, welcome to the hobby. :)  It's a very different experience than playing, and it tends to be a lot of work but with the right group, it can be extremely rewarding, so I laud your effort!

Running a game is, as I noted, quite a bit different than playing. You have a lot more to worry about, but then, you also have a lot more freedom to do this or that. Probably the EASIEST place to start is running prefabricated adventures in the setting and system you're most familiar with. So let's say you're a DND5 guy, you can use the published adventure paths and what-not to help get yourself started.

Running the game is a craft all on its own and can only be developed over time, so dive right in!
horus
 member, 753 posts
 Wayfarer of the
 Western Wastes
Sat 25 May 2019
at 19:53
Noob here how to start GM
I'll add one more thing:  When you 'walk in off the street' RPoL starts you out with three game slots.  This grows over time with participation (usually).  Don't be afraid to fail the first couple of times.  Your game slots don't disappear if you fail, you can wipe them clean and re-use them for other games you want to try.

The main thing is to go ahead and try!  We'll be around for ya when you need help.
Gaffer
 member, 1557 posts
 Ocoee FL
 40 yrs of RPGs
Sun 26 May 2019
at 03:18
Re: Noob here how to start GM
horus:
you can wipe them clean and re-use them for other games you want to try.

Or just delete them and start a new one.
horus
 member, 757 posts
 Wayfarer of the
 Western Wastes
Sun 26 May 2019
at 11:22
Re: Noob here how to start GM
Gaffer:
horus:
you can wipe them clean and re-use them for other games you want to try.

Or just delete them and start a new one.


True enough.
DarkLightHitomi
 member, 1566 posts
Mon 27 May 2019
at 08:01
Re: Noob here how to start GM
I actually suggest you avoid any premade modules when starting out, as they really encourage bad habits, like doing railroading in a very wrong way, or worse, getting the gm into thinking in very limited terms in regards to story.

A gm should be very good at improve, and a new gm relying on premade modules is actively pushed away from learning improvisation, instead learning to rely on being told what to do and thus never learninb and beckming comfortable handling creative players going in weird directions.

The only time a new gm should be using a premade module is in two cases, either when they have an experienced gm helping them learn how to handle things without rigid railroading, or when they are going for a game acknowledged by the gm and players as a "directed campaign" where the players are basically there for the fights but don't really have nor expect any agency in the story.
donsr
 member, 1613 posts
Mon 27 May 2019
at 12:41
Re: Noob here how to start GM
 In the  End, the  best advice   I can give, his runnign a Game the  way you would like to have it  run.

 For me?  I was  tired  of  GMs    'getting bored' and  movign on to another  game ( which they would get bored of again) I hated  " You can do that .."  that meant you thought outside  the Box  and  the Module  or even a Home brew didn't account  for that.

  My games  are more or less opened , things happen whether  we  are there or Not.. and Plot   lines  can  be Missed....discovered..or created  , but the Players  durning thier  RP.

 You have to have  rules/Guidelines, or  the  game is a Joke..But never   have a 'forced March' game... and  never   punish the players  because they thought of   somehtign you did not.

 Regardless of what you  run?... don't be a  'Butterfly  GM' that flits    from game to game. Players invest in your game as well..the  the  loyal ones  have as much stake in as you do , if   you  drew them into your  world.
Warrax
 member, 220 posts
Mon 27 May 2019
at 13:14
Re: Noob here how to start GM
DarkLightHitomi:
I actually suggest you avoid any premade modules when starting out, as they really encourage bad habits, like doing railroading in a very wrong way, or worse, getting the gm into thinking in very limited terms in regards to story.


They're a good starting point, and flexibility proceeds from early experience. They're a very valuable tool. Later, as you grow more comfortable, you start using them more as a guideline than a fixed adventure, and that is also a useful tool for improvisation and campaign development before undertaking the task of whole-cloth campaign fabrication.

YMMV, of course. DarkLight doesn't like them, but I found them useful in my early days. The point he's making is a good one, but it's an intermediate GM/polishing skills kind of thing, which isn't necessarily the best place to focus when you're literally just starting out IMHO.
Isida KepTukari
 member, 273 posts
 Elegant! Arrogant! Smart!
Mon 27 May 2019
at 15:12
Re: Noob here how to start GM
Regarding rules for play-by-post - don't be afraid to condense.

In a D&D/Pathfinder sort of game, when you're at the table, you might have a situation like a locked chest.  Your rogue might Search it (and you declare what they found), try to get rid of a trap (and you say what happened), and then try to open it (and you say what they found).  If you try to follow something like that here, it will very much bog down the game.  Ask your players to combine multiple rolls in one post.  In the above situation, have the rogue roll their search, disable, and open lock rolls all in the same post. Then you can cover what happened all in one post.

Give players the number they need to hit a foe or climb a wall upfront so they can narrate their actions after they make their rolls.  If they need to make a save, give them the number as early as you can.  If you forget, then make the roll for them to keep the game moving.  If you do combat, do not get bogged down in initiative, nor wait too long for everyone to post: once you have a quorum of posts, make your response and just dictate reasonable actions for anyone who didn't post (you can have players put their Standard Adventuring/Combat Actions in their character sheets for reference).

Whatever adventure you chose to play, pre-made or your own, you do have a lot more time to formulate a response in a pbp game vs a face-to-face game, so keep that in mind. You can afford to get more descriptive, and doing a side-quest is easier, because you can put it in a separate thread or PM, instead of having to make everyone else at the table wait for that player and you to finish.
Brianna
 member, 2184 posts
Mon 27 May 2019
at 22:54
Re: Noob here how to start GM
Combat can be one of the most problematic things in PbP.  Check out what other GMs have done, make your own plan, and inform your players.  For instance, someone has mentioned requiring a Standard Action part on the character sheets, not just for combat but for other situations.  Maybe have them do a few rolls of various types in reserve; when I was DMing FtF, I always have the players make a few rolls at the start of a session for me to use.  After all, if you fail your Spot or Move Silently or.. you don't necessarily know you needed one - at least until whatever you missed or that heard you does something, probably nasty.  One very good DM I played with for years had us roll and post actions for combat in groups according to whose initiative was coming up, so that when he went to post (his posts moving the game were twice a week, maybe a bit more often in combat if we had all posted) he could work from our posts, our rolls, and our standard actions to put together a combat post.

If you have a very active roleplaying group, you may even need to limit posting.  For instance one group I was in could make dozens of posts a day, often leaving behind those of us who couldn't post so often.  So the DM had to make a rule that if more than the rampant posters were involved in any scene, no game moving action could happen until the rest of us had at least a day to provide some input.
DarkLightHitomi
 member, 1567 posts
Tue 28 May 2019
at 02:43
Re: Noob here how to start GM
Warrax:
DarkLightHitomi:
I actually suggest you avoid any premade modules when starting out, as they really encourage bad habits, like doing railroading in a very wrong way, or worse, getting the gm into thinking in very limited terms in regards to story.


They're a good starting point, and flexibility proceeds from early experience. They're a very valuable tool. Later, as you grow more comfortable, you start using them more as a guideline than a fixed adventure, and that is also a useful tool for improvisation and campaign development before undertaking the task of whole-cloth campaign fabrication.

YMMV, of course. DarkLight doesn't like them, but I found them useful in my early days. The point he's making is a good one, but it's an intermediate GM/polishing skills kind of thing, which isn't necessarily the best place to focus when you're literally just starting out IMHO.


Few gms will move on from fixed adventure to guideline. The reason for this is simple, making habits is far easier than changing habits. A gm's core habits are established in the first couple of games they run.

To me, improve is not a skill to polished, it is a habit to be formed in the first place.

Further,
A lot of gms think loads of prep is required. They think this and find they need it precisely because all their habits were built around using premade material, so when they lavk that material, they must then produce it themselves so they can use it.

But learning to run the game without any premade adventures makes prep a minor issue later on precisely because such a gm developed habits that never relied on premade material in the first place.

Seriously, when you can run improve well, then you can run an entire campaign with literally no prep what-so-ever. This is really nice when you run an unexpected pick-up game without any materials available. I even ran a campaign during basic training in the army without even dice.

Improve also avoids a great many problems about keeping the players on track, and since you don't need to make the players follow the story, then you can focus on learning the other things such as table adjudication, getting and keeping the player's rapt attention, etc, and fact such things are easier when you don't have to worry about whether the solution you chose will ruin the forthcoming narrative.


---
Premade adventures are good for inspiration if you don't need them, but they basically become a crutch for anyone who starts and learns gming with them.

That isn't an absolute of course, especially if you are aware of the issues I mentioned above, but it is so common that I can't in good conscience encourage it. I'm tired of the mediocre gms flooding the community. Just like music has studies into musical composition, we need gms who study that which makes great gming vs merely mediocre backyard barely competant gming.

Music has actual professionals and people with big degrees into what makes music work, which then in turn sets the example for backyard musicians. We don't have that yet for gming, and we really need it, and in the meantime, we need new gms to realize that we lack that and to keep that lack in mind as they study.

Yes, I totally need a spellchecker, but mine never works for some reason.
Lord Arkon
 member, 38 posts
 It all started with the
 AD&D Monster Manual
Tue 28 May 2019
at 04:07
Re: Noob here how to start GM
That huge epic climax you're excited about that will take twelve years of game time to build up to?  It probably won't fit your game by the time your characters reach it.  Be prepared for things to go in ways you don't expect.

What you will need are five interesting things that can happen next week without seeming to come out of nowhere.  If you use them up, seed more.  Unanswered hints and rumors remind your players that there's more to see.

Write up some generic enemies for your game system of choice; your villains are always going to need minions who go down with a satisfying 'thump'.  Be sure to mix them up so every fight doesn't feel the same.  At the very least have 'melee minion', 'ranged minion', 'trained animal', and 'wild beast'.  You can always use some spare cannon fodder, and they won't be on the table long enough for the PCs to care they have the same stats.
horus
 member, 760 posts
 Wayfarer of the
 Western Wastes
Tue 28 May 2019
at 07:45
Re: Noob here how to start GM
Meanwhile, how's it going, Rev2000?

Are you figuring some things out?  Do you have some more questions you might need help with?

We, all of us, have different gaming styles and that's okay...